My name is Uschi, and I have spent the last 2 years connecting with womens’ empowerment communities in Varanasi, India. I am working to launch a clothing line that showcases the hand craft skills of women artisans on garments shaped in classic style, with a flattering shape and comfortable fit.
This journey has been a discovery into the hopes we share as women. Despite differences in Culture, we are seeking the same recognition, value, and love for our creativity-be it internal, or external.
After years working in the retail division of a high fashion company, I returned to Ojai to look deeper into what had been hinted to me for my life thus far. I began teaching Yoga at Lulu Bandha’s, where I found roots for my creativity to thrive.
During an educational journey to India in 2007 as co-leader of 11 teenage students, I first met the women who I am now working with. At this time their collective was just beginning-their first 10 members sewing in the courtyard of a barn. I was so inspired by them.
Upon my arrival in the States, I decided I needed to return and explore the potential I sensed through combining our skills, and defying the limitations of culture and language.
The women with whom I am connecting are incredibly brave souls. Each is a pioneer in her community, attempting to create a shift in consciousness. This will empower her through literacy, and independent means of income.
By honoring womens’ skills through continued production development, we are nourishing the growth of their self-value. Our ability to provide a means for this growth is an opportunity for us to nourish our own.
My intentions have grown through my fluency in their language and culture.
In the winter of 2009 I took on the role of directing their programs of production and education. This is an incredibly challenging position, where I communicate in predominately Hindi, and am confronted with huge cultural challenges and differences. I find myself driven into this work with such intense strength, I am inspired to meet these challenges, for they are fundamental to what I am building.
My hope is to continue to spread the word and facilitate work for the collective I am building.
I hope you’ll be inspired to take a closer look and keep in touch.
These beautiful pieces are available to pre-order. Each one is lovingly hand-crafted and a little bit unique from the finest silks and hand embroidered cottons. View the collection and you can order here.
You can download Yoga music here
Our mission with our clothing is to never create a boring design that unfortunately is all too common out there in the yoga/’spiritual’ world. Chakra tees… yawn! Uplifting phrases by themselves in a cute font…BORING! (and a prime example of lazy design.) With this collection we are inspired by people finally waking up on a mass scale. Sure, it took a major economic global contraction caused by major greed and misinformation. The debt mindset that somehow is rewarded in American society and how we do business. We could go on. But lets talk about the clothes themselves. They are in a word, ‘killer’. We have dresses this season that are beautiful and fluid and yes, sexy in supple bamboo and organic cotton. (The Kimberly Racer Tank Dress) A new style of tank top that not only shows off your back and shoulders with elegance but brings joy and a smile with the front and back graphics. (The Nadine Tuck Tank) Plus a cute, slouchy jacket that will make you want to crop off your hair so you can be like Jean Seberg in ‘Breathless’. (The Martine Jacket)
I see most people walking around realizing only a fraction of their potential, like partially opened flower buds. So with what is going on right now, people are being called on to evolve on all levels. The fresh, jewel like colors and smooth, supple textures of organic pima cotton and bamboo reminded us of flower petals.
As we are a graphically driven line, we’re always on the look-out for inspiration in language. Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini Yoga master,who came to the West in the early ’70’s, was one of the great teachers who really saw what was going on with the West’s hunger for meaning and experience outside of ‘normal’ experience. He had a list of phrases called ‘Sutras for the Aquarian Age’. The ones that we used are:
‘The Other Person is You’, ‘Vibrate the Cosmos, The Cosmos Shall Clear the Path’, Understand Through Compassion or You Will Misunderstand the Times’.
Why? These felt like the most resonant for what is going on right now.
We also got creative for the back prints on our shirts. The Sikhs have a sacred text called the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, which is like a long, beautiful, powerful poem. Each verse invokes an emotional response when chanted or read. The ones we loved were ‘One Universal Creator, the name is Truth’, ‘Image of the Undying, Beyond Birth Self Existent’ (which is on the back of our Chicano art inspired Black Lotus Tank) and ‘See the Brotherhood of all mankind as the highest order of Yogis. Conquer your own mind and you shall conquer the World’ (on the back of our ‘The Other Person is You’ Tee. Even when I write this I get a shiver from that last one as it is so frickin’ true.
So, there you have it. Truth is, we only have tiny quantities of each of these new things and you do not want to miss out. See you on the path and thanks for sharing it with us. We are on this path together, my friends.
