Thursday, December 20, 2012

Student Teacher Mantra

Hello all!  I know I have not posted recently.  Things have been super busy.

BUT, I had to share this amazing recording of my fellow Kripalu yoga teacher trainees and I singing the Student Teacher Mantra from earlier this year.  We would sing this every session before class.  It's so funny, I had recently been asked to write about my yoga teacher training for a blog (you will see it here soon as well), and in the same week I received the letter I wrote to myself during my training, and this lovely recording!

Thank you Lyra for sharing.

Sanskrit and English lyrics after the jump.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Happy Weekend - Girl Walk All Day Video

So, if you know me, you probably knew that I LOVE Girl Talk.  In fact, if you know me, you may have taken a road trip where we only played Girl Talk, or you may have come to one of my numerous Girl Talk dance parties.  And by party I DO mean me drinking too much wine and rolling around on the floor to Girl Talk, while everyone else points and laughs.

Anyway, I am way behind the news on this one.*  This group of awesome people made a full length dance video set to all of Girl Talk's All Day album.  While my favorite will always be Night Ripper, this work is amazing!  Fun, happy, quirky...check out the trailer below; the rest of the film can be seen on their website.

Time for another Girl Talk dance party at my house...who's in!?

Official Trailer: Girl Walk // All Day from Girl Walk // All Day on Vimeo.

*And yes, there was a New York Times piece on it.  You can read it here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hugasana - A Drawing

I was feeling kind of nostalgic for Kripalu as I haven't been able to go to the meetups with my friends from YTT due to busyness, and came up with this doodle.    It's inspired by the Mama tree on the Kripalu grounds, and by this exercise we did in my teacher training, where we just stayed in a hug with someone for ten minutes.  I wonder what my students would say if I made them do hug-asana!  I probably should get them more used to the idea of partner work first!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Circus Art - Kees Van Dongen

As you may know (from real life or reading this blog), I work at a painting restoration studio.  We work with the auction houses a lot and I get to see really cool stuff.  And touch really expensive paintings.  Touching expensive paintings is the best, I highly recommend it.  Except at museums where you will set off alarms and have guards tackle you.  Anyway, this painting by Kees Van Dongen came across my radar a little while ago because it was in a sale, but I found myself thinking about it during aerial class at Circus to the People.  I think it is quite nifty!  And no, I can't do a crazy one armed handstand arabesque thing.

Von Dongen was a Fauvist artist who painted dancers, socialites, theater people, circus folk and prostitutes. You can read more about him on Wikipedia here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

OM my god, Aerial meditation!

So I've been away on vacation the last week, which is why I was lax about updating.  I was too busy napping on the beach in Bethany, DE.

Anyway, just a quick post to say that I have been doing more aerial arts!  One of my current favorite things is Aerial OM Meditation at OMFactory.  The class is basically what it sounds like, a combination of aerial yoga, meditation and chanting.  But what makes the class really special is the teacher, Seanna Sharpe.  An ISHTA yoga person (all of my favorite teachers who are not Kripalu are ISHTA) and amazing aerialist.  Below is a video of her doing cloud swing off of the Williamsburg Bridge in 2011.   She was arrested for it!  Seanna also teaches a donation based circus class, which I will be going to on Saturday.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happy Weekend - Brokelandia Yoga Video!

I stumbled across this video recently.  Brokelandia is like Portlandia, but about Brooklyn, which happens to be where I was born and raised, as well as where I am currently living.  In fact the intersection they show in this video (Bedford and N. 7th) is a five minute walk from where I live.  Hm, please don't stalk me based on that information.

Anyway, this is their take on Bikram yoga.  I have to admit I've never done Bikram, because I'm scared I'd be like the protagonist of this video.  Although, I DID recently make a foray into the world of hot yoga, which you can read about here.  Also, I'm kind of freaked out that the part at the end is going to be my future.   In fact, my friend just said, "Oh god, that's totally your future."  ALSO, it features Grizz from 30 Rock!


