YIP is now on Fall/Winter Hiatus.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays from YIP!!

Here is a funny video produced for Sonic Yoga Studios that I would like to share with you in light of the Holiday Spirit.  Sonic has been a supporter of YIP and facilitated the recruitment of volunteer yoga teachers and donation of yoga mats to be used at the park.  Happy Holidays and Enjoy the video!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winter Solstice Celebration

So, what is Winter Solstice? The winter solstice occurs exactly when the Earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum and lasts only an instant in time marking the turning point to midwinter or the first day of winter. This time of the year is also marked by high-energy activities around the themes of holiday gift shopping, parties, cooking, and other forms of entertainment.  Although this may be fun for some, it can be very unbalancing for others as anxieties go on the rise.  The Winter Solstice, the darkest longest night of the year, is the planet's own little holiday where it gets to sleep in, even if it is just for a moment.  This is also a reminder for us to slow down, close our eyes, and take our own little holiday to go within and nurture ourselves.  This holiday season is not about spending it outside 24/7 shopping for the latest gadget (you can do that online now), it is more about spending it indoors, hibernating with your loved-ones, slowing time, and staying under cozy covers just a little longer.  As humans and inhabitants of this Earth, our physical bodies are programmed to do this anyway, so why not indulge?  

Our very own Sara Alvarez, who guided us through some amazing and inspiring YIP moments this past summer, is having a Winter Solstice celebration at Sonic Yoga.  Let go of the frantic shopping and stop by for some heart opening asana (yoga postures) and your support of this blossoming Yoga Teacher.  

Winter Solstice Celebration with Sara Alvarez
Holiday music and heart opening Asana.
Sunday December 19th 7-9 pm at Sonic Yoga! 51st and 9th Avenue 

$10 suggested donation or pay what you can (Sara's new website)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


We are still a few months away from free yoga in Fort Tryon Park, but in the mean time checkout the following discount class:

Gravitate Yoga + Diamond in the Rough Beauty Bar

Join Grisel Olivo in transforming this spaciously zen SOHO Beauty Bar into an after hours Yogi Paradise (with Tea and YOGA).  SOHO is just FuN and this space is so neat!

What - Vinyasa Flow - Open
When - Thursday, November 18
Where - 249 Centre Street, New York, NY 10012 (between Grand St, and Broom St.)
Time - 6:30PM
Price - $12.00

Please bring Yoga Mat.
Hope you are all having a lovely November and please don't be shy to reach out to YIP with other fall/winter group event suggestions.


Oh yeah, the picture above is an embodiment of SoHO not the Beauty Bar :-)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kirtan (Sanskrit: "to repeat") is a call-and-response chanting performed in India's devotional traditions. A Kirtan practice involves chanting hymns or mantras to the accompaniment of instruments such as the harmonium. The melodical repetition of mantras in a kirtan can carry us effortlessly to a place of quiet and stillness; making this a great method to explore meditation, specially for those of us for whom closing our eyes and being still for long periods of time feels like an impossible task. Meditational practice is very beneficial to training the mind to achieve better concentration and focus and cultivate feelings of peace and contentment; not to mention the countless benefits of communicating with your inner-self.  There are serval yoga centers and studios throughout NYC offering free or donation based Kirtan events which are ideal for whether your interested in exploring Kirtan for musical pleasure or meditation or both.  Check these out and sing to your heart's content.

Sonic Kirtan (next date: Sun 8/22)  Time: 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM (
Raise your voice and vibration and illuminate your heart with our monthly Kirtan. Includes call and response chanting, original music and perhaps if inspired some spontaneous dance! Bring shakers, drums and any musical instruments you like as well as your free spirit. By Donation! Every 3rd Sunday of each month.

Dharma Yoga Center (next date: Wednesday 8/4) Time: 8:45 PM - 9:30 PM (
Community Kirtan with Devadas - Join a special night of spiritual singing. Everyone is welcomed, just come! Suggested minimum contribution $5-10.