You can download Yoga music here
We at YTC are all for leveling the playing field so if you have an interesting practice or teaching you feel strongly would benefit others, here are some general guidelines to get you started on creating your own content:
1. Market Research
If you’re serious about eventually monetizing from the content you put out there, this step is crucial. If you are a yoga teacher, it can be daunting to see the thousands of yoga DVDs and video clips already out there. Be honest with yourself - are you really adding something new to what is out there? Ask yourself, your students and your private clients what they like about your work. Don’t take the feedback personally but see it as an opportunity to set yourself apart. Other good places to research are amazon.com and youtube. What is out there already and what is getting noticed? Don’t be discouraged if you see something similar to what you had in mind. You can still make it unique with your own take on it. And it shows the demand is already there if someone else is doing it already.
2. Mine Your Expertise
After your years of practice and experience, the chances are you have a take on a practice which no-one else has. Recovered from an injury through yoga? That is valuable information that could benefit someone else. Do you have a killer handstand? Or what about being a self-professed couch potato who has had to really persevere to establish a regular asana practice? There is someone out there who would love to know what you know, how you’ve overcome your obstacles and how this practice will benefit them.
3. See Your Practice in Action in the Real World
If you are a yoga teacher already teaching public classes and private clients, that is a big advantage. You get to see how your teaching affects different people, different levels of practitioners and how you can modify. This last point is crucial. In order to reach the biggest audience, don’t design your work for the most advanced. Aim for the beginner/intermediate student. This is where you can really see how well put together your class really is. Any teaching should be a progression that can be followed by the most inexperienced student.
4. Keep Sequences Short and Sweet
A common misconception is that a practice has to be long - like 60-90 minutes -as you would in a yoga class at a studio. For your own content (such as a physical DVD) shorter and sweet is best. People are generally time poor and want to feel results in about 20-30 minutes. For a video clip (an actual practice, not a trailer), think even shorter - 15 minutes at most. More people will try it if it is not a large time commitment. This means focusing on paring down your practice to its essentials. If people want to go deeper, offer them another sequence where they can do just that.
5. Shoot and Edit a Little Sequence and Share It With The World
This can be a fun first step in getting your content and knowledge out there. You can give people a taster of what your work is - make it fun and memorable. Include an intro - who you are, what you do and why you created this practice. Think very concisely - the clip should be no longer than 3 minutes. Upload this to different video sharing sites like Tube Mogul or Traffic Geyser. Be sure to link your clip to your website’s URL and have a name and email capture page on the home page so people can sign up to learn more information. Create a newsletter using an email marketing company such as NamasteLight. Their product and customer service is second to none.
We at YTC have an information based product which guides you step-by-step on how to create, shoot, edit and sell your own DVD or download. Click Here To Find Out More!
You can download Yoga music here
One very cool thing we’ve witnessed is Jorgen Christiansson’s meditative approach to building a class. His sense of confidence (without a trace of arrogance) is infectious. From day one, he simply knew the right people would find him, and they have. I believed my awesome people would follow me up the block, but I have to admit it has been incredibly gratifying and a huge relief that they have. I cannot express the joy in my heart every time someone who has practiced with me for years comes walking through the door with a huge smile and a hug.
We’ve had some seriously fun parties including one of the best Halloween parties ever (”The Love Guru”, the “Green Fairy”, the glowing pregnant yogini who dressed as an oven complete with “bun”, and, of course, Satan). We are loving the opportunity to bring people together in regular clothes (well, except for Halloween, haha) and really start to build a community. It’s always bothered me that people don’t get a chance to hang out and get to know one another unless they go on a retreat together, especially since not everyone can afford to do that. I’ve watched friendships that began on retreats last for years, and it has been really cool to see the same thing happening through events at our space. Two of my all-time favorite students started chatting at our 2nd party, and now they are good girlfriends, hanging out on the weekends and having fun.
