Saturday, October 8, 2016

10/7/2016 Co-op Meeting Minutes

IYD Cooperative Meeting Agenda and Minutes 10/7/16, 6:30pm- 8:30pm
  1. Welcome and Introductions
    • Share names--Gwi-Seok, Erin, Kelley, Nicci, Suai, Beata, Darlene, Chris B, Thelma (notes--Gwi-Seok)
    • Review agenda
  2. Updates on space and business status
We need to move out of 10021 by mid Nov. How to arrange entry. Consult with Becky Lloyd at Audubon Yoga. L3C papers filed. EIN acquired and bank account will be opened Monday.
  1. Discuss Cooperative structure
    • Committees, roles, chairs and members, immediate tasks
      1. Finance--banking, bills, payroll, Punchpass
        1. Financial update: After rent was paid, we presently have a total of $1391.15 ($250.15 that we have access to; $1,141 in checks that haven’t been deposited). - AA
        2. Nicci will look into switching to PP and check w Michele about payroll and mindbody reconciliation.
        3. Darlene is joining. Angela and Nicci will let Darlene know where she can fill in.
        4. Darlene will check with Angela about bookkeeping system.
      2. Administration--legal forms, insurance, day-to-day functions, events
        1. Is work-study still relevant? Only for occasional projects, not day-to-day functions. Needs to be approved by co-op. Carpentry, maintenance (?), professional services (accounting, legal work). Kelley will ask lawyer friend for referrals re legal work and accounting.
        2. Fundraising/Events committee--Gwi-Seok, Rashmi, Erin, Darlene (food), Nicci, Gwi-Seok
          1. Fri 16 December--BKS Iyengar birthday celebration--idea to make it a big event to showcase all CIYTs, gather all CIYTs in region, big media splash. Subcommittee will meet and plan.
        3. Community Partnership committee--Thelma, Kelley, Gwi-Seok
          1. Events outside the studio. Examples in the past: Porous Borders, Hamtr public schools, Detroit is the New Black, Eastern Mkt flash mob
      3. Site--moving out of 10021, cleaning/laundry, props maintenance, store, beautification
        1. Darlene, Beata, and Thelma are laundry volunteers and will work out a system
        2. Needs: cabinet/shelf, baskets/bins, tablet or laptop (Nicci has a friend), shoe rack, rug runners
        3. Is the Square in Michele’s account? Nicci will check.
        4. Space Sharing subcommittee:
          1. White noise machine--Darlene will bring
          2. Check with Meiko and Michele about kitchen schedule (Gwi-Seok).
          3. Homespun Hustle wants to rent space for storage and workshops. 65/35 split for workshops? $ ___ for storage rental space.
          4. Darlene renting space for acupuncture--8-10 hours/week, need storage space for table etc, $60/session, do a 65/35 split
          5. Gwi-Seok will chair this committee.
      4. Media and Communications--social media, website, newsletters, printed material
        1. Haven’t followed up with anyone right now. Erin, Gwi-Seok & I, have been maintaining website, newsletters and social media. In regards to posters, print/digital media and photography/videography, what is desired? What seems like priorities for this committee? After knowing this, I can reach out to those who have signed up to help in those ways. - AA
          1. HGS: talked to Julia Cuneo and Kelley about making a general postcard and flier. Will continue cultivating convo with them. Also talked to Kelley about a brochure describing the co-op (future project).
        2. Chris sees the space as good potential for privates in the afternoons.
        3. Groupon? Nicci and Darlene will crunch the numbers. Interest in taking it down. Alternatives? Darlene “First Friday Free.” Pay it forward bulletin board.
        4. Chris: who are the influencers in the community? Who are the leaders who will bring people? Have clear ways to communicate what Iyengar Yoga is. Call ourselves exclusively Iyengar Yoga to distinguish ourselves from generic yoga.
        5. Revolving testimonials on the website.
        6. Focus group with our students or survey.
        7. Kelley--radio spots. Will talk to boyfriend about getting us on his radio show.
        8. Print and online publications:
          1. Natural Awakenings--6-8 week lead time
          2. Ferndale Friends--free listing
          3. Hamtramck News
          4. Metro Times
        9. Invite media here for a special class--BKS Iyengar’s birthday
  2. Membership structure--give details later
      1. $50/basic membership
      2. $200+/owner members with 6-10 hours labor/month and end-of-year profit sharing (80% of net profit? what about $100/year, 2 hours labor/month, 20% of net profit? Or some such formula based on hours contributed? Because I think there are folks who do NOT have 6-10 hours/month to give, but still want to be involved. HGS)
  3. Decision-making process--not discussed but organizational chart draft here
  4. Values and Vision for Cooperative (maybe set separate date--mini-retreat in Nov? invite all members?)
  5. Next meeting date Fri 28 Oct 7pm