See the rest of the Brokelandia series here:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Drawing: Cats Doing Yoga

I was kind of bored, so I did a picture of kittehs doing cat - cow.  Cat - cow is often done in yoga as a warm-up stretch.  Start in a neutral table top position.  On an inhale, broaden through the collar bones, lift the sitz bones up, let the belly drop (cow).  Exhale, round the spine, release the head and neck (cat).

Monday, July 30, 2012

Yoga on the Road

Amelia Island
Some people go on vacation and practice yoga in their hotels with spiffy Manduka travel mats, while their travel companions chow on free breakfast buffets.  Some people go on vacation and serenely meditate on the beach, while frolicking children and dogs join them in the surf for impromptu tree poses.  I am not that person.  On my vacation to Amelia Island last week, I was the person who mostly drank beer, ate fried seafood, slept in and napped on the  beach a lot.  I actually have a Manduka travel mat, but it didn't even occur to me to pack it.  To be fair, I'm horrible at packing and my process basically is throwing all of my clean underwear and semi-clean black dresses from the floor into a duffel bag.

However, I AM the kind of person who researches local yoga studios as soon as I have a travel destination. (Well, I research it second, after reading about where I can get the best food.)  And I am happy I do, because it always gives me a chance to try something new!

Friday, July 13, 2012


Sometimes a class just comes together.  Mirroring left and right just comes naturally.  Everyone laughs at your jokes.  The students audibly breathe.  There is an exchange of energy.  We come together into a sangha (community), while plumbing the depth of individual practice.

I taught two classes and went to one yesterday.  They were AWESOME!

Happy weekend!  Here is a beautiful cool yoga video.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer project...capoeira?

Summer always seems to fly by doesn't it?  I feel like I have a ton of projects that I wanted to do, and I haven't even begun many of them!  

Sadly, I am taking a hiatus from ballet until the fall.  I didn't write about this previously, but I had some meniscus and other knee problems in my left leg.  My left leg gives me trouble in a lot of physical activities; it's one of the reasons why I no longer run.  I've casually asked some dancers and podiatrists for their opinion, and apparently my left leg turns in at the knee and my alignment is all wonky.  The turn out required in ballet creates additional torque, which is what creates the pain.  The pain coincided with my ballet teacher taking a break from teaching for the summer because she just was ordained as a Episcopal priest, and so I decided to take break as well.

Anyway!  This does leave me with time to do other things, although not nearly enough time.  I definitely want to take modern at Mark Morris (I think I will take my first class this Wednesday evening!) and do more circus arts, especially aerial silks.  My grandmother, a tai-chi master, advises that I take that up as well and I found free classes in Bryant Park on Tuesday mornings.  And, speaking of martial arts, I have some vouchers for Budokan classes I have to use.  I also noticed that a capoeira center opened up near my boyfriends apartment and am very curious about it.  Capoeira is a blend of martial arts, dance and music; doesn't it look nifty?  

What are your summer projects?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The greatest thing you'll ever learn...

The more I teach, the more I learn.  And the more I learn, the more I realize I do not know.  And then the doubt sets in.  Do my students hate me?  Am I doing this completely wrong?  What if I am the WORST TEACHER EVER?

As I mentioned before, I am prone to anxiety (you know, having a anxiety disorder and all).  Part of this anxiety is a crippling perfectionist tendency.  When I am objective about my classes, I think they are pretty okay!  But the little slip ups...a mix up between right and left, forgetting to balance both sides equally, even a stumble over a me to obsession over my doubts.  It doesn't matter how many students tell me they enjoyed the class afterwards.  It doesn't matter that I have been a student that has enjoyed less than perfect yoga classes.  It is the one mistake that I will linger on.

One of my fellow classmates once said I was a natural at teaching!  And admittedly, I love performing, I have no fears of public speaking, I am naturally sociable and chatty.  I am always the first to volunteer for audience participation, always the first to break the silence in class discussions.  But this easiness does not belie the demons in my head and does not silence my harshest critic.  

