Friday, December 31, 2010

“Tell everyone you know: “My happiness depends on me, so you’re off the hook.” And then demonstrate it. Be happy, no matter what they’re doing. Practice feeling good, no matter what. And before you know it, you will not give anyone else responsibility for the way you feel—and then, you’ll love them all. Because the only reason you don’t love them, is because you’re using them as your excuse to not feel good.”

— something to consider…from Abraham Hicks 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

How Buddha Lists the Benefit's of Kindness

as quoted by Sharon Salzberg
1. You will sleep easily
2. You will wake easily
3. You will have pleasant dreams
4. People will love you
5. Devas (celestial beings) and animals will love you
6. Devas will protect you
7. External dangers (poison, weapons, and fire) will not harm you
8. Your face will be radiant
9. Your mind will be serene
10. You will die unconfused
11. You will be reborn in happy realms
                               (from Buddha to last Vegas, billboard just off the strip)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

10 4 11

First off, I really like the sound of 2011. I think it has nice ring to it. 11 is such a nice number. It's the same backwards as forwards. 11 seems lucky, and although I don't really believe in luck, I do believe in creating it. 11 is good on the craps table too. That has to mean something.

I hear people say, "I don't believe in New Years Resolutions." I don't know if they are something that I believe or don't believe in. I do believe in miracles, the power of a sunny day, the healing quality of music, and the need to sometimes, every once in a while just stay in bed. I also believe that sometimes you need to just decide how it's going to be from here on out. I think we all get stuck now and again on how it is and sometimes it's nice to just shake things up, make a change, reevaluate. You can do something out there like, say, jump out of a plane, quit your job, or just make a resolution or two. The first day of a new year is as good as time as any.

My 2011 Resolutions/Decisions...

1. Meditate more-

“Meditation means you don’t have to grin every moment of your life. You learn to smile with your bones; you learn to smile with every aspect of who you are. You do not have to necessarily show your teeth. Try, without using your lips, to just smile. Really, without showing your teeth, simply smile. Now see if you can smile with your eyes; just use your eyes and smile. Then see if you can smile with your hand. If even the bones in your body begin to smile, that is meditation”- Sadhguru Spot

2. Start running again- Running took a back seat this year, what with starting a business, moving, and changing my whole life. It was a mistake. I miss running. I'm bringing it back.

3. Make more home made dinners for my kids. That means some advance planning, actually thinking about it before we walk in the door at night.

4. Read more books. I have been jumping from book to book. I can't seem to concentrate long enough to finish out one. I'm going to make it a practice to finish them out.

5. Make sure my kids are reading too. And not just the texts coming through there cell phones either. Books. 

6. Paint. I have already started this in the latest part of '10 but I am not going to let it drop. 

7. Take time to be idle at times, I tend to go a hundred miles and hour all the time. I am going to remember to just chill sometimes. I love this little story...
According to an ancient Chinese legend, one day in the year 2640 B.C. Princess Si Ling-chi was sitting under a mulberry tree when a silkworm cocoon fell into her teacup. When she tried to remove it, she noticed that the cocoon had begun to unravel in the hot liquid. She handed the loose end to her maidservant and told her to walk. The servant went out of the princesses chamber, and into the palace courtyard, through the palace gate, and out of the Forbidden City, and into the countryside a half mile away before the cocoon ran out. (In the West, this legend would slowly mutate over three millennia, until it became the story of a physicist and an apple. Either way, the meanings are the same: great discoveries, whether of silk or of gravity are always windfalls. They happen to people loafing under trees.)” Jeffrey Eugenides

8. Practice more... I teach a lot of yoga so I don't get to practice like I used to. I'm going to fit that in there too. 
Both yoga and art aim at the same thing, that is, to re-establish our personal connection with the world around us according to our own inner creativity. To render body and mind a conduit through which the creative energy can flow freely, unimpeded by outer restrictions, in the trust that this energy, being a part of the universal energy, is ultimately pure and joyful. -Dona Holleman  

9. Write more. This is another thing that got shoved to the wayside this past year. I realized that saying, "I don't have time," is another way of saying, "I just don't feel like it." If you want to do something enough you can make time. 

10. Get up really early in the morning. I'm going to need to to do the rest of these things. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

“Every one of us, consciously or unconsciously, affects the objects and people around us—including ourselves—on a continual basis. Think about the expression “laughter is contagious.” It is! How do you feel when you are around happy, laughing people? Usually, you can’t help but feel good yourself. All emotions are energy and energy passes from one body to another; from one object to another; matter to matter. Emotions are contagious! You clear your house of negative energies and replace them with positive ones.   ~Norma Lehmeier Hartie


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"One Good Thing About Music,"...

when it hits, you feel no pain. ~ Bob Marley

Music has such a visceral effect. It is  (besides my people) the biggest constant in my life. It never goes away. It never disappoints. It is there for every occasion. It is a friend to sing with, a shoulder to cry on, and a lover to wait for.

Music has an energy to it. There are songs you put on to run to, there are songs you put on to drive to, there are songs that play over and over in your head right when you need them to be there.

Music calms, it can send those neurons straight up, starting to equalize the right and left hemisphere of your brain, bringing you into an alpha or even a theta brainwave state (getting into that meditative place that makes you find who you really are).

I love lyrics. I will listen to a song over and over again because of what it says. This song below one of my new favorites. I love it for two main reasons. The first, my best yoga and music buddy shared it with me. The second, the meaning to me; it is a parent tucking a child in at night, telling them, "There's no reason to worry, no reason for nightmares. Everything is just fine. And not only is it fine, but you're safe. Safe." The exact thoughts that not only a child, but anyone, would be so blessed to go to sleep with.