Kirtan at Jivamukti  (next date: Wednesday 8/11) Time: 8:30 PM - 10:30 PM

841 Broadway, 2nd Fl. btw 13th/14th Sts. at Union Sq.
Read more:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Yoga Podcasts

Sebastien Queney, a super YIPper, was going through his usual everything Yoga research and found a free Video Podcast by Yoga Journal (a leading Yoga publication).  The Video Podcasts include 15 to 30 minute sequences on everything from sweating your b*** off to restorative self-spa time. Definitely worth exploring if you are looking to build a regular home yoga practice.  For more information go to or type in Yoga Journal or Yoga Practice in iTunes podcast search.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Support a YIPer Walking for a Cause

Our very own YIPer, Stacey Alfonso, will be walking the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer on October 16-17, 2010. Inspired by YIP Teacher Sara Alvarez's wise words on risk taking, she has committed herself to walking the distance of a marathon and a half and raise at least $1,800 in donations. According to Stacey, this is the biggest challenge she has ever taken on, but I believe that no challenge is too big for a person with the support of a united and caring community.
        The fight against breast cancer continues, a lot has happened in the ways of advances for treatment and detection, but there is still much left to be done.  The statistics, as Stacey points out, are "shocking...every three minutes, another woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer." If you, like Stacey, cannot ignore this simple fact, then please help to support her efforts for this critically important cause by making a contribution. You can Click here to View Stacey's Personal Page for the walk and make a donation. If you are not comfortable making an online donation then send Stacey an email ( and she'll send you more information on how to donate.  Stacey is a regular at Saturday's YIP 10:30AM class if you'd like to say hello. 
"Always be generous with your encouraging words, you may find they will inspire others to be the best they can be."   -  Catherine Pulsifer

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Outdoor Yoga for [almost] Every Day of the Week

As promised YIP researched what else was going on with Outdoor Yoga and Fitness events this summer in the Washington Heights and Inwood area. Here is what has been discovered:

* Bread and Yoga is offering Free yoga at Inwood Hill Park every Tuesday from 6:45PM to 8:15PM starting June 22nd.

* The Fort Tryon Park Sunset Yoga started on Wednesdays at 6:45PM in the Abbey Lawn at Fort Tryon Park (see map). You can call 212-795-1388 for more information

* The Fort Tryon Park also has a Tai Chi class on beautiful Linden Terrace (see map) on Wednesdays at 6:30AM.

Finally, there is us [YIP] every Saturday at 10:30AM and Sunday at 1PM. If you know of any other community yoga or fitness events please feel free to add to this post via comments or email

And please remember to take care of yourself when engaging in any sport activity during the summer, always have water with you and apply sunblock if you are planning to be out in the sun for prolonged periods of time.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sunday, June 13

A beautiful black and white photo of Sara Alvarez's awesome class contributed by Hong Kim.  Sara's page is up now under YIP Teachers so you can let her know what you thought of class.

Cheers and enjoy the World Cup Games! I am feeling kind of depress because I don't have tv with cable :-(

Monday, June 7, 2010

Musings of a Yoga Teacher

I, as well as those that have supported the YIP initiative right from the start, are amaze at how our little group has grown.  I really want to thank you all for your support.  I am really happy that I get to teach you all, and share with you, what I hope is more than an hour an half workout.  I know I sound like a hippie, but I don't care, I am just really happy that there are people in the City that haven't lost the sense of community or have found one in YIP.  And the park, the park! I also hope that the exercises you are learning here on the weekends are helping you smile more often during the week ;-). 
I am  also amazed at the response from the Yoga teaching world.  Some of you (volunteer teachers) hike it up here all the way from Brooklyn, Lower East Side, and Queens to share your love and passion! If that's not Karma yoga, I don't know what is! (cause I live right in the neighborhood and still manage to be late to class).  I really encourage everyone that comes to YIP to take a moment and give the volunteer teachers feedback (look for list of YIP Teachers on right column of blog).  The testimonials of Yippers will go a long way as many of the volunteer teachers are just starting their journey as professional Yoga Instructors.