But there is one thing that I am learning...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Catching up: Kripalu retreat experience

Hey there, I've been kind of busy lately.  I just came back from an amazing four days at Kripalu in the Berkshires for the final graduation ceremony and retreat of my teacher training.  It was heart opening, inspiring, incredible, and too much for me to put into words at the moment.  So I thought I'd post some pictures and thoughts instead of writing out a full post.

Also, I'm teaching at Hosh tonight, which I am very excited about.  I would love if you came!

A view of Kripalu
I took the above picture on the last day right before I left.  I miss it already.

Monday, June 18, 2012

An Inquiry on Inquiries

Can I talk with my hands during a
silent retreat?  Please!?
So I've been thinking a lot about the concept of inquiry.  I've been obsessed with Pantanjali's first yoga sutra "atha yoga nushanam" throughout my training.   This translates to "now the inquiry of yoga" and each part of that sentence has so much to unpack!  I taught both a practice teach and a class at Hosh (second real class ever!) that focused all around the idea of the now.  How can I stay in the present in my practice?  I'll stick a Gide quote in here because I'm pretentious. "Seize from every moment its unique novelty and do not prepare your joys."  

I had taught a practice teach earlier this year centering around the word inquiry, but I have returned to it as of late.  In my class, I had focused the idea of inquiry around the  movement, inviting the students to make each pose an exploration of the posture.  However, I'm beginning to realize more and more than the idea of inquiry can be applied to many aspects of my life...

Friday, June 8, 2012

TV Recap: Breaking Pointe 2

Welcome to week 2 of Breaking Pointe!  Thank you for all the readers who checked out my post from Katie and Allison's retweets.

I have to say now that I know that people actually read this thing, I know I am snarky but I really don't mean it.  I called Allison a psycho in my last recap and I want to make it clear that I don't think reality TV is a reflection of what's real at all!  She definitely got a bit of the crazy villain edit last week, but I'm sure she and everyone else on the show are actually lovely people in real life.

Anyway, it's not really fun to be rational and fair-minded when writing about pop culture, so let the snark begin!

I have to admit that this week's show was a bit of a let down from the fantastic season premiere.  As a reality TV junkie, episodes tend to work best around a theme.  Last week's episode was great because it focused on this idea of competition and hierarchy; this week's episode was kind of centered around romantic and familial relationships, but definitely not focused enough to be interesting. Other viewers must have agreed with me, as the Nielsen ratings dropped from 1m to 700k this week.  I must implore you guys to spread the word about this show!  Even though this current episode wasn't great I'm still hooked.

On this weeks episode, the big questions are: will Ronnie renew his contract (yawn) and what will happen to our lovely crazy young couple in love Ronald and Katie?  Full recap with SPOILERS after the jump.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Teaching Moment

I'm not sure what a pigeon has to do with anything,
 but I took this picture and I like it.
If you follow me on Twitter or in real life, then you'd know that I've passed my certification for yoga teaching!  Anyway, I have been teaching family and friends throughout my training, but had not taught strangers in a class...until yesterday.

My planned debut was actually supposed to be next week, Hosh, a non profit karma yoga studio where I normally practice.  (I will still be teaching next week, probably Wednesday morning, so stay tuned for announcements!).  When I found out I was going to be doing a trial class for Hosh, I decided to stop by Yoganesh where my teacher training had been held, to talk to one of my teachers about it.  Yoganesh is also having a crazy $30 for 30 days of yoga deal right  now*, so I decided to stop in and have class and maybe a chat.

I got there a little early for the 12:15 Lunch Express class and sat talking with with the lovely owner of the studio, Norma.  A few minutes before class starts, I ask where the teacher is.  Norma hastily makes a call and it turns out that the instructor was in Massachusetts!  I tell Norma that she should teach the class instead, and she said, "No, you should teach the class."  So I did!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TV Recap: Breaking Pointe

I know I'm pretty late to the game on this Breaking Pointe thing, but better late than never right?  I was going to write about how reality TV is destroying civilization and such, but the truth is I LOVE REALITY TV.  I was also going to pretend that I'm really picky about which reality shows I watch, like I'm so superior because I only watch Real Housewives of Beverley Hills and not any of the other Housewives series.  But I think too many people know that I've watched Kimora Lee's Life in the Fab Lane to pretend I am classy about my television at all.

