Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In Service

"Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real." Iris Murdoch

Whenever we step on the mat, we have the choice to move through the practice with force and aggression or breath and intention. The former will give us a temporary workout. The latter will give the world an everlasting capacity for greater love.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Urban Blah Meets Yoga and Terroir

I'd like to introduce a new creative duo, working to lighten the world up and make it a funnier place. They call themselves Urban Blah. Urban Blah is made up of Dan Tobin - writer, baseball blogger, and the funniest guy alive, and - Lovisa Loiselle - graphic artist, illustrator, and all-around sweet spirited Canadian.

They call Urban Blah, the "webcomic for the painfully self-aware." I just call it awesome.

DogaYoga had the privilege of showcasing the UB wares at the last Going Back to the Source: Yoga and Terroir Retreat in Normandy, France. The one panel comic played a very important role: it guided people to their rooms in the aforementioned 400 year-old-former-wheat-grinding mill-turned-gite, which I may add, is also haunted.

Visit Urban Blah on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday every week for a new reminder for why we should all lighten up, have more silly moments in life, and wear mosquito repellent when doing Trikonasana in the French countryside in the springtime.

Returning to the Bay!

I am giddy to announce that I will be returning to San Francisco and Satori to teach a workshop the first weekend in October! More details coming soon...

Looking forward to coming home.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Les Stereotypes

Stereotypes. We all utter and reinforce them.
We can't help it. It's part of the human condition.
I don't think there's a place on earth with more ingrained stereotypes on its behalf than France. And, as Greg and I have been known to say when responding to a broad general statement about the Land of the Gauls, "If by France, you mean Paris, then you're probably right." But even that logic gets challenged on a daily basis.

For example, before I left the US to teach yoga in France, I had several people offer up a few broad statements about what they had heard the yoga culture was like in France/Paris. I'd like to address and perhaps even debunk a few of these :

1) "Most Parisians can't finish a yoga class without taking a smoke break."

Well, this is kind of like saying most French people eat a plate of fois gras and drink a bottle of wine everyday. It's just absolutely not true. Never once in the months I've been practicing in or teaching public or private classes, has anyone ever left class in the middle to take a smoke break. (After class perhaps, but not during.) I'm not saying it's inconceivable or will never happen, but it's far from the norm.

In fact, since the state mandated smoking ban went into effect, there are fewer people smoking at all.

2) "French people don't like being touched, so you won't be able to do many physical adjustments or massages during a class."

In my experience - FALSE!
While it's true that I have to back off of my tendency toward greeting people with big California bear hugs rather than the barely-touching-two-cheek-air-kiss, which is indeed the norm here, Parisian yogis appreciate a skilled, gentle, respectful touch just as much as anyone else. Anyone in a yoga pose wants to struggle less, not more, and find the maximum benefits of the pose. This is achieved with steady breath and proper alignment and sometimes just a slight physical adjustment will help. I always let students know ahead of time that my teaching incorporates hands on adjustments and massages and if they're not comfortable with that, they can let me know. I haven't yet received an energetic or verbal, "Ne touche pas, s'il vous plait."

Sacrum and svasana massages are crowd pleasers for sure, just as they are the world over.

Of course, conversely the French have many stereotypes about the American yoga community.
So, just as American yogis don't necessarily appreciate all being lumped in the category of "hippie", the French also get a little tired of the ridiculous cliches.

With open minds and open hearts, let's allow each other to grow and evolve.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Guru Purnima Blessings

As Chetana reminded me, on this year July 7 is Guru Purnima. The day to take pause and honor the teachers who have inspired our practice by helping us move out of the darkness of our own ignorance and illusion and onto a path of self-realization; reintroducing us to our true selves.

In Hindu tradition, Guru Purnima is always observed on the first full moon in July.

I'm a day late, but I'd like to honor all of the wonderful teachers who have been my guides. Your dedication to the practice is humbling. I will be forever in service to you by passing on the lineage, and practicing and teaching with a pure heart.

With gratitude ~
Guru Govind donu khade, kisko laagu paay,
Balihari Gurudevaki jinhe Govind diyo bataay.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Going Back to the Source

What do you get when you combine the bucolic Norman countryside; a haunted 400 yr old wheat grinding mill turned gite; perfect spring weather; local, seasonal, and exquisitely prepared cuisine; an activist sheep farmer; gluten-free bread bakers; biodynamic grape growers; the last independent producer of Camembert cheese; passionate cidre and Calvados makers; the flow on the mat in synch with the flow of the Mayenne River; the anniversary of the Allied Landing; silent yoga on the beach; Obama's podium; the Peace Memorial; daily Yama and Niyama study; a Burning Karma bonfire; mesmerizing sunsets; hundreds of years and layers of complicated history; 14 American yogis and a gaggle of cute farm animals?

Perfection. Bliss. Love.

Going Back to the Source:
Yoga and Terroir Normandy/Spring 09

Chantrigne, Mayenne

Why DogaYoga?

Quite simply, when your first guruji is furry and four-legged, no other name will do.

Meet my teacher, my inspiration, and the love of my life:
Oyenti, aka Ti, aka the Aztec Warrior Princess

Born in rural Mexico, lived the beachside and urban life in CA, retiring in France.

Om Namah Shivaya

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer Yoga Classes in Paris

This summer, come visit me at Centre du Yoga Marais in the 3eme in Paris.
(I'm new to the studio, so my bio and schedule are not posted on the main website yet, but they are on the blog.)

It's a sweet studio right next to the Conservatoire des Art et Metiers and the Musee des Art et Metiers. On Saturday, sleep late, stroll into class at 12:30 pm and bliss out with a Level I Hatha Flow. On Wednesday at 7:30 pm, before aperitif/dinner/wine at one of the bazillion cafes in the neighborhood, join me for a dynamic and detoxifying Level I/II Hatha Flow.

In a clean and supportive environment, you'll find what you need to shake off the urban distractions and experience a moment (or several) of serenity.

If you're looking for some one-on-one instruction, I teach individual private sessions, as well as, group private sessions at the same studio. Just email and we'll set up a time: amanda@dogayoga.net

Centre du Yoga Marais
72 rue Vertbois
Metro(s): Art et Metiers, Temple, Republique

Le Petit Ganesha

A few years back my guruji, dear friend, and yoga student, Chetana, gave me a beautiful little wooden Ganesha from India. She was slightly appalled when the traveling altar that I had on display for the first Going Back to the Source: Yoga and Terroir camping retreat, had a tiny, white, pink polka-dotted elephant from the Land of Misfit Toys collection, that was being used as a place keeper until I got a real Ganesh. She just couldn't let this go on.

Since then this gift has traveled with me from studio to studio, class to class, retreat to retreat, and now to France, where I never leave home without it.

Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, I bow to you everyday.
Om gam ganapataye namaha!

American Yoga Teacher in Paris

I'm a recent transplant from San Francisco, living and working in Paris and Basse Normandie.

This blog chronicles the beautiful and the quirky moments as this American yoga teacher finds, losses, and finds again her flow in this fabled place where the word "yoga" often elicits curious and skeptical looks - and sometimes even a smile.