Rock and Roll Yogi

sonic wisdom, stories, sojourns from an artist rocker writer

Archive for the category “Yoga Practice”

When The Tree of Life Falls on Your Head: Sandy 2012

Dear Readers:

My last entry ended with a photograph of a giant drippy nostril.  I was readying to write about the silliness and the challenge of teaching and doing yoga with a cold during my “7 Days and Nights in Yoga Land” explorations.

Alas, as fate would have it, Super Storm Sandy had something else in mind:

Tree On House 2

And this. Sigh.

Tree on house-South

And this?! Whaat?

This Was My Desk

That tree is hovering where I sat every morning.  Musing about dripping noses and RRY-isms.  FB-ing. Organizing. Working. Archiving. Creating Calm in a Chaotic World.  My desk – made of solid wood – is no where to be found.  It has vanished into dumpster food.  Ironically, just prior to the drippy nose entry, I wrote about the various mud piles and trenches and other uglies of our yard project getting in the way of my Enlightenment.  I think someone or something wanted to drive a point home – All Things Are Temporary.


My archives, lyrics, cds, dvs, tapes – “Saved” from the other room, pre storm.  That didn’t work so well because the tree decided to gauge a hole through 3 rooms.

Skylight Storm

The cats enjoyed this hole in the ceiling.  It allowed them easy access to the outside, where they climbed the tree all day long and perched on branches.  I think they thought this was the best thing that ever happened to them.

KitchenStorm 2

When the 90′ tall, 100 year-old Oak Tree fell, I was standing in front of the stove, mom was next to the breakfast bar, and Ira was in front of the sink.  We’re still not quite sure why Ira wasn’t impaled by that branch sticking through the wall over the sink.  Ceiling dry wall and/or a section of a large branch hit me hard on the head, as I fell to the floor, and Ira was badly bruised (we found out later) in several places on his torso. We both had minor scratches and cuts.  Just in case, we took a harrowing midst of the storm trip to the (thankfully) nearby Nyack Hospital.  First responders led us through our neighbor’s yard under huge fallen trees, and in insanely whipping winds.  It was terrifying being out in the thick of it.  But we made it.

Hospital hand

As Ira waited with me to get a CAT scan, we met members of another family from nearby Pearl River, who also had a tree fall on them while they were all watching TV in their living room.  They were not so lucky.  Their father died from his injuries and the mother and sister were seriously injured.  Ira and I looked at one another in that moment with tears in our eyes.  I knew then that we would be OK.  No matter what was in front of us, we had one another.  And Mom.

Smiling Buddha beacon of light that she is.  She was miraculously unharmed.  Not even a scratch.

Mom and Nik Storm Pic

That’s my brother Nik with her at her home in Palisades, NY during the ensuing week or so of no power.

So in summary.  When literally the ceiling falls on your head – and  your family – causing you to hug the floor and close your eyes – and a giant Oak Tree branch is perilously close to where your beloved was just standing, let’s just say the old adage of “gaining a new perspective” has never seemed less cliche and more real.

This is only the beginning of many entries devoted to this incident, my resulting state of mind, and all the related adventures and challenges.  I hope you’ll stay tuned in to this journey.

Not only will I be coming back to my yoga and meditation practice and study with new energy (Just started a Meditation Teacher training in NYC at Integral Yoga Institute with Cyndi Lee), but we just secured the contractor for all the repairs including a kitchen gut and total reno.  I can’t wait to keep you posted on everything mind, body and design. I may even have some video footage of demo and rebuild (RRY-TV exclusives!)  Watch out HGTV!. 😉

In the mean time-check this out:  I’ll be debuting my first Yoga/Arts Workshop at the glorious new Community/Arts/Yoga gathering space, Union Center Arts in Sparkill, NY.  Saturday January 26th 2-4pm, in the beautiful 2nd Floor Quincy Hall:

Quincy Hall-jpeg

Ahhhh….Doesn’t just looking at that wide open space make you breathe a little deeper and feel inspired?

Creativity Flow Workshop 1/26/13, 2-4pm, Only $10!

Re-Ignite Your Creative Spark! FB Event Invite

7 Days and Nights in Yoga Land: Put Your Hands On Me


Plus other, less easily sourced, in-pain, hot spots along my left side (neck, shoulder, arm).  Slept funny?  Slept not enough?  Too much stressing about the next blog post? Too much rock and roll fun with AH and his brother visiting on the weekend (i.e.: Whiskey Shots, Beer, Bar Crawl, Steak…)?  Well, no matter, the reason.  It’s here.  And I’m Yoga-Ing anyway.