 The CW's Breaking Pointe is no RHOBH (an impossibly high standard), but it's not like it's The Surreal Life Fame Games (probably the worst thing I've ever seen on TV).  The easy referent for this show is obviously Black Swan with bitchy ballerinas being cutthroat at each other, but I think Breaking Pointe is more analogous to All About Eve.  Or maybe I just hope that this is true because All About Eve is a much better movie and would make for a better reality TV plot.  More after the jump with SPOILERS.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Why I Love Chanting

I suffer from an anxiety disorder.  I take pills for this; I go to doctors for this.    One of the symptoms of my anxiety disorder is ruminative thinking.  My medication helps with this, but I still struggle with this every day.  Just yesterday, I had to deal with a rather unpleasant client at work.  When she slammed her phone down on me, I began to think, "Did I really do enough for her?  Do I suck at my job?  I must suck.  I suck, I suck, I suck."  Even after my colleagues reassured me that I went above and beyond in terms of customer service, I could not stop thinking "I suck, I suck, I suck...."

When I first encountered mantra, I was very ambivalent about it.  I loved it because it sometimes comes with singing, and I love singing!  I also felt calm and at peace while chanting.  It made me happy.  But the feeling that it was a hymn or a prayer was acutely uncomfortable for me.  I was raised Christian and I had consciously turned away from organized religion because of its dogmatic nature.  Yoga teachers will tell you that yoga is not a religion, and it isn't!  But mantra is a part of bhakti yoga (devotional practice).

I spoke to my therapist about this feeling, and he had a lot of wise words for me.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Learning to Teach

My flashcards
I have to take a written test this Sunday.  On yoga.  I haven't taken a test in four years since college!  I've been making stacks and stacks of flashcards.  Unfortunately, as I was an art studio major in college, I enjoy drawing a lot more than actually studying or taking notes.  My cards are pretty though!  So that has been my week.  Making flashcards, practice teaching yoga, actually doing yoga.  Not a bad life!

Wish me luck...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Guest post: I Am Not a Chair

Guest post from my sister, Christine, whom you all met yesterday...

"I am not a chair," I thought last Sunday during my weekly walk up a major avenue at night.  I breathed.  It was the first relief from all of the general anxiety that had led me to take this walk in the first place.  I was about to start my first full week at my internship, and a million thoughts were pulsing through my head, "Does this mean I'm staying in NY?  I'll need to find an apartment.  And a second job to rent that apartment."  And then the thought hit me, just as "I am not a chair," "I am not the city that I live in," "I am not the job I work."  

In yoga class the day before, when we went into Warrior 1, the teacher David said in his usual deadpan voice, "I hate to break it to you, but you are not a warrior."  I chuckled, and sighed an audible "aaaaw."  I really like pretending to be a warrior, especially the warrior in warrior 1, who has just been formed from a strand of hair.  (I also really like puffing up my chest during pigeon pose, and imagining myself as a cocky pigeon, chasing after a female pigeon relentlessly.)

While in a forward fold, David said to us, "When I say you are not a 'warrior' or a 'chair,' you say, 'duh.' But what if I say, 'you are not a woman,' 'you are not a 'man,' 'you are not a mother, a father, a daughter, or son.' You may be all of these things at one point in your life, but you are not any of those one things, or even the accumulation of all those things."


Tuesday, May 29, 2012


My sister (left) and me (right) doing yoga together!

Last week, I read this lovely post on Adult Beginner about prenatal yoga partner poses and it got me thinking.  I used to really, really, REALLY hate partner poses in yoga.  Touching sweaty strangers is one of the more unpleasant things I imagine doing.  This is one of the reasons (out of many) that I refuse to try Bikram; the thought of someone in a humid hot room getting their sweat on me makes me throw up in the back of my mouth a little.

