I Am Uniquely Eve

Mover * Shaker * Dancer * Actor

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Literary Inspiration

 These are the books I have been exploring in class and on my own:

The Silence Above

Nourishing Teachers Strengthening Classrooms-A Morning Of Yoga And Mindfulness

Book Review: My Amazing Day: A Celebration Of Wonder And Gratitude

Yoga Card Decks

Yoga For A Brainy Day

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Yoga Snack in Ms. Forzaglia’s room (Day 1)** Not sure if I posted this before…it is about 4 years old…

Today I started my once monthly yoga class in Anthony’s 4th grade classroom. The kids were all excited to see me and in the short span of 20 minutes, we got our yoga on! I know Ms. Forzaglia already does some yoga with her class, so everyone was ready and willing.

I started the class by asking “What is yoga?” Many hands shot up and I got: exercise, stretching, relaxing for your body and mind, slow movements and breath. Great words of wisdom and understanding. I reminded them that the most important thing to remember in yoga is the breath, because if we are not breathing, then we are….dead! Giggles? yes….but they get it.

We lay back on the floor and put one hand the chest and a hand on the bellies. I asked them just to breath (breathing in and out through their noses in the yoga fashion) and to then notice, when they breathed in, if the chest or the belly rose up? I mentioned that if the breath was lifting their chests, then they might be nervous, or excited or exhilarated or upset. I then had everyone put their hands on their bellies and with a breath in, we filled our bellies round, and on the breath out, we let the belly get soft. We did this for a few cycles and then let it go.

To get out hearts open, we pressed up into bridge pose, lifting our hearts, hips and chests to the ceiling  while at the same time grounding our feet, elbows and back of the head into the floor. Settling back, we brought or knees to our chest and then gave ourselves a big hug.

Coming up to stand, I taught a modified A series which is:
breath in….arms rise above head
breath out…fold forward into a standing forward bend
breath in….hands to shins into a 1/2 way lift
breath out…lowering down into a string plank (or the start of a push-up)…holding there and breathing in, out, in before
breathing out….lowering all the way to the floor
breathing in….pressing up into cobra pose (legs, pubis on floor; arms slightly bent with elbows pulling into the body)
breathing out (and hissing)….to the floor
breathing in
breathing out….pressing up into Downward Facing Dog pose
breathing in, out, in, out
Looking at hands and either walking or jumping feet to hands

I then turned on some music and we flowed through the A series a couple of times, adding in high then low lunges with a drop back.

One standing pose: Tree pose for focus, calmness and balance. Hands at heart center to create symmetry in the body; hands above the head to increase the belly work and balance.

A one minute Savasana to end class with a short lesson on Ahimsa which is exploring non-injury as a way to achieve harmony with our environment, peace between peoples and compassion within our selves (extending it past bullying, into the realm of positive thinking, self-acceptance and healthy eating).


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Relax, Renew, Decompress the Neck

Monday 4/11/11: Natick Longfellow Fitness: Yoga by Eve Agush: Tap Into Sensation!

Section One:
1. Start by lying on a block (parallel to mat, flat surface up to the bottom of neck)
2. Arm Under Back Stretch: Lying in constructive rest (knees bent, feet flat on floor) slide first right arm, behind lower back; gentle stretch for the shoulder; left
3. Arm Across Chest Stretch
4. Standing: go up and down a few times with breath. Breath in a full breath as arms rise up, breath out a full breath as you bend into Uttanasana (make your breath even and steady, not necessarily deep)
5. Standing CHild’s Pose
6. Easy neck release
7. Heart Like  Wheel
8. Revolved Wide Legged Standing Forwrd Bend
9. Slow A with low lunge-to-drop back
10. Kneeling Dog
11. Sphinx
12. Up Dog
13. Forearm Plank

Section Two:
1. Crescent Lunge series to Airplane Pose to Virabhadrasana II to Dancing Warrior. Flow through.
2. Adho Mukha Svanasana to Plank to bring knee to nose, to outer arm, to across to inside of other arm, to nose, to Crescent Lunge-3 knee drops-Flow through.
3. Adho Mukha Svanasana to Virabhadrasana I to Gurudasana unwrap to Virabhadrasana II to Side Angle Pose to Ardha Chandrasana

Section Three:
Abs-Garudasana Crunch

Section Four:
1. Headstand Prep
2. Headstand
3.Viparita Karani

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Yoga…Teaching the teachers

I had a great yoga class at Longfellow today. It started out slow but then three people walked in together, two of them who are fellow teachers. That is always fun because we can play a bit and share insights. I appreciate the camaraderie at Longfellow and I always appreciate FUN! We flowed, we flew and we fluttered!