Fairytale Lullaby- Bombay Bicycle Club
If you want ride a rainbow come with me
I will take you in a magic purple
Maybe we will find a thousand sugar fish
And when you eat them they will grant your every wish
And if you want your friends to come them bring them along
If you want to catch a star then walk my way
I will take you where the night is always day
You can follow me if you really try
Maybe we will find a rainbow, teach it to fly
And if you want your friends to come them bring them all along
Bow your head and let your eyelids close on down
Where we're going you wont' need to bring your frown
You will find that ll the things that I have said
Will come true when you are lying in your bed
And if you want your friends to come them bring them along

Fairytale Lullaby - Flaws  Fairytale Lullabye's   on Itunes

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

20 Thoughts To Make Your Day A Little Sweeter

1. Wake up 5 minutes earlier than usual and just stretch
2. Look in the mirror and tell yourself something you would like to hear
3. Smile at every person you see
4. Work hard enough to sweat at least for 20 minutes
5. Drink a whole lotta water
6. Take 10 long deep breaths, matching the length of your exhale to your inhale
7. Sing, sing, and then sing some more
8. Share a meal with someone
9. If you have a child, kiss them, every moment they will let you
10. Pet an animal
11. Show up somewhere. Just put your shoes on and go.
12. Read a book. Even for 10 minutes
13. Spend some time in the fresh air
14. Remind a child of the importance of being kind. Listen to yourself talk
15. Do something really nice for someone without expecting anything in return
16. Meditate
17. See the beauty in everything
18. Laugh
19. Make time for people
20. Look at the moon before you go to bed and be thankful

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dance Team Workout

"Dr. Dre," (Andreas Johnson), a professional dancer is coming to the studio August 29th! We will be offering a 3 hour workshop in which he will teach the girls/boys a 2 minute dance routine incorporating hip hop, pop, and dance to inspire and ignite energy!

Above is a video to give you an idea of what is in store for the day!

Workshop is $45 in advance and $50 at the door. We are limiting it to 30 dancers and are half full.

See Dre's full bio on our website.

email or call 610.436.9642 to sign up

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Come Out And PLAY

We are gearing up to offer all sorts of fun things to make these sunny summer days even shinier!  We have started out gradually with our adult and children's classes. Sometimes we follow up a 9.30-11 adult class by ordering sushi and sitting around the table and having lunch with old friends and new friends. A girl (or guy) has gotta eat. Right? We have so enjoyed meeting new people from our very own town. We have new friends that have lived here forever and new friends that are brand new to the area. It has made us think even more about having more community offerings.

So we are putting this out there... a book club. We are going to announce the book next week and put out a date. We are going to get this awesome Mediterranean place to whip up some yummy snacks and I am going to mix up my famous Summer Cocktail.

The book, date, and time will be up on our website next week. Please join us to make new friends, or to keep your old. You know that one is silver, right? And one is gold. :) You do if you were ever in Brownies.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yoga: A Man's "Sport" Too

Yoga has been around for a kathousand years. According to Gessner Geyer who is the president of Brainergy, an education and healthcare consulting firm,  yoga is the "world's oldest and most perfect form of exercise." Not only does it just feel good but it reduces stress, gives you balance physically and emotionally, yoga will help you focus and enhance your cognition. Not only all that but did ya know that it will make your core strong, it improves your cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal and nervous system. It will make you stand taller, breathe easier and have a sense of body awareness like no other sport.

Men generally think it's easy.

We have this great friend that we work with. He has been a good support system to us and he makes us laugh to boot. He came into to do yoga for the first time on Monday. He wore a collared shirt like you do on casual day and informed Lisa that after class he was going to go for a run for his cardio workout. This delighted me as I watched the doors to the yoga room close and the music start while I thought to myself, "Yeah, he's not going running, but that's sure cute he thought he was."

Now there are all different kinds of classes, kids, beginners, light, power, etc... He chose the vinyasa flow with is explained as not only some great yoga but a work out too.

An hour and a half later he came out of the yoga room out of breath and ringing his shirt like you would a sponge that just fell in the bathtub. He didn't have another shirt to put on. (note to self: get some men's t-shirts in stock).

He came back yesterday and brought a friend! He told Lisa that he's quitting his gym membership and either coming here or running outside.

But not both on the same day.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What Are They?

Happiness is a warm puppy.  ~Charles M. Schultz
We like dogs at PLAY. One of the things Lisa and I love best about this whole business is that we can bring the dogs in with us a lot. We have some really cute ones. There is Daisy who is pictured above, we rescued her from a dismal environment to a place where she is surrounded by other dogs and kids and love. She is a timid little thing that lets all the kids carry her around and hold her and play with her. She is a Papillon. Papillon is French for butterfly and they are called that for their big ears. She is about the size of a big guinea pig. She is so sweet, the little butterfly guinea pig.

