Training Thursday: Cre leads teacher workshop, “Yoga Means Union”

Although the pandemic not only postponed our original meeting date but also revised our mode of delivery, 4yoga teachers gathered on Zoom on Saturday, June 27, for our second professional-development meeting of the year.

Using a combination of presenting, reflective writing, and discussion, Cre Dye reminded us that we are all storytellers who have the ability to change our narratives.  She led us through an exploration of our generational stories and a consideration of how we can revise them as we recognize and respond to the stress and trauma affecting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities.

When asked about her takeaways from the workshop, Heather Kessler replied, “Cre brought new and much needed insight to a tough topic that needs to be addressed. Her knowledge and real-life experience really helped to give me an understanding of how we can begin to look at racial inequality with a new perspective and create positive change.”

Leslie Weigel noted, “I valued the guided introspection that Cre led, helping me to see how I am anchored into my past, yet realizing that I am free to break away from the contracts of the past and ‘put down what is not mine to carry’.”  Carmen Herrera agreed about connecting the past, the present, and the future together:  she indicated that the session provided a “much needed reminder to STAY aware that our actions/decisions, our thoughts and emotions impact beyond just us in the present ‘now’, but also affects ‘our’ collective being for generations to come… just like the previous generations affect us now.”

Sydni Elhubishi remembered a point that also stood out to other participants: “You’re not responsible for your first thought, but you are responsible for your second thought and your first action.”  In fact, Leslie called this idea the point “that has stuck with me most firmly since the class”—”while my first thought/my reaction to a situation or person may emerge from my past, from my cultural history, my second thought and my (first) action is MY responsibility and I can change those thoughts and actions.”

Carmen and Sydni both remarked on the ways that the workshop can lead us to action.  In Carmen’s words, “We can create safe spaces that welcome discussion and awareness of racism and other types of hurtful, aggressive social behaviours.”  Sydni reflected, “We have to continue to have compassion for all, and let that compassion (and other emotions) lead us to action.“

We all appreciate Cre sharing her time and expertise with our teaching community! 

Teachers at June Workshop
Clockwise from upper left: Sydni Elhubishi, Cre Dye, Leslie Weigel, Carmen Herrera, Deb Logan, Heather Kessler
Center: Angie Jones
June 27, 2020

About our quarterly teacher workshops:  we host workshops to provide opportunities for teachers to spend time together and to learn from and with each other.  As a bonus, when the teacher organizing the workshop is a Yoga Alliance continuing education provider, the events also provide, at no cost, continuing education hours to teachers who participate!  To retain registration with Yoga Alliance, all teachers complete at least 30 continuing education hours every three years, demonstrating their commitment to ongoing learning.

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Another chance to chat with Angie on Zoom: Thurs., 7/9, 11 a.m.

Looking for a way to connect with other members of our community? Curious about the plans for Saturday’s outdoor, in-person, socially distanced practice?

Then grab a cup of coffee—or your favorite morning beverage—and join Angie’s Zoom meeting on Thurs., July 9, 11–11:40 a.m.

See the meeting information below, and just drop us an email or a Facebook message if you are new to Zoom and we can help you get more familiar with it before the chat.

Follow this link to find the Zoom meeting.

Or, if you prefer to use the meeting ID, here it is: 747 4115 1129.

(Should you need a password, we made it easy: 4yoga.)

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July (2020) offerings: remote yoga and meditation classes + in-person, outdoor event

As we extend our pause from in-studio classes, we also reflect on the space that this change in schedule provides in our daily lives.  And we invite you, too, to consider what opportunities this space has created or is still creating for you:  to develop your personal yoga, meditation, or pranayama practice? to take classes or workshops with teachers beyond our geographic region? to care for yourself, your family, and your friends in new ways? to listen to, learn from, and stand with members of our community?

In July, our classes and events will occur on Saturdays:  we will host three streamed yoga classes; one outdoor, in-person yoga event; and a Zoom meditation session.  See details below.