After teaching, I hit the Stepmill for 10 minutes to warm my legs up. Then upstais to the weightlifting room. I tried to embody the training my husband has been raving about these past few weeks, low weight high rep to start…

Squat: Bar +10lbs 50 reps; +50lbs 10 reps; +70lbs 7 reps
Lunges: across floor and back with 15lb. hand weights
Super Set of Leg Extensions and Leg Curls: 25lbs. 21 reps/20lbs. 30 reps; 85lbs. 10 reps/ 60lbs. 10 reps; 100lbs. 7 reps/70lbs. 8 reps.

Superset of Bench and Lat Pull Downs: Bar 30 reps/30lbs. 50 reps; +45lbs. 6 reps/ 90lbs. 9reps; 40lbs. 6 reps/105lbs. 5 reps.

I ran out of steam, so I ended with a 3 sets of Shoulder Flyes: 3 lbs. 50 reps; 7.5lbs. 10 reps; 10lbs. 8 reps.


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The Heat Is On!

Today, at my 9AM yoga class at Longfellow Fitness in Natick, MA, I brought the flow on. The room was heated to a delicious 85 degrees and I had a great group of yoginis joining me. I was greatly inspired last week by my “Align Your Flow” class with Natasha Rizopolous and using this inspiration as I led my flow class that had attention to alignment and focused on the breath and each and every person’s edge. It was satisfying to explain the nuances in the feet positions, alignment of the shoulders, the lift in the upper back by dropping the rhomboids to the hips and lifting at the seratus…

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I started today’s class with a cross heart kriya from the Kundalini practice of yoga. This meditation allows you to work both sides of the brain and also to rid yourself of old baggage and open new pathways for success in your life.

I am seeking the yoga teacher I will become. She is in here and she is emerging.

Another great thing about teaching yoga at Longfellow is I have use of their weight room. I have not lifted for years (about 15) but the feeling is coming right back to me. I used to bench 135 pounds at The Gold’s in Boston. I love the feeling you get from lifting; I had forgotten how much I love it. With my tunes blasting in my ears (Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, EPMD, yes I had a Rap and hip-hop sound track today), I couldn’t help  but get a pump going on!

For the love of my life, Rob, I post my workout, because he is going to have to listen to my moans and groans when everything hurts tomorrow. I have to admit, I am still stumbling for the right weights to lift.The form is there, but I am unsure where I want to take this…

1. SQUAT: bar (too light) too many reps; +20lbs. 15 reps; +40lbs 10 reps
2. LUNGES: holding 12.5’s about 20 on both sides
3. EXTENSIONS (back to back with curls) 40lbs 12 reps; 55lbs 10 reps; 70lbs. 8 reps
4. CURLS: 20lbs (too light) 15 or more reps; 30lbs. 15 reps; 40lbs. ?
5. BENCH (backed with incline bench): +10lbs. 15 reps; +20 lbs. 12 reps; +30lbs. 8 reps
6. INCLINE BENCH: +10lbs. 10 reps; +15lbs. 10 reps; +20lbs. 7 reps
7. BUTTERFLY: 45lbs. 12 reps; 60lbs. 7 reps; 65lbs. 7 reps
8. LAT PULL DOWNS: 60lbs. 12 reps; 75lbs. 8 reps; 90lbs. 6 reps
9. UNDER-GRIP LAT PULL DOWNS:45 lbs. 15 reps; 60lbs. 10 reps; 75lbs. 7 reps.
I did not get to do Rows, ran out of time. I had to head to Runkle School in Brookline to deliver 3-20 minute Yoga-Snacks! I love teaching yoga. I love yoga. Life is great!


Teen Dancer Questions

One of my long time teen dancer’s posed some interesting questions to me, in reference to my career as a dancer. I thought I would share my answers:

1) What do you think it takes to become a professional dancer? What strengths must a person have to become a professional dancer? You need to have perseverance; you must learn your craft; you must work hard; you must have personal dedication, strength and stamina; you must follow directions well and take corrections and criticisms well; you must learn from the corrections/criticism that you receive; you must take care of your body and your soul (prevent injuries, eat well, meditate, stretch, yoga); you must take as many dance classes as you can and practice;you must shine on stage! You must audition and I guess you would need to have a flexible job. Understand that dancers do not make a lot of money, do not have much artistic freedom, and must love what they do to survive.
2) What was your motivation to become a dancer? I have never thought of myself as a professional dancer, although I am a professional. I have always thought of ,myself as a professional artist who uses dance as her medium. I love being an artist and was raised by an artist. I did try to become something else but art was just in my soul and I realized I had to recognize it.
3) When and how did you know that you wanted to dance as a career? The career just came upon me. As I learned more and more dance technique and more about choreography and movement, it led to my desire to show people what I could do. I have always natural performer and a natural teacher. Along with being a professional dancer, I am dance teach. My career has taken many shapes and forms: being in a company, creating my own choreography, teaching dance, choreographing student companies, working at studios and teaching and choreographing for them. I have now added creating an in-school yoga program, finding grant funding to get the program off the ground and being hired through another grant program to teach dance in the Boston Public School system.
4) What advice would you give to people who have the same dream of pursuing dance as a career? Follow your dreams and be ready for a wonderful ride. Stay open to all the paths that are presented to you. Find your gurus and learn all that you can. Make sure you are following your dream and not someone else’s. Be ready to work hard and love it.

