826Michigan Conferencees De-stress

826 National, which is a family of seven nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping students, ages 6-18, with expository and creative writing, is holding their national meeting here in Ann Arbor (at 826michigan) next week.  This event is where staff members from all the  826 centers meet in  one location to learn from one another and share their experiences.

As part of their gathering, Laurie Blakeney, the director of  the Ann Arbor School of Yoga, has invited them to participate in a free yoga class as part of AASY’s commitment to supporting local and national arts-related non-profits.

The group really enjoyed their complimentary class.  Check out this link.

Yoga Is U-M Men’s Rowing Team Secret Weapon In National Championship Win

 Coach credits yoga conditioning at Ann Arbor School of Yoga with fine-tuning team performance

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 10, 2009 – The University of Michigan Men’s Rowing Team dominated the recent American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) National Championships in Oak Ridge, TN. The club won all four men’s heavyweight eights events and took a bronze medal in the varsity lightweight 8+ on its way to winning the Men’s team championship.

Associate Head Coach Charley Sullivan cites an exceptionally helpful new training tool: yoga studies with Ann Arbor School of Yoga Director Laurie Blakeney. Team members requested the new conditioning, Sullivan said.

 “Working with these dedicated young athletes was a pleasure.  They are bright and committed, and appreciated the depth yoga training added to their mind/body awareness,” Blakeney said.

The team practiced Iyengar yoga asanas or poses with Blakeney for eight weeks in the early morning to prepare for the national competition.  The workouts focused on strength, flexibility and balance.  Iyengar Yoga is based on the teachings of Shri B.K.S. Iyengar, the revered living yoga master.  Before they began yoga classes at AASY, Coach Sullivan had already began teaching the team yoga based on his own training as one of Blakeney’s students.

 “On a very basic level, it helped rowers increase flexibility and control, particularly at the extremes of range of motion where the boat is most tippy and most unstable. It allowed them to understand better the connection of their bodies,” Sullivan said.

Laurie’s such a good teacher, helping people realize that certain things are connected internally (lifted support) and externally (bracing support.) – body awareness around balance and core strength.”

 AASY is one of the Great Lakes region’s longest-running yoga venues. Its spacious, light-filled studio and study center in downtown Ann Arbor offers a full schedule of yoga classes and cultural events.

 Free 90-minute trial classes are offered regularly.  For trial class dates and the complete class schedule, please visit www.annarborschoolofyoga.com.

 Members of the media are cordially invited to attend a sample class or view the studio at their convenience.  Please contact Laurie Blakeney, 734-663-7612, or email info@annarborschoolofyoga.com to arrange a visit.

 About Ann Arbor School of Yoga

AASY welcomes serious as well as recreational students for the practice and study of Yoga.  AASY is one of the Great Lakes region’s longest-running yoga venues.  Director Laurie Blakeney, a personal student of BKS Iyengar, holds one of the few Advanced Teaching Certificates conferred directly by the renowned yoga master.

 She brings a uniquely personal and direct style of teaching to her students. She focuses equally on strength, flexibility, stamina and balance with an emphasis on correct alignment. Iyengar Yoga is based on the teachings of Shri B.K.S. Iyengar, the revered living yoga master.  His writings (including Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama and Light on Life) have popularized yoga throughout the world.

Living Life as Art – (with the help of Yoga)

I began my study of Iyengar Yoga at age 19 in 1971. I was immediately hooked. Six years later I began teaching classes, and since then I have been even more enthusiastic with the challenge of teaching the subject. In 1983 I began annual study trips to our parent institute, RIMYI in Pune India. Being a student at our Institute has been a huge blessing in my life!

What I love about the study, practice and teaching of yoga the way the Iyengar’s have guided us is that it helps us to live an artistic life. Guruji has written often about the art, science and philosophy of Yoga. These three intersecting aspects, or perspectives, intrigue me and I try to share that curiosity with my students.

I love to study and share the philosophy of the Patanjali Yoga Sutra, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Upanisads among other texts. These works add color and texture to the asana and pranayama we practice. I also am amazed by, and try to share the science of the practice as it has been developed by our Guru BKS Iyengar. His penetrating understanding of human minds and bodies, and his innovative approach with props and sequences has us all appreciating the “laboratory” approach as we investigate the subject.

To live artistically we must all be acute listeners and appreciative watchers. We need to learn to be expressive – expressive and clear with our words, our movements, our actions, and our thoughts. And as artistic as the study and practice of yoga is, it is only on rare occasions a “performance art”. So there is no pressure to perform, and the ego need not worry itself over that possible strain. Yoga is for our own evolution and satisfaction.

As a teacher now with over 30 year’s experience, I am honored to have been given an Advanced Jr. 1 Certificate by BKS Iyengar. I am excited to share this focus of artistry with every one who attends my classes in the coming year.