About Yoga U: DIY Home Yoga Practice E-Course

The following post is part of a countdown series leading up to the release of my first e-course (!!!), which comes out on Friday, July 15th. You can pre-register here with a special discount rate using the code LIVELEARNER for taking the course LIVE. This excerpt comes straight out of the syllabus!

Ultimately, a home yoga practice is about your ability to personalize something general in a way that works for you. When I start off the in-person yoga classes I teach at Harlem Yoga Studio, I begin by saying, “Everything I teach is a suggestion.” You know your body, heart, + intention best. Use that knowledge to make this course work for you.

Speaking of the framework, this course is designed in a specific way so that you can take it at your own pace if you’d like, but, if you’re anything like me and thrive on structure, you can also move through it in a manageable week-by-week way. Here is what you can expect:

  • Two lessons per week (except for Week Three, where there will be 3 lessons that all go together) that include a variety of video, audio, written, and visual content. You should be able to complete each lesson (minus the hOMework) in one sitting during the span of 30 minutes or less. For example, you might choose to complete one lesson on a Tuesday and another on a Thursday. Or, if you plan to use weekends to take this course, you might want to do one lesson on Saturday and another on Sunday.
  • Look for the hOMework at the end of each lesson for you to complete in between lessons. The hOMework will often pair a prompt for a yoga practice that you will actually do on the mat with a reflection worksheet or journaling prompt.

What are you waiting for? Register for the e-course here. The discount code for registering by July 15th is LIVELEARNER.

Top 5 Tips for Taking Your Practice Off the Mat

The following post is part of a countdown series leading up to the release of my first e-course (!!!), which comes out on Friday, July 15th. You can pre-register here with a special discount rate using the code LIVELEARNER for taking the course LIVE. These 5 tips come from the final lesson: Off the Mat.

  1. Meditate. Allow the physical practice to fulfill its initial intention: to prepare for a seated meditation. Choose whatever format you’d like. Sit down. Set a timer for 5 minutes to start out with. Close your eyes and let the fluctuations of the mind pass.
  2. One of the best motivators for a yoga practice is to involve other people in it. A practice is often fueled by specific forms of service to others. Try volunteering for a yoga service organization such as Off the Mat, Bent on Learning, Lineage Project, SONIMA Foundation (there are so many!).
  3. Breathe. Practice taking deep breaths throughout the day. Set a reminder on your phone if you need to at the points of the day when you’d need it the most!
  4. Talk about your practice with your friends. Don’t proselytize it; simply tell them that you’re doing it. You never know when the ripple effect will take place.
  5. Intention. Let your intention fuel all that you do, off the mat as well. Practice recalling it throughout your day and check in rigorously throughout the day to see what tweaks you’d need to make to fuel it better.

Register for the e-course here. The discount code for registering by July 15th is LIVELEARNER.

Aspen Ideas Festival: Highlights

Hello from the Aspen airport, an adorable set of cozy cabins that apparently facilitate flights. As I mentioned in my last post about ideas on a macro scale, I’ve spent the past four days immersed in quite literally a land of ideas: the Aspen Institute Ideas Festival. The festival, which took place on this breathtakingly gorgeous campus, hosted both national and international leaders, artists, activists, academics, and more, to give talks on the ideas that make them tick.

Upon walking into the registration tent on Wednesday, I went straight to the Scholars booth…because a huge part of this festival, for me, was having the privilege to be amongst a cohort of awesome people who came from a wide variety of fields to experience the magic of Aspen courtesy of donors and the Institute itself. At the Scholars booth, I thankfully received a large tote bag that I used to carry my laptop and notebooks during the duration of my time. When everything is so inspiring all at once, it is so important to be prepared to integrate that inspiration into one’s own work…or so I’ve learned. I filled my notebook with notes from these phenomenal talks. Below are the highlights, as well as the titles of my favorite events. Enjoy!

Afternoon of Conversation: Bryan Stevenson, Equal Justice Initiative

The festival started off with a BANG. Bryan Stevenson is my new activism idol. Here are some of his genius beliefs.

  • We need to get proximate. If we stay far from the problem, we lose the nuances.
  • In proximity, there is power. We have to change the narratives underneath the politics.
  • We’ve allowed narratives in this country that say some children aren’t children.
  • As educators, we need to start talking about how we got where we are.
    1. Get proximate.
    2. Change the narrative.
    3. Stay hopeful.
    4. Choose to do the uncomfortable.
  • It take courage to be hopeful in a complex world.
  • Each of us is more than the worst thing we are.
  • The opposite of poverty isn’t wealth, it’s justice.

Academic Freedom, Safe Spaces, Dissent + Dignity 

I feel like I had just the right amount of distance from my undergraduate experience to truly listen to a diverse variety of panels on academic freedom on leading college campuses across the country (including my own alma mater). The conversation made me a) reflect a lot on the university I graduated from, which I love so freaking much, but also realize has many problems, and b) realize that one day I might actually love to work in higher education, to help students channel free speech on campus into activism off campus. Here are some excellent points that were brought up.