And Mickey. Mickey is my precious little doggie. He is an enigma to most. He looks like a puppy, but he's not. He looks like a girl, but he's not. He looks like a dog, but he's...
I take Micker with me a lot of places. He prances along happily beside me as strangers stop to pet him because he's so cute. He's got a sweet little face and is the friendliest little guy. And then inevitably they will say, "What kind of dog is he?" I hate this question. The answer is, when I bought him I got papers saying he is 100% Pomeranian. So I say, "Well, we know he's part Pomeranian," (that's what I say because he doesn't resemble one much at all. This is what I get from that. "Really? (with a head tilt and scrunched up eyes as they mentally try to match what they know of a Pomeranian to my Micker)  He doesn't look like a Pomeranian at all. He is just the cutest little thing though." Then I feel dumb. I  brought the paper into the studio so when people ask I just hand it to them and try to change the subject. :)

So these guys are with us a lot. I didn't bring them yesterday though because we had to much going on and the weather was bad and I just thought they would be happier at home. Every child that walked through that door said, "Are the dogs here?" "Where are the dogs?" The look of disappointment was obvious when I said, "They didn't come today." Judging from the looks I got I am planning on packing up their toys and bringing them today. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

PLAYing Week Two

The countdown is over. We are officially open. It's been a whirlwind. We are settling in and slowly getting the feel of everything. The past six months seem to have gone by in a flash. It seems like just yesterday that we decided to get this whole thing rolling. We would sit at Lisa's kitchen table and go over idea after idea, we traveled back and forth to New York City over and over again to go to trade shows, to do different trainings for kids and adult yoga, and to practice in different studios to continue our learning in order to share with everyone else. We spent countless hours at the Apple store in King of Prussia where they helped us with every aspect of our business, we drove all over the state picking furniture, looking at floors, deciding on all the little details of what this place would look like. I am a visual person, I had an idea in my mind, I couldn't stop until I saw it come to life. Lisa kept me on track. She wrote our business plan, worked with our contractor, researched marketing, and kept me focused when I would get distracted. That was pretty much a full time job in itself.
Now I am sitting in our store area and she is in the yoga room teaching a class, I have three dogs lying around my feet, two boys playing in and out of here, my daughter wandering around every once in a while from her dance school, and Jack Johnson singing to me and only me. It's slightly hard to believe it's all real.
We have a million ideas. Tons of things we want to do, to teach, to learn, and to share with the community. It seems like everyday we meet someone that we feel like we were meant to know.
There are kinks in our little operation too, you know. You. You know that. Like for instance we haven't quite figured our whole soft wear system yet. The company is awesome though. Mindbody. We call them all the time with some of the stupidest questions they have probably ever heard. They are so nice and so polite and so helpful. We're getting there. And of course the printer not working is an issue. I have to keep running home to print things out. That's not really all that efficient.  Maybe tomorrow it will magically work. I'm going to go ahead and put that out there. I think I have been to negative about my wonderful printer. I am going to think positive thoughts and count it working tomorrow.
Come PLAY.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We're Open!

Our first Birthday party at PLAY. 

Lisa and some cheeldren hula hooping.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

T Minus One And Counting

Our official open date is 5-10-10. Tomorrow night we are having our first birthday party for a little girl that did girl scout yoga with us and loved the whole dog and pony show (that's a hint). So we need to be ready to roll by 6 pm Friday night. Wow. The whirlwind of this  could be overwhelming if we let ourselves dwell on it to long.
We decided to go forth with this venture the day Lisa lost the school board election. I think it was November 5th. That would put us to exactly sixth months ago to the day. The amount of things besides opening a business that have happened in that six months is staggering. I would list them but it's to much and who needs to record that for all of eternity? Who? Not me. I'll tell you that much.
 I will tell you that yesterday our web site was completely down. Not on purpose. It didn't look good there for a couple hours. Lisa and I tried to keep a sense of humor about it and sat in the car on the way to get it fixed trying to figure out the probability of people just guessing what our schedule was, and if we really even existed. So that was fun. Fortunately that will not come to pass because we the Apple guys (who we love) were able to get it back up and running. After we hugged them in the middle of the mall I took Lisa on a surprise field trip. Really just for fun. I thought it would cheer us up. Now she has Daisy.  That happened on 5-5-10. I find that auspicious. Guess what Daisy is? I gave you a hint.
Come see us.
It's almost time for us to PLAY.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Breathe In... Breathe Out

A student approached the head monk in a Zen monastery to ask how he could alleviate his suffering. The monk simply responded, "If you can breathe in... you can breathe out." -Ancient Oral Anecdote

I love this little story so much. I think it's very true. Everything passes at some point. Learning to let things go is a skill. Emotions are energy. Happiness, anger, hate, love, frustration, compassion, exhilaration, joy, hurt, the list goes on and on. When you hold on to those negative ones, the hate, or the anger, you are holding on to bad energy inside yourself. Where it will fester and grow. Learning to let it go and breathe through things will give a sense of peace with in yourself. It takes practice though. Every day.

Just like the monk said, "Breathe in... breathe out."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Achieve Your Dreams And PLAY

Saturday was an awesome day!  I packed up the yoga mats and hula-hoops and music that we use for Girl Scout Yoga (our travelling show before we open) and headed to an organization that I have volunteered my time to for several years.  In the past, I have chaired their annual gala, run the craft at the Holiday Party, and done monetary and gift drives.  Today, I was off to do something that I truly loved- Yoga with kids!

A little information about AchieveAbility:

ACHIEVEability, located in Philadelphia, works to permanently break the cycle of poverty for single parent, low-income families, many formerly homeless, by providing a range of supportive services, including education, job readiness, and housing assistance. Everything we do is geared towards promoting accountability and self-sufficiency among our clients.

Anyway, I was without Yang (Amy) today, so I headed into the city to PLAY with the kids.  When I arrived, they were all ready and eager to PLAY.  Some had yoga mats (I loved that), some were scared and most told me they thought yoga was hard and they couldn’t do it.  If there is one thing Amy and I don’t stand for in yoga, it’s the “I can’t do it”.  That is not allowed in our yoga class.  We can say, “I am not able to do that today, but I’ll try” but never, “I can’t”.   I ignore the remarks and start with a name game and a hula-hoop.  They warm up easily with each other as we name what superpower we would wish for.  Most want to be invisible and walk through walls—I find that interesting.

