2022: Year of the Water Tiger

HAPPY NEW YEAR, Dishers! 

 

Forgive me for jumping ahead a month to the Chinese Lunar New Year, but it’s quite a horoscope read! Starting February, we’ll be officially in the Year of the Water Tiger. I am posting a photo of the endangered Malaysian Tiger from the zoo in Naples, who unfortunately didn’t make it to “his year.”  Death by curiosity–not his own–indeed. 

When I was visibly pregnant in Singapore w/ my daughter, I had the usual conversations w/ strangers in passing, such as “When’s your due date,” “How are you feeling?” Levity took a turn though, as she was to be born in the Year of the Tiger. In Asian culture, Tiger Girls are…problematic.  They’re stubborn, outspoken, and make terrible wives.  Hence, in the old days (though not as long ago as we’d like to think) girls were abandoned on orphanage steps in droves, the families fearing they couldn’t make a good martial match, and thus have to support the girl throughout her life. There are parts of the world where this is still the case.

The first reaction of many Singaporeans was, “Tiger girl? That’s difficult, lah.” I learned to delight in responding, “America is perfect for Tiger Girls–it’s the best sign you can be.” I would also share that, in the US, girl babies are more in demand for adoption than boys.  Good-hearted debates ensued and we all learned a little something about each other in between subway stops.

So, ready to hear what the Year of the Water Tiger holds? It’s juicy…

First, it is marked by determinism, spontaneity, and novelty– already signed up!  If you come to class, you know that novelty is an essential part of learning, keeps our brains young.  Same ol’ same ol’ dulls our brains and worse… makes us dull at parties!

In the Year of the Water Tiger, we can draw resilience from “dynamism and enthusiasm.”  I propose a new mantra, one that sounds straight outta Ted Lasso: “Too Enthusiastic to Fail.” If you know what I’ve gone through with our “cloak and daggar”  Homeowners’ Association Board, you know that this mantra has already been road-tested.  So far so good:  we barely missed a beat, wound up at a better venue aptly named “Peace United” –no false advertising there! Truth be told, if the Association would’ve just been upfront about the situation, the same outcome would’ve likely ensued, minus the drama–Jerry Mcquire meets Mean Girls (AARP Edition)? 

Now that I think about it, enthusiasm and dynamism are powerful antidotes to toxicity and stagnation. Please, if you haven’t yet watched Ted Lasso (Apple TV) it’s worth the subscription. 

But wait, just when you thought the horoscope couldn’t get any more relevant, the year brings, “unforeseen change, surprising developments” including “regaining ground on battlefields thought lost.”  In case you didn’t hear, our HOA election results ousted an incumbent and brought in two new yoga-friendly members. 

Swami Kripalu said many times that “Life is a Battlefield.”  This is not one of his widely circulated quotes–no memes as it doesn’t pass the pop-yoga “vibe check.”

We all have battles, large and small. Some we choose, some choose us.  A true yoga practice is about preparing to be our best warrior.  There are rules of engagement, handed down to us in the ancient Yoga Sutras through the yamas and niyamas, often equated with Christianity’s 10 Commandments.  The yamas and niyamas cleverly tell you what you shouldn’t do, but also flip it around as to what you should do.

Yamas
Nonviolence 
Nonlying (Truthfulness)
Nonstealing
Nonexcess
Nonpossessiveness 

Niyamas
Purity
Contentment
Self-discipline
Surrender

I have to admit, I feel like I’ve been in a yama meatgrinder in my own backyard.  It’s still shocking to think how we were disrespected and dismissed as a group of neighbors, all in the name of accomodating a outside high-paying, high-maintenance tenant that was somehow above the rules, not required to share the space in a community building?!  #gobears 

When we chose to exercise good ol’ democratic activism like writing letters, speaking at meetings, the NOHOA Board turned their wrath on me, launching personal and public attacks on my reputation. It was astonishing that, after a 15+ year unblemished run as the most successful adult /senior rec program in North Oaks (outside of the Golf Club), how certain members of the Board (who barely knew me) were so eager to believe the flimsiest of attempts to discredit me. We scratch our heads, wondering where they derrive such power to decimate a popular program: many of them ran uncontested.  

