Thursday, January 19, 2012
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the
thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in
some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all
HAPPY HOLIDAYS. May your days be filled with friends, family, joy, light, laughter and LOVE.
Monday, December 5, 2011
I just got back from about 24 hours in LA. I "had to" go down for work (I actually did, Spin :: Flow is going to have a small retail component so I had to go meet with some wholesalers). But of course the trip was scheduled in such a way that I could also make it a Yoga safari. I had plans to hit Sarah Ivanhoe's class at Yoga Works on Sunday evening and Steve Ross' class at Maha today, but as we all know, the best laid plans . . . . travel complications had me running late, so I had to give up on Sarah's class and I opted for a studio closer to my Hotel in Beverly Hills.
After a quick web search, I found Earth's Power Yoga which offered a 6 pm heated power class. The teacher was lovely: her body knowledge was amazing, she talked a lot about where one should be internally vs. externally rotating, which specific muscles and connections she was working, she got as specific as to detailing the direction one's pubic bone should be facing . . . huh? She was delightful, the class was detailed and specific, her sequencing interesting, challenging and logical: I certainly felt better after class than before. The stagnant energy of travel was washed away. It was by all means a successful class, but it was NOTHING special.
Contrast that today. Today I had the unbelievable pleasure of practicing with Steve Ross. Steve is a very well known teacher. He came to Yoga from the music industry and is often given credit with bringing modern music into the Yoga studio. It's a genius marriage as music is pure energy and it transmutes pure energy while asana (the limb of Yoga most of us are practicing in the studio) is all about moving energy, waking up Prana, releasing stagnant energy etc…. Steve was a pioneer in understanding how high energy music coupled with Asana helped people elevate their own energy.
This morning I arrived at Maha Yoga in Brentwood for Steve's 11:00 a.m. class. I walk in and I instantly feel the buzz, the energy in the reception area is joyful and light. As we moved into the studio the hum and buzz intesified, and there's Steve, rocking my FAVORITE Steve Marley song ever (I play it in class all the time) "Hey Baby." He's just got this huge smile on his face and his eyes are full of light. He "had me at hello." Then, of course, because it's LA, I look over to my right, and there's Def Jam Records founder, Russell Simmons (the room was set up so I looked right at him). Class starts with Steve Marley, moves into Snoop Dog, includes some Rihanna . . . you get the drift, he's not playing wind chimes and chants. The place is bumping. And you know what? The whole room—all ages, all bodies, all ability levels—is moving and grooving with huge smiles on their faces. Steve barely talked about alignment, actually barely is an exaggeration, he didn't talk about alignment (though I'm quite sure he knows his stuff). The sequencing was super simple, the poses weren't fancy,. . . but it was one of the BEST classes I have ever been to. Really, EVER, and I've been to a lot of really great classes. But I have rarely felt energy like that. I have rarely seen a group of people come so fully alive in a Yoga class. And it's not something you just see with the expressive joy on people's faces, it's something you feel energetically.
Steve's class did exactly what all Yoga teachers should be trying to do: he elevated everyone's energy, he made people feel their own "aliveness", he made them feel buoyant and he brought a lot of joy. Steve totally gets it: he doesn't want his students to sit in class judging their poses, over-thinking alignment, striving for improvement/perfection and in so doing using their Yoga to intensify their type A achievement bound personalities (happens in Yoga all of the time). He wants them to come in to their bodies, let go, feel a little bit more free, a little bit more joyful, a little bit more alive . . . .and you know what? He does it with genius.
So this takes me to the title of this blog post, "The Intangible Factor." The class I went to on Sunday night was every bit as good as Steve's class. From an academic perspective, it was maybe even a little better, but it didn't create any kind of a draw for me, it was energetically neutral to flat. On the other hand Steve has "it." The "intangible." He has the quality to instantly connect with people. His face is open and warm, he's eyes are full of light, he's VERY funny and cracks a lot of jokes in class—he even stuck his finger in my ear to try to knock me off balance. He's a serious Yogi, anything you read about him makes it clear, this is a man who takes his spiritual practices seriously (he's a former monk), so here's this super elevated guy and he's telling bawdy jokes in class and playing Ludacris' "Sugar (Gimme Some)" (when that song came on it simply confirmed that he was "my people"). He is approachable and light. He probably doesn't drink, but if he did, I would definitely want to go have a beer with him.