Anyway, we spend and hour bending and stretching our bodies and laughing and falling and dancing and learning yoga tricks.  I take tons of pictures!  I am amazed what they can do and learn in an hour!!  They delight me! 
At the end of class, I like to do a guided meditation.  I had been reading from a children’s meditation book, but I have decided to do my own.  I have everyone lay down, face up with their palms up to receive and begin a meditation of being an eagle and soaring through the air and repeating silently to themselves, “I am happy, I am free.”

They are all quiet as we do the meditation.  We wake up, do our OM’s and take some pictures and start to say our goodbyes.  One little girl hugs me and whispers in my ear “can I have a yoga mat to take home, Miss Lisa?”  “Of course,” I say without hesitation.  I know in my mind that this is the end of the Girl Scout yoga mats.  They all want one and what was I to do?? All of the kids that want a mat, take them, hug me, and help pack up my car.  I almost leave my IPod, but remember it at the end- although, if one of those angelic children asked me for it, I would have given that away too.

Amy and I will be good Visionaries.  We will go around the world spreading PLAY and hope.  I know I have hope after seeing 16 inner city kids PLAY and have fun and imagine and act silly today. It was worth every minute and mat!

We are happy.  We are strong. We are happy.  We are strong.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rockin' And Rollin'

We are movin' right along with the plans. Our awesome construction workers are in there every day working to make our studio the most beautiful place in all the land. :)

Now we have Tom the painter in there too. He is painting that yoga room to look so amazing. I would like to say how he's painting it but I think I am going to leave it for a surprise.

We have birthday parties booked and summer camps lined up. All our ideas are coming to life. It is very exciting and we can't wait to share it with our community.

More funny stories about Lisa to come! They are plentiful, she just keeps me to busy to write them.
That's Lisa (or Sarab). Sarab is her spiritual name. You might want to get used to calling her that. I think she likes it. Pictured with her is Max the doggie. He and Mickey are going to be our mascots. I hope. Lisa keeps threatening that Mickey (my dog) can't come because he's to obnoxious. Sadly, that's the truth. He means well, he just makes odd noises and is excitable, although the cheeeeldren love him. I'm wondering if I get him a Spiritual name and make him wear a skull cap and get him a good solid grooming (that I don't do) if she will let him in the door. Fingers crossed. ;)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Back In New York

We get to be in New York again for another training. One of the things we are really excited about offering is called Circus Yoga. Circus Yoga is a class that includes all sorts of different circus games and tricks and props. Like juggling and the devil sticks. It has a lot to do with balance, concentration, dexterity, and a big sense of community because a lot of the class entails learning new tricks and skills and teaching them to your friends. So that's why we're here. That and to go to Barbounia.

Speaking of Barbounia, we got here yesterday, a day early because Lisa needed some time to go to Canal street and stock up on fake sunglasses. We have a little tradition of going to Balthazaar before or after Canal St. Balthazaar is a french restaurant in Soho. One time when we were there we saw Bebe Neuwirth scarf down a steak, fries, and a huge bowl of ice cream. We were delighted by that. No Bebe yesterday but  as we were sitting at the bar Lisa started talking to a man. Somehow they get on the subject of Barbounia and this man totally dis's it. He tells Lisa it is "touristy." Utter nonsense. He says if you live in New York you go to more underground places. I chime in and tell him my brother (the one the sun shines for) has lived in the city for 25 years and he loves going there. Then I am annoyed with this man. I turn my back and start talking to someone else. Lisa being the easy going soul she is just continues talking to the Barbounia hating man and lays out our business idea. As she hands him our card I hear him gushing about it. I decide to like him again.

Turns out he is a hedge fund guy. He lays out step by step what we should do and how to go about it to make PLAY huge. I'm starting to love him. Meanwhile the rest of the bar joins in our conversation. An adorable couple from San Francisco and a cute New Yorker that also works in Finance. She got interested when she heard we had a blog. She said, "I love blogs. My company blocks us from Facebook and MySpace on the computer so I read blogs." I gave her my card hoping to get a new reader.

We finished up our afternoon getting the sunglasses and then with one cocktail in the Soho Grand Hotel, which I highly recommend cause it's really cool. We were walking up the stairs to the lounge and I said to Lisa, "This is what we should do with the entranceway!" She looked down at the stairs I was talking about. They were under lit with these totally cool circles covered by some sort of resin or glass or something and said, "Yeah, that wouldn't cost to much."

Maybe for our next PLAY. Right Lisy?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Construction: Day One

This is Ying again, I have my creative energy flowing so I decided to write about our PLAY day. 

I make it a point to get to know all of my “helpers”, the lawn guy, the cleaning people, the window cleaner, the pest control guy, the HVAC guy, waiters, waitresses, all of them, you get the picture.  I feel that if they know me they would not ever consider ripping me off.  After all, I have introduced myself, made eye contact and most of the time offered up some special comment about their appearance. Now I also offer up my business card and if I think they are smart, my business plan.  With the business card, also comes a free class when we open (I only do this when Ying isn’t around as she doesn’t like the free thing) .

Anyway I take especially good care of these people.  I basically become their Kraft Services for the time they are in my house.  I bake cookies, serve drinks, bring pizza home and sometimes try to unload some old kids toys on them if they have little ones.  I just unloaded a big coke machine that was in my studio to Dimitri (far right in picture). I once had a guy doing some stonework for me and I would get up early so when he got to my house at 6:30, his coffee would be ready.  I actually just like being nice.  Because nice matters.

