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June 2012 * Mary Yoga ENews * Issue # 78 * Lessons From Summer School

Lesson #1: Beyond Ourselves

Summer school came early for me this year. In June I attended YogaSlacker teacher training in Virginia and became one of 59 certified YogaSlackers the world over. All over again, as with my AcroYoga teacher family in 2008, I am awed and delighted at the talent and inspiration in my new yogi family, whose credo is "extreme living with awareness."

Yes, I improved my teaching and slackline skills. But the lessons I'm excited to share go way beyond learning sit-to-stand on the line, inverting, laying or arm balancing on the line.

Lesson 1: We are capable of more than we think. The 15-hour schedule, daily conditioning max outs, adventure challenge day, all gradually let me slip past my preconceived notions of my limits, to redefine them by experiencing them at their edge. Then, as masks and egos melt in the fire of challenge, there is a ferocious support that emerges, for ourselves and each other. "Extreme living with awareness" may mean for you that you simply do not ever underestimate what you may be willing to undertake.



Lesson #2: Power of Presence

I've been pondering the empowering role of "supporting" others - students, relatives, developing nations - versus "helping" with its implication that we are stronger and more able. My summer school experience offered me three rich examples of this.

When my adventure team was running back up the hill for the penultimate time, a teammate tried to help me by taking the bundle I was carrying. On our final run, someone grabbed my hand and pulled me along. My energy flagged in both instances. When a teammate simply ran beside me, I felt support, and found strength. There is an equality in support, vs help, that calls to our strength, rather than our weakness.

There was the chilly campfire night when half of us chose the challenge to silently cross the slackline over the pool, fully clothed, and the other half committed to support the walkers through focused silence. Seeing the shadowy silhouettes move across the line sustained by the entire group, I felt the tremendous power of shared presence. Each splashdown and each successful crossing was equally cheered. Those who crossed dry jumped in to join with their brothers and sisters in shivering fellowship.

On the final day, in the friendly team competition of Acrogames, my team had a base with an injured hand and asked to withdraw from the hand balancing events. Rather than let him do that, or let a teammate support his arm, our teacher Jason Magness worked with Andrew to find an angle where his forearm could safely support his good hand. Our team came second in the event, completely galvanized in team effort.

Consider when you jump to "help" someone. Is it empowering them? Or does it rob them of struggle, and victory? Does it sap their power?

"I will give you a spot in your pull-ups. But you are going to do those pull-ups." Thank you Dan, for the pull-up spots!


Lesson #3: All You

Have you ever stepped into a situation or relationship and found it hazardous, unreliable, unfriendly territory? A crazily waving slackline can feel like that. The beauty of the slackline is that it is neutral: the line reflects what we bring to it. We learn to tame that; we learn to tame what is in us.

This could be a slackline lesson about grounding, core, focus, commitment, breath. But, really, it is an esoteric lesson about "what we bring" to what is symbolized by the line. Whatever it is you are resenting or reacting strongly to in a given situation ~ consider the possibility that you have brought part or most of that energy in with you. That it is not ~ or not just ~ the other person or system or random accidents that you "came upon." If you want that energy transformed, consider bringing the energy you want into the situation. It's like sitting on the slackline. It seems to bob and weave. It is you bobbing and weaving on it. When you have come quiet, calm, still and grounded, the line gently holds you, like a hammock, a baby sling. Like the whirlwind of your mind ceased in quiet meditation ~ "yoga citta vrtti nirodha" ~ Patanjali's Yoga Sutra I.2

Maybe you have no desire to stand or sit on a one-inch webbing strung between two anchors. Fine. But know that the principles are the same. Where and what is your "line"? Whatever energy you bring to the "line," own it; know that you have brought it with you. Then, enjoy the energy you choose to put onto it. And never again blame the line for being what it is: a reflection of you. It's all you.



My Schedule: July

Here are my current classes in NYC

Pure Yoga New York
M-10:30 Slow Flow Meditation, East
T-12:30 Restorative, East
Th-11 YinYang, West
Th-5:30 Vinyasa 1/2, East
F-10:30AM Chakra Slow Flow, West
F-5:30 Restorative, East

Om Factory Flight School in July:
M-5:30-7pm Acrobatic Flying Basics
M-7:15-8:45pm Jedi 1 Series: Great Wall Flow

Ask me for 1-day or 3-day passes to Pure if you have never been. Beautiful oases East & West with juicy multiple yoga styles; my NYC yoga haven.

And what shall I say about Om Factory, NYC home to AcroYoga, Anti-Gravity, Yoga Fight Club, Forrest Yoga, Ashtanga, and so much more ~ funky and sweet and a quirky, family of yoga lovers. See them both yourself!

You can always see my website: for
my classes, workshops, retreats, trainings.



Divine Play Festival

The 3rd annual AcroYoga Festival will be Oct. 12-14 in Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA. Bringing together yogis, acrobats, circus arts and healing arts practitioners and teachers from all over the world, with offerings for beginner to advanced and all in between! Early Bird price ends Saturday 6/30!

