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New Summer Schedule and Avenues for Justice

After much consideration, I’ve decided to make some changes to the schedule for the summer. Monday 6 pm will now take place at 3:00 pm and Saturday 5 pm will only take place on rainy days. 

What does this mean? Essentially Saturday night class will be on hold until the fall, but if the weather isn’t great, I’ll send out an email that day to see if there’s interest in a pop-up.

I know that sounds a bit strange, but I guess that’s one of the advantages of teaching on zoom! Unfortunately class size hasn’t warranted keeping it on the schedule – it’s summer and I have a feeling you guys would prefer some outdoor time after being cooped up inside for the last 3-plus months. New Schedule is below.

In Social Reform news…

On Friday I sat in on a live talk with Angel Rodriguez and Gamal Willis of the NYC organization Avenues for Justice, moderated by Jivamukti’s Jules Febre, who also happens to be one of AFJ’s success stories. A little bit about AFJ:

In 1979, Avenues for Justice reached into overcrowded Manhattan criminal courtrooms and found youths who might turn their lives around if they only had a second chance. We presented the courts with an idea: instead of sentencing young people to prison, judges could send them to AFJ for counseling, training, education and employment assistance.  This simple tactic — keeping youths out of prison — has saved the lives of hundreds of young lives every year for four decades. At a time when the U.S. incarceration rate is the highest of any nation in the world and a cycle of arrests and imprisonment has become the norm within many low-income communities, AFJ has bucked the trend to become one of the most successful and cost-effective crime prevention programs in America. Read more here 
One of their key initiatives right now is removing the NYPD from the school system.  When I worked as a school counselor at Landmark High School I witnessed first hand the effect police officers had on the students, as well as physical altercations. They do not belong there. If you have been pushing for the defunding of the NYPD, think about volunteering or donating to AFJ.

AVENUE FOR JUSTICE’S GOALS

Keep kids out of prison – That’s how AFJ stops New York City crime. Our goals:

  1. Intervene to divert and reclaim young people from lives of crime.

2. Provide an overloaded court system a reliable alternative to incarceration.

3. Make New York City a safer place for everyone.

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Keep Fighting the Good Fight

The fight against systemic racism will not end overnight. Some positive outcomes have emerged from the Black Lives Matter movement, but if anything that means we must keep going! There’s lifetimes of work to do.

I sat in on a panel discussion this weekend led by various global teachers from Jivamukti Yoga on the topic of Crisis and Community. From what I know this is going to be an on-going discussion, as it should be, and if you are interested the first discussion can be found on their FB page.  

During the panel a resource on Talking About Race from the National Museum of African American History & Culture was brought up, which you can find here. The website is easy to navigate and breaks up topics based on if you are an educator, a parent/caregiver, or a person committed to equity.https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race?fbclid=IwAR21wMX945Vl7Hfk_ThEXXiQf9njfuETuIE815PXQnZ-LBegsHlDARJ53V8

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Black Lives Matter

For those of you actively participating in peaceful protests – stay strong, be safe, be smart. 

If you feel like practicing this week, I am here. If not, I get it. The schedule is below. 

I never expected the person who sits in the White House to make any type of supportive statement about BIPOC, the Black Lives Matter movement, or the horrific actions of the police officers who killed George Floyd. The fact that he ran and hid with the lights of the White House turned off was extra appalling. I won’t dignify those officers or the person who happens to be sitting in the White House by saying their names.

I will say these names LOUDLY. I will support BIPOC in any way that I can and actively stand up for their rights, now and always. These are only the names of the people who were killed by  police that made recent “headlines”.  There are countless others:

TONY MCDADE

GEORGE FLOYD 

SEAN REED

BREONNA TAYLOR

AHMAUD ARBERY


TAMIR RICE

KORRYN GAINES

PHILANDO CASTILE

ERIC GARNER

TRAYVON MARTIN

FREDDIE GRAY

SANDRA BLAND

President Barack Obama made a statement on Monday, June 1st. I urge you to read it. And to echo what he says later on, changes to the way our policing system works happens at the local level, not federal. VOTE!!!!https://medium.com/@BarackObama/how-to-make-this-moment-the-turning-point-for-real-change-9fa209806067


theroot.com also posted a timeline of events that led to what they call the “Fed-Up” Risinghttps://www.theroot.com/a-timeline-of-events-that-led-to-the-2020-fed-up-rising-1843780800


Be well. Stay safe. Stand tall for BIPOC. They aren’t being heard. It’s way past time to listen. See you on the mat.