That being said, when I started my yoga teacher training, I learned a few partner poses that I actually quite like.  In fact, there are a few that I love!  I've found that they can challenge me in different ways and even teach me something about my alignment in the postures.  And is touching someone in yoga the worst thing?  How does that song go?  Reach out and touch somebody's hand....

More on yoga partner poses that I love with photos after the jump!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy weekend - ZOMBIE YOGA!

I love zombies.  Zombies books, zombies movies, ZOMBIES!  My best friend and roommate also happens to love zombies.  Over the six years we have known each other, we have come up with quite an extensive detailed plan for the zombie apocalypse.  If the world turned into The Walking Dead tomorrow, you would want to be with us in a survival situation.

So imagine my delight when I found this ZOMBIE YOGA video this morning.  What?  It's not new to the internet, but it is definitely new to me.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lila at Studio Anya

Studio Anya describes its Lila (pronounced “leela”) class as "Inspired by a Hindu concept meaning 'sacred play' &/or 'cosmic dance,' Our Lila class offers both!"  It promised to blend yoga, Tai-Chi and modern dance. How could I say no to that?  Eager to reprise my blissed-out YogaDance experience from over the weekend, I stopped by Studio Anya before ballet class on Tuesday to get my dance and play on.

I should have suspected that this was not going to be the woo-woo hippie experience that I was looking for when I noticed that there were exercise balls set up next to the barre.  By the time I was squeezing that ball between my thighs and pulsing my muscles to blasting pop music, I figured out that I had been tricked into WORKING OUT!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012's easy to be a freak

I spend a lot of time explaining to people that Kripalu (the school that I am doing my training through) is not some woo-woo hippie cult.  And it really isn't!  I like to say that Kripalu is a methodology that can be used for all different kinds of yoga.  Yes, it can be gentle and restorative, but it can also kick your ass in classes just as vigorous as any Ashtanga power flow.  In fact, I get my ass kicked quite regularly in classes with Jay Karlinski in my teacher training.

That being said, if you had seen me and my fellow teacher trainees on Sunday doing a YogaDance session with the lovely Jurian may have looked a little bit like we were in a woo-woo hippie cult.

Here is a clip from the British comedy Peep Show where Mark (Dave Mitchell) goes to a dance flow class to give you an idea about how someone might feel about YogaDance.  To give you some context here is how Mark feels about dancing:  "Dancing? Yes, dancing, I love dancing....Because it makes me look like a coma victim being stood up and zapped with a cattle prod."  ETA: The following clips are kind of NSFW.  Headphones!

But actually, YogaDance is an incredible experience.  More on it after the jump.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Hello dear readers (as in the three people that read this),

You may have noticed my lack of posting recently.  Well, was due do a number of factors.  First of all, I am no longer funemployed.  Which is great because I have money for things now, but also sucks because I have no time for things now.  I am also doing my yoga teacher training through  It is the first year they are doing a YTT in New York.  It has been such an intense, amazing experience.  I "graduate" from the program in June and will be a CERTIFIED YOGA TEACHER!  I am also wrapping up a six week beginner ballet workshop next week.

I will be blogging about all of this again soon, stay tuned!

I took my boyfriend, sister and best friend/roommate to see ABT's Giselle this Saturday.  It was incredible and we all enjoyed it (or so they told me afterwards).  We saw it with Diana Vishneva in the title role.  You can read a glowing review of her in this New York Times article, which also includes a discussion of the other two dancers doing the role this season (Natalia Osipova and Alina Cojocaru). You can also read my sister's take on her experience at her blog.  I completely agree with all of the sentiments about how Vishneva is incredible, amazing, etc.  In fact, I do think she is one of my favorite dancers of all time.  However, I was also blown away by Polina Semionova as Myrtha, Queen of the Willis, which are these vengeful lady virgin ghosts.  I was captivated from the moment she bouréed across the stage in her entrance in Act 2.  She just seemed to glide effortlessly.  The corps did a very good job too!