Future topics for discussion:

  • Pricing structure of classes - I’ve had a handful of people in the last couple weeks tell me that they would like to start coming, but think the cost of our classes is too high, I know we’ve talked about this over and over again as teachers, but maybe this would be a good topic to introduce to the co-op at some point - ES
    • I would be open to this conversation as well. Maybe a conversation, for retreat. - AA

Monday, September 26, 2016

Got a Minute? Do a Pose! Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (upward pressing legs)

A great pose to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Not appropriate for menstruation or pregnancy. Put a blanket under your elbows if your arms don't touch the floor. You could also put your hands under your buttocks to make the pose a bit easier and to relieve any strain in your back.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

What is "Brown and Black Yoga" Anyway?

If you’re accustomed to dropping in to whatever class may fit your schedule on any given day, you may be surprised to see we have a new offering on Monday nights: Brown and Black Yoga. If you read the fine print, you’ll see that it’s expressly for folks who identify as a person of color, and that white folks are asked not to attend.

This may take you aback, if you’ve never been asked to define and restrict yourself by your race, except for the once-a-decade census form. Those of us who came of age in the 70s and 80s, in the aftermath of Jim Crow, largely grew up with colorblindness and desegregation as the values to strive for. So why segregate by race now?

Consider this: we’ve been offering a Women’s Yoga class for years. Many gyms and other centers also have special women’s hours or women’s spaces. Culturally, we seem to understand that the needs of women are particular, and not always met in mixed-gender spaces. It may be for religious reasons, or it may be because women have experienced trauma associated with men, sexual or otherwise, or it may be because the physical and physiological needs of women are unique, or just that women would prefer to hang out together.

In addition, yoga is a particularly vulnerable practice. We move our bodies around in all kinds of ways. We wear snug shorts or tights and shirts. We sweat, go upside down, and tie ourselves up in knots. Especially when we are already asked to try new things, challenge ourselves, and leave our comfort zones, it’s important to be in a space where you feel safe.

For the same reasons women do not always feel safe doing yoga when men are in the room, brown and black people may not always feel safe doing yoga when white people are in the room. In the same way misogyny continues to rage in our society (in the media, on the streets, in the workplace, economically, politically etc), racism continues to plague our society through systemic racism. Distinct from interpersonal racism, systemic racism involves the political, economic, educational, and social structures that put white people at the top of a racial hierarchy and keep them there.

These same systems of oppression make it all too easy for microaggressions to occur, no matter how well-intentioned someone might be. Over time, they accumulate and can manifest as physical illness and take an emotional toll as depression and anxiety.

We’re offering Brown and Black Yoga because students have requested it. They have expressed that they feel more relaxed, less guarded, more supported, and less self-conscious when they are with each other, than when white folks are in the room, the same way women may feel more comfortable in a gender-segregated space. These opportunities are so few and far between that they are treasured. They give nourishment to more happily face the rest of the week, when we are all re-integrated into multi-racial, all-gendered spaces.

Let’s support each other in getting our needs met in yoga class. Let’s respect the needs of others in our community, even if they may be different than our own. Namaste.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Announcing: Iyengar Yoga Detroit Cooperative

Dear Beloved Community of Iyengar Yoga Detroit,

Michele and Gwi-Seok opened Iyengar Yoga Detroit in Fall 2013, expanding from Michele’s Yoga Suite, into a larger location, with more teachers and classes. We moved into our current site 2 years ago, eager for a more permanent space on the ground floor. Since 2013, we’ve grown from 1 teacher to 5 teachers, all certified or actively engaged in the certification process, and from 3 classes a week to 13+. We host workshops, an advanced studies program, and a rare and much-needed Special Concerns class.

As we celebrate our 3rd anniversary, we are facing some changes. Michele, after much contemplation and years of dedication and sacrifice, has decided to step down from her directorship and ownership of IYD. She will continue to teach, but will no longer be our director.

We sincerely appreciate all she has done to bring Iyengar Yoga to a broad community, directing the only Iyengar Yoga center in Detroit, and one of an extremely small handful owned by a black person nationwide. We are very proud of what she has accomplished and deeply grateful.

Now, we are in the process of transitioning to a cooperatively-run structure beginning in September. We look forward to becoming one of very few yoga co-ops in the nation, and the only one we know of in Michigan. From the student’s point of view, little will change. Our schedule, fees, and policies will remain largely the same. However, organizationally, we will operate in a more community-based fashion.