Saturday Basics classes, 9–10:10 a.m. (streaming on Facebook Live unless otherwise noted)

  • July 4:  Leslie
  • July 11:  Heather and friends.  Join us for this special yoga event:  an outdoor, socially distanced Saturday-morning practice!  No RSVP necessary—we will have multiple teachers available to distribute students into small groups.  Please watch our Facebook page and website for more details about location and procedures.
  • July 18:  Angie
  • July 25:  Heather

Monthly Meditation (hosted by Alice on Zoom)

  • Sat., July 25, 11 a.m.  Please respond to our Facebook event to keep up with information, receive reminders, and access the link to the Zoom meeting.

In addition to supporting our studio offerings, several of our teachers will provide chances to practice with them independently.  Some of them are continuing with their existing schedules; others expect to provide additional, pop-up offerings as the month progresses.  Please reach out to them directly to learn more.

We look forward to connecting with you—whether remotely or in person—in July!

Marquee at the Capitol
June 18, 2020
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Training Thursday: 7 members of 4yoga community complete MBSR training through WKU

During June, seven members of our 4yoga community who also work for WKU took advantage of a free, four-week series of meetings to learn about and practice Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).  Dr. Masami Matsuyuki, staff psychologist at the WKU Counseling Center, has offered several of these trainings for students, faculty, and staff, but this was the first one delivered via Zoom, which allowed her to accept more participants.  In fact, it attracted as many as 37 students to its weekly, 90-minute meetings!

Each week’s session included a mix of activities:  discussion and presentation of content from our reading, introduction of different meditation techniques, practice of those meditation techniques, and conversation about what we were learning and what challenges we were facing.  Members of the 4yoga community who participated were Thea Browder, Claus Ernst, Angie Jones, Laura McGee, Alice Simpson, Roxanne Spencer, and Uta Ziegler.  

Although several of us are regular participants in Alice’s monthly meditation sessions, we appreciated the opportunities to meet weekly and to expand our experiences with a new group of meditators.  Laura notes, “I had learned about MBSR through the Mindful Magazine that I receive. When I read that WKU was offering a compact version, it seemed like the perfect thing to add to my toolbox of ways to manage stress and anxiety in the age of COVID. I especially enjoyed the guided meditations that were part of every session. Masami Matsuyuki did a wonderful job with those.”

During the series, we appreciated reading or re-reading Jon Kabat-Zinn’s classic text, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. Roxanne, who was taking the class for the second time, found the book, “so manageable. The information was presented in easily assimilated ideas and suggestions. I can see why it has been a go-to title for Americans interested in meditation.”

During the series, we appreciated reading or re-reading Jon Kabat-Zinn’s classic text, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. Roxanne, who was taking the class for the second time, found the book, “so manageable. The information was presented in easily assimilated ideas and suggestions. I can see why it has been a go-to title for Americans interested in meditation.”

Alice asserted, “this book should be in everyone’s library” and shared a photograph of one of her favorite passages.  Alice also noted, “the practice of mindfulness and ‘letting go’ has been transformational for me. When we can choose to detach and let go of things that may be unpleasant or painful, we find peace of mind. Developing and working the mindful muscle, as Dr. Matsuyuki repeated in the MBSR workshop, is a path to self-awareness and a journey to a more satisfying life.”

Angie’s dog Molly models the book
One of Alice’s favorite passages.

We also practiced applying mindfulness not only to our formal meditation practice but also to our daily lives.  Uta indicated, “One of the things I know I will take away from this is to pick one or two activities per day to do them mindfully. I picked brushing my teeth and I learned my mind is all over the place—more than during ‘formal’ meditation.  I think [this experience] will help my meditation practice—particularly moving mindfulness more into my daily life.”  Laura concurred, “I find that I am approaching everyday tasks with a bit more mindfulness.”