Sadly, I could not find a video of Semionova dancing the Myrtha role, but below is a video of her dancing as Giselle in the pas de deux with Albrecht at the end.  Also, an additional video of Myrtha and the Willis from a 1983 performance at the Kirov after the jump!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ballerina, A Documentary

Yesterday I decided to take a break from watching 90s sitcomes and C-list Korean horror movies on Netflix streaming to edutain myself with a documentary instead.  In Ballerina (2006), filmmaker Bertrand Normand provides an intimate look at five ballerinas from the Kirov Ballet.  Oddly enough, Netflix tagged this as heart-warming and feel good.  I would characterize this as an untrue statement.  To get into the Vaganova Academy (the school of the company), ten-year-olds are poked, prodded and twisted in front of a panel of people who are judging them for their build and flexi-stretchi ways.  If you get in, you get to be yelled at for eight years about your thighs.  This part of the film made Dance Moms look heart-warming and feel good.  Then, if you get into the company, you get to be yelled at some more and compete with a hundred other girls in the corps.  Oh you'll say you have great relationships with everyone, but it's as believable as the same sentiments when spoken on a Real Housewives reunion episode.  Can you tell I'm also watching a lot of reality television in my funemployment?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy Weekend - Yoga Breakdancing

This video has been floating around the interwebs for a while, but it is new to me.  Check out this guy combining his awesome skills in breakdancing and yoga.  If you check out the Vimeo channel, you can also see his awesome skills in acrobatics, Parkour, etc, etc....  I really have to start doing my daily arm balance and  inversion practice again.  Namaste, yo!

Break ton Neck from Alex Yde on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Home Work Out

The chair: my exercise machine
CC Image Courtesy Luca Rossato on Flickr
The title of this post may be a little misleading. Because I don't actually work out.  Sure, I'll go to any class named after a pastry, do any kind of yoga you throw at me, and I'll even embarrass myself in dance classes on a weekly basis, but in my mind these are just activities that happen to be a good work out.  I mean that stuff is fun; it's not like the real exercise that people who go to gyms do on scary looking machines and with personal trainers.  I've never been a member of a gym (apologies to the gym salespeople that I exploit for guest passes so I can go to free yoga and dance classes).  I don't think I've ever lifted a weight in my life.  I am unsure because I may have had to move one from under my roommates bed once to get to her stash of clean sheets, since I don't do my laundry very often either.  I'm not quite sure what an elliptical machine does.  I was a runner for a while, but my asymmetrical, overpronating, flat feet guaranteed that I was constantly injured.  In school, I went straight from playing kickball and steal the bacon in gym class to having cool electives like Tai-Chi.  In summary: not a person who "works out."

Monday, January 30, 2012

Move Tube: Learning to Watch Ballet

Today, I want to share one of my favorite online dance resources.  Ballet is pretty to watch, but I like things more when I know what I am watching.  Not just narratively, but technically as well.  Like when you watch ice skating and they explain to you salchows, axels and such.  This column from The Guardian does that.  Luke Jennings picks out ballet videos from YouTube and explains why they are good.  Below, a video from 1966 of Valentina Simukova dancing the pas de deux from The Nutcracker.  Visit his post here to read about her short tragic life, and what makes this video so awesome!

My favorite moment is from 4:15 to 4:30 when she brings her arms down around her partner, all languid and graceful.  Arms are hard y'all.  I've been practicing secretly in front of my mirror and they look so stiff.  I think the hyperextension in my elbows doesn't help the line at all!  I know how to correct this biometric flaw in yoga, but I'll have to figure it out for ballet.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Red Velvet at Crunch

CC Image courtesy Punctuated on Flickr
I was going to write a Debbie Downer of a post about my second ballet class and how I am BAD at things.  But, I had this really entertaining class at Crunch Gym yesterday that gave me a more positive perspective, so I'll roll with that instead.

