Changes abound.

New Site

If you’re still checking this site for information related to my yoga / healing arts / mental health / social justice work – please update your files and browsers. I’m now posting everything over at Liberation Healing Arts. Check it out!


New Schedule as of May 2017

Two weekly classes with me.
Wednesday 5:45 – 7:05 Yoga for Queers and Misfits
Saturday 10:30 – 12:00p Align and Shine
Go to Liberation Healing Arts for full details.

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Remember – please visit Liberation Healing Arts for the most up-to-date information on my classes, workshops, series, and more.

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On Asking for Help

Upcoming Yoga

Align and Shine: Saturday, 10:30-12 at Durham Yoga Company. Sign up now.
SUB ALERT!  Flow and Unwind: Monday, 7-8:15, Durham Yoga Company. Sign up now.


I’ve been in quite a bit of flux, much like the world, and am looking outside and within for guidance on where to invest myself at this crossroads.  I’ve been looking to add more yoga classes back into my schedule, and I am very interested in what y’all, as my community, want and need from me.

So I am asking for your help. I’ve elicited the support of professional researcher to help me design a survey; through it, I hope to understand you and your needs better.  Will you help me know how best to serve the community by taking 10 minutes to respond?  As a small incentive, I am offering a free class (for you, never expires!) and a chance to win a free private yoga or Thai bodywork session. All you have to do is complete the survey to access these perks.

take the survey

And please consider sharing this survey with other with anyone you know who may have attended my classes during the past six years that I’ve been teaching in Durham.

Thank you in advance for your insight and guidance!

Beyond this humble request for help from you all, my community, I’ve been meditating a lot on the trials and tribulations of cultivating a practice of asking for help.  I think it is a practice, after all–to know what we need and to be willing to articulate that AND be willing to be open to the help from wherever it comes. That level of self-awareness and vulnerability takes practice.

And it is such a counter-cultural act to ask for help when the white supremacist capitalist cisheteropatriarchy places such a high value on having it all together. On rugged individualism.  On the illusive but seductive path of boot-strappin’ your way through life.

Asking for help is a radical act in this current paradigm, and can be not only transformative insofar as you allow yourself to receive whatever help is likely to come your way once you’ve expressed what you need, but also in that it offers an opportunity to equalize power dynamics, to engage with someone as an equal, a peer, a colleague.  And especially for those who are attached to the illusory perfect standard of ‘having it all together,’ it can be an incredible opportunity to allow someone else to show up for you for a change.  Instead of being the one who always handles All The Things, you give someone else the opportunity to channel Grace/Source/the Greater Energy and show up for you that way.

This week, join me in cultivating a practice of asking for help.  We’ll work it on the mat, and contemplate how we can do so off the mat as well.

In the meantime, help me out and do the survey!


PS The Anti-Racist Yoga Convergence I co-facilitated with Michelle Johnson last weekend was met with so much interest and energy that we are planning a few more similar gatherings.  Make sure you “like” and “see first” my Facebook page to stay tuned.  You can also join my mailing list to get information right to your inbox.

On Showing Up

resilience

Y’all.

This is a big pulsating time of change.  This is a critical moment in our nation’s history, which is being made every. single. day in the streets and in communities and within amazing organizations and coalitions and in the hearts and minds of the people.

Yoga is a part of this.  Not separate.  Not self-indulgent.  Not elitist.
Yoga is none of those things if/when it serves to support us in showing up more fully and more wholly.

Practice showing up with me.

Align and Shine: Saturday, 10:30-12 at Durham Yoga Company. Sign up now.

AND

Anti-Racist Yoga Convergence, Sunday 1-3pm at ADF, 721 Broad St
NOTE New Location due to overwhelming interest!
Sign up strongly encouraged: Go here.

 

TONIGHT: Mourning and Meaning-Making

Let us take in their beauty…their fullness…the faces of these fallen friends, comrades, kindred.


Special All-Levels Class tonight
Wednesday 6/15 at 7:30 – 9pm

ADF Dance Studio: 721 Broad St, Durham

Free / Any Donations will go to support local POC Queer and Trans efforts

Let us hold space together
for Mourning and Meaning-Making in this Crucial Moment

I invite all trans, queer, and LGBTQIAA folks to come, as well as those who are truly interested in being in solidarity and allyship with us.  We will do a sweet, all-levels, yoga practice in a circle, physically and symbolically centering those most affected by this latest tragedy.  Those who will to show up with us can help hold a container with us by circling around us.  All are welcome.  Bring a mat if you have one, there will be some available as well.