We will have several types of membership for you to choose from. In additional to the general membership we have now, we will also have a $100/year tax-deductible voting membership for community folks interested in attending bi-annual meetings to help steer the course of IYD, and $200+/year tax-deductible membership for owner-managers who will run IYD and meet monthly. The additional membership levels will also be eligible for profit-sharing in surplus years.

To be truthful, IYD has yet to profit financially. We profit in many other ways by sharing the study and practice of Iyengar Yoga, but our teachers are paid far less than they deserve (sometimes less than minimum wage or no wage at all) and the organization has stayed afloat through Michele’s generosity.

Instead of the industry standard of 200 and 500-hour certifications, Iyengar Yoga certification takes about 1000 hours. Intermediate Junior teachers have more like 3000-10,000 hours of on-going training under their belts. Why do we sacrifice so much time and energy for low pay? We see Iyengar Yoga as a sacred art, a spiritual path, and healing practice, necessary for our own well-being, and of benefit to the community. We offer this art freely, and turn no one away.

In order to take IYD to the next level and establish a firm economic foundation, we ask our community to actively support us with membership, and if possible, time and energy.

We will host a fundraising party on Friday, September 9, 5:30-9pm. Details will be forthcoming, but it will consist of the usual 2nd Friday Restorative Yoga class, followed by food, an open mic, and more. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend, and bring friends. We ask for a $20-$50 donation at the door, to set us on good footing for the changes ahead. We will also be encouraging folks to get a jump on 2017 memberships, and receive 3 months of bonus membership.

Meanwhile, please ponder what Iyengar Yoga Detroit means to you, and how you might want to participate in the coming year. Do you have a gift for bookkeeping, housekeeping, or carpentry? Are you good at administration, organization, communications? Do you love social media, photography, design? Maybe you don’t have time, but you have money to spare to support community health and well-being.

Whatever you’ve got, we’ll take it and put it to excellent use. We look forward to working more closely with you in coming months and years. Thank you for your heartfelt support!

IYD Faculty and Staff:
Hong Gwi-Seok
Michele Pearson
Erin Shawgo
Nicci Kushner
Meiko Krishok
Angela Abiodun


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Got a Minute? Do Prasarita Padottanasana (classic) and Uttanasana (classic)

Patanjali Yoga Sutra II.17

by Meiko Krishok

द्रष्टृदृश्ययोः संयोगो हेयहेतुः I
II.17 draṣṭṛ-dṛśyayoḥ saṁyogaḥ heya-hetu

The cause of pain is the association or identification of the seer (ātmā) with the seen (prakti) and the remedy lies in their dissociation. (tr BKS Iyengar)

We are both the Seer and the Seen. The former is that which is unchanging. Ātmā is pure universal consciousness. This is the observer that is unchanging in its response to its environment. The Seen, on the other hand is part of the material world and is continuously changing. Prakti is comprised of material objects, the intellect, the mind and the ego, which are constantly experiencing fluctuations. Just think about how your nails grow or your skin changes, or how many different thoughts and emotions overwhelm you on a regular basis. All of this is nature/prakti/dśyayo/that which is seen.

We encounter difficulty and pain when the Seer and the Seen become confused, when the Seer within us mistakes that which is seen as unchanging, universal truths. We can easily experience a moment of pain, discomfort, or anxiety and forget that it is simply a fluctuation of consciousness, a temporary physical response to our (temporary) physical environment. These are the moments that seem to linger on forever, and even once the physical sensation has passed, often, a piece of that experience remains lodged in our unconscious, ready to spring back up at the drop of a hat.

When we allow the Seer to remain the Observer instead of the Experiencer, we can start to discriminate between ātmā and prakti, and instead of getting all mixed up in the material world, intellect and ego, we can allow the Seer to simply shine its light on everything as it unfolds.

As B.K.S. Iyengar points out in his commentary on Patanjali’s sutras, the intellect plays a critical role in this process, as it can easily become enmeshed in the world of material objects. It says what is that? How did they get that and what will it take for me to get one? Am I as smart or grounded or kind as so-and-so? The intellect rules the small self, the ego. The great self is in the heart. The intellect connects the head to the heart, but often this is an unsteady connection. What is needed is not identification of the Seer with the Seen, but transparency between the two. Once the intellect can easily discriminate between the Seer and the Seen, then the ego dissolves, allowing for the soul (purua, the unchanging) to shine its true light.