  • Academic freedom is a central tenet to the university yet it is often one we take for granted.
  • A core responsibility of universities is to prepare our students to be in the real world.
  • The problem of academic freedom goes beyond the First Amendment because the First Amendment covers public, but not private, universities.
  • College free speech is a microcosm of a larger national challenge.
  • Schools can’t be afraid of their students.
  • We need to come together, learn from one another, and question. The status quo should always be, “Be challenged.”

Job as Vocation: David Brooks + Arthur Brooks

Though not related, these two leading intellectuals share a last name and a purpose: to view work as a fueling force for a life well-lived. Here are some of their thoughts on job as vocation…

  • Always have something you’re writing (I’ve been feeling this one big time lately).
  • Serve ideals in your work that push the conversation away from the political and more toward the moral and personal.
  • Every day we are working to serve others.
  • Ask these questions:
    1. Who can I serve?
    2. What am I pouring my love into?
    3. Am I all in?
  • Pick the four best moments in your life. Do they have anything in common?
  • In your 20s and 30s, you should be exploring your new ideas (flashes of insight). Widen your horizon of risk in your 20s.
  • Shift ground continually.
  • What are you doing in your job when you’re the happiest? What are your circumstances asking you to do?
  • The happiest people feel like they’re needed. We need a society of people that put moral worth on who’s necessary.
  • A portfolio of life is comprised of:
    1. Faith
    2. Family
    3. Community
    4. Work

These are the talks and panels that dealt with the most universal themes of what it means to “grow up on OM.” I also went to some other really cool panels on podcasts (like the Slate Political Gabfest Live – !!! – and “Understanding the Podcast Explosion”) which were phenomenal. After all the ideas, though, I made sure the fuel up with a yoga hOMe practice, and a total treat of a class at Aspen Shakti Shala…ya gotta nourish the body too! 

Yoga Joy in July


photo taken by the lovely A last year in Portland, OR with a book that inspired much

Tell me, O quickly! dream of aliveness, the flaming source of your bright breath. ~ Langston Hughes

Happy July, everyone! I hope this new month is off to a lovely start for all of you, wherever in the world you are when you read this. I am writing you from the gorgeous Aspen, Colorado, where I am soaking up the annual and oh-so-inspiring Aspen Ideas Festival. Today is the third day of the festival, and more and more, I am reminded of the transformative power of ideas, and all they are capable of when put into action.

I think I am beginning to realize that ideas, when they aren’t put into practice and shared with the world, are dreams. Dreams are wonderful because ideas can be challenging to carry out, especially when we have many of them. Yet, there is something potent in what separates the ideas that make it up to the stage at this festival, such as Bryan Stevenson’s idea that children have a right to be children, regardless of crimes committed, or the ideas that Emily Bazelon espouses in the Slate Political Gabfest. These are dreams that people have transported into reality.

Speaking of, I would love to use this blog post to put some of my ideas into action. I am thrilled to share that I have spent many, many hours working on an online course for creating a yoga practice (a massive extension of the workshop you received emails about just a week ago, and one you can do anywhere).

But, before we launch into the e-course fabulousness (this email is chock-full of details!), expect some local yoga happenings this month in NYC! I’m teaching a Community Yoga class at Harlem Yoga Studio (i.e. donation-based! no excuses!) this Sunday, July 3rd, from 3:30-4:30pm. Because I’m having a summer full of travel, I will be mainly subbing so stay tuned on my website, as well as on social media, for additional sub dates as they come up!

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If you take the course LIVE with me starting on July 15th (and you can sign up anytime until then), you will receive a full 20% OFF with the code LIVELEARNER.
Yoga U Summer School is my online course that’s been in the making for years! Through taking this course, you will learn a plethora of strategies for starting + sustaining hOMe yoga practices that will blow your minds + keep you coming back to your mats!

Over four weeks, you’ll enjoy: 

  • a detailed syllabus that will lay out exactly how to create your hOMe practice in a manageable, step-by-step fashion
  • 9 detailed + fully developed lessons in total, which you can do at your own pace (unless you love structure like me and want to do it syllabus-style)
  • plenty of video content to bring the practice to life
  • a ton of encouragement, resources, essays, hOMework, visual cues + diagrams to make your yoga practice the best that it can be
  • unlimited email contact with me + a private Facebook group so that you can get answers to all your questions!

Curriculum Preview

    • About Me + Your Syllabus, Top 5 Tips, Journaling Prompts
    • Checklists for both what you need + what you might want, a tour of my own yoga room, creating a mood, + how to make a yoga playlist that fits your practice perfectly
    • Finding Your Sun Salutation, videos + PDFs of practice structures, hip opening + hip closing, peak poses
    • Using props effectively, meditation, service, intentions

Remember, if you sign up before July 15th, the price of this course will decrease dramatically…and the content will never go away! You’ll have full access to the wide variety of lessons + home practices to do at your own pace, whenever you want!

I hope to see you on the mat or online soon!