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Sunday Samadhi in the Sand

Beach-asana in Rockaway!!! 1 hour donation based yoga class on the beach! Mats are provided by Lola Star Rockaway.

Sundays 7/30, 8/13, 8/20, 8/27

11 am at 116th Street (LOCATION HAS BEEN CHANGED!!!) on the Beach in Rockaway. Mat pick up at the Lola Star store on 116th Street. Take A train or new Rockaway Ferry! Hang out at beach with me after!

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BigToe Yoga

Introducing a new App that connects yoga teachers to students throughout NYC! I am now teaching a weekly class through BigToe Yoga in Bed-Stuy at Aspire2Dance. This weekly class will be a bit different from the other classes I teach – each week will be more of a workshop where we work through a specific pose. There will be some vinyasa involved to warm up, but a majority of the 1 hour & 15 minute class will be focusing on a specific pose.

Thursday nights at 6:30 pm, Aspire2Dance, 1195 Bedford Ave. Pre-Registration is required through the BigToe Yoga App http://www.bigtoe.fit/, and it’s only $12!

The next four weeks we will be working on arm balances. This week we will be focusing on Eka Pada Galavasana, also know as “Flying Crow.”

flying-crow

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Opportunities Abound in 2017!

It has been 8 1/2 months since I broke my arm, 6 1/2 since the cast came off. The doctors told me my arm would never be fully straight again. As a yogi and yoga teacher, my response was, “that is unacceptable!” My physical therapist told me otherwise. She said we will get it straight again.

There are two kinds of people represented above: those who see the impossible, and those who see endless opportunities. I could have taken what the doctors said and just given up my yoga practice, stopped teaching, gone back to a job that made me completely miserable, lived with a crooked arm. I chose to see space where there seemingly wasn’t. I worked every single day on getting my arm back to what it was. It wasn’t easy – there were definitely days when I felt like giving up. But now, 6 1/2 months later, my arm is almost perfectly straight (the last bit is inconsequential), I am back to my full practice, and even holding handstand longer than I was before I broke my arm!

The new calendar year allows for enormous possibility. It is a way to start fresh, see opportunity where maybe we didn’t before. As David Life says in this month’s focus at Jivamukti, “A new way of approaching the future is expanding what is possible rather than limiting it. There are actually a thousand different ways you can get to work instead of taking the same route each day.” We often get stuck in a pattern, doing the same thing over and over again because that is the way it’s always been, even if it means wallowing in misery. As Albert Einstein says, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity!”

Even though we have a calendar date of January 1st that tells us it’s time for a new start, really every breath that we take is a new moment to start over. Each breath is a brand new moment. With every inhale, our rib cage expands and our diaphragm lowers, creating space, and with each exhale we move deeper into that new expansiveness. With every inhale there is a moment to pause and think about what you are about to put into the world, and with every exhale is its result. If you tell yourself something is impossible, then it will be, but if you allow at least a little bit of space for something new, opportunities abound!

Happy New Year!!!

An opportunity for transformation in 2017:

Join me on what is sure to be a life-changing experience on a yoga/hiking retreat in Utah/Zion National Park! March 13th – 17th, details can be found here: infopacket. Put down a deposit by January 10th to reserve your spot at this pricing!

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Yoga/Hiking Retreat to Utah/Zion National Park

I am so excited to be leading a yoga/hiking retreat to Utah March 13-17! Details are below. For more detailed information, secure your spot or ask questions, email aprildechagas@gmail.com.  Full detailed information here: infopacket

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The End of an Era

It is hard to believe that Yoga People  is closing after 18 years of service to the Brooklyn Heights Community. Yoga People will always hold a very special place in my heart, as this is where I started my own practice 8 years ago, where I met my first Jivamukti teachers, and where I have been teaching for the last three years.

When I first moved to the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, I would often walk past the Yoga People sign on Montague Street – intrigued, but not enough to actually go in. Believe it or not, I was very resistant to the idea of yoga before I actually tried it! It wasn’t until I was planning to attend the Pura Vida Adventures surf camp in Costa Rica that I even gave yoga a second thought.
I was pretty out of shape at the time, working until 1 am almost every night, eating take-out at my desk, and definitely not working out at all. All of the literature I was sent from the surf camp said that yoga was good for surfing, and not wanting to make a fool of myself on the surf board (more than I already knew I would!) I decide to “train” for this camp. I saw that Yoga People offered an Absolute Beginners workshop – once a week for 4 weeks, and thought I’d give it a try.  Soon after, once a week turned into twice a week, then three times, five times, and after about a year I was up to seven days a week! I always joke and say I fell in-love with yoga and only in-like with surfing.
Yoga People was not only where I started my practice, but also where I met many of my friends in the Brooklyn Heights area. It was such a welcoming community; all of the students would chat with each other before and after class, sometimes joke during class, and if you ran into someone on the street, they always stopped to say hello. I am very grateful for the friendships I have built through this loving satsang.
I know many of you have expressed concern to me about where you will continue to practice. I am happy to announce that I will be transitioning just a few doors down to Area Yoga. This will be a smooth transition, as I will be teaching at the exact same time: Monday and Friday at 9:30 am. Although most of the classes at Area are shorter in length, my class will be the same hour and a half length. These classes will begin right after YP closes, beginning October 3rd.
I hope that many of you will follow me to Area, as I will miss all of your smiling yogi faces if not! You can also find my full teaching schedule at other studios on my website: https://aprildechagas.com/yoga/
Please keep coming to class in the next few weeks at Yoga People. My last few classes at YP will be on 9/16, 9/18, 9/24 & 9/25. Keep practicing and keep smiling!
Love and Om!
April
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Artwork