5) Why do you love dance and what is your inspiration? Dancing allows me to express my creativity. I love the structure of technique and the freedom of artistry. I am inspired by my mother, my teachers, my inner spirit, my students, the natural world, knowledge, life, the freedom art gives me. I think allowing myself to always learn new things is one of my greatest inspirations…that is osmething I get from my mom. She was never afraid to learn something new. I love to learn.

Ole dear Corrina…may you find the path you seek. Thank you for allowing me to be art of your journey for so many years.

Ole Namaste!

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Residency Wrap Up: One Day Before Thanksgiving Break

This week (11/21-11/23) in the Target In-School Artists Residency Program, I introduced flamenco rhythms and technique; Began work on the flamenco choreography; Introduced Epiphany; Reinforced the Junkanoo steps and music; and Continued our yoga practice.

The students really enjoyed and focused on the flamenco technique; they continue to enjoy the yoga with some kids remarking they want to become yoga teachers when they grow up; they love the free spirited moves and music of Junkanoo.

I note that the children do not deal well with the transitions between the three class elements and it often takes us much time to get them settled back into the rhythm of the class. I have decide to approach the class differently when we return on Monday. I will start immediately with a predetermined warm-up (using flamenco, Junaknoo and yoga movements) for the first 20 minutes which we will return to at the beginning of each class. I will then go right into the flamenco choreography which I will run repeatedly with them and then add more steps as they are ready. If time allows, we will return to a more meditative yoga session at the end of class as a way of closure.
I am enjoying working with my assistant, Carol GS. She is an eager learner and is becoming connected to the class dynamics and has good insights to share n the creative process and on dealing with 33 third graders (ha ha). She is still finding her own way into the class and tries many ways to be involved and effective.

What can I say…one day before Thanksgiving break? The kids were way out there today (smile). But as we noted they come in with smiles and they leave with smiles.

Today, I taught a special lesson on Aparigraha, non-possessiveness, and I explained that each child is born with special gifts….some run fast, some dance well, some are artists, some are good in math, some have straight hair…and that we should each be thankful for the gifts that we were born with. I gave each student a slip of paper  and anonymously they wrote down something that makes them special. They came up with many things such as I stated above but one girl noted that everyone hates her and she has no gifts and she ended by saying “help me”. This is a cry for help from her and I have noted previously the ups and down of her moods and the valleys are deep there. We will pay special attention to her and try to keep her involved with the program, to find her place within it. I am trying to decide how to share these thoughts with the students and with the school.

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Yoga-Snacks Returns to Runkle School

I just received a letter from a teacher at Runkle School, Brookline, MA. She wrote for a PTO grant and was awarded money to bring me back to Runkle for a 6-week yoga session. At this point, I have 4 classrooms included. Hooray for the PTO! Hooray for Yoga-Snacks! Hooray for Justine Sands!

Namaste! It’s time for a “Yoga-Snack”

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Yoga Retreatat Spirit Bear Power Yoga for Girls (ages 8-14)….Moms welcome too!

Yoga Retreat for Girls

(ages 8-14) ….and Moms too 

with Eve Agush at 

Spirit Bear Power Yoga

Saturday, November 13th:  7:00 – 9:00pm  
RELAX with an incredible stretch, like a giant yawn for the body. We will spend one hour practicing breathing techniques, restorative yoga poses and meditation. The second hour, we will explore journaling, healthier lifestyles and creation of personal mandalas.
Sunday, November 14th: 11:00am – 1:00pm 
Rise and Shine!  We will greet the sun with an energetic practice. Through warming poses, our bodies will breathe in new life and vitality. Students will learn poses, breath, and meditation that will help reduce and manage stress. Expect to leave feeling strong and balanced!
Register on-line or at the studio. Spirit Bear Power Yoga is located in Natick Center at 19 Main Street at the intersection of Route 27 and Route 135
1 student:  $20 for both, $15 single session
Mom:  $20 both, $15 single session
Second sibling:  $15 for both, $10 single session
(508)655-YOGA For more info