Lastly, if you have feedback on ways to improve on YIP or would like to get more involved with the initiative or have ideas of your own (for community service) send me an email ( I would love to hear from you! Currently YIP is looking for indoor space to keep the initiative going during the winter, if you know of a space (preferably donated) please let me know!

Peace and kindness to you all and I hope to see you this upcoming weekend. Namaste, om shanti shanti.

Alexandra Corazza - Yogi of the Week

In this Yogi of The Week feature I will be attempting to sum up the complex being that is Alex Corazza, no easy task. She is a yoga enthusiast, photographer, world traveler, Inwood dweller, tea drinker, and…and…I could just go on forever so, lets just hear what she has to say about herself and her yoga practice, shall we? Alex, what is your favorite yoga pose? I don't have a favorite pose…I like to keep it least favorite is any [pose] that I have to hold for too long. What’s your take on yoga? The role yoga plays in my life is it keeps my challenges and goals in check. Encourages me to aim high but be real; to try and stay focused at the task at hand while dreaming big. Strengthen front of the body and the back and the sides. Keep the four corners of my feet spread wide and reeeaaach!!!
Alex is a freelance portrait and event photographer ( & who also believes that yoga has helped her gained the strength needed to carry heavy camera bags all over creation and maintain good posture and balance which helps her shooting technique. In her own words, Alex believes that “yoga as a philosophy helps me find beauty which is very important for photographers to do on command.”

So Alex, any photography tips for YIP? What’s our good angle, right, left, or should we just give up and go for panoramic?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


If you've met me (Grisel) or signed the communal informational waiver, then you have probably discovered my pet peeve - wasting paper. I can't stand it! So am very frugal when it comes to making flyers and paper based stuff for YIP.  I've only printed out one batch of flyers (exactly 100 leaflets made out of 25 sheets of paper) since the start of YIP and I don't really see the need to print out more any time soon. Why? because you can help by passing on your flyer to someone new once you are done with it! Once you have subscribed to the listserv all of the information you need is on the weekly e-mail, the times and location of classes and the link to the YIP blog (this blog).  So why not help save a tree or two while at the same time helping to build the YIP community!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Book Review for Memorial Day Weekend

The long weekend is almost here.  Now it's a good time to pick up that book you've been meaning to read and sit for long lingering hours in a shaded park bench or belly down on the grass and just - (insert breath here) - relax. As for me, I am trying something new: Poetry.  I don't normally read poetry (well, actually, I never read poetry - closest thing to poetry I read is Japanese Manga), but I just recently discovered (thanks to Yoga Journal) a cute little book called Malas of the Heart.  This small hard cover is a collection of 108 "sacred poems" from around the world, its subjects are universal: God, Nature, and Love.  What I most enjoy about the book is that the poems are simple and actually easy to remember so I've been using some of the poems as mantras throughout the day to liven it up a bitHere is one of my current favorites:

If you circumambulate every holy shrine in the world
ten times,
it would not get you to heaven
as quick
as controlling your

- Kabir (India)

Note: Mantras are instruments of thought in the form of a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that are considered capable of "creating transformation" in the self.  Similar to the application of positive thinking in Cognitive-Behavioral psychology, where you are prescribed to repeat to yourself a catch-phrase througout the day such as "I am a good person" whenever you find yourself falling into thought cycles focusing on self-criticism in order to break the cycle.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Yoga Blogging

Personally, am not very good at the whole blogging thing (though I am getting the hang of it with YIP), but there are some talented bloggers that manage to create something that is both interesting and educating. I visited the blog of Joe Somodi (, a Yoga Instructor at Sonic Yoga on 50th Street and 9th Avenue and found a colorful, refreshing and personal account of how to apply Yoga to daily life.  Commiting to live your life by a certain code of conduct and moral requires both stubborness and flexibility, the first to push you forward and the second to forgive yourself when you fall back. The generous act of sharing experiences with others, as in blogging, can help those wishing to commit to something important in their life to recognize these qualities (stubborness and flexibility) in themselves by taking advantage of the natural human condition of "seeing yourself through another."