At one point in class, I had this thought, "I just feel so like me here." I felt my own energy being validated, so I felt myself enjoying the experience of being in my own skin, of being me . . . so maybe that's the "it," the "intangible," the "swagger factor:" he creates the space in which people come home to themselves and realize it's pretty great to think, "I feel like me." The "it" factor can't be created or faked, it's the outward expression of a guy who's totally in his flow, living his Dharma, and helping others to elevate their own vibration. The class literally made me happy all day: I was driving home from Sea Tac tonight, and I put "Sugar (Gimme Some)" on in the car to just to keep smiling and carrying the energy of the class (it worked).
So while the Yoga was uncomplicated and simple, the class was HARD: he had us in standing poses for so long that my entire body was shaking, when I lifted back to down dog the sweat was flying off of my face like spray paint (and it was from my effort, the room was not that hot), but I was having the BEST time. Class was long, 1:45, and I NEVER wanted it to end. I could have stayed all day. I was so in the flow . . . and I swear I'm not making this up, I made eye contact with and received a giant smile from Russell like 10 times, he knew I was feelin' it, because you can't hide that kind of flow.
If you want to read more about Steve http://mahayoga.com/.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
We all know how transformative Yoga can be when we let go of ego based striving and "embrace the flow." I wanted to share this email I got from a student yesterday, her email subject line was "Gratitude," My ego doesn't need serving, I know I'm in my flow and love to teach, but it awesome to see students be transformed by opening themselves to the process. Nothing brings me more joy or gratitude to me as a teacher than to be witness to this kind of flow.
"Dear Jaime, Just want to tell you how thankful I am to have you as a teacher- you have really rocked my world in such a positive way and I am so thankful! I've had many teachers since my first Bikram class back in 1998, but you bring everything I've ever craved/needed/didn't know I needed together into this crazy harmony that just works for me. I joined your studio almost a year ago (my first class was last year on my bday- what a gift!) and I can't tell you how thankful I am for it! Your classes, blog, music choices (as a Dead Head, I love that you play the Dead in class), the knowledge you share- First Greens, biokleen, yoga nidra, reading the Bhagavad Gita, transferring yoga into life (I swear I'm able to breathe through running, difficult situations, LIFE better now) has all helped me be in a better place today than I was a year ago. It's funny, I started writing down mantras to put up as reminders of how to get through the breakup I was going though this time last year and I remember asking Tara to remind me of one she said in a class back in January or February- Letting go of that which does not serve you- Letting go of the idea that the past could have been different, and then I incorporated that into you saying that we do yoga to learn how to breathe through the difficult situations in life, right and then you've been saying that we need to cultivate openness by clearing out the monkey chatter so that we can be open to the transformation we need, to stop the negative thought patterns- holy sh*t, this has been so helpful. Your classes have been the best gift I could have asked for! I've been super nervous about this time of year- it just brings up a lot of pain around the breakup, but I am so thankful for all you have taught me and helped me realize that I feel so prepared to get through my bday and the holidays and just breathe and enjoy. Svaha!So, thank you Jaime for being who you are and for sharing so much!"
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
So many of my posts have talked about living one's dharma, entering the state of flow, and being happy—probably because I'm aware of how lucky one is to actually move in that direction. So it's totally worth pausing, posting a little blurb, taking note of and being grateful for flowing. I sincerely believe that when we step into our lives and our dharma, the universe responds. So it's with great joy, gratitude and awareness that I'm not doing this alone that I get to announce the creation/manifestation of Spin :: Flow. MFY will be expanding its reach and offerings with a new fusion spinning and Yoga studio. MFY has leased 3000 SF of beautiful space on the corner of 12th and Cherry (right by Seattle U) and the new spin/flow fusion studio will open its doors on approximately Feb 1, 2012.