If you would like to explore or reconnect with meditation, particularly with MBSR techniques, please join Alice for the monthly sessions that she leads.  Roxanne “looks forward to each month’s meditation group, where we learn so much and have a chance to practice different forms of meditation for personal growth.”  These sessions typically occur on the last Saturday of the month at 11 a.m., and we welcome both new and experienced meditators.   For details about each month’s meeting, see the online calendar or the appropriate month’s Facebook event page (here is July’s event).

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Training Thursday: Carmen learns EmPower Method with Shanda Packard

We apologize for falling behind on our Training Thursday posts, but we are pleased now to share this report on a session that Carmen Herrera completed on April 25.  This two-hour Zoom training was offered by Shanda Packard, whom many of you know through Harmony Therapeutic Yoga here in Bowling Green. Shanda provided this event via her Yoga Think Tank for Foundations Yoga and Therapy in Madison, New Jersey.  

Carmen noted that the training provided additional tools to help her customize her classes to meet the needs of the students who attend: “Teaching this way allows each person to adjust according to their unique physical needs.”  One point emphasized in the session is helping practitioners find an evenly distributed stance and, from that anchor, maintain their base of support, recognize their center of gravity, and move carefully through their range of motion.  Carmen specifically called attention to a concept from Amy Mathews and Leslie Kaminoff—to teach with “a little bit of movement in a lot of places” rather than a lot of movement in only a few places, which can lead to repetitive stress injuries.

To help students move in healthy ways, both in yoga class and in life, this workshop encouraged teachers to adopt an inquisitive approach to their instruction, one focused on helping students explore the sensations in their own bodies rather than telling students what they should be feeling.

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Come chat with Angie on Zoom: Mon., 6/22, 11 a.m.

Angie is missing all the chances to connect with folks before, during, and after our yoga classes, so she’s set up a Zoom meeting for Mon., June 22, at 11 a.m., and is inviting everyone interested to stop in and chat.

See the meeting info below, and drop us an email or a Facebook message if you are new to using Zoom and we can help you connect.

Follow this link to find the Zoom meeting directly.

Or use this meeting ID, if that’s your preferred method: 796 8324 3096.

(If you need a password, it’s pretty easy: 4yoga.)

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Pop-up class for Father’s Day and the International Day of Yoga? Don’t mind if we do!

Have you been missing a Sunday-afternoon practice? Fortunately, Leslie is here to help!

On Sun., June 21—which is also both Father’s Day and the International Day of Yoga—Leslie will offer a Basics yoga class at 4 p.m. We hope that you can join her via Zoom (see details below) for this pop-up practice!

Join this Zoom class by clicking on this link. Or, if you access your meetings via a meeting ID, use 894 1521 4511. If you need a password, it’s 280216.

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June (2020) schedule: remote classes from 4yoga, independent offerings from teachers

We miss seeing you at the studio and being able to hold a physical space not only for the asana practice of yoga but for the other needs of our community.  We also want to protect both our teachers and our students, many of whom are still mostly quarantined for safety.  Therefore, to continue to be cautious about our physical health, we will offer  remote classes through June.

We deeply appreciate our teachers whose sharing of their talents in both yoga and meditation has allowed us to provide at least two new studio yoga classes weekly since mid-March.  We hope you can join them for our June offerings, and we’ve listed them below.

We will also continue to post weekly updates on Facebook and reminders each day that we have a class.   

Marquee at the Capitol
May 26, 2020

Thursday Restorative or Yin classes, 5:30–6:40 p.m.

  • June 4:  Restorative with Angie
  • June 11:  Yin with Chie
  • June 18:  Restorative with Angie
  • June 25:  Yin with Sydni

Saturday Basics classes, 9–10:10 a.m.