On another and more random note, but still related to generosity, I would like to extend a really BIG thank you to Sonic Yoga, its my alma mater yoga school.  You know those extra mats I wheel around so that you can borrow at YIP events? They were donated by Sonic. The entire school is made up of the most generous and supportive Yogis and Yoginis always willing to help and educate. T H A N K  Y O U ! ! !

Be generous to others, be generous to yourself. Share the experience here, on the YIP blog!


Monday, May 3, 2010

Yogi of the Week

Laura Martinez is an awesome awesome yogini. She has been supporting YIP from the very beginning both as student and Yoga teacher.  As an uptown girl (but a Texan at heart), Laura cares greatly for our community and her efforts to create a positive impact extend beyond the Manhattan borders and unto the Bronx where she volunteers as a Yoga Teacher for Mothers on the Move, a program that provides health and nutrition education to low-income mothers.  I didn't get a chance to ask Laura all of the usual Yogi of the Week questions, but I can tell you this much (and I think she would agree), that at the moment she likes all poses that feel good after a long run because Laura is training to run the New York City Marathon this year!!
So if you see Laura biking, running, or doing Yoga next to you at the next YIP day, give her a wave, a thumbs up, and (if its well intentioned) a shoulder massage :-)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Perfect Day for Yoga

Walking  to the YIP meetup spot at the Cloister Lawn in Fort Tryon Park I met a very young yogini headed to our class.   It was about 75 degrees, clear blue skies, and sunny. The young sage (who must have been about 5 yrs old) said that it was a perfect day for Yoga. Well, so it was perfect until about 11:30AM at which point I wanted to start teaching Reverse Sun Salutations to maybe invite some clouds into our picture perfect Yoga day.  Saturday Yogis, I hope you are enjoying your new tan!

Seriously though, thank you so much to Saturday's Yogis for sharing your amazing spirits in what I would consider a very challenging class (it was created to be thus, but the Sun and heat I think took it up a notch).  Never the less, you all made it through and I hope that you learned something new about yourselves in the process. And thank you for bearing with me and my headache (what is it with YIP teachers and headaches lately?! - hmm will have to look into that).

As for YIP, next time we are scouting out the SHADE at Cloister Lawn; if you insist on placing your mat in the Sun, please wear sunblock. Also, as warmer weather kicks in, so will your sweat, so Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate!!!

Finally, the next Yogi of the Week will be coming soon.  Who will it be?  (Actually, since there was non posted for this week, there might be 2 surprises next week!)



Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rainy Day Yoga

Today when my alarm clock went off, I had a pounding headache and it was raining. It was to be my first day teaching with YIP, and I really wanted to create a great class for everyone. Not so good, I thought. I called Grisel in a little bit of a conundrum: I was SO looking forward YIP, but I felt hesitant to go with only %50 of my brain functioning. Could maybe she cover for me today?

With her usual groundedness and patience, which I have witnessed in action through months of teacher training, Grisel gave me the nudge I needed to hit the ground running. "It would be really great if you could make it anyway," she said, "But the important thing is that you feel well." So I took some tylenol and hopped on the train.

Feeling well. Words of wisdom indeed! Let me tell you guys, nothing could have made me feel better today than joining in with your wonderful community of yogis. The rainy day didn't interrupt our chance to practice yoga in the backdrop of nature: rather, I felt that it supported and nurtured our slow-burning, restorative practice together. Breathing deeply in the simple, challenging poses helped clear away all my conundrums and revealed to me in a new way that stillness and rain don't have to be so hard to deal with. It's okay to be still. It's okay to move slowly, and maybe sometimes it's even okay to function at %50. It was such a cozy, safe haven and I left feeling aglow.