I do want to take a moment here to thank all of you who sensed what I was going through and took a moment to check-in. The acknowledgment meant the world to me.  For those of you offering free legal advice as well as general wisdom–I appreciate you more than I already did! 

If you would like to learn more about the yamas and niyamas, we have a wonderful local author out of Duluth who wrote a short and sweet summary. It’s very practical and easy to read–book club pick, anyone? The Yamas and Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practices. 

Technically, you’re supposed to study the Yamas and Niyamas before asana (postures). I would be happy to host a book club at my house, sometime in maybe the deep dark depths of February if we can get enough interest. Perhaps a Tuesday evening?  It’s so you learn things like ahimsa, (nonviolence) pertains to one’s own body, so you don’t go too aggressively into the physical hatha practice, and don’t “beat yourself up”– physically or mentally. It’s like reading the manual. #RTFM.


In 2022, I will be focusing on surrender, ishvara prandidhana.
If you’re a Christian, this might be akin to the idea that “God has a plan.”  Some of you will make the connection that, when we practice Sivasana (pronounced “shivasana”)  for the last 10 minutes of class, I often use the verb “surrender.”  Essentially, it is a meditation on sitting with The Way Things Are.  

For me personally, surrender in 2022 will mean being OK with not knowing what the future brings on many levels.  I need to “make friends” with not knowing. Many of you do too, be it a difficult medical diagnosis, financial issues, relationship drama, etc.  I have to admit, right now, “not knowing” is more of a “frenemy.”  It seems to be everywhere, following me around, mocking me–desperate to tamp down my enthusiasm. 

While a Fire Tiger would turn around and rip a frenemy head off, a Water Tiger would be more measured, more careful…more meditative? I will set my tiger eyes upon “not knowing,” study it, get to know it, maybe even tame it. The ultimate goal: not letting what I can’t know about the future ruin the present. Any other Tigers out there want to give it a try? You have 10 minutes at the end of every class. 


Feeling Spontaneous in 2022? We still have bunks available for Hilton Head/Savannah/Beaufort South Carolina: April 30 – May 7.

“Thursday Thrivers” 5:30 pm Zoom w/ Libby Wendorf of Cary, North Carolina ~ Beginners Welcome!

Libby Wendorf is a great intuitive teacher who can assess the mood of the room/zoom and adapt to energy, fitness, and stress levels. Beginners are welcome. Libby has been doing yoga for over 15 years and received her training in residence from Kripalu in Massachusetts. A former North Oaks resident, she now lives in Cary, North Carolina and will put even the most hesitant beginner at ease!

$12 Standard Price for a single Zoom session (Pls. select “Zoom w/ Libby”)

$10 “add-a-class” (HotDishers enrolled in other programs)

$10 Students (middle school, college, post-grad)

1-Month Unlimited ZOOM (calendar month, but pro-rating available for new students) $60

How do I take a class?  

  1. New Students: please us PayPal. You can use a regular credit card on PP and simply check out as a “guest” if don’t have an account. You can always switch to Zelle or VENMO later.
  2. Make sure your ZOOM account displays your name (not just a phone number) so we can admit you from the waiting room. LINK
  3. Fill out a contact form and tell us a little bit about your yoga experience, goals and any concerns.
  4. IF it’s close to class time and you haven’t received a link, email Shailayoga{@}gmail.com

Beginner? New to YogaHotDish? Health issues you want to improve or workaround? Senior just getting in the yoga game, thinking maybe starting yoga on a group ZOOM could be confusing?  Check out the Start Right / Dive Deep program, specially designed for beginners, newbies and seniors. YogaHotDish will be fully vested in your success.  The question is, “Will you?”

“Thursday Thrivers” 5:30 pm Zoom w/ Libby Wendorf of Cary, North Carolina ~ Beginners Welcome!