Love,

April

Suggested donation is $10-20 sliding scale or free if you are currently without income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please be honest about this as teaching Zoom classes is currently my only form of income.

Payments accepted via Venmo @April-Dechagas or PayPal aprildechagas@gmail.com, or Zelle.

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Zoom Yoga 5/27-6/1 & Feeding the Birds!

Zoom schedule below. Send me a message if you need log-in details!

In other non-zoom news, I have finally invested in a bird feeder! The box it came in says it could take up to 5 weeks for birds to arrive, but if there’s seed, they will come! I learned (on Google) that there is specific seed that squirrels and pigeons do not like, so I bought a mixture of safflower, nyjer and striped sunflower seeds to keep them away. I had one curious squirrel pop by and he took one sniff and RAN as if it were the most disgusting thing in the world, so I guess the interwebs were correct.

I also had an interested male Northern Cardinal come by already! I was super excited since the only birds that have made an appearance the past 7 years are pigeons, but unfortunately I was so excited I scared it away before he ate some seed 😦 I’ve noticed that cardinals are more skittish than other birds.But I’m sure he’ll be back!

Picture of my new bird feeder below 🙂

See you on the Zoom mat! ❤☀🕶Love,April

Suggested donation for classes is $10-20 sliding scale or free if you are currently without income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please be honest about this as teaching Zoom classes is currently my only form of income.

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Zoom Yoga 5/20-5/25 & Nature in NYC

This week’s teaching schedule has a slight change – the Wednesday evening 60 min class will now take place at 8 am. Full schedule below.

Quite a few people have asked me for recommendations on where you can explore nature and wildlife in the 5 Boroughs, so I thought I’d leave a list here of some of the places I’ve been exploring. Unfortunately unless you have a car, some of these places are more challenging to get to during current times, but well worth exploring if you can. The list below is by borough, and is definitely not all-inclusive, just places I’ve enjoyed.

Brooklyn:

Marine Park Salt Marsh Trail

Gerritsen Beach

Plumb Beach (go during low tide)

North Forty Natural Area (Floyd Bennet Field is currently closed – but putting this here for when it reopens)

Shore Road Park/Bay Ridge Promenade

Prospect Park

Queens:

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Forest Park

Manhattan:

The Ramble, Ravine, and North Woods in Central Park

Fort Tryon Park (one of my faves)

Staten Island:

The Greenbelt (High Rock Park and Latourette Park)

Scarlett Tanagers chillin’ at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
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Zoom Yoga 4/29-5/4 & Blackout Poetry

To close out National Poetry Month, below you’ll find some “blackout” poetry by my friend Lauren Krauze. Yes, the same Lauren that brought you “Short Sweet Poems.” Check out her Instagram page for more – she’s been posting a new one everyday!

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Zoom Yoga 4/15-4/20

Song lyrics are also poetry! In keeping with National Poetry Month, these are the lyrics to Bill Withers’ Lovely Day 🙂 And teaching schedule below.

Lovely Day – Bill Withers

When I wake up in the morning, love
And the sunlight hurts my eyes
And something without warning, love
Bears heavy on my mind

Then I look at you
And the world’s alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it’s gonna be
A lovely day
A lovely day

When the day that lies ahead of me
Seems impossible to face
When someone else instead of me
Always seems to know the way

Then I look at you
And the world’s alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it’s gonna be
A lovely day
A lovely day

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Zoom Classes 4/8-4/13 & National Poetry Month

It’s National Poetry Month! Each week a different poem will be featured as the dharma talk in my 90-minute classes! Along with this week’s schedule below, you’ll also find a poem by Rumi called The Guest House.

Log-in for Zoom classes is available by email only. If you are not currently on my mailing list, but would like to attend class, please send me a message!

The guest house ~~ Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
For some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing,
And invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent,
As a guide from beyond

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5 Minute Meditation

I recently made a short video for Aavrani, an Indian beauty ritual company. It’s an easy 3-step method for you to find a few moments of calm and quiet.

The video can be found below! If you’d like to explore any of Aavrani’s products, check out their website here:

About Aavrani:

Drawing upon Indian identity, heritage, and a deeper meaning of beauty, we reimagine clean skincare. This is beauty infused with bold sophistication, confidence, and wisdom. This is aavrani. At our core, we celebrate female empowerment. In Hindi, “rani” means “queen.” Our mission is to champion and uplift by encouraging all women to embrace their natural beauty.

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Upcoming Live-Stream Classes 3/19-3/23

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