So there is the community happening at the studio, and then there is the larger community we are always looking for meaningful ways to serve. Our beautiful neighborhood in downtown Santa Monica is a tourist attraction but it is also the site of much suffering and hardship felt by Santa Monica’s large homeless population. In our effort to be a part of the solution to this problem we talked at length with city officials and met with local non-profits, and have decided to put our support behind OPCC, which is a network of shelters and services for the homeless on the west side of LA. On November 21, we’re hosting a fundraising event, “Karma Kirtan with Daniel Stewart and friends”, the proceeds of which will be donated to OPCC. One of the directors of the organization will be there to tell us about their work and how we as practitioners and citizens can get involved. We believe we have a responsibility and an opportunity as studio owners to help raise awareness and direct energy to worthy causes. We’ve placed a special emphasis on service in our own backyard, because there exists the possibility for a real and personal exchange of energy between the giver and receiver.
I would say that is the heart of where we are today. We have felt a tremendous outpouring of enthusiasm and support within the yoga community, and we’re so grateful. We are going to continue to do everything we can to create a place where all these incredible teachers and practitioners want to be. And I’m going to be very happy when I get 5 hours of sleep in a row
Please Enjoy Carlos Torres songs “Relaxation” and “Temptation” here
and here For more of his music visit http://www.charlietorres.com/lovepassfilter/
The goal is to raise $20,000, which will change the lives of these children forever. Each calendar retails for $14.99 with option of 5 and 10 packs. An excellent Holiday gift for sure!
Get this this now!
Fear not! Nutritionist Christa Orecchio de-mystifies that very human tendency of ‘Cravings’. Enjoy!
The body is an amazing source of intelligence. It is always there for you, pumping blood, never skipping a heartbeat, digesting whatever food you put in it, and maintaining homeostasis. Is this reliable, intelligent bio-computer making a mistake by craving ice cream or a hamburger or chocolate? Are cravings due to lack of will-power or discipline? I’d like to suggest that cravings are not a problem. They are critical pieces of information that tell you what your body needs.
The important thing is to understand why you crave what you crave. Perhaps your diet is too strict, devoid of essential nutrients. Perhaps you are living a lifestyle that is too boring or stressful. Your body tries to correct the imbalance by sending you a message: a craving. A craving for something sweet could mean you need more protein, more exercise, more water, or more love in your life. The key to stopping the sugar craving is to understand what your body really needs.
Your body knows best and is always trying to create balance. However, products like refined foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and drugs, which have little or no nutritional value, are confusing to the body. They throw it off balance and can create serious cravings, as your body tries to get what it needs to restore internal harmony. The more your food is whole and healthy, the easier it is for your body to stay in balance, giving you a happier, healthier life.
No book or theory can tell you what to eat, only awareness of your body and its needs. Of all the relationships in our life, the one with our body is most essential, and it takes communication, love, and time to cultivate. As you learn to decipher and respond to your body’s cravings, you will create a deep lasting level of health and balance.
The next time you have a craving, treat it as a loving message from your body instead of as a weakness. Try these steps to respond to your body:
• First have a glass of water and wait ten minutes.
• Eat a healthier version of what you crave. For example, if you crave sweets, try eating more fruit or root vegetables. What is out of balance in you life? Is there something you need to express, something being repressed? What happened in your life just before you had this craving?
• When you eat the food you are craving, enjoy it, taste it, savor it; notice its affects. Then you can be more aware and free to decide if you really want it next time.
You can download Yoga music here
Our world in the early 21st century has become less and less compartmentalized. As we have become more multi-dimensional in our lives, we demand the same things we use on a daily basis to become more versatile. For example, who just has a cell phone anymore? At the very least, it is a camera, alarm clock and personal music player. You can even accessorize it for heaven’s sake! More and more we’re also demanding the same thing from our wardrobes. Here are five ways to maximize your yoga/activewear pieces outside of class:
1. Look For Natural Fabrics Wherever Possible
Nothing screams “I’m just about to go to the gym!” more than wearing something made out of a wicking fabric. Natural cotton pants in particular, with the right weight fabric and cut can look elegant and put together with the right shoes and top.
2. Choose Functional Yet Fun Pieces To Dress Up Or Down
Pieces that have unusual scale such as a longer hooded jacket, add pizzazz to any outfit and are useful to stretch out your wardrobe when you don’t have time to change from A to B.
3. Layer Color
It looks cute to have a little color showing underneath something such as a practice bra or top with feminine detailing peaking out beneath a ribbed tank top or scoop-necked T. Perfect for lunch with friends and then as a workout outfit later in the day.