Libby Wendorf is a great intuitive teacher who can assess the mood of the room/zoom and adapt to energy, fitness, and stress levels. Beginners are welcome. Libby has been doing yoga for over 15 years and received her training in residence from Kripalu in Massachusetts. A former North Oaks resident, she now lives in Cary, North Carolina and will put even the most hesitant beginner at ease!

$12 Standard Price for a single Zoom session (Pls. select “Zoom w/ Libby”)

$10 “add-a-class” (HotDishers enrolled in other programs)

$10 Students (middle school, college, post-grad)

1-Month Unlimited ZOOM (calendar month, but pro-rating available for new students) $60

How do I take a class?  

  1. New Students: please us PayPal. You can use a regular credit card on PP and simply check out as a “guest” if don’t have an account. You can always switch to Zelle or VENMO later.
  2. Make sure your ZOOM account displays your name (not just a phone number) so we can admit you from the waiting room. LINK
  3. Fill out a contact form and tell us a little bit about your yoga experience, goals and any concerns.
  4. IF it’s close to class time and you haven’t received a link, email Shailayoga{@}gmail.com

Beginner? New to YogaHotDish? Health issues you want to improve or workaround? Senior just getting in the yoga game, thinking maybe starting yoga on a group ZOOM could be confusing?  Check out the Start Right / Dive Deep program, specially designed for beginners, newbies and seniors. YogaHotDish will be fully vested in your success.  The question is, “Will you?”

“Thursday Thrivers” 5:30 pm Zoom w/ Libby Wendorf of Cary, North Carolina ~ Beginners Welcome!

Libby Wendorf is a great intuitive teacher who can assess the mood of the room/zoom and adapt to energy, fitness, and stress levels. Beginners are welcome. Libby has been doing yoga for over 15 years and received her training in residence from Kripalu in Massachusetts. A former North Oaks resident, she now lives in Cary, North Carolina and will put even the most hesitant beginner at ease!

$12 Standard Price for a single Zoom session (Pls. select “Zoom w/ Libby”)

$10 “add-a-class” (HotDishers enrolled in other programs)

$10 Students (middle school, college, post-grad)

1-Month Unlimited ZOOM (calendar month, but pro-rating available for new students) $60

How do I take a class?  

  1. New Students: please us PayPal. You can use a regular credit card on PP and simply check out as a “guest” if don’t have an account. You can always switch to Zelle or VENMO later.
  2. Make sure your ZOOM account displays your name (not just a phone number) so we can admit you from the waiting room. LINK
  3. Fill out a contact form and tell us a little bit about your yoga experience, goals and any concerns.
  4. IF it’s close to class time and you haven’t received a link, email Shailayoga{@}gmail.com

Beginner? New to YogaHotDish? Health issues you want to improve or workaround? Senior just getting in the yoga game, thinking maybe starting yoga on a group ZOOM could be confusing?  Check out the Start Right / Dive Deep program, specially designed for beginners, newbies and seniors. YogaHotDish will be fully vested in your success.  The question is, “Will you?”

“Thursday Thrivers” 5:30 pm Zoom w/ Libby Wendorf of Cary, North Carolina ~ Beginners Welcome!

Libby Wendorf is a great intuitive teacher who can assess the mood of the room/zoom and adapt to energy, fitness, and stress levels. Beginners are welcome. Libby has been doing yoga for over 15 years and received her training in residence from Kripalu in Massachusetts. A former North Oaks resident, she now lives in Cary, North Carolina and will put even the most hesitant beginner at ease!

$12 Standard Price for a single Zoom session (Pls. select “Zoom w/ Libby”)

$10 “add-a-class” (HotDishers enrolled in other programs)

$10 Students (middle school, college, post-grad)

1-Month Unlimited ZOOM (calendar month, but pro-rating available for new students) $60

How do I take a class?  