  • June 6:  Shigeko
  • June 13:  Sydni
  • June 20:  Leslie
  • June 27:  Chie

Book Club and Meditation (both sessions hosted by Alice on Zoom—meeting links to be added here and on Facebook later)

  • Book Club, part 2:  Sun., June 14, 1 p.m.  Our May meeting was well attended, and the conversation about The Four Agreements was lively!  We still have a lot to discuss, so, whether you attended in May or not, please join us in June!  Read more about the book club here, ask any questions or let us know you’re coming on the Facebook event page, or just show up in the Zoom meeting to participate.
  • Meditation:  Sat., June 27, 11 a.m.  Alice will create a Facebook event for those who find it convenient to keep up there.

In addition to our studio offerings, the individual teachers below will be providing additional chances to practice.  Some of them are continuing with the schedule they have already created; others expect to provide additional, pop-up offerings as the month progresses!

View of The Pots Place
May 28, 2020

Finances:  several of you have kindly inquired about the financial health of 4yoga during this time when we cannot practice together in person, and some of you have generously donated class fees to teachers and supplemental funds to the studio itself.  We appreciate your support very much! 

For an explanation of our business model and information about how to donate if you choose, please see this post.  But the TL;DR version is that we are okay, financially, thanks to the generosity of Kathie Downs, who owns The Pots Place.

Please continue caring for yourselves and your families and friends.  We look forward to connecting with you in June!

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Looking for an engaging book and stimulating discussion? Join Alice for the May book club meeting!

Here’s a special invitation from Alice to join her as we re-start the 4yoga book club on Sun., May 17, at 1 p.m. via Zoom.

This seemingly uncomplicated book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz addresses some of life’s most difficult challenges and offers guidelines to a life of freedom and happiness. The first agreement teaches us the power of our words. We can create, ease suffering, and communicate compassion and love. Or we can destroy, cause suffering, and reject with indifference.

Focusing just on the first agreement, I have found references to the power of our words in countless cultures and spiritual texts. One that comes to mind is the Sufi saying, “Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself ‘Is it true.’ At the second gate ask, ‘Is it necessary.’ At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind’.”

For most of us as we go about our days, we likely do not give much thought to our words. What would our life look like if we practiced the first agreement, “Be impeccable with your word,” and let our words pass through the three gates?

Let’s talk about this and the other three agreements at the 4yoga Book Club on Sun., May 17 at 1 p.m. via Zoom.

The Four Agreements

New to Zoom? No worries! Just click on this link to go directly to Alice’s meeting. Using video is optional, and you can even participate via the “chat” feature if you encounter any audio challenges. We look forward to discussing the book with you soon!

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Welcome May (2020): 11 classes and 2 special events!

As we bid farewell to April and prepare to welcome May, please check out our options to practice together, albeit remotely, during the month ahead. We will bring you eleven new yoga classes via Facebook Live and two special events via Zoom, as listed below.  We appreciate our teachers, who continue to volunteer their time and expertise to allow us to provide studio classes during this period.

Thursday Restorative or Yin classes, 5:30–6:40 p.m.

  • May 2:  Restorative with Chie
  • May 14:  Yin with Leslie
  • May 21:  Restorative with Angie
  • May 28:  Yin with Sydni

Saturday Basics classes, 9–10:10 a.m.

  • May 2:  Sydni
  • May 9:  Beshka
  • May 16:  Shigeko
  • May 23:  Leslie
  • May 30:  Chie

Sunday Spiritual Warrior classes, 9–10:10 a.m.

  • May 10:  Cre
  • May 24:  Cre

Book Club and Meditation (both hosted by Alice on Zoom at meeting links below)

  • Book Club:  Sun., May 17, 1 p.m., via Zoom.  Come together to discuss The Four Agreements—read more about the book club here or let us know you’re coming on the Facebook event page.
  • Meditation:  Sat., May 23, 11 a.m., via Zoom.  Alice will create a Facebook event for those who like to keep up there.

In addition to our studio offerings, please check out the teachers below, who will be developing and offering additional classes independently.  Please contact them directly to learn about what they are offering for May:  we look forward to seeing what they provide!

We hope that you are staying well, and we look forward to connecting with you as much as possible in May on Facebook and Zoom!

Fountain Square at Dusk
April 30, 2020
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