Skip to main content

Steadiness in the midst of change

One of the hardest things for a lot of people to fully accept and comprehend is that life is change.  Everything changes all the time.  Whether it be struggling to accept the change brought by a loved one's death, by the ending of a job, a relationship, or even something as simple as a favorite brand of food being discontinued, it's hard to roll with change.  Even positive change can be a source of stress, worry, and fear.

The concept of resiliency, therefore, is something that really appeals to me.  Even more appealing?  My wonderful, wonderful teacher and friend, Joe Somodi, creating and leading a workshop based upon building more resiliency in your everyday life.

A couple Sundays ago I journeyed with Marc and a dear friend Jamie (also a former student of Joe's) to Pure West to participate in his workshop.  It was about two hours, and the time absolutely flew.  It began with a discussion of the Yoga Sutras and how they relate to the concept of resiliency, and then Joe led us through an asana and meditation practice.  His calm, centered nature, his kind energy, and his extensive knowledge of yoga makes him the perfect person to deliver this message to stressed out New Yorkers (yogis, yes, but stressed out New Yorkers too!).

Joe Somodi
Joe has been studying with Rod Stryker, founder of Para Yoga, author of The Four Desires and one of the preeminent yoga teachers in the world, for several years now.  His teachings are firmly rooted in the ancient texts of yoga, particularly the Sutras.  Defining Resiliency as being steady in the midst of change, Joe draws upon three particular Sutras that concern asana, or our posture (also known as yoga poses, seat, pose...the physical element, essentially) that help illustrate how we can build resiliency in our practice and therefore our lives.  He also discusses the power of pranayama (breath control, or control of the life force energy) to help redirect our momentum and energy.

For example, if you're having a bad day, you can let yourself go with that flow, letting little annoyances build upon each other and creating more stress for yourself.  Or, as Joe teaches, you can just literally stop for a moment, steady your breath and your body, and you'll find your physical energy has changed - which then naturally translates to your mind and emotions.  We have the power to hit our "reset" button at any time, regaining a sense of control and power, therefore making decisions (or even just decisions about our attitude) from a more aware place instead of a reactive place.  It's funny that after this workshop the phrase "go with the flow" means something totally different now - I now see the value in making the flow work for you as well.
Jamie & I at the workshop (Pure West)

What I've written just barely scratches the surface of what I learned in this workshop, and of the concepts that my mind has been turning over and contemplating ever since.  After the workshop, Joe emailed each of us a 10 page handout further illustrating the concepts and an audio recording of both the discussion and the yoga practice for us to revisit on our own.  He's going to be traveling around the country with this workshop, returning to New York's Pure West for a different workshop in March, and then with this resiliency workshop at NYC's Reflections Yoga in May.  Click here to learn more about the workshop and about Joe.  I can't recommend it or him highly enough.  You know when you meet him and share is presence what a kind, rare, and unique soul he is.

The workshop was a really great reminder of why I practice yoga, and what "off the mat," which is a term thrown around a lot in yoga classes, truly means.  Bringing the ancient teachings of yoga to your everyday life to increase your mindfulness, strength, and peace is a major concept this workshop helped me to reconnect with.


  1. Annie - Thanks so much for sharing your impressions of the workshop with your blog readers. I am so deeply moved that this wisdom lives on through your words. I am here to support you on your journey in whatever way I can. All my love, JOE


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Magic of Brain Gym

I cannot believe I haven't blogged about Brain Gym yet!  That is absolutely bananas, and also sort of great because after a few years of incorporating the little bits and pieces I learned from Shari (founder & director of Karma Kids Yoga and the only boss I've ever had with whom I've also done crazy things like the pose on the right, which she named "fart neck"), I finally took the "Brain Gym 101" course this past weekend to learn more in depth about the what's and wherefore's.

Brain Gym is a lot of things, but what it is primarily is a way to facilitate better learning through movement.  Although it started in the field of education and helping children learn better, everyone can benefit from it.  You may be reading and writing just fine, but do you have a situation where you struggle to communicate your needs clearly to a partner, a friend, a co-worker?  Do you struggle with random bouts of unexplained anxiety that you struggle to release…

Faith in Humanity

The oft-quoted Kathrine Switzer, long distance female trailblazer, once wrote, "If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon."

Marathon Sunday is always one of my favorite days of the year in New York City.  I've spent these Sunday's over the last eight years that I've been here as a spectator and cheerleader, both in person and on the couch in my boot nursing my injury last year, I've been a volunteer, I went down with other marathoners and marathon volunteers to Staten Island after Sandy in 2012 after the race was canceled - and I've spent the last two years fighting to qualify for it.

Next year will be my year, along with my 'sole sister' (I'm making it happen) and work wife Laura, so this year was another year spent being absolutely inspired beyond measure cheering on the sidelines.  Seeing the heart, the raw emotion, the joy, the pain, the absolute love from the sidelines and from the runners is awe inspiring.  Ye…


It's been eight years today since I've been with the love of my life.

A few months from five years married (Costa Rica, here we come).

Eight years and a couple months since living in the city.

Seven years of Friendsgivings in NYC with my chosen family.

Seven years of Karma Kids Yoga - more chosen family and buckets of kids.

Ten years since college; fourteen of the friendships.

One picked-clean, no leftovers turkey last night.  A table of desserts.

And in ten days we do it again with family.

This morning I'm tired, still full, and grateful.