I’m going to reel this back to our play day now.  After lunch, Amy and I went to our studio to do the dry wall layout and how this really cool Japanese Door was going to be built into the wall.  On our way,  Amy said she was thirsty and I said let’s swing through Swiss Farm and get a drink.  She was on the phone and I ordered us our drinks and a gallon of Tea Cooler and a box of cookies.  For the workers, of course.  We showed up in our PLAY clothes, camera in hand and I made them all do a photo shoot.  They loved it!  They said they never had that done before!  They are lucky I didn’t make them all do handstands. 

Tomorrow boys??

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When Ying And Yang Don't PLAY Together

This is Lisa (Ying) guest blogger today.  I told Amy I wanted a shot at the bog and she said OK , Have at it.  So here I am to tell you all of our latest adventure (PLAY Day).  Today started off as any ordinary day- I was calling delivery people, meeting security companies, setting up internet and a phone line installation.  Amy got up, and without her computer (at the Apple store getting files transferred from her little laptop to her new big desktop) thought she had the day off.  She went to the gym.  OK – I did too- but only because I have to keep up-  Anyway, we spend the day ordering more clothes and crossing off things from my handwritten list.  This makes me happy when I cross things off.  I still do it the old-school,  with a pen and paper. 

I leave to start running children to and fro and Amy does the same and then goes to teach yoga and to get her Macbook and new desktop back. 

I have the task of the Mind Body software training.  Don’t get me wrong, this software rocks, every angle is covered.  I just don’t get it and they keep “scheduling me” for additional training.  Really, Matthew, our trainer just can’t keep me reeled in.  He uses his “key” words, like “great you just scheduled your first class!”  Seriously Matt, I need you to do this for me.  In my mind, I am trying to figure out how to get him to just do this for me.   Come on Matt, get me up and running!  At one point I engage Matt to tell me where he is from, he say’s Cherry Hill, NJ.  I log that into memory.  A little later I tell him he needs to come do yoga with us (he is in teacher training right now)  he says I’d love to.  Log that too.  He also says his mother who is 75 misses him.  Roger that, Matt!

As we end the session, Matt says, "Hmm... we are a bit behind, we need to schedule another training session or two." I say, "Great but wait- how about I fly you out here to see your mom and you just do this for us."- I was just kidding.  He says, "Wait a minute, "and puts me on hold.  Gets back on a few minutes later and says he has some “vacation” time and will let me know. I am so happy! I got Matt to fly out here and do this and am proud at the end of a long day.

I call Amy and tell her this story,  she says “I should have paid more attention”.  I say “Why?” she says “because Howard (our accountant) isn’t going to like this.” I  say, guess what I found?  some “miscellaneous expenses” we haven’t used yet.    I can see her saying “Oh my God” and she walked onto the Apple store to do handstands with Trevor and the Genius gang!

Mom Always Said...

Don't play ball in the house and don't carry your two thousand dollar MacBook Air laptop with out a bag.

It's to bad no one listens to Mom.

Yesterday Lisa and I were at one of our favorite places, the Apple Store. We had made one appointment for two people (that being her and I) and were continuing to let the great guys at Apple help us build our website and help with our business. Today's lucky trainer was Trevor. We love Trevor. He's got a nose ring and a couple tattoos. See this is what I love about Apple, all the trainers are total computer people, but cool. I don't think if it's Apple though that they are considered "geeks." Is that right? Am I right? Are only Windows based computer know it alls the "nerds?" The Apple guys have tattoos and piercings and a couple of them can even do handstands. We know cause once our training session in the Apple store became a show and tell for yoga. So they are the cool kids, right? Anyway, they has nothing to do with anything so this is what happened...
I had my computer open on the training table and Lisa's laptop was closed and strewn amidst her pile of papers and notes that she just carries around with no order to it at all.
I picked up my computer to move it to a different table when Trevor the tattooed trainer needed me to and Lisa grabbed at her pile of rubble and DOWN went her MacBook Air. Down on the ground. Thunk. I made eye contact with Trevor. He gave me the "that musta sucked" look, and Lisa screamed.
 She said, "I hope it's not broken."
 "I'm sure it's fine," I said.
Before anyone could say another word she said, "I know! I know! It drives you crazy the way I carry this around!" Then she tried to open it. It opened but had an odd clicking noise.
"OH NO! It's making a weird noise!" she cried as we all looked to the offending corner that had dented in a little curl.
"Go get in line at the help desk," suggested Trevor.
Now I have to hand it to Lisy at this point. In the past I have seen an 'incident' occur with her and all hell breaks loose. Lately a new calm has surrounded her. She gave us one, "This is just what I need," and then went up to the help desk.

Ten minutes later:
"Can you fix it?" Lisa asked Mike the help desk guy.
"I can't fix it myself. You have to leave it here so they can replace the front panel where it is dented."
"How much is that going to cost?" she asked.
Mike didn't look at us. He kept his eyes on the computer in front of him. "About seven hundred dollars," he answered quietly.
"Forget it. I'm taking it home and fixing it myself. I have a wrench or a screwdriver or whatever that tool is called that will undent it." she said angrily.
"A jackhammer?" I asked.
No response.
Mike continued to look at the screen with a slight look of horror on his face. Then suddenly he picked it up and said, "Hold on a minute. Let me see what I can do," as he picked up her computer and scurried off through the magical Narnia door to the back of the Apple store where technical order is restored to all our gadgets.
"I think he's going to fix it," I said.
"I know. It's a good thing for him cause I was just about to start to cry to make my point," she said.
"Good plan. It seems to have worked," I said.
Mike came back. Computer fixed. A little scratched up on the corner but no more clicking noises as she opened it.
We saved seven hundred dollars today!
Then she bought a computer bag.
Lesson learned.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Meditative Laughter?

"Laughter is the spark of the soul."

