Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Storm Yoga

Storm Yoga, who lives up to their motto of "Take Your Life by Storm!" by practicing yoga outside, rain or shine, is a Not for Profit organization based here, out of NYC, that just started up early this summer.  I have been with them from the beginning and like to think that I have helped a bit in the start up process.  I manage the account, promote every chance I get, support students who are new to the practice and have even gotten some PR people involved (check out the Life Styles and Charity article about Storm Yoga here).
Storm Yoga is founded on the principle that yoga is an integral part of a broader movement to transform society, and, to that end, offer free classes in the city.  How can you get better than that?  Have I mentioned yet that we spend at least 50% of our classes focusing on partner yoga?  Or that we put on Yoga Flash Mobs around New York City?

                                      This is 'bird' in partner yoga, and you can totally do it too.
For those of you who do not know me, I have been practicing yoga, on and off, for 7 years now.  It was only this summer that yoga became like the food I eat and air I breath.  It is hard to define in words the transformation...but this short, and entertaining, video might explain it better than I can, and it will show you just exactly what kind of shenanigans I have been up to all summer long.

Here are a few questions my good friend, Laci, asked me while doing some PR work on behalf of the group.  (ps. Check her blog, La Femme FIT-alle, out!)

1. How did you discover Storm Yoga and what about it appealed to you?
I was sitting out in Sheeps Meadow in Central Park with Ian on a Saturday in May or June,  just when it started to get warm enough to go out again, and I noticed two people who looked like they were having a ton of fun doing acrobatic moves together.  I saw them doing what I thought of then as the 'superman' but now realize it was 'bird'.  I watched them for awhile, and just let their joy soak into me.  I loved how playful it looked, and was immediately hooked on the idea.  Whatever it was, I had to find people who did this and try it out for myself.  So, that night, I went home and did research.  I had no idea the art of 'Partner yoga' or 'Acro yoga' (the two are interchangeable) existed, so it took me awhile just to find the keys terms.  When I did, I typed them in to and viola!, there was Storm Yoga.

                                                                     (serene, huh?)

The aspect of community appealed to me, and Miles' openness and willingness to teach, and the location and timing all really appealed to me.  Miles is our fearless leader, who is leaving this autumn for a second round of yoga instruction in India.  He will return as an even more skilled yogi, and Storm Yoga will come out of hibernation this Spring.  As the classes take place primarily outside, during winter we are all taking a hiatus, snow blizzards, unfortunately, don't typically lend themselves to yoga practice ;)

2. What have you gained or learned from practicing with the organization?
I have gained self-confidence and a sense of community, as well as the more typical yoga benefits, such as stress relief and strengthening of the core.  I have never seen anything meld people together in a community quicker or more honestly than partner yoga.  The nature of the practice is such that you have to be trusting and constantly communicating, whether it be through words or touch, it kind of helps people to open up.

                                             (He looks like he is really enjoying this pose)

3. How did you feel participating in one of Storm Yoga's flash mob gatherings?
See above :)  Also, I felt like I was having an impact on a larger sphere, I was bringing awareness to yoga to people who had maybe never seen it before and didn't know what it was.  I think I was also transforming what yoga, itself, is.  Here, in the West, yoga is too often viewed as just another way to shed some pounds.  For me, through the Yoga Flash Mobs, it became a medium of self expression and a community building activity.

4. Please finish this sentence for me: "If everyone practiced yoga, <BLANK>". 
Personally, I'd say, "If everyone practiced yoga, there would be no war."
I know, kind of an idealistic outlook, but hey, I think it's probably not too far off the mark.