I’ve recently added a new page to this website featuring my artwork. I am not trained in any way, other than taking classes in middle school and high school (the last time I took an art class was 1998!) I actually stopped drawing in 1998, and did not start again until 2012. In truth, what inspired me to start drawing again was complete boredom, which then led to actual inspiration from living life.

What are mostly drawings using pencil, colored pencil, and sometimes marker (with a few random mixed-media projects) are placed in four categories for right now: Wildlife, Drawings Inspired by Short Sweet Poems, Yogic Artwork, and Miscellaneous.

You can view the page here: Artwork or click on the tab above.

Butterfly

Butterfly

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Thank you

I am so honored and humbled to be featured as the “Teacher of the Quarter” at Jivamukti WallYoga School. I had so much fun working with Connie and Russell,  the photography duo know as Guzman. They are so perfect at what they do, and make the process so enjoyable. The photo that was chosen for the wall has another magical element to it – I was actually in the middle of chanting Samadhi Pada, the first chapter of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, when they caught this shot. I’d like to think that it is the Sutras that really allows this photo to shine the way it does. You can see it in my eyes 😉

Some of the other photos from the shoot are below. I have multitudes of gratitude for all of my teachers, past and present, and to all the students of Jivamukti. Thank you.

SexyKing PigeonYoga SutrasPaschimo

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H”OM”E Remedy

PYS 1.28 taj-japas tad-artha-bhāvanam

By Chanting Om one realizes the meaning of Om.

PYS 1.29 tataḥ pratyak-cetanādhigamo ‘pyantarāyābhāvaś ca

From repetition of and reflection on Om, comes Cosmic Consciousness as well as destruction of physical and mental diseases.

Although our true Self is not the body and mind, we do have a body and mind, and are very often victims of disturbing thoughts or physical pain. It is the nature of the human form to feel this way sometimes, and it is often difficult to get past. Unfortunately it has become custom in our society to turn to “pain-killer” drugs or anti-depressants to deal with these issues, but there is a better way! According to Patanjali, all we have to do is chant Om!

Om (made up of four sounds: ahh-ooo-mmm, and silence), when chanted, vibrates throughout the body, starting in the abdomen, moving through the heart, and then finally through the skull. Om is the first sound that was, when the world was created, and it resonates in all that surrounds us. It is universal. It is boundless joy. We are “Om”.

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Om is referred to as pranava, ever new, and each time it is said, you are re-newed, “brought into alignment again.” Repeatedly chanting Om will allow you to start fresh, wiping the slate clean of the pain we feel.

In PYS 1.29, Patanjali prescribes the repetition of Om as the cure for antarāyablocks or obstacles; or rather, physical and mental diseases. He goes on to name these obstacles – sickness, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, sexual preoccupation, error of perception, failure to be grounded, instability, and distractions of the mind. But how? What is it about Om that can cure these ailments? Well for one, Om is God (in whatever form that means to you), and if Om resonates in everything of this Earth, including us, then we are God too. When we chant Om, we are connected to everything and anything that is part of this earth, and eventually we realize we are the same as everything of this Earth. If we are all the same, then the pain and suffering we feel is unsubstantial. Unfortunately the mental and physical afflictions we feel prevent us from realizing this right away, or even realizing it in this lifetime. In order to become a Jivanmukta, one who becomes liberated, or enlightened, in this lifetime, one must realize that they are not the pain and suffering that they feel. Om can help us get there.

Om is also considered to be the most powerful of mantras. A mantra is a word or phrase that has “transcendental powers”, traversing, or protecting, the mind. When chanting Om, no other thoughts can break through. Any distractions are forgotten about. Om is like our own personal magical elixir that causes a shift in perception – the cure is inside of us. But the trick is to keep going, working at it, practice – pratyak means you relinquish going out – you want to turn back, but you keep going.

We often feel these physical and mental afflictions when practicing asana. Tightness in the hamstrings and hips, thoughts about something that happened earlier in the day, week, month, year. If we focus on the pain, it can become a burden, stopping us from becoming a Jivanmukta. But by chanting Om while in various asanas, it will allow the mind to stop focusing on the physical difficultness of the pose, maybe even make the pose easier. Om into the pain. Feel it vibrate through the body. Let the silence that comes after permeate through you. Feel the pulsation of the entire universe inside the body, and eventually realize that you are the entire universe. You are Om. You are God.

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,400 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 57 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Sacred Geometry: An Asana Lab Experience

Register Here: http://bit.ly/1RvcCsf

Sacred Geometry

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