Thank you all so much for your open hearts and welcoming smiles! I can't wait to join you again whether I am practicing on the mat to your left or leading another therapeutic class, growing and rooting and thriving. I'm very grateful to have had such a nourishing rainy day with you.
Namaste! And cheers!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yogi of the Week - Masumi Kishikawa

Recently we caught up with Masumi Kishikawa, a veteran of YIP, last Sunday.  Aside from being a dedicated yogini, Masumi has been an invaluable contributor to the YIP initiative, including designing the ubber cool and cute logo and flyer for YIP displayed here on the blog. She is a graphic desginer with great sensitivity and YIP is very grateful for her lending us her talents. So Masumi, what is your favorite yoga pose?  Wheel, because I feel very stretched and open after I do it.  What is your least favorite yoga pose? Parsvottanasana, because those muscles for me are very tight and I get shaky when I do it.
Why do you like to do yoga outdoors?  I really respect the idea of free yoga class.  It's good for people who never had any yoga experience; it is a great opportunity for the community and I wish to be a part of it.  I also feel so free taking a yoga class on the grass with the smell of flowers! 

Its no surprise that Masumi loves wheel, she has a big open heart!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

So why do we like to do yoga in the park?

Here are some reasons why:
1) Sharing time with friends before and after class, and
2) Witnessing the blossoming nature around you and (inside of you).

Why do you like to do Yoga in the park or outdoors? Share your experience with us.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yogi of the Week

Alright! I am kicking off the Yogi of the Week section of the YIP blog. Yippy!

I am Grisel Olivo, many of you may already know me as Gri or Gris. I love Yoga, the outdoors, Japanase manga and animation, and travel to remote places. When I am not doing neither of the afore mentioned activities then am at work writing grants and aiding the development of new programs for New York City's elderly population (or am chilling with my homies).

Currently, I am also founder and volunteer teacher of YIP and loving it! Volunteering in this initiative has transformed my Sundays into a meaningful vortex of Ohh soo many good feelings! don't even know where to start. Let's just say, I really like teaching this community class (and taking this class when someone else is teaching), laying in the green grass, listening to the birds chirping, and feeling connected to so many wonderful and amazing people.

What is your favorite yoga pose? At the moment, it is forearm stand. I am at that stage where the pose is unfolding within me. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't, but I am witnessing a forward moving procession that fascinates me. I think this is why I love Yoga so much, being both the witness and the doer.

What is your least favorite pose? Locust (variation with chin on floor and legs overhead). I find that this post is next kin to torture for me, my chin always gets bruised after practicing it, but I am confident that there is still within that pose some peace (that I am yet to find).

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Yoga in the Park gets Flexible

Today was the second meeting of Yoga in the Park for the 2010 Spring Season and already the initiative was showing off its stretchy muscles. A light rain fell over Fort Tryon Park while the windchill dropped below 50 degrees. Our hands and feet were freezing and it didn't take too long to realize that even the heat building class Grisel had planned for the day would not keep the group toasty. Thankfully though, there was a generous offer from Alex (YIP co-founder) to come and teach at her place. This was a great relief and a well earned reward for those YIP group members that braved the weather and made it to the park. YIP demonstrated incredible adaptability today as one group member said, thanks to the shared intention of doing yoga no matter what! RAIN or SHINE!

The class at Alex's place was lovely, and the generous tea offering at the end of class really hit the spot. Thank You Alex!

Next Sunday we will welcome a new teacher to the YIP rotation. His bio will be coming soon.

Have a wonderful week and see you in the park next Sunday.



Thursday, February 11, 2010

First Yoga in the Park Initiative Meeting

YIP! (yoga in the park) has been relatively quiet over the winter. Lots of things have happened since the last meeting in late September (which was great!). A team of young new and experienced Yoga teachers are ready to be part of the initiative.

The YIP team will be meeting again on Monday, February 15 to brainstorm for the future of YIP, Spring and Summer are just around the corner and will hopefully allow us to bring lots of outside Yoga activities to the Heights! On the upcoming meeting YIP will focus on how to do outreach to those we wish to service, which is low-income persons in the community that do not have easy access to education on exercising, nutrition, and other general health.

Well, here we go. Check in again after Februar 15 to read on meeting outcomes.