Girls, girls, girls...
Last night's yoga class was a push and pull. I had three tired girls and two very energetic girls, and one tired but energetic girl. We did yoga for about half the class. When I saw that a couple of the girls, who had apparently been to lacrosse  tryouts and had to run three miles earlier that day seemed a little out of it I decided to finish up the yoga part and move on to a game and a guided meditation. 
The girls asked to play the PLAY With Me game again. That's the questions game. One of the questions was, "What does the word 'Love' mean to you?"
"Love is when you would do anything for the person and they would do anything for you," answered my tired but energetic girl.
"Yeah, what she said," said energetic number one.
"Rrrrrrrooomance," said another energetic girl.
"I like what Anna said," said another one.
"Love means love," said one of the Gigi's.
"Love is being able to say anything to a person," said one of my quieter girls. 

I love hearing what these girls have to say. I love when they are able to express thoughts that might not come up in conversation without the little nudge from our game. I love their thoughtful answers, I love their silliness, I even love when they just say, "Yeah, what she said," I think that shows at least they were listening to another person's thoughts, which is a skill all on it's own.

So we finished up with some guided meditation.  
My four tired girls lied there so quietly and listened and let their bodies relax and just be. My two energetic ones got the giggles. They couldn't stop. I understand that completely. It's distracting but sometimes it happens. It happened to me one time in savasana because some girl fell asleep and started snoring and it was the most bizarre sounding snore that I actually had tears streaming down the sides of my face as I shook with silent laughter. It just wouldn't stop. As much as I tried to imagine myself in a firey plane crash or stuck at the bottom of a well to stop laughing, I couldn't.  So I had the two gigglers walk out in the hallway so the other girls could finish up quietly. It was at that minute that my dog Mickey got in the room and started yiping and jumping around and making weird noises. Little grins were starting to crack on everyone's faces.
There is a quote...
"Laughter is the tranquilizer with no side effects."  Arnold H. Glasgow

So perhaps that was a good meditation.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Just Do This..."

Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.  Martha Graham
"Just do this..." is one of my favorite things to say to the people in my class. It can be followed by any number of tricky moves that I just want them to give a shot. Just to see how it feels. 
On Wednesday nights I teach at a little personal training gym. I have the same people that come every week. It is at this gym that I started to love to teach beginners. There is something so amazing about watching people succeed. With adults it sometimes takes a little longer than with my girls. The kids have a lot less fear than adults to in trying something new. Looking silly and falling never seems to bother children to much. Their bodies haven't developed the patterns and tightness in certain places like those of us who have lived a few more years. I get delighted when I see a child succeed in something they didn't know they could do,  but  seeing a fifty year old woman do a new "trick" has a complete different sense of accomplishment.
One of my people who comes to my Wednesday night class is a woman about fifty or so. She is in great shape. She works out, she eats right but she has lived a life that has nothing to do with yoga for a long time. She has gone through some tough times. I watch her changing every week. I watch her become more confident in her movements. When she started she didn't know any of the poses by name, now the class can follow her. Every week I give them time to try a few poses that are a little scary or difficult. One is always tripod, which is the start of a headstand. Every week she is nervous, she doesn't want to stand on her head. She has made baby steps. One week she will pull one knee up on the back of her arm. One week maybe two. The next week she might not do any of that. She has the physical capability, the strength and the flexibility to do the whole shebang. She holds herself back with fear. 
Last night she did a headstand. Right in the middle of the room. It was a beautiful thing. I think she shocked herself. When she came down from it her cheeks were flushed, partly from turning upside down and letting the blood flow the other way but mostly from the excitement of not only doing this move but of over coming the fear of trying it. She looked up and said, "I did it. I've been afraid of it for so long." She had a huge smile on her face. It was really wonderful.
Rock on.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Give Me Silver, Blue, And, And, And... A Cell Phone?

Although the studio is not open yet we have been teaching pre teen and teenage girls for about 7 months now. Twice a week right in my own little yoga studio formally known as the formal living room although I don't think anything remotely formal has ever gone on in there, the girls come over and we do yoga class.

Class is different every night. There is always yoga, of course. Or how could I call it a yoga class, right? The tempo of the class varies from night to night depending on the overall mood in the room. Sometimes we can keep those girls going in a big yoga workout for a good 40 minutes. Sometimes we warm up and then spend times on specialty poses, tricks, if you will and sometimes we do some yoga and then we play yoga games. So see? There's yoga. 

We always try and save 10 or so minutes at the end of class for either a guided meditation, which the girls seem to love or community circle. Community circle can also consist of many things. Sometimes the girls tell stories, sometimes they act out little 'plays' from their day, sometimes they show us dances the have made up and sometimes we just talk. 

Last night we played a game that I made up. It consists of 100 questions and each girls takes a turn and picks one and they just share something about themselves with everyone. The questions were made to make them think creatively, to be used as a tool to help them interact with girls they don't know, to be used as conversation starters, and just for fun. 

For instance, last night one of the questions was, "What color do you feel like right now?" When I wrote that I wasn't sure the girls would get it or they would feel odd saying it. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard some of the answers, "Hot pink," was Saiges, another girl felt "purple," and one of my teenagers felt "silver," because although she had been a little tired when she came in, which would have made her feel gray, she now felt energetic and excited. I love that. 

There was another question that asked them if they knew anyone, "generous of spirit," and did they know what that meant. I loved this one, they talked about what it meant and then each girl seemed to have someone they labeled that. A special person that they had to think about. It was nice.

Okay, this is the one that made me nervous... "Do you have any hobbies?"
These were some of the answers, they were intermingled with a few sports but generally this is what was said...
"Yes, I love facebooking."

Not one girl said, reading or drawing, listening to music, or singing, and although I know they do, no one even said, "hanging out with my friends."