See video link below for a vision of what this event will be like. I did not submit a class proposal this year so I will not be teaching; but, if 10 students register and type in my name as their referring teacher, I will go and take classes! Probably right alongside you!

Register at ~ by Saturday June 30 for early pricing, after Sunday July 1 for regular price. This year, the charitable partner is Off the Mat, Into the World!



Photo Credits; Forward, Reply; Privacy....

Th-th-that's all, folks! I had a blast this past weekend at Wanderlust Vermont, even though I took nary a yoga class, splitting my time between assisting the AcroYoga daily sessions and the YogaSlacker twice daily sessions, and demos around the beautiful verdant Mount Stratton resort.

Thanks for this issue's photos go to: YogaSlackers, AcroYoga, Om Factory, Keoni Movement Arts, Habitat, Heifer Int'l, Arielle Caruso, Florence Montmare, Lindsey Britt, Isha Mccasky, Jenny Bath, Whitney Zama, Sam Salwei, Chip Fieberg, Jason Magness, Adam Rinder, Jenny Sauer-Klein, Kadri Kurgun for AcroYoga Wanderlust Festival photo, & anyone else I apologize that I forgot!

Please feel free to forward or Reply, and to unsubscribe anytime. I value your privacy and never share email lists.

Peace, abundance and abiding peace!

Joy to you & yours,

In This Issue:

Lesson #1: Beyond Ourselves
Lesson #2: Power of Presence
Lesson #3: All You
My Schedule: July
Divine Play Festival
Photo Credits; Forward, Reply; Privacy....
AcroYoga Grant Application: Help Us
YogaSlacker Classes
Yoga, Hiking, & Redefining Balance Retreat
Keoni Movement Arts
Heifer International
Habitat for Humanity

AcroYoga Grant Application: Help Us

AcroYoga® as I learned it and practice and teach it, is about so much more than awesome feats and tricks. It is no less than uniting differences through group effort and communication.

There is so much healing potential in empowerment through a safe space where trust, playfulness, movement and community are fostered, and safe touch can transform how people relate to partnership in every aspect of living.

Yes, this is a pitch to ask those of you who are on Facebook to "vote" for AcroYoga to win a much needed organizational grant. Here are the steps:

1) Go to www.missionsmallbusiness.
com; click 'Log In & Support' and log in using Facebook.
2) Search AcroYoga by name; OR filter by the State and City (AcroYoga Berkeley CA)
3) Click on the blue Vote button next to the business name to show your support the organization!



YogaSlacker Classes

Watch for YogaSlacker classes/ workshops at a place near you! Check for updates on my website or via my monthly ENewsletter. Classes or workshops are generally 1.5 to 2 hours.

"Intro to Slacklining" classes build the basics on the ground first and then take us on to the line in various positions, finding ease on the line.

"Redefining Balance" classes teach partner acrobatics that mimic the body actions on the slackline, and then translate the moves onto the line.

For my first combo Yoga~ Hike~ Slacro~ Restorative~ Nidra retreat weekend, see below!



Yoga, Hiking, & Redefining Balance Retreat

Save the date: Sept. 28-30 in upstate Bethel, New York, for a Redefining Balance weekend retreat with fall foliage adventures in yoga, hiking yoga, slackline, Yoga Nidra, and meditation!

See details of itinerary & pricing here and on my website soon!



Keoni Movement Arts

My good friend Paul Keoni Chun inspires me in this organization he has founded to bring movement arts to all:

"Our MISSION is to expand access to the Movement Arts of Yoga, Dance and Gymnastics by providing classes and performance opportunities to individuals of ALL ages, abilities and means.

"Our VISION is a world in which strengthened bodies, peaceful minds, compassionate hearts and joyous spirits work together to benefit all of earth’s inhabitants."

Please see the website if there is someone you know who may benefit from the program, or you wish to learn more about it, or to donate to this worthy, empowering foundation.



Heifer International

My all-time favorite "teach a wo/man to fish" charitable organization.

Give a baby chick, a rabbit, or a whole flock of geese. Give a llama or part of a pig. The families chosen to receive the livestock are educated in their care and in cottage industries that derive from wool, cheese, eggs, as the case may be. The whole community benefits when the offspring are sold to other families and the education in farming and in industry passed on.

You can give a gift in someone's honor and send them a beautiful print or PDF card that shows what, where, how their gift will empower someone in the world.



Habitat for Humanity

"Build a wo/man a home ..." Habitat volunteers build the homes right alongside the people who will live in them. There is team effort, no freeloading. The families that qualify not only build their own house, but they commit to payment plans, so they fully own their part in creating a home for themselves.

Whether you like hammers and ladders, like traveling, or prefer your armchair and local region, you may be part of Habitat's team by donating, or taking on a volunteer role, near to home or far afield! Building alongside those who have dedicated the effort and commitment to build and to own a home, feel firsthand the joy that comes from supporting and empowering another.


Mary Aranas Yoga • * 310 Lexington Ave. • NY, NY 10016
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