  1. New Students: please us PayPal. You can use a regular credit card on PP and simply check out as a “guest” if don’t have an account. You can always switch to Zelle or VENMO later.
  2. Make sure your ZOOM account displays your name (not just a phone number) so we can admit you from the waiting room. LINK
  3. Fill out a contact form and tell us a little bit about your yoga experience, goals and any concerns.
  4. IF it’s close to class time and you haven’t received a link, email Shailayoga{@}gmail.com

Beginner? New to YogaHotDish? Health issues you want to improve or workaround? Senior just getting in the yoga game, thinking maybe starting yoga on a group ZOOM could be confusing?  Check out the Start Right / Dive Deep program, specially designed for beginners, newbies and seniors. YogaHotDish will be fully vested in your success.  The question is, “Will you?”

Small Business Saturday: High time to decorporatize yoga!

McYoga | this is so crass. | jpmatth | Flickr

How’d we get here: $100 + yoga pants (guilty), gymnastical poses, pyramid-scheme teacher trainings, #instayoga?

Is there even such a thing anymore as practicing yoga alone in a quiet room? If there’s not a post w/ a dozen hashtags, did a yoga practice even occur?

We’re in a mess, and “Big Yoga” (CorePower, Lifetime, Equinox) has a lot of explaining to do. Yoga used to be more about living in the world and being a good person, a wellness and longevity philosophy for the ages. It was for seekers, in search of a higher “true self”: peeling back the layers, letting go of the bullshit–not creating more of it!

Somehow making sense of the messiness of human existence got sanitized, made over, and ultimately merchandized, often by investors who knew next to nothing about it. An entire 40 billion-dollar industry sprung up with magazines, clothing, props, mats, and more. While some of the “schools of lineage” back to India attempted to enforce teaching standards a few decades ago under the banner of the Yoga Alliance, they too got swept away by the commercial tsunami. The best way to grow the Yoga Alliance was to certify more programs, more instructors, more-more-more!

Yet, at its heart, yoga is a practice of minimizing, seeing the facades and props of life (from yoga blocks to BMWs) for what they are: things to hold ourselves up in a dog-eat-down-dog world. The lucky ones realize this sooner rather than later. They stop looking for meaning in acquisition.

It’s no wonder so many “successful” people are drawn to yoga: they “have it all,” yet still feel a void. They’ve lost track of the simple pleasures in life and perhaps even of themselves along the way. So much focus on the veneer reduces awareness of what’s real. I can’t tell you the number of times “busy and important” people have walked right by–even through–one of my outdoor yoga classes without so much as lowering their voices. They probably can’t understand why anyone would want to sit quietly and see no value in it. Surely what we’re doing can’t be important than their conversation about the upcoming kitchen remodel.

Awareness begins with maybe just one breath in one class: for the first time, a subtler plane of existence is noticed, if just for a few seconds. Maybe there’s a glimpse of something bigger that’s new on one hand, eternal on the other. That glimpse somehow feels so peaceful and even awe-inspiring, all the other stuff–the props of life–seem to melt away into insignificance.

Chances are that little peek didn’t happen during “flying crow” or “scorpion” with new-age-y music blaring. Likely it was during a quiet interlude, in a less challenging pose, or savasana at the end. Those are the moments when seekers are born! Sramana is a Sanskrit word for “seeker,” but implies a level of energy that makes “striver” a better translation.

For a practice that requires no equipment, was based on a simple mentorship between teacher and student,, has a code of ethics (non-stealing, non-violence, non-lying to name a few) how’d we end up with 30-person classes in a roomful of mirrors, following someone who barely knows us and is in it to “get paid to work out?” (Big Yoga’s go-to justification for minuscule salaries).

Trust me w/ 20 yrs experience and a top teaching credential: if the teacher is up in front getting a workout, you’re in a group exercise class with a yoga theme, not an actual yoga class.

The good news: it seems Covid made even mainstream yoga a bit more introspective. People are re-evaluating what yoga is and even what the term should mean. Big Yoga like LifeTime and CorePower may not be able to continue controlling the conversation. New voices have emerged and they’re getting louder: #decolonizeyoga #accessibleyoga #authenticyoga #yamasniyamas –even in the most superficial and unlikeliest of places…social media.