They like to text.
Kinda made me cringe.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Highly Unusual

I am a huge Apple (the computer not the fruit, I'm allergic to them) pusher. I don't understand why everyone doesn't chose a Mac. I love my computer like it's a friend. Sometimes I think it's the only one who really understands me. That's not weird. And I'm worried about children connecting with the outside world? Maybe I should take a lesson from myself. YOU learn something from my brother!

Where was I? Oh yeah, if you buy a Mac you can pay a hundred bucks to the Apple store and get 52 weeks of lessons all about your computer. The Apple store guys have helped Lisa and I set up our whole business. They optimized our web site. They helped with all the aspects of starting to build it. They helped us link our calenders. They taught us Pages and those spread sheet things that Lisa does and all sorts of little tricks. I really don't know what we would have done with out them.

The thing is it supposed to be a ONE to ONE. That would imply one trainer, one customer. Lisa and I come as a pair. We're a little side show for anyone that works with us. Our contractor loves us, our flooring guy likes to talk to us, our printer actually calls us "Overbearing" and "Distracted," in a fond and PLAYful manner,  even the township guy loved chatting with us, well, until he didn't give us our way about our sign and Lisa referred to him as "Your Lordship" in an email. Which made me laugh so hard at that Saige walked in my room and asked if I was okay. So far the only one that hasn't taken to us like peanut butter to jelly is our real estate lawyer. I don't like lawyers anymore. I have developed a prejudice against them all now and will hold that grudge for at LEAST 24 hours. After that I'll probably get distracted and forget about it.

Where was I again? Oh yes, so Lisa and I go into our ONE to ONE together. We circle around our question until Lisa finally says to the trainer, "It's like a game. We are going to give you clues as to what we want and you try to guess." It was at that point he said, "Normally people come in alone. This is highly unusual." Which only cracked us up. Of course it is. It's us. So we patted his sweet little Computer geek head and said, "Don't worry, next week we'll get two trainers at the same time, but we're still requesting you."

He was psyched. At least that's what we tell ourselves.

Distracted And Overbearing

Lisa and I continue on our mission of opening up the most innovative Art/Yoga studio there is. We have lots (millions) of plans in the works. All my life one of my most favorite things to say has been, "I've got the best idea," and to see who I could rope into my plan, whether it be trying to get tickets to see Shaggy on New Years Eve in Jamaica or jumping out of an airplane or picking up our entire lives and moving across the country. Sometimes my plans worked, sometimes they didn't. In Lisa I have found the perfect partner. She loves the follow through of one of my plans. All I really have to do is think it sometimes and she's right there with her pen (don't give her a pencil, she'll yell at you) and paper, takin' notes and makin' calls. She doesn't take no for an answer and she will push through until it has gone her way. It's the most fun.

Most of our business is geared towards children. We want to give them a place to go and be creative and stretch their minds and their bodies. We want them to be able to express themselves and feel good about that. We found this line of toys out of San Francisco called Kimochi's. They are really cute stuffed animals all built around feelings with one of the concepts being how to get children to recognize, acknowledge and understand their feelings better. When we first found them Lisa was so happy I think she started clapping. She can't wait to build a whole yoga class around them for... "the cheeellldren."

There are about five different characters right now and they all have different "personalities." There is "Cloud," he is unpredictable, angry on day, happy the next. There is a bumblebee, "Bug," who is thoughtful but cautious. There is "Lovey Dove" ( a dove) who is caring and helpful but worried a lot and "Cat," who is most persuasive and can be bossy and then there is "Huggtopus," a octopus who is all smiles and happy but can be overbearing at times.

Lisa has deemed herself, "Huggtopus," when she is not wearing her skull cap and making  you refer to her as her sanskrit name Sarat Shakti (or something like that) I think she wants to be called Huggtopus.

"I'm overbearing!" she says to me.
"Why yes you are," I agree.
"No, like the Kimochi, Huggtopus, that's me, overbearing. Have you seen the way it bounces around all the time?" she asked me a couple days ago.
"Not yet," I answered as this was before I had seen the website.
"Well check it out. I am totally Huggtopus." she said so proudly it made me smile.
"Who am I?" I asked.
"I don't think there is an ADD character yet," she said.
"Well maybe they could make one."
"Yes, then we could be Distracted and Overbearing," she laughed.
"I want t shirts made."

Happy New Tiger's Day

As much as I love to make fun of the tiger buddha that Lisa had to have I am now second guessing all my teasing. Well, not so much second guessing it as kind of feeling that perhaps it was meant to be.
You see, Lisa is in a vortex. That's right. A vortex. She is smack at the center of one. Twirling and spreading energy. Somewhat like a whirling Dervish if you will. At least that's what she tells me. And I believe everything she says unless she tells me I look skinny, then I know she's lying. So it's not surprising to me that today is the start of the Chinese New Year. This is the year of the tiger. The very first purchase for our studio was a chinese woman in a tiger suit. Coincidence? I don't think so. But that's just me. I don't believe in coincidence.

According to my moon chart today is also a new moon. I am obsessed with the moon. I love the whole concept of a new moon because it means this is when the moon lies between the earth and the sun. Because of this we see the moon in conjunction with the sun, therefore, we see the unilluminated side of the moon. Other wise known as the dark side of the moon. The side that you can't see. I love this concept with the moon or people. There's a side that don't see, but don't worry, the light comes around again.  Just like our tiger buddha. We are pretty sure she comes alive at night and dances around Lisa's kitchen but we have never actually seen it happen.

And to round it out to the lucky number three, it is also Valentines Day. This is nice cause it's a day about love. Peace. LOVE. Art. Yoga. Do you get it?