I'll give you all a short summary about how I am bad at things for your amusement.  I had my second ballet lesson this Tuesday, at a different studio, because I'm still trying to find that unicorn of an absolute ballet beginner class in New York.  This class went a little easier because the teacher actually explained each move thoroughly.  I didn't look like a complete ass at the barre.  A completely different story at centre of course.  We had to do piqué turns across the room three at a time. While OTHER PEOPLE WATCHED.  Apparently, I cannot turn and remember which foot is which.  It's like in college, there was this five sided building that I would try to cut through as a shortcut but I would get turned around and exit through the same door I came in through instead.  Every time I did a turn, I had to pause and think about which leg was the leading leg that I was supposed to move.  Also (whisper), I think I'm afraid of turning.  It's all about release in a way, and feeling slightly out of control.  I got the same feeling trying to do a turn as when I first started doing inversions in yoga.  Which would be a scared feeling.  It took me two years to start doing inversions regularly!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Weekend - Ballet Video

Photographer Ryan Enn Hughs used a bunch of cameras to capture dancers from Canada's National Ballet School in 360 degrees to put together this amazing short film.

BALLET 360 (The 360 Project) from Ryan Enn Hughes on Vimeo.

Happy weekend, everybody!  I'll be taking more ballet next week and blogging about it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pas de Deux: Yoga & Ballet

CC Image courtesy Shereen M on Flickr

The idea that yoga and ballet go together is not unique to this blog.  In fact, I've missed the did-it-before-it-was-cool curve because ballet yoga workouts, with programs like Yollet (clever name, right?), Figure 4 at Pure Yoga and the Yoga Booty Ballet Complete Work Out System (yes this is frealz), are everywhere you look.  I am sure there is a New York Times article to back me up on how this is the hottest thing ever, titled something punny like Yoga-Ballet is on Pointe or Meet You at the Barre.*  And yes, I will be subjecting myself to these bizarre experiments in exercise miscegenation in the near future to entertain you, my dear blog readers.

But really, how well do yoga and ballet go together?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Baby's first ballet class

So how did my first ballet class go?

Overall, from a scale of nicht sehr gut to sehr gut I would say it was medium gut!*

I was really nervous when I first got to the studio, and despite its high ceilings, large windows and charming New York decrepitude I was getting the urge to bolt. Everyone was chatting with each other, presumably about ballet, saying things like "I'm so sore from my auditions today!" and doing fancy warm-ups. And, as I mentioned previously, there was a girl in pointe shoes. Flipping heck! Keep in mind this was listed as a fundamentals class, so I was hoping for more newbies like me.

Why ballet?

First classes are always scary. They are particularly scary when it's a ballet class and you are an individual who has bad kinesthesia and an inability to tell left from right sometimes. That individual would be me.

So why would such an individual choose to take ballet? Well, for me, my interest in ballet had been piqued at a young age because of this book: Masquerade at the Ballet. It's a story that's like It Takes Two except with ponies and ballet! It's set in Northumberland! Which I thought was in Canada until I found out there is one in England too-- the book is set in the English one. It talks about Harrods and Covent Garden and realizing your dreams. And childhood crushes on men who are kind of sketchy. What more could a young girl want in a book? Did I mention the PONIES!?

Anyway, fast forward fifteen years or so to an adult me. Twenty-five year old me is in the midst of a stint of unemployment. I do yoga three to five times a week, and applied for yoga teacher training, but otherwise sleep a lot and watch television from the 90s. I had been thinking about adding another movement based activity to my repertoire for a while now, but wasn't sure what. Something circusy like tight-rope? Something martial arty like kick boxing? While I was debating the merits of acrofitness boot camp blast versus core fusion body sculpt, I reread Masquerade and suddenly I'm on the internet buying ballet slippers and researching adult ballet in New York.

I had my first class tonight and I love it. Stay tuned for my post tomorrow about the nitty gritty of being new in a ballet class that's supposed to be fundamentals but OMG there's a girl in pointe shoes over there. I also went to a restorative yoga class afterwards so I'll also be posting some thoughts about yoga and ballet. Let's just say my yoga teacher was yelling at me about things I was doing with my arms.

P.S. dear sister of mine, if you are reading this, I still believe you stole my original first edition with dust jacket Masquerade at the Ballet, and I will never forgive you because I now own another first edition but it doesn't have a dust jacket.