After a long week of classes, grading, and hours in the chemistry laboratory, coming to Resurrection Church 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 included 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 always 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