Monthly Archives: April 2014

FOCUS OF THE MONTH- LOVE AND COMPASSION

 

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Another great focus of the month is  LOVE AND COMPASSION. In a city like New York City, plenty of the faces I see on a daily basis are very hardened, angry, tired, frustrated, and just-so-sick-of-sharing-space-with-anyone. I was on the Metro North yesterday talking on the phone to one of my student’s moms. She was expressing such joy and excitement for her daughter’s lovely voice and talent. I was equally as enthusiastic. My face was in a big broad smile and my tone was light and happy, and it was met with very, very angry responses. The woman seated across from me on the train was glaring at me and began to cross and uncross her legs in frustration at my voice and happiness. The man next to me began to pinch the sides of his head and take huge deep breaths, because he needed it quiet. We all want different things at different times, but in order to exist harmoniously we must accept one another’s needs and adjust accordingly. I lowered my voice and kept my conversation to myself. I could have made the choice to be louder, spread the joy more exuberantly, but I knew that would be the opposite of compassion. I ended the call quickly and sent loving messages silently to these two very seemingly grumpy people. And it is okay that they are grumpy, they probably have every right to be grumpy, but I wish that they become free and happy! Love and compassion is not trying to change people, but letting them be, listening to them completely, and without any judgement. It is easy to try to win and one up and to prove ourselves in this town, but it is important to go back to the basics of eye contact, smiles, and good conversations. Practice love and compassion with yourself and those around you. You can practice through yoga, through song, and by asking your children, students, and yourselves these questions:

 

 

 

Question 1: What is your definition of  love and compassion?

 

My Answer: Listening with your heart.

 

 

Question 2: What makes you feel love and compassion?

 

My answer: Teaching Yoga and Voice and Acting and spending time with family and friends

 

Poses for a loving and compassionate yoga practice:  Restorative Poses: Pigeon, Happy Baby, Child’s Pose

 

Songs for a loving and compassionate singing lesson:  Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Smile, Life is like a Bowl of Cherries

 

Now find a person who embodies a life of  love and compassion… Ask them these questions, do some yoga poses with them, and sing some songs!

 

Post your definition of love and compassion and post your answers below xoxoxo Margo

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FOCUS OF THE MONTH- CREATIVITY

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Another great focus of the month is  CREATIVITY. Creativity is defined as , “The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.” Creativity can turn words on a page into magic, it can turn music into a whole new world, it can turn the yoga mat into a place of exploration and wonder. If you don’t use your imagination, things become quite dull and sometimes scary, it is possible to practice making things more interesting. Use your time on the yoga mat to tell a story.

When I am teaching my youngest students, we become an array of animals, we visit forests and beaches and explore a range of emotions, all within less than an hour of class. We attempt to explore all of life’s many complexities and address balance, focus, magic, joy, and more. We use our creativity, and when one person decides it’s time to stagnate the creativity and say, “this is fake”, it takes the magic away. So believe in your creativity and get interested in your artistic expression. Creativity can be practiced! Teach your children, students, and yourself how to take an ordinary situation and make it extraordinary! Maybe it’s just making up a story together and then acting out the story with your bodies and voices! Paint a picture, sing a song, and dance!

 

 

 

Question 1: What is your definition of creativity?

 

My Answer: Turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.

 

 

Question 2: What makes you feel creative?

 

My answer: Writing Plays, Performing Monologues, Teaching Yoga and Voice and Acting

 

Poses for a creative yoga practice:  Warrior 1, 2, 3 for strength, Savasana for deep relaxation and meditation, Forward Folding for Introspection

 

Songs for a creative singing lesson:  Alex Winston’s Songs, Miss Li’s Songs, Try a song in a different language to get really creative, ZAZ.

 

Now find a person who embodies a life of  creativity… Ask them these questions, do some yoga poses with them, and sing some songs! Teach your children and students about life’s and all it’s creativity, and have fun while doing so! Make up a story together, do a yoga practice that is in synch with the story, stand like tall mountains, build trees on your mountain, have wind come and knock down the trees, meet animals along the way. Get down and play with your children! Be creative.

Post your definition of creativity and your answers below xoxoxo Margo

FOCUS OF THE MONTH- MAGIC

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Another great focus of the month is  MAGIC.  Magic is more than just a party trick, a rabbit in a hat, a quarter coming out of your ear. Though these ideas of magic are quite breathtaking and complex for the mind to grasp, the real magic for me comes in life’s most unexpected moments. In the  labyrinth of life, not knowing how amazing things happen, is magic. Magic happens when you plant a deep wish and it comes true! Magic often happens on the yoga mat, when the mind goes deep into the pose and you can fly higher than you ever imagined. Magic happens on the stages all over New York, when those big notes hit the theater and resonate miles away. Magic happens when you believe in something bigger than yourself! Let us tap into our magic, whether it’s on the mat, on the stage, when we write a story, or just when we play.

 

Recently, my six-year-old niece was in town for a visit. She is purely magical. The way children create stories every day that are layered enough and detailed enough to be huge fairy-tales, is unbelievable! In just a matter of minutes of playtime, my niece created a story called “My Small Dad”.  The dad did not want to be taken care of by his much larger daughter, and he had to go through multiple operations, he became an angry bird, an orange ball with a smiley face who was really quite horrible, he was a car, he lost consciousness during a surgery, and then was resurrected and became my niece, playing the dad! Eventually the dad realized life was best being small, but because his daughter did not love him that way, he was unable to go back to his true form. He would have to stay big forever. We saw the Lego movie the day before, and honestly, her script was better!