This is a free event, but I will be “passing the hat” to support the Queer and Trans People of Color Collective, Southern Vision Alliance, and SONG.  100% of proceeds will go to supporting the work of these organizations fighting at the intersections of identity and injustice, for collective liberation.


I am in despair right now, as so many of you are.  Having been out of town and offline for the past 3 weeks, I arrived back to Durham last night just in time to hold space alongside many of you in the wake of the #PulseOrlandoMassacre.  We gathered in the most human of ways, under increasingly commonplace circumstances: to mourn the tragic and horrific theft of the lives of our kindred.  We convened to hold space for the full range of emotions that we are feeling–or trying not to feel, or wishing we could feel when all we feel is numb–rage, exhaustion, shock, helplessness, fear, defiance, resilience, anger, isolation, a dull ache of knowing that this has happened before and it very likely happen again.

Pulse Vigil.ManjuRajendran

Photo Credit Manju Rajendran

This is a powerful and potent time for our community, for this country, and for our world.  It is essential to hold space right now for mourning and grief.  This attack is a violation of one of the few spaces in which gay and queer and LGBTQIA+ folks have been able to make home, have felt held, have sought visibility and an expression of resistance and resistance.  We are once again asked to hold more than anyone should have to hold: the reality that this was a targeted attack on Black and Brown people, on the Latinx gay community.  That it was spawned by partriarchal violence and a hate which knows no boundaries, which is not the domain of any particular sect or nationality.  Even in our grief we must also be vigilant and not let our pain and this tragedy be an excuse to fuel greater Islamaphobia and spur an increase in violence against other sectors of our community.  As we shudder with the inexplicable capacity for causing harm that humans possess, we also quake with determination to stay the course of collective liberation.  This path of freedom invites all of us in–EVERY SINGLE ONE–and does not allow room for separation, isolation, for hate or fearmongering or the reductionist idea that one more violent, racist, patriarchal, white supremacist policy will make us safe.  Only we can do that, and only when we’re in our fullness.

As we mourn we have to clearly state, through our tears and our trembling and our tenderness, that we stand with our Muslim kindred just as we stand with our trans and queer and LGBTQIA Latinx kindred, just as we stand with all those who are threatened by misogynist violence, hatemongering and scapegoating, which is all of us.

Contrary to how many people approach it, grief is not an illness–not something to be cured from, to power through, or to let pass.  Holding space for grief is an essential step toward making meaning out of these important experiences–as well as minimizing the corrosive effects that unattended grief can bring. And this new grief touches on and unearths old grief, which swells up in powerful and sometimes immobilizing waves. Now is the time to hold each other tenderly. Now is the time to bear witness to each other’s humanity however it shows up: grief, rage, sadness, fear, anger, numbness. Now is the to time to keep breathing, together, while so many others can’t.

Right now we are grieving not only the loss of lives but also the continued loss of, and threat to, the sense of autonomy, access to justice, sense of safety and the sanctity of our bodies, and perhaps even a loss of faith in humanity itself. This grief therefore is truly something that we must treat with reverence and honor, for it is a way of honoring the significance of what was lost, and a very concrete way of making way for what is to come.  It is a gift we can give our future selves to hold space for it now, and our ability to do so collectively will contribute to our capacity for collective meaning-making, resilience and a renewed commitment to struggle.

What will it take to build a safety many of us have never experienced? What would we need to call on each other instead of the police? What would it take to have saved every person inside of Pulse? How do we hold the cultural and political architects of this oh so deliberate tragedy accountable? – SONG statement, http://southernersonnewground.org/2016/06/pulse/

Join me tonight for an unexpected moment to hold space together.  I have been on sabbatical and am in town or a brief moment…I couldn’t let this moment pass without trying to make a space for us all to be together.

We can do this. We are stronger together.

Please follow some of the links below to learn more about the people we lost in the tragedy, as well as ways we can respond with our whole hearts, our whole selves.

Trans and Queer Latinx respond to Pulse Orlando Shooting

One Rise, One Fall: Organizing, Resisting, and Grieving for Pulse

These are the victims of the Orlando Massacre

Statement from the Latinx Queer caucus in Durham, from last night’s vigil

Queer, Cubanx writer José Esteban Muñoz wrote, “Queerness is a longing that propels us onward, beyond romances of the negative, and toiling in the present. Queerness is the thing that lets us feel that this world is not enough, that indeed something is missing.”