My Lover

Lisa and I were back in NYC for the gift show a couple weeks ago. The International Gift Show is one of those things that everyone wishes they could go to. We had some requests to go with us but we had to say no because it actually is a lot of work. It's a ton of vendors and a ton of choices and a ton of thinking and walking around. It is fun but it is also very draining.

After the first day we were there we headed over to my brother's apartment. He generously lets us stay there whenever we come to town. Besides partnering with Lisa another thing I would highly suggest is to get yourself with a brother that lives in New York City. It was one of my favorite parts of my life. He didn't even get mad when we got pink eye all over his apartment. Anyway, we all know that Mark is gay. Keep that in mind for later in the story.

So Lisa and I hang out with him for a while. We try to get him to come out to dinner with us but he is sick and needs to get some work done so Lisa and I bundle ourselves up and head up a couple blocks to the very yummy restaurant Barbounia.

We sit at the tall tables by the bar even though our favorite bartender is working. We need to review stuff and plan for the next day and we are tired. Usually we fancy ourselves good entertainment for him but tonight we just want to eat and go home. After we were done eating Fernando the bartender comes over to talk to us. Just so you know, Fernando looks very similar to Johnny Depp except he is about 6'3 and very thin and wears these thick black rimmed Raybans.
"We're going to leave soon Fernando, we're tired," I say.
"Oh don't leave yet. My lover is coming in, I want to introduce you," he replies
Now before I can even open my mouth Lisa exclaims, "Oh, HE is?"
Wait, did she just call him gay? Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just, he isn't.
Fernando just smiles. "It's a she not a he, but don't worry about it, it's no big deal," he says.
At this point a little chuckle would have been sufficient but this is Lisa we are talking about. A little chuckle is not in her repertoire. She wants to explain herself now. I just lean back and start to enjoy the show.
"Well, oh my goodness. Of course it's not a man. I knew that. It's just, it's just, well see we were just at Amy's brothers apartment and he's gay and we were talking about gay men and boyfriends. Of course I know you're not gay it's just  I've got gay on the brain," she sputters out.
Gay on the brain?
Good one Lisy.
That explains it.
Do you get it?

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Buddha

When you are starting a business there are many things that are imperative to get. For instance, a building to have this business in. Maybe some insurance. Perhaps inventory would be needed. You might want to consider furniture for you establishment.

Those are just my thoughts.

A few weeks ago Lisa and I went to one of my favorite stores called Material Culture to look for some old doors to put in an opening in our studio to close off the yoga room from the retail space. I would consider doors a "needed" item. We looked and found two different sets. Lisa had her heart set on a pair that were stacked behind about a MILLION other pairs. We were going to need ten strong men and some oxen to get them out.  I could already tell though that they were going to be to expensive. I said, "They are three thousand dollars. We are not getting them." She said, "You don't know that! I want to see them." I just petted her sweet little head and sighed, "Okay...." So we got the oxen and the men and they moved everything else for us to see. Lo and behold they were the bargain price of $2900! Knowing that ahead of time is one of my special gifts. That and total consciousness when I die. We found other pairs too. More in our price range. She grudgingly agreed to the less expensive doors.

Then she spotted some very cute little stools. They were adorable but they were also three hundred dollars a piece, she wanted four and we haven't started buying furniture yet. I had to physically drag her away from them. It wasn't easy.

Then. Then came the "Tiger Buddha."
"Look! Look!" she exclaimed.
"We need this! Look how cute it is! It's a little tiger Buddha," she was gushing.
I looked.
Oh jesus. Really?
Then one of the men who works there came over.
"How much is this tiger buddha?" she practically screamed at him. "We need this! We are opening a CHILDREN'S yoga studio. PLAY. Peace, love, art, yoga. Do you get it? Wouldn't this look so cute for the CHILDREN???"
"It's four hundred dollars," he said, "But I can give it to you for two sixty."
"Amy, please. Look at it! It's so cute. We need this," she said.
"It's scary," I said.
"No! You wouldn't let me get anything else. I'm getting this. Dave wants me to have this today. He wants me to have the tiger buddha," she was set on it.
I need to pick my battles. I had already saved us $4200 that day, so fine, get the freaky little thing if you must.
She was so happy. She practically skipped up to the counter with her odd little chinese woman with boobs in the tiger costume. She did accidentally bang it's head on the door on the way out but I guess that's really neither here nor there.
I sent this picture to my friend to show him what we HAD to have for our studio. His reply was, "Oh my goodness! Yes, every new business needs one of those!" Uh... yeah.

Do You Get It?

"PLAY. Peace, love, art, yoga. PLAY. Do you get it? Peace, love, art, yoga. PLAY. Do you get it?"

I have heard that so many times and it delights me every single one of them. It is Lisa telling people the name of the business we are starting. She likes to repeat herself. She likes to make sure people understand. She also likes them to smile and shake their head yes. So be forewarned, if she approaches you, and chances are she will. You better react properly. Don't say I never told you.

 This business is why I haven't been writing on here lately. I'm to tired. She is a slave driver. I love every second of it though. I would highly recommend starting a business with her, if I hadn't gotten her first that is. Oh well. Next lifetime.

It is going to be a studio for children and adults, mostly children, where they can take art and yoga classes. It is going to be a beautiful place where they can use their imaginations for a while and be creative with their minds and bodies. We think this is a problem these days. There is to much time spent txting on cell phones and IM'ing and facebooking. There is to much time spent playing video games, watching tv, and surfing the net. There is a lack of face to face communication  that is going to hinder their ability to properly connect in the adult working world and in relationships.

 So, here we come.
 PLAY, peace, love, art, yoga, do you get it?