Luckily for me, this week’s classes so far all seem to have one thing in common:  Hands-On-Assists.  Oh happy me. Bring it on.  I should really make and wear a t-shirt to class that says “Put Your Hands on Me”.

Monday’s class was a Gentle Yoga class taught by one of Birchwood Center’s directors, Betsy Ceva.  Class was packed and I found a mat way in the back so that my slightly pained squirming about wouldn’t bother anyone.  Little did I know that I’d stumbled into one of the Gentle Yoga Immersion Training for Teachers practice sessions.  There were two Yogis walking around giving assists, and I knew personally one of them – Jen Mayer – whose awesome gentle classes I’d taken regularly  back in 2010, and who was my mentor during my own Teacher Training at Birchwood Center in 2010-2011.

Jen and the other lovely Yogi must have known something was up with me, because there were various pairs of hands descending on me throughout class.  Perhaps a new T-Shirt needs to be considered.

My eyes closed, suddenly gentle palms would professionally urge my hips back towards my heels in child’s pose and adjust my shoulder and leg in my supine twist.  OH Thank You.  And of course, they asked me at first, whether this was “OK” for them to do, as all yoga teachers should do before giving touch assists.

Coming out of Savasana, I wasn’t cured, but I felt good about showing up, practicing and breathing through my discomfort.  Like I said in my Intro Post, sometimes you just gotta do it anyway, even when you are not inspired, or you are crazy busy, or in my case, all of the above, plus feeling kinda lousy in my own body.

On Tuesday morning, I was looking forward to teaching my class at Birchwood, and then hopping over to Sparkill’s new Union Arts Center for friend and fellow Birchwood Graduate, Suzanne’s Candlelight Yoga class.

Yet, as fate would have it, by that afternoon, I had the sniffles.  As I prepared for my class, each Sun Breath and Uttansana (Forward Standing Bend) brought with it Downward Dripping Nose.

What Brilliant Yogic Wisdom did I gleam from this unfortunate turn of events?  You’ll just have to wait for the next installment…

7 Days and Nights in Yoga Land: The Mud Pile Blues (Intro)

About a week ago I found myself cringing at the thought of getting onto my mat.

I wanted out.  Oy vay.  Yoga felt like a burden.  How did this happen?!  Life just seemed too challenging, busy, a million things pressing from all directions, that the mat too felt like yet another set of challenges.  I knew that deepening into my practice would force me to be in the present moment, and whatever lives there.  This is not always a desirable place to be, I admit.

As a teacher, I have to pull myself out of my own personal distractions, disengagement, issues, and find a way to bring inspiration – Breath – into my students for that hour and a half.  And whenever I do, wow, I am lifted beyond my own burdens and into a deeper place.  Giving and teaching yoga is the ultimate high and centering experience simultaneously.

But recently, inspiration was hard to find.  I’d forgotten that joy of teaching from just the week before.  Everything felt very ordinary.  And full of tasks.  Busy-ness.  And literally, Dirt.

Its easier to get all yoga-fied when we are here:  Ahhhhhhhhhhh…………

Katie in Warrior 2 at the Grand Canyon – July 2012

Then when we are here:  Ughhhhhhh………………………………

Front yard mud pile

This was supposed to be my front porch meditation perch:  Ahhhhhhhh…….Er…….Ugh………

The ditch around my house part 1

You get it.  I thought that just being able to live with this work in progress yard (stay tuned for more posts on my home reno projects), and messiness everywhere, meant that I was reaching some new level of yogic mastery.  But, no, not really.  It was all a nice excuse to stay off my mat.  And leave my breath, mind AND body out of alignment.  Its nice to think your way into acceptance, but its another thing to really become in balance.

The lesson here is that sometimes we need to practice – do – even when we are not inspired, even when we feel we are beyond busy.  Even when there is a mud pile surrounding us from all angles.  When we sit to meditate, or slow down, and just breathe, we discover that we may need to accept a little longer some messy situation, some difficult, ugly thing.  And trust in its eventual transformation.  Moving our bodies, and breathing into all our physical and mental holdings, helps us to not only transform our body’s stress, but our mind’s as well.

Sometimes allowing the beauty of yoga to flow in and out of us even in the midst of something we don’t think we can face for one more minute, actually helps to dissipate that very thing we wanted to avoid.

Ha.  I know this to be true.  So, I’m back to reclaim my practice yet again – back to the beginning.

Hence, 7 Days and Nights in Yoga Land.

OK, I’m gonna leave it at that, and we’ll re-visit this theme tomorrow – teaching class today at 5:30PM and then taking class for myself after.

What are you doing for yourself this week to get out of the proverbial Mud Pile Blahs and into your Autumnal Inspiration?

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