Spin :: Flow is the manifestation of at least 1.5 years' worth of creative energy. As most of you know, I came to Yoga as an athlete. I spent my childless summer's reaping around the mountains, climbing, and mountain biking and being somewhat "intense" about it all: a happy Wednesday in July involved a quick stomp up to Camp Muir. With children, life obviously had to change: my husband spent more than one night anxiously awaiting my return home from an adventure, and that kind of life simply didn't serve a family. For a while I wallowed around, fully aware of—and a little bit resentful of—my "sacrifice. " Then I found Yoga. All of a sudden all that fire, all that drive could be realized in just 60-90 minutes just miles from home. I was home! I dove in and for a long time all I had time for, outside of my family, was Yoga, learning to teach Yoga, studying Yoga, teaching Yoga and opening a studio . . . . Yoga, yoga, yoga. I was happy and having a lot of fun, I could do the full splits for the first time since I was 9, I could lead a room full of people in a Pranic dance with life, I quickly received a lot of local notoriety and I could stand on my hands . . . FUN. But about 2 years ago I started getting hurt . . . A LOT. I met my new and amazing healing friends: my massage therapist (really the best ever email@example.com), my chiro (also amazing Dr. Sasaki at Functional Health on Madison), and my physical therapist and I learned/worked to recreate stability in my body. I had become so hyper flexible, that I was no longer serving myself; my joints started slipping around and I become very prone to injury. I learned this: there's no point in fluidity and flexibility without stability. In fact, I believe stability must be built in advance of flexibility, or the flexibility can't be supported.
I also believe Yoga can be the PERFECT physical exercise, when taught and practiced properly and balanced: I haven't found a better endeavor for maintaining/accessing a full range of motion in our bodies while simultaneously building strength. I also believe that Yoga can and should be augmented with additional stability creating work, i.e. spinning, running, weight lifting. Spinning and running actually create tightness in the quads and hammies as well as around the hip, knee and ankle joints, this tightness can promote strength and stability, it's tightness that can actually serve us if we then build the flexibility. So with all my injury, I bought a spinning bike for my basement and started running again, while Yoga is still my primary physical endeavor, I balance it out with quite a bit of spinning and running to promote stability and create strength where I over-stretched .
Another amazing thing happened when I went back to running and spinning after years of just Yoga: I took my Yoga with me! I noticed that the breath, body awareness and mental presence to physical effort infused EVERYGHING I did. Running and spinning transformed into a meditation of mental and physical release into presence. I no longer rode my spinning bike watching the TV or the clock, I rode with eyes closed, breath flowing and heart pumping awareness. Same with running, my stride became effortless, I found my flow, and I could go forever . . . I realized that I wanted to bring this experience and this balance into the studio. I wanted to create stability based classes that were taught Yogically—classes in which the teachers promoted awareness and presence rather than competitiveness or striving. I am not a renegade: YAS Yoga in L.A, Soul Cycle in NY and Y Yoga in Vancouver have all beat me to it, but I realized their effectiveness and wanted to bring what they had to offer to Seattle. I visited many of these studios, planted the seed of intention to create it in Seattle, and here we are! Coming in early 2012, a dedicated spin studio with 30 state of the art, brand new Keiser spinning bikes and a 900 SF beaituful studio for flow will provide exactly this vision.
So this is a long story that explains the manifestation of Spin :: Flow. There's another long story about flow and serendipity that allowed this creative idea to actually manifest, I'll save it for another blog. For all of you Madrona efficionados, don't worry. MFY Madrona will stay open. The schedule will alter and the Yoga will be differentiated, but you'll still be able to walk to your classes there ;). Your packages will be good at both studios, but those are all details that will follow. For now, just get ready to spin and to flow.
I also want to give a big shout out to Thomas McCarthy, Jessica Robinson and Don O'Neil. The schedule is being created and some of Seattle's best spinning instructors are on board to compliment the already amazing crew of Yoga teachers MFY provides and another shout out to Tess Tabor, a current MFY teacher, who's leaving years in business and PR to be our new studio manager.