My mission from the beginning of YogaHotDish, in 2001 (before hashtags), was #decorporatizeyoga. Even back then, I could tell that the gyms offering yoga had their definitions askew, reducing the practice to exercises. I had just returned from studying yoga in Singapore. My teacher was in her 60’s back then, wore the same white polo and blue sweat pants, was a Buddhist who studied in India. Nothing I saw happening in the US gyms had any resemblance to the transformational practice I had experienced abroad.

Though I figured I didn’t have near the life experience necessary in my 30’s and a new Mom, I decided to become a yoga teacher because I couldn’t find a class anywhere. I created a student-focused business w/o any “layer” of management (read: politics, profiteering, pettiness) between me and my students.

If you’d like to show up to a class and find out what “Small Yoga” has to offer you, please do. Some people even do both “Big” and “Small” yoga. After all, yoga is about finding balance, dancing between the poles of opposites, sitting in contradiction. Yes, you can do Yoga Sculpt one day and YogaHotDish the next. What an adventure that would be!

We likely won’t ever really #decorporatizeyoga because convenience is a necessity in our culture. Heck, I just joined LifeTime Fitness for the Winter because I need a place to do cardio, a bit of weight lifting/rehab to keep things in check –consider it my “workout office.” I like the fact that I can take a nice long shower there and no one is going to knock on the door shouting so-and-so is on the phone and do I want to take the call. No phones at the dinner table OR in the shower, how’s that for a rule to live by?

Frankly, the Lifetime staff are rather pleasant and gregarious, rare in these parts come Winter. Mind you, I live in a neighborhood where pedestrians have to be directed by the HOA to wave. The nice kid who checked me in for the first time noticed the “yoga” in my email address and said, “Oh, man you’re gonna love our yoga classes.” I deflected, “Is that a PopTart you’re eating–maple and brown sugar perhaps?” He laughed nervously, “Yeah, I guess it’s the Breakfast of Champions.” I laughed too, and said, “I haven’t seen one since I was ten.”

“Thursday Thrivers” 5:30 pm Zoom w/ Libby Wendorf of Cary, North Carolina ~ Beginners Welcome!

Libby Wendorf is a great intuitive teacher who can assess the mood of the room/zoom and adapt to energy, fitness, and stress levels. Beginners are welcome. Libby has been doing yoga for over 15 years and received her training in residence from Kripalu in Massachusetts. A former North Oaks resident, she now lives in Cary, North Carolina and will put even the most hesitant beginner at ease!

$12 Standard Price for a single Zoom session (Pls. select “Zoom w/ Libby”)

$10 “add-a-class” (HotDishers enrolled in other programs)

$10 Students (middle school, college, post-grad)

1-Month Unlimited ZOOM (calendar month, but pro-rating available for new students) $60

How do I take a class?  

  1. New Students: please us PayPal. You can use a regular credit card on PP and simply check out as a “guest” if don’t have an account. You can always switch to Zelle or VENMO later.
  2. Make sure your ZOOM account displays your name (not just a phone number) so we can admit you from the waiting room. LINK
  3. Fill out a contact form and tell us a little bit about your yoga experience, goals and any concerns.
  4. IF it’s close to class time and you haven’t received a link, email Shailayoga{@}gmail.com

Beginner? New to YogaHotDish? Health issues you want to improve or workaround? Senior just getting in the yoga game, thinking maybe starting yoga on a group ZOOM could be confusing?  Check out the Start Right / Dive Deep program, specially designed for beginners, newbies and seniors. YogaHotDish will be fully vested in your success.  The question is, “Will you?”

“Thursday Thrivers” 5:30 pm Zoom w/ Libby Wendorf of Cary, North Carolina ~ Beginners Welcome!

Libby Wendorf is a great intuitive teacher who can assess the mood of the room/zoom and adapt to energy, fitness, and stress levels. Beginners are welcome. Libby has been doing yoga for over 15 years and received her training in residence from Kripalu in Massachusetts. A former North Oaks resident, she now lives in Cary, North Carolina and will put even the most hesitant beginner at ease!

