WordPress Sister Blog: Welcome + Intention-Setting

WordPress Sister Blog: Welcome + Intention-Setting

Eeeep!!! So excited and grateful to Laughing Lotus Yoga NY for winning#7daysofshakti Handstands and Hugs. 
My prize: #LotusSuperFly with Sheri Celentano Saturday, June 14. And THANK YOU, Julia Drachman, for being the best yoga photographer ever!!! Lotus Summit, here I come…but first Chicago, Rome, Florence, and Venice…cause I like to FLY in both handstands and on planes 
 (in fact, I am on one now)!

Maya Angelou


photograph from mayaangelou.com

This week, Maya Angelou passed, but only in the most literal sense of dying. When someone creates such a lasting, pervasive legacy, they die less as their work lives on more.

Today, I took a class at my beloved Laughing Lotus with a fantastic teacher of mine, Ali Cramer. One of the aspects of Laughing Lotus that I began to incorporate into my own classes this year has been their use of poetry, of reading poems during dharma talks, while students lie in savasana, and before OM is chanted at the end. Today, Ali read us two Maya Angelou poems and though she did not read it, I was reminded of my favorite.

Phenomenal Woman


Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, Inc.

I read this poem first in a time of serious need. I would never and absolutely have never labeled yoga as a cure-all for any kind of social, psychological, or physical ailment. However, if someone forced me to pinpoint the moment I started loving my body, I would have to say that it was during a yoga class. I do not know which yoga class, but I know that the asana practice enabled me to love my body in all its “phenomenal woman[ness]” because it taught me to love what it could do while it moved…the shapes I could transform into. Eventually, the more subtle aspects of the yoga practice, of sadhana, enabled me to love my body in both stillness and in movement, while I practiced on and off the mat. It made me feel more attractive and, as I felt more attractive, I became more attractive, as Maya Angelou wrote.

Today, in Ali’s class, I gracefully moved into pigeon pose. I “reached my arms” out and appreciated the “span of my hips.” Now, in reflection, I think of what that means, what confidence means, and how much Maya Angelou, a phenomenal woman, has taught me to embody it.

Thank you, Maya, for teaching girls to love their bodies with your words.

Om Shanti Om. Rest in peace.

A textual conversation between me and my yogi partner-in-crime. Yes, that really happened.

Welcome + Intention-Setting


Hi world!

Yes, I understand that most blog templates pre-make your first sample post to begin with Hi world! but I, Shira, actually and truly mean it. I am saying hi to the world because this blog will document how I interact with it. All of it. In this week alone, I moved home to New York City from Connecticut. Tomorrow I fly out to Chicago on a whim. And on Sunday I leave to Rome, Florence, and Venice. So yes, I actually mean Hi world! and world, please say hi back.

On another note, welcome, welcome to this blog, a space for growing up nourished by an oft-confusing yoga-filled path. On Sunday, I graduated from college. Click on the link to find out more about that bittersweet experience; what is important for all readers of this blog to know is that throughout college, I blogged on the Tumblr Story of a College Yogi. That story ended four days ago, but this story – a story of growing up without the comforts of a campus is just beginning. Let’s grow up yogi together.

Here are my intentions for this new blog (and what you can expect):

  • I intend to write personal reflections (in yoga we call this svadhyaya, self-study) posts that document just how I am growing up as a college yogi.
  • I intend to provide a yogi’s guide to various cities, which chronicle yoga studios I attend classes I take, cafes I frequent, and various other elements of urban life that are important to a yogi’s day-to-day!
  • I intend to publish opinion pieces so that this blog can be a space where I and others may reflect on the current “yoga world” and how it can interact with the greater World.
  • I intend to publish guest posts and cross-blog posts that I write for other blogs and forums as well.
  • I intend to post playlists for the classes I teach, dharma talks, and general resources.
  • I intend to write about and chronicle the teacher trainings and workshops I take so that in some way, you all can take them as well via my take-aways.
  • I intend to post about organizations that do amazing work off the mat and embody the true essence of Yoga.

There is more to come, but for now, welcome and I am thrilled to explore this new forum!


Image via JewishYogaNetwork.org