Magic is listening to the people we love and hearing their stories. Make magic, listen to your loved ones, and take note of the mystery of imagination and synchronicity of life’s gifts. If this sounds like a large undertaking, think of one small thing that makes you believe in magic. Is it your niece? Your child? Theater? Music? These ideas, can be put into practice.

 

Question 1: What is your definition of magic?

 

My Answer: Magic is life’s mysteries unfolding.

 

 

Question 2: What makes you feel magical?

 

My answer: Spending time with my nieces, my students, singing, my yoga practice, the movies, a Broadway show!

 

Poses for a magical yoga practice: Warrior 3, Downward Dog, Savasana, Pigeon

 

Songs for a magical singing lesson:  Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Hallelujah, Happy, All of Me, LET IT GO!

 

Now find a person who embodies a life of  magic! Ask them these questions, do some yoga poses with them, and sing some songs! Teach your children and students about life’s magical mysteries, and have fun while doing so! Make up a story together, do a yoga practice that is in synch with the story, stand like tall mountains, build trees on your mountain, have wind come and knock down the trees, meet animals along the way. Get down and play with your children! Magic, just might be massive amounts of joy!

Post your definition of magic and your answers below xoxoxo Margo

CONCENTRATON OF THE MONTH- TO BE FREE!

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Another great focus of the month is FREEDOM. Freedom has many forms and many definitions. Freedom can be scary…when we are given the opportunity to make many choices, we can grow overwhelmed! In the yoga practice, we use the forms to find the freedom. While being all bound up, or balancing, we are made to breathe and ease into the pose. This can help us in our life choices. When do you feel completely constricted? Notice it, and then make the choice to let go, even just a little bit. We cannot control everything. The more rules and rituals we set up for ourselves, the more we will be disappointed. Within our boundaries, we must wiggle some extra space. Freedom, to me, is having space to play and create. I find the practice of yoga and singing and acting, the best place to play with freedom, for all art and light is squashed when you try to control it to pieces. So let go, find space, feel the boundaries, and then push past them a little bit. These ideas, can be put into practice. So ask yourself, your kids, and your students these questions:

 

Question 1: What is your definition of freedom?

 

My Answer:  Freedom is pushing away the boundaries, in order to find more space.

 

Question 2: What makes you feel free?

 

My answer: Large open spaces, the ocean, being with my husband

 

Poses for fun and free yoga practice: Flip Dog, Wheel, Camel, Warrior 3 ( Poses to open the heart and fly)

 

Songs for a fun and free singing lesson:  Brave, Roar, Wrecking Ball ( Any song where you can let loose and belt it out)

 

Now find a person who embodies a life of freedom! Ask them these questions, do some yoga poses with them, and sing some songs! Teach your children and students about freedom and it’s many forms, and have fun while doing so! Turn on some music and move around the room the way that you feel free, now add some yoga poses, and try to feel the dance from inside…

 

Post your definition of freedom and your answers below xoxoxo Margo

FOUCS OF THE MONTH- CONCENTRATION

CONCENTRATION

 

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Another great focus of the month is CONCENTRATION!!! What? Did you say concentration? I was texting, facebooking, skyping, planning my plans for the next week, moving, organizing the apartment, and writing out this weeks curriculum for my students…while music is playing and I’m dancing all over the apartment, and I’m neglecting instagram, twitter, tumblr, and linkedin…Seriously. Concentration is a tricky task, especially in this highly concentrated and noisy city and high tech society! How can you concentrate? We have to set aside specific quiet time for ourselves, in order to hear our deeper voice, the one that tells us what is most important, the one that doesn’t just react, but processes information and then moves with intention. Concentration, like balance, takes breath and patience. Think of one thing to concentrate on today… maybe it’s inner peace, maybe it’s more concrete, like spotting the color red throughout the day, or being non reactive, or feeling powerful or peaceful. You choose what you want to concentrate on, and when you lose your way, go back to your intention. Eventually this will be an integral part of your being.These ideas, can be put into practice. So ask yourself, your kids, and your students these questions:

 

Question 1: What is your definition of concentration?

 

My Answer:  Concentration is sharpening the focus of the task at hand and letting everything else in the periphery go blurry for awhile.

 

Question 2: What makes you feel concentrated?

 

My answer: Yoga, teaching, reading, writing, the word love

 

Poses for a great concentrated yoga practice: Ardachandrasana ( half moon), Tree Pose (with eyes closed), Alternate Nostril Breathing

 

Songs for a concentrated singing lesson:  Any song really, as long as your mind is focused on the song, songs of empowerment are great; Etta James- ” Trust in Me”, “Stormy Weather”, “At Last”!

 

Now find a person who embodies focus and concentration. Ask them these questions, do some yoga poses with them, and sing some songs! Teach your children and students about concentration and have fun while doing so! A great game for concentration is the mirror game. Find a partner, seated across from them, slowly begin to move in tandem allowing the movements to be synchronized. Switch partners, notice how it feels to be the leader and the follower, notice what it’s like to concentrate on someone else and be moving in unison.

Post your definition of concentration and your answers below xoxoxo Margo