4. Wear Denim
This may seem obvious, but it is all to easy to get into the habit of constantly wearing workout clothes if you lead an active lifestyle and don’t have to go into an office everyday. For a more put together look, try putting on a pair of jeans with a practice tank or bra under a ribbed tank or scoop necked T. Or a denim jacket over a practice tank. Paired with a flowing skirt and flats or a pair of leggings and shorter skirt over the top, you can make a quick transition with effortless style.
5. Avoid Large Logos
Unless you are wearing something over the top in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, this is to be avoided. Who wants to be a walking billboard for a faceless corporation? They should be paying you to wear their garments, not the other way around! Seriously something that is sporty yet elegant is the most versatile and normally means something subtly branded or no visible logo.
You can download Yoga music here
Does Yoga + Tantra = Sex? Read on!
‘Tantra’ is certainly one of the most misunderstood Yoga traditions in the West. It is a powerful tool for our times. It is a field that I started to explore 20 years ago. Tantra is practiced by householders living in the world, for people who do not renounce life. It is for those who choose to ride the wave of life’s constant currents and challenges, for those who show up day after day and who wish to learn to flow through change; stable, yet flexible, open and fulfilled. In Sanskrit, ‘Tan’ means ‘to stretch ‘and ‘Tra’ means ‘beyond’.
Tantra works with energy: Prana (the sustaining life force) and Kundalini Shakti (the evolutionary and creative snake-like power) which permeates all life. Our body is seen as a sacred temple where Kundalini Shakto lies dormant, waiting to awakened. This is a slow and gradual process where our consciousness rises, transforming our life’s perceptions, understanding and experiences.
The most striking effect on me is an inherent feeling of freedom with a sense of infinite possibilities. One of Tantra’s premises is that “everything is possible”. I feel more alive and vibrant. It also helped me face and overcome many obstacles and heartbreaks, including the passing of my beloved mother 6 years ago. Over the years, it has given me a road map for transformation.
What is Tantra?
Tantra Yoga is a 5000-7000 year old vast field of yoga wisdom, science, art and techniques. The ‘Maithuna ritual’ or spiritual love-making branch represents about 0.1% of Tantra teachings totality. Maithuna rituals aim at experiencing oneness and bliss between the individual and the universal through the worship of Shakti.
There are many other Tantric paths emphasizing oneness and bliss between the individual and the universal. The universe is regarded as the divine play of Shakti (feminine, dynamic and creative principle of existence) and Shiva (masculine static form of the divine or pure, undifferentiated consciousness). Tantra’s teachings describe the universe’s creation as a sacred dance. There is no separation between the mundane and the sacred/spiritual world. As energy follows thoughts, we aim at mastering our mind to master our energy. Quantum physics mirrors Tantra in that it identifies a pulsating living force. This Spanda or primordial vibration correlates to quantum physic’s description of the electron constantly flickering in and out of existence.
What is ‘Yoga Tantra Flow’?
Yoga Tantra Flow is an embodiment of Tantra’s energetic practices through vinyasa flow and meditation. It is a dance where Tantra meets Vinyasa Flow yoga. Some of the energetic practices include breathing or pranayama, bandhas or energy seals, kriyas or energy consciousness movement, mantras and sacred sounds, visualizations, purifications and meditations.
How can I experience Yoga Tantra?
There are 2 easy ways:
- In living in such a way where relationships are the catalysts and revealers of our karmic and dharmic patterns. We can see our shortcomings and resistances.
- In awareness of the spine in Yoga Tantra practices. By turning our attention there, we awaken, activate and balance our energy and psyche. It is recommended to work with an experienced teacher.
If you are interested in experiencing, tasting and learning more about Yoga Tantra Flow, I have an upcoming workshop:
‘Introduction to Yoga Tantra Flow: Exploring the Chakras. Saturday, 10th Octover 2009 2-5pm at Yogaglo in Santa Monica CA. Open to everyone from beginners to advanced.
Visit Yogaglo or my website for more information.
Be in the Flow until next time,
Isabelle du Soleil
You can download Yoga music here
What is the Shanti Generation? It is a movement to empower youth with peacemaking skills. What we do is produce educational media that bring together ancient and modern practices to young people, with the help of young people. We are a platform where their wisdom is heard.
How did you first become involved with yoga? I was in an Eastern Philosophy class at my freshman year at the University of South Alabama. One of the assigned readings was from the Upanishads, which I found enthralling. I found it matched my own innate sense of life. From that point onward I immersed myself in Eastern thought and traditions. I took my first yoga class in 1995 in Los Angeles and it is now part of my everyday existence.
