On July 10th we are bringing the salsa party to our Lefferts yoga studio. Take the 8 p.m. class with Roody to music and bust a move on the yoga dance floor afterwards! BYPS teacher Erin and her husband Rafael will be there to get the party started.
Rafael will be teaching the entire Beginner Class so please come even if you have no experience or a partner. Rafael owns a salsa dance school in his home town of Santiago de Cuba and he is very good at what he does…i.e. he’s totally used to teaching non-cubans how to dance! Read more of Erin’s story below about how she became a yoga teacher and met the love of her life on the dance floor.
What’s your yoga origin story?
I started practicing Bikram Yoga in Jan 1999 in San Francisco at Mary Jarvis’ Studio (which I randomly found in the yellow pages of the phone book.. when we still used phone books). I got into it as a way to stretch after long bike rides while I was training for the California AIDS Ride. I quickly started doing more yoga and less cycling. I expressed to Mary that I wanted to become a teacher. At the time I was working for a mental health clinic in SF and my goal was to incorporate yoga into the counseling and crisis work we were doing. She was very supportive. I went to training in December 2001 (thats where I met Roody). I taught for Mary for a year before moving to Brooklyn and teaching at various studios around NYC. I began teaching for Roody in May of 2003 and I’ve been with him since.
When I moved to New York, initially I was working as a social worker at a nursing facility for people with an AIDS, mental health and substance abuse issues. I also taught Yoga in this facility, while continuing to teach yoga at Roody’s studio. I went to nursing school 7 years ago and became an Oncology nurse. Now I teach various postures and breathing exercises to my patients while coaching them through the cancer treatment. Being a nurse also serves my yoga teaching. My knowledge of anatomy, physiology and disease process fuels my teaching and my drive to assist people in taking care of themselves…to practice preventative medicine.
Because I am in two caring professions, the yoga is vital to my own self-care. I HAVE to do it in order keep my body strong, my back healthy and my mind clear. It is impossible to care for others properly if we do not care for ourselves first. I would have burnt out long ago if not for my own practice.
When and why did you start dancing salsa?
I started dancing Salsa in 2013. I had been to Cuba once before and when I returned to Brooklyn I vowed to learn how to dance. I was fed up standing on the wall watching everyone else have fun. I started taking classes here in NYC and in 2013 I set up a “dance boot camp” trip for myself as a birthday gift. I met my husband on that trip at his salsa school in Santiago de Cuba.
What are the parallels between dance and yoga?
In yoga you have to focus on your self and build a better connection with your own body. In Salsa, you have to focus on your partner and build a connection with them. If you take your focus off your partner, the connection is broken and you can lose your step or balance. Same in yoga… if I break my focus in a balancing posture, I can break my connection and lose my balance. Salsa, like yoga, is a moving meditation that requires you to stay in the present moment. And of course, if you hold your breath in either activity, you will lose your endurance. I have to remind myself to breath while I am dancing just like in yoga.
Finally, both yoga and dance are challenging and it’s easy to get frustrated and give up in the beginning. We have to be patient as we stumble, trip, lose our balance or melt into a puddle on the floor, but step by step we learn, create a new muscle memory and then succeed.
There is no better feeling than accomplishing something we never thought we were capable of doing.
Drop in any Tuesday from 3 – 6 p.m. at our Lefferts studio to receive community style acupuncture from Maryam Mehrjui, LAc, RN of HeartBodyMind Acupuncture. This is acupuncture made affordable by treating patients simultaneously in a large and comfortable community room, such as our commons space in our Lefferts studio.
Maryam offers personalized acupuncture and herbal treatments as well and sees this work as part of a growing movement in affordable healthcare. She is committed to making holistic care as affordable and accessible as possible. These treatments are offered at a significantly reduced fee compared to the standard, private room acupuncture treatments. The rate is $25 for each visit.
As compassionate yogis, we take care of everybody else and many times we forget to take care of ourselves, there is not enough time, not enough energy at the end of the day… Even though we know that in order to take care of those around us we need to “put the oxygen mask first”
Do you ever wish there was a way to make Self Care easy? Well, there is!
In this interactive, personalized FREE workshop you will get clear on:
- Your specific emotional challenges that stand in your way for better Self Care
- Which remedies to use to remove what’s standing in your way
- How and when to use the remedies
- The connection between Self Care and Inner Child
- And more…
Self Care is a term that being thrown around a lot lately…Come hear a fresh approach to the topic and leave with insights and inspiration that you can start applying in your life right away!
Where: Bikram Yoga Park Slope, Lefferts (Entrance at 1120 Washington Avenue)
When: Sunday, June 14th at 2pm
This is a Free event!
About Bach Flower Remedies:
- The Bach Flower Remedies® are a safe and natural method of healing. They gently and safely restore the balance between mind and body by transforming negative emotions and attitudes to positive ones.
- The Bach Flower Remedies® allow peace and happiness to return and stimulate the body’s own capacity to heal itself.
- There are 38 remedies, each one for a different type of personality, situation or emotional state.
- They are 100% safe for the whole family including babies, children, pets and even plants, and for every stage in life including pregnancy and breastfeeding.
“In my work with clients my goal is to facilitate conscious exploration to remove any blocks from living life full of love, joy and peace. My extensive training in Holistic Healing as well as my own spiritual path makes me uniquely qualified to guide clients from all walks of life to higher consciousness.”
BYPS teacher Peter Finlon shares about his practice and why he keeps coming back for more.
I started practicing on New Years Day in 2009, which makes 6.5 years of practice. I was (poorly) recovering from a surgery and unable to go to the gym, and a coworker recommended that I try Bikram. I was frustrated and desperate at that point, bought one month unlimited, and honestly had very low expectations for myself. I was surprised to notice a dramatic change in my mobility, stamina, ability to sleep, and mood. I ended up going nearly every day that month, and started a 30 day challange immediately thereafter. In fall 2010, I completed teacher training.
The biggest changes occured in the muscular adhesions that resulted from improper wound healing, and the emotional issues connected to the places in which I was physically stuck. I started out barely able to lift my arms over my head for half moon and completely incapable of keeping them straight! Illness, injury, and immobility can have an immense psychological impact, and I know that first hand. My body felt broken and alien. Doing something athletic to address and and even reverse physical limitations in a fun and supportive environment made me feel strong again. This experience lead me to become a massage therapist, a teacher, and recently, to finish my degree and pursue a career in public health.
I keep coming back because my body is in constant flux and the practice helps keep me aware of that. Especially living in New York, it is easy to be overwhelmed with outside stimuli and that can take focus away from what is going on physically, mentally, emotionally with myself. Bikram yoga guarantees that for 90 minutes, I have no escape, no “out”, no distractions, no choice but to tune in.
My advice to new yogis ties into the above. Don’t be afraid to tune in! It is normal to try to create special personal rituals and distractions to avoid being with yourself and the practice for 90 minutes. We all try to escape at some point. Go to that scary place in which you don’t have that extra sweat-wiper towel, the cell phone, that different version of triangle that makes you feel stronger and more capable, or that mental to-do list in savasana that keeps your mind busy. If we get rid of these road blocks and directly face whatever is scaring us in the room, we’re building useful neural pathways that will allow us to do the same when faced with fears and challenges outside of the hot room.