Project Update: Yoga at the Resurrection Church

After a long week of classes, grading, and hours in the chemistry laboratory, coming to Resurrection C10451136_728500723935866_5112139742609023019_nhurch every Saturday to share my love of yoga with others has quickly become the high point of my week.  Our first class was taught by Catherine Cook Cottone with the assistance of her family, who braved the winter snow to teach.  Mary Carney graciously provided the healthy snack.

The following Saturday, Nicole Desimone, Marissa Bland, and I taught our first class at the church with the help of several University at Buffalo students and the support of Catherine Cook Cottone.  Although we were not completely sure what to expect, we overcame our nervous jitters and were soon teaching a variation of navasana, which inclu10339667_724005437718728_7892195842113163668_nded rowing your boat and singing “row, row, row your boat.”  After a rather rigorous class, everyone was ready for a snack, which consisted of homemade granola bars and clementines contributed by Leah Feroleto.  Leah was kind enough to share her recipe, which is listed below:


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal • 1 cup sliced almonds • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter • 2/3 cup honey • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper. Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates and cranberries and stir well. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.


The following week, our third YIS Saturday class proved to be another success.  We combined the Baptiste style flow with yoga games, such as the mirror box and yoga cards.  Mirror box consists of one person who leads the class through a series of postures while being absolutely silent (although we did have quite a few talking mirrors in our class).  The class pays close attention and mirrors what the leader is doing.  In addition to mirror box, we let the students choose a card from a deck which contained a wide variety of poses.  We then flipped the class and let the students be the teachers.  Class was again concluded with a healthy snack provided by Dene Grabianowski.

Our fourth YIS Saturday class began by introducing the theme “the power of positive thinking.”  During our centering, we repeated the following aphorisms: “I 11042992_724003231052282_1058966233415826749_nalways try my best,” “I’m feeling on top of the world,” “I believe in me,” “I deserve all good things,” “I can do anything,”, “Everything is going to be okay,” and “life is tough, but so am I!”  Although we introduced several challenging postures, we returned to our theme in order to overcome thoughts of self-doubt.  At the end of class, we made mind jars and then practiced a brief meditation with their use as a visual aid for calming the mind.  Class was again concluded with a heathy snack provided by Mary Carney.

Our fifth and most recent YIS Saturday class was focused on the theme of trust.  We began class with a centering that emphasized the importance of developing trust in ourselves and others and how this can be cultivated on the mat and also implemented into our daily lives off the mat.  We proceeded to practice a round of the mirror box with several students jumping in to help lead the class.  Following the game, we practiced a yoga sequence with our eyes closed.  This enabled us to draw the senses inward and to cultivate stability and trust in ourselves.  Finally, we spent the rest of the class doing several partner activities.  Nicole led us through a much needed relaxation and class concluded with a healthy snack provided by Julie Swiatowski.


As this weekend quickly approaches, we have already begun planning Saturday’s class.  The theme this week will be the importance of surrounding yourself with all good things (including people!).  Come down to Resurrection Church this Saturday and sweat, smile, laugh, and snack with us!

Article by Marta Schoenle

Yoga Service Immersion: Heart and Soul Seva

The most pivotal point in any yogi’s journey is the moment we learn to take our practice with us when we leave the mat- to employ the many lessons learned through asana and meditation in our everyday lives.  A step further than that is living our practice with the pure intention of sharing it with others.

Myself and two fellow members of Yogis In Service took a little road-trip to Nazareth college for a workshop presented by The Rochester Yoga Service Network entitled Yoga Service Immersion: Heart and Soul Seva.  Leading this workshop was Carla Giambrone, an absolutely brilliant yogi and researcher who has a way of enrapturing her audience through her passion and enthusiasm.  Upon arrival, we were greeted warmly as representatives of Yogis In Service and settled onto our mats to begin the workshop. The first thing Carla asked of attendees was to reflect in our journals- Why were we here? What did we hope to take away from this workshop? Word for word I wrote “ I will go to anything with the word ‘yoga’ in it, and I have no idea what I hope to take away from this workshop.”  Insightful, right?

Carla led us through a vigorous Power Yoga flow, leaving us dripping in sweat, but also grounded and open. It was an effective way to bring everyone to the present moment, settled and ready to work. Carla shared a little about her research and findings regarding yoga as a tool to be shared in order to promote health, healing, and wellbeing, before splitting us into groups based on the populations we wished to serve.  We were given the opportunity to share our stories- why we were drawn to particular populations (children, senior citizens, adult women, or trauma survivors), and how and why we felt yoga could serve them. Following this discussion, we were paired off and asked to perform a variety of partner activities that required strength, trust, balance, and compromise to be successful.   A particularly powerful activity followed this; to me, it was the highlight of the session.  We were asked to stand and face our partners, and spent the next twenty minutes learning the difference between being a “YES” and a “NO.” We practiced being in each, and observed our partner’s very physical reactions to the energy we presented them with.  Carla utilized these activities along with her LEAN® Coaching Method to teach us the three most important themes of providing yoga as a service – “Be Clear. Be Centered and Grounded. Be Consistent.”

The afternoon ended with a moment of quiet reflection, just as it began.  This time however, my words were very different- “I am here because I want to serve others through yoga. I am so grateful to be leaving this workshop with a sense of purpose.”  Carla Giambrone, together with The Rochester Yoga Service Network, presented a powerful and educational workshop that clearly had an impact on every person in attendance.  We learned how to show up for ourselves, as well as how to most effectively be in service to others by using our practice as a vehicle for spreading love and change.

“May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”



Article by Marissa Bland

Rachel’s Experience

Buffalo_ChangeNext month (April), Lindsay Blamire and Wendy Guyker will be teaming up to bring yoga to Rachel’s Experience. Rachel’s Experience is a faith-based, low-cost, multi-session retreat that promotes empowerment and wellness for women. Rachel came and spoke with YIS at our last (February) meeting about her next retreat –which includes a one-night hotel orientation, six consecutive Thursday evening sessions at Sisters Hospital in Buffalo, NY, and a final celebration dinner. Attendance is anticipated to be about 20 women, and Lindsay and Wendy will orient these amazing women to yoga, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques with six 45-minute practices. Rachel is an LMSW who, through her studies as well as her personal encounters of facing and overcoming challenges, was inspired to 1618320_552274734879689_1713257511_ocreate an experience for women that would give them tools and each other to heal and practice healthier living together. Rachel truly embodies our sentiment of “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and YIS, Lindsay, and Wendy are honored and excited to bring yoga to this special group! To help with these efforts, YIS is looking for TWENTY yoga mats, blocks and straps to help make this happen. Please let Lindsay, Wendy, or Catherine know if you have a gently used mat or other yoga equipment that you would like to donate.

For more information on Rachel’s Experience, please see:

Article by Wendy Guyker

108 Sun Salutations

Start your New Year off right. Come practice 108 Sun Salutations with Catherine Cook-Cottone and Steven Procknal to benefit Yogis in Service. Our overall goal- $5,200 to support yoga classes on the East-side. Suggested donation $15 to (no upper limit).

We will have t-shirts and wish bracelets for sale at this event!

We are also taking donations of any gently used yoga supplies (mats, blocks, straps) for our lending library.

For more information, see the Facebook Event.