$12 Standard Price for a single Zoom session (Pls. select “Zoom w/ Libby”)

$10 “add-a-class” (HotDishers enrolled in other programs)

$10 Students (middle school, college, post-grad)

1-Month Unlimited ZOOM (calendar month, but pro-rating available for new students) $60

How do I take a class?  

  1. New Students: please us PayPal. You can use a regular credit card on PP and simply check out as a “guest” if don’t have an account. You can always switch to Zelle or VENMO later.
  2. Make sure your ZOOM account displays your name (not just a phone number) so we can admit you from the waiting room. LINK
  3. Fill out a contact form and tell us a little bit about your yoga experience, goals and any concerns.
  4. IF it’s close to class time and you haven’t received a link, email Shailayoga{@}gmail.com

Beginner? New to YogaHotDish? Health issues you want to improve or workaround? Senior just getting in the yoga game, thinking maybe starting yoga on a group ZOOM could be confusing?  Check out the Start Right / Dive Deep program, specially designed for beginners, newbies and seniors. YogaHotDish will be fully vested in your success.  The question is, “Will you?”

“Thursday Thrivers” 5:30 pm Zoom w/ Libby Wendorf of Cary, North Carolina ~ Beginners Welcome!

Libby Wendorf is a great intuitive teacher who can assess the mood of the room/zoom and adapt to energy, fitness, and stress levels. Beginners are welcome. Libby has been doing yoga for over 15 years and received her training in residence from Kripalu in Massachusetts. A former North Oaks resident, she now lives in Cary, North Carolina and will put even the most hesitant beginner at ease!

$12 Standard Price for a single Zoom session (Pls. select “Zoom w/ Libby”)

$10 “add-a-class” (HotDishers enrolled in other programs)

$10 Students (middle school, college, post-grad)

1-Month Unlimited ZOOM (calendar month, but pro-rating available for new students) $60

How do I take a class?  

  1. New Students: please us PayPal. You can use a regular credit card on PP and simply check out as a “guest” if don’t have an account. You can always switch to Zelle or VENMO later.
  2. Make sure your ZOOM account displays your name (not just a phone number) so we can admit you from the waiting room. LINK
  3. Fill out a contact form and tell us a little bit about your yoga experience, goals and any concerns.
  4. IF it’s close to class time and you haven’t received a link, email Shailayoga{@}gmail.com

Beginner? New to YogaHotDish? Health issues you want to improve or workaround? Senior just getting in the yoga game, thinking maybe starting yoga on a group ZOOM could be confusing?  Check out the Start Right / Dive Deep program, specially designed for beginners, newbies and seniors. YogaHotDish will be fully vested in your success.  The question is, “Will you?”

SAT 9:30 am Zoom w/ Shaila “All-Levels All Starts” ~ In-person starting May

The epitome of all-levels, Saturday is perfect for most ages and stages of yoga, including fairly fit beginners. A full 90-minutes means heapin’ helpins’ of asana, pranayama, meditation, and a full-length savasana at the end. That said, if you have to chime in late and/or leave early, it’s never an issue at the HotDish!

$12 Standard Price for a single Zoom session

$10 “add-a-class” (HotDishers enrolled in other programs)

$10 Students (middle school, college, post-grad)

1-Month Unlimited ZOOM (calendar month, but pro-rating available for new students) $60

How do I take a class?  

  1. New Students: please us PayPal. You can use a regular credit card on PP and simply check out as a “guest” if don’t have an account. You can always switch to Zelle or VENMO later.
  2. Make sure your ZOOM account displays your name (not just a phone number) so we can admit you from the waiting room. LINK
  3. Fill out a contact form and tell us a little bit about your yoga experience, goals and any concerns.
  4. IF it’s close to class time and you haven’t received a link, email Shailayoga{@}gmail.com

Beginner? New to YogaHotDish? Health issues you want to improve or workaround? Senior just getting in the yoga game, thinking maybe starting yoga on a group ZOOM could be confusing?  Check out the Start Right / Dive Deep program, specially designed for beginners, newbies and seniors. YogaHotDish will be fully vested in your success.  The question is, “Will you?”