When did you first want to teach yoga to kids and why? I first starting teaching dance to young children when I was 16 years old and continued to teach throughout my undergrad studies. I did my first yoga teacher training at the Sivananda Yoga Vendanta Center in India in 1997 and transitioned over to teaching yoga. In 1999, I was doing the Yoga Works teacher training and Maty Ezraty invited me to teach the children’s classes there.
I love working with children because they seem to have direct access to the spiritual aspects of yoga. I’ve worked with many youth who have faced major troubles and trauma and seen how yoga helps them to develop their resilience. It’s so inspiring. My hope is that they take these skills to adulthood and allow the consciousness of yoga to permeate everywhere - in the environment, politics, finance and relationships.
What is your biggest challenge? I would have to say the sustainability and depth of programs that teach yoga to kids. Some great programs have closed due to lack of funding or organizational structure. Also its really hard for institutions to find qualified teachers of yoga for children. Sometimes when a teacher leaves a program, it fades away until a replacement is found. Also many studios offer only one or two classes a week for kids and there’s a catch 22. It’s hard for studios to add more classes when those classes are often not full. Parents can place a higher priority on other things like soccer or dance. It’s understandable as kids’ activities that offer opportunities for community interaction are important for families. What’s good though is that there’s more all ages yoga events happening. Commitment will grow as the programs grow.
What inspires you? My students. I want to share yoga with as many young people as possible. I decided I could reach more youth this way than driving around LA like a maniac! With the DVD, we are offering yoga to kids who don’t have access to a yoga studio or in-school yoga programs. I also want to share this DVD with other yoga teachers of children. Ideally, this DVD is a ‘text-book’ so kids can practice at home.
What is your long term vision of the Shanti Generation? Ultimately, it is to contribute to social justice, equality and planetary healing by empowering youth to make choices steeped in consciousness. We have a Youth Peacemakers Training program that teaches young people how to teach yoga to their peers. We have an amazing list of guest teachers on board, including Dr Chris Chapple, Julie Kleinman, Felicia Tomasko, Hala Khouri with Yogaglo hosting. We also offer facilitator’s trainings to guide teachers and parents to create Youth Peacemaker Circles in their own communities. I jokingly say we want to be the Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts of the consciousness movement!
How can people get involved? There are a number of ways! Buy our DVD and pass it on to young people. If you don’t know any, buy it as a gift to a school or library. Inspire and mentor youth to get involved in a Youth Peacemakers Training. Be a participant in our Facilitator’s Training. Join our team as a volunteer in admin, legal consultation, promotions or outreach. And you can spread the word - our DVD is translated in Spanish and Japanese. Tell your friends and ask your yoga studio to carry it.
You can download Yoga music here
It’s that time of the year this weekend where yogis around the world ‘Rise Up’ and gather with others to practice sun salutes for a few hours together, as if one unit.
The New York event came about as a response to the events of 9/11. So much destruction, grief and paranoia had been created, a yoga teacher called Jacqueline Stolte felt that there must be some way to readdress the balance. What if people came together to create Peace, Coherence and Harmony? The event Yoga for Peace was born.
We were asked this year to supply the Yoga For Peace shirts by Michael Spitzer, organizer of the New York event.
I was curious about the history of the NYC event and what he faced as the main organizer of the event. Enjoy – and go this Sunday to an event near you!
What have been some of your biggest challenges? Getting people’s attention. There are so many things to do, and be involved with these days.
Some of your biggest triumphs? Hearing how much this event has impacted people’s lives and being. The feeling after each event is most blissful, and very memorable.
How do you carry things out logistically? Producing an event like this is huge. So many details, you can easily become overwhelmed. Having a team is critical, and there are some amazing people who have stepped forward in assisting me with this event.
Why do you think this event is still relevant? Peace is the greatest gift in life. If there is no peace in the body, heart, or mind, life becomes very hard, or sad, or unfulfilling. No amount of money can replace the feeling of inner peace.
If someone wanted to do something similar, what would be some key advice? Go for it, as the work is so rewarding. It makes a difference for both those that attend and for the world as a whole. contact local yoga studios and speak about creating a Global Mala Yoga for Peace event in your area. Find a location and the rest will fall in place, and mostly it’s about getting the word out!!!
You can download Yoga music here