For Muñoz and anyone who has moved their bodies with others in a queer nightclub knows: queerness is a belief in futurity and the possibility of utopia. Otro mundo es possible. We glimpse this utopia in queer spaces like the drag nights at Chino Latino, Legends, The Pinhook, the Bar Durham, Visions, and countless others in between, where we sweat, we dance, we kiss, we flirt, we fuck, and we feel wild, free, and full of life in our queerness and jotería. The gay club has been, and IS, a place where we imagine possibilities for queerness, community, and safety beyond the constrictions of the present.

Tonight we gather to mourn each of the fifty plus brown and Black people killed and injured by the shooting at Pulse Orlando. We name and remember each beautiful body, and each of the baby queers, lovers, and papis who danced there that night. Tonight we gather to mourn, too, the safety, communion, and joyful co-creation of queerness that is generated at every gay club. We mourn the wounding of the sacredness in the simplicity of lights pulsing, hips grinding, sweat, and the being together that has been violated in this attack. We make this space for grieving so that we can carve out meaning and futurity in the face of this innumerable loss. We do it because we need it for our collective resiliency. We do it for our ancestors and the emboldened and brilliant youth they helped make in this moment.

Our mourning is interrupted by the rising tide of institutionalized fear and hatred being spoken by right wing media and politicians mobilizing this moment for their imperialist and racist agendas. So we take this moment to say: We do not accept using the tragedy of the massacre of brown and black people in a sacred space to instill anti-immigration policies and sentiment, fuel Islamophobia, or otherwise build a right wing agenda. Not in the name of our safety.

We know how to make ourselves safe. We know the strength in togetherness, the power of our voices, and the practices of care we extend each other, each day. We learn it again and again at each dance party, drag show, potluck, and rally. We practice our collective safety in each couch we offer, each plate of food saved, every homework we help with, and every time we look in each other’s eyes and say, “You are welcome here.” “You, jotxs, queer, trans, brown, Black, asian, indigenous, accented, person with disabilities– you are beautiful”

We can feel our trans ancestor and leader of the Stonewall Rebellion, Sylvia Rivera at our sides tonight; she whispers in our ears, “Vengan, mijxs, let’s show them, it’s been our turn and we won’t stop now.” Sylvia Rivera, José Muñoz, Gloria Anzaldúa, Leslie Fienberg, every spirit at Pulse Orlando, and all our ancestors stand at our sides and remind us that our jotería is sacred, we are all connected in this struggle, we make our resiliency in mutual aid and support, and we won’t stop now.

 

 

Inspiration

Images from Corina Dross. corinadross.com

Saturday 4/16 at Align and Shine
Note: there’s no YQM this week 4/20 because our venue is unavailable. I’ll be back next week for the Final YQM before my two month sabbatical (see below).

I’m working hard right now to just get through this next week – basically my final final push through some intense deadlines and things.  And as I work my butt off, I am trying to be brave enough to pay attention to all the ways that I try to cope and keep it movin’ in the face of the relentless onslaught of toxicity I’m immersed in (we’re all immersed in, imho).  I know that I cope by trying to control things that I cannot control, that I turn against myself in icky ways, and that I get tempted by the lure of keeping quiet because I think it will keep me safe.

So I’m turning to the world around me for inspiration…and I found these beautiful images from the Portable Fortitude body of work by Corina Dross.*  What beauty and joy I found in this simple act of creativity, in pairing these images with a joy rock from my oldest nephew and godson Henry. Just looking at it gives me hope.

What gives you hope right now?

I’ve been teaching all month on themes related to Resilience and Renewal, inspired by spring and, let’s be honest, a deep and very personal need to be reminded of what I’m made of (what we’re all made of imho).  Tomorrow we’ll look at Inspiration. Will you join me as we hold space together for what inspires and lifts us up? For what keeps us keepin’ on and lovin’ and fightin’ and resistin’ and ??

I need you right now. (I think we all need each other in my humble opinion.)


Some reminders

  • April 20 there will be no Yoga for Queers b/c our venue is not available.  So next week 4/27 is the last class before my sabbatical…

  • I am on SABBATICAL in May and June!
    • No Yoga for Queers and Misfits in that time: join me in April and not again until July
    • Align and Shine (Saturdays) will be covered by Kate Murray
  • THIS JUST IN: Mark your calendars for Friday, 4/29 – I’ll be teaching a FREE
    LOVE YOUR BODY Happy Hour Outdoor Yoga Class at Duke.  5:15pm, Stay tuned for location information.

*Y’all I’m not getting paid to promo this work or anything, this is just an honest look into what’s doing it for me right now and I think it’s honest and right to give creative credit. But I do hope you support Corina b/c she’s a badass–and now LOCAL TO DURHAM–artist and her creative offerings have given hope and resilience and inspiration to so many.