Om. Yogi. Acro yoga. Savasana. Namaste.
All of these are terms that I never use in my daily fitness life. However, after attending the Gaiam & Lord and Taylor Health & Wellness event in NYC, I might! I have always admired and respected the art of yoga and I have dabbled in a few classes of vinyasa here and there but I had never considered making it a regular part of my routine until I was social media host for the event! I met a whole new community of people filled with experienced and novice yogis alike. I met well respected and renowned yoga instructors, nutritionists, tri-Olympic athletes and enlightening monks who led the hour of meditation Thursday evening.The entire community embraced me and broadened my mind to the reminder that there is still a world that exists where people respect, inspire, connect and genuinely want to help each other grow strong within themselves. In a world full of selfishness and entitlement, this was refreshing food for thought for a slightly jaded soul.
So what went on during this event that I just went on and on about for 171 words or so?
The Gaim/ Lord & Taylor Health & Wellness Event was a collaboration held at the Lord & Taylor Flagship location on 5th avenue in New York City. Well respected yoga instructors Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman from the Yoga Shanti lead the charge by hosting two back to back yoga sessions for their followers. NYC yogis respect them so much that they braved the torrential down pour outside to attend. After streaming their class live on Instagram, I completely understand why they have such a loyal following. Their ability to connect physical touch with mind and soul, leaves you feeling better about the surrounding world. Also their connection with each other creates a positive energy and flow that is on another level throughout any space they are within. Their ability to seamlessly switch on and off with one another while teaching, is truly an art form in itself.
Also in attendance hosting classes were some of Rodney and Colleen’s and Gaiam’s community friends. Senseis Chodo and Koshin from the Village Zen Center, ended Thursday activities on with a very powerful start into an early weekend by helping us all let go of our social worries and re-frame our minds to let our inner selves come back to the fore front.
Friday kicked off with well-respected yogi, Christopher Golden. Many people came back from Thursday to get a lunch time yoga session in and they left feeling empowered, rewarded and ready to flow into their weekends after Golden delivered an aspiring inspirational hour of yoga driven towards those on the novice side of the spectrum. A gathering of people hung around for the 1pm class with nutrition expert, Andrea Beaman. She reminded us of many do’s and dont’s but one that stayed in the forefront of my mind was that if we live alone, we should attempt to practice dining at the table and staying unplugged from the TV and technology. We should consider staying engaged with actual human conversations (ie: invite actual friends over!). The purpose of this is to shut off from the scripted “reality” you see on TV and engage in your own by not eating while distractedly staring at a screen (I am fully guilty of this about 99.9% of the time...in fact, I am doing it now!).Kari Harendorf rounded out the event by teaching us how to de-stress and "let go" of everyday trials by utilizing essential oils like the miracle of Tea Tree and followed it up bythe last yoga class of the series.
If the classes weren’t enough of a draw (did I mention they were free??Everybody’s fave F word! AND you received a beautiful reversible yoga mat, water bottle, or essential oils kit), there was an entire Gaiam section set up on the 6th floor where you could browse Gaiam products, view their upcoming apparel line, receive a free chair massage (I did this and it was well worth it btw!), try a sample of Jus by Julie (really missing this juice right now) and see amazing yogis showcasing their talent in acro yoga, dance and general athleticism. Oh…and I’m sorry…did I not mention that there was also a live DJ??
All in all, Gaiam and Lord & Taylor exceeded expectations and achieved a general launch success in the city. It brought together people of all skill sets and knowledge and inspired an astonishing amount of people all around the world by delivering a 3D experience via IG story and IG live. This made people near and far feel a part of the event. The goal was unity and the event delivered just that and I am honored to have been a part of it!
In close, as I watched a yogi in a wheelchair attend Christopher Golden’s class, I was strongly reminded that everybody truly does bend and we should never “handcuff” ourselves into assuming that we can’t do something because of what our minds and society view as limitations. She was amazing, she was inspiring, she is now my own reminder that anything is possible with perseverance, determination and respect for the world. I truly thank her for that.
Yoga and Wellness in the City
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