Lend a Hand

by Danielle Abisaab on October 22, 2013

Artwork by Michele Abeles – Whitney Museum

So as I am walking back home yesterday, late evening, lost in my wandering thoughts, a girl holding two huge boxes of pizza while standing in front of her building asks me with a drunken voice: are you coming in? It was clear she needed something so I asked: do you need something?

She’s all wobbly and her eyes haggard. She mumbles a faint yes and something about not being able to find her keys. Naturally I offer to hold the pizza boxes so she could reach down her big and busy bag to get to her keys. What came next was the most surprised expression I have ever seen on someone’s face followed by a “are you for real?”
I laughed and said it’s nothing. She then proceeds to say how I am the nicest stranger she has ever met and how unusual it is to find that in NY. She asks me what my age was which I found to be very odd of a question, and without taking the time to hear the answer she tells me I look 22 – We will blame it on her blurry vision due to the million shots of tequila she probably downed at the corner bar- At that point she’s already halfway through the door going all thank-you-thank-you-fuck-thank-you on me.
I walked away with a big smile, extremely amused with her enthusiasm. I had just lent a hand, and it felt good.

Megan if you are out there and happen to stumble on this, know that there are plenty of good strangers out there. Be one too.

— at 18th street and Park Ave.

Diversity Necessity

by Danielle Abisaab on August 29, 2013

It is becoming urgent for mankind to find new paradigms for self preservation and stop waging stupid wars.It is time we looked at the bigger picture and realized we are part of something broader than our self encapsulated egos. Time to lose the selfish desires based in greed and want and to strive to enhance the lives of the less fortunate. Caring for others is the ultimate conductor to peace. How can some still not see that?

When our minds are polluted by prejudice we unknowingly spend our time criticizing and disliking others under the false pretense that they are less “worthy” than us. We become self absorbed, calloused, bitter, angry, resentful, hostile and completely entangled in our own struggles and fears.

You take this reality in the life of an individual and apply it to a collective group…the inevitable result of it is war.

A serious shift in the acceptance of others, the appreciation of our differences and the richness they hold, the support of equal rights for all people, empathizing with the sick, the poor, the colored, the short, the tall, the bald, the crazy, without an ounce of discrimination is the only viable means to our survival.

Ironically, diversity is what we all have in common, so for heaven on earth’s sake, stop discrimination on the basis of differences and start embracing our similarities you freaks!

The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing ~ Eric Berne

Wall Busters

by Danielle Abisaab on July 6, 2013

Have you ever hit a wall? (Figuratively speaking of course)

And when you do, do you stare at the wall wondering how the hell you got there? And after looking at it for too long, you feel left with no choice but to pound your head against it trying to break it down?

Most of us have hit the wall once or too many times in our lives. Some will turn back in defeat walking away from their hopes and dreams because they believe there is no going beyond the wall. Some will dare to take a giant leap and emerge stronger on the other side.

Yoga wisdom advises to look at the walls as opportunities to grow bigger than them. Makes striding over them much easier for starters. Walls are not supposed to hinder or stop us from getting anywhere we need to be, they just force us to find another way.

Next time you run into a wall, don’t turn around and walk away, figure out how to climb it, cut through it like cutting through water or even circumvent it if you need to, just please stop the banging. You are not a sledgehammer, you are a beautiful human being, full of resources and creative skills. Use them.

How it all came together

by Danielle Abisaab on May 2, 2013

Union Square is a place dear to my heart and one among the coolest neighborhoods in NYC.

It is where I stumbled across my first yoga class, it is where I completed my training to become a Yoga teacher, it is the home of my favorite yoga studio in the world and it is where some of my most beloved people on this planet reside.

I have always contemplated the idea of substituting Union Square to Yoga Square because of the number of Yoga studios it holds per cubic block and obviously because Yoga means Union. I realize though it might be a long shot to get the city of New York to agree. One can only dream!

Union Square is a place of vibrancy and connection and affluence and originality. It is a hub of connectedness and convergence and the central nervous system of downtown NY. It is a place with an incredible amount of buzzing energy, a place for sweet gatherings. a place to play, relax, observe, be anything you want to be or simply be. Farmers, artists, skaters, bums, old people, young people, yoga people, brooklynite hipsters, manhattanite fashionistas, latinos con latinas, war veterans, and a whole bunch of crazy specimens….a place where people from different walks of life seem to harmoniously intertwine no mater what their individual story is. 

From all this, came the inspiration to create locally, a space infused with the paradigm to come together. Come together as in body, mind and soul ….become whole, become one. Come together as in “for f***’s sake stop engaging in war, already and come together”. Come together in regards to the environment, car pool and reduce pollution.  Come together as in a place of reunion. Come together as a tribute to the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, Joe Cocker,  Eurythmics and the power that music has to bring people together. 

A space located not too far from Bethlehem street on the same street as a mosque and a church.

Your new studio is UNION SQUARE YOGA and it opens its arms as of Wednesday May 8.

 

Check map for directions.

(Click  on image to enlarge)

THANKS YOUs

UNION SQUARE YOGA is the fruit of a collective effort in making things happen. I don’t mean to sound like I am giving a speech at the Oscars  but from the depth of my soul and the bottom of my heart thank you to:

Ana and Sherif Aoun for their trust, enthusiasm and generosity of heart. They are the coolest landlords, the best facilitators ever and the kindest friends one can dream of having.

Philippe Ghabayen for his mean talent as a graphic designer, for his support as a friend and his eagerness to see the space come to life, for his ability to team play and respond to my silly demands. He is the man behind our new identity, logo and signage and if the new class cards make you dream he is the wicked one to be held responsible. (Check out his blog by clicking on his name)

All of my students who constantly encourage, support and believe in me, if only with smiles and kind words. You are the reason I can keep going like a madwoman.

The DisFUNctional five who listened to my daily ramblings and kept reassuring me it would be OK.

My friends and family because of all the love they shower me with.

The universe for aligning events and people and circumstances and timings to perfection.

Last but not least I want to thank Yann Charaoui, my favorite person on this planet who luckily happens to be the love of my life, I couldn’t have done any of this without you. 

Oh my Goa!

by Danielle Abisaab on February 16, 2013

Devanand in Sanskrit means Divine Bliss. Devanand is also the wizard waiter who tended our breakfast table during our trip to Goa. A man with incredible wits, filled with insight and inspiration, humble with a deep sense of respect for all beings in a way you wished the entire planet was and had. Much so that I have been reporting my various conversations and interactions with him to students in the form of dharma talks, this entire past week.

On the first day of our encounter, he asked me what I did and as soon as he found out I was a yoga teacher, his entire face lit up and faster than lightning, he made sure to tell me that he himself practiced yoga. As he bobbled his head in the sweetest way that Indians do, he said: Everyday I sit in front of the sea and I breathe for 1/2 an hour, I meditate and breathe, after that…. no need for food, no food, I am strong and my mind is clear, my worries (whistles) they fly with the wind and I remember we are all the same. (Devanand used violent references and imagery to highlight his points in an oddly non-violent way). If I cut you with a knife, red blood will come out, if I cut myself with a knife what color you think will come out? yellow? orange? no! red…we are all the same, we are all the same, skin is different but inside we are all the same (head bobble intensifies)

In a few simple and humble words, Devanand had just summarized the long list of benefits and spoken about the undebatable metamorphose of body, mind and soul which comes from a daily practice. I felt proud just from knowing that regardless of our social or cultural background, we shared this “daily” love of yoga, we were linked in some way even though at the opposite ends of the same continent. I also took it as a strong sign of providence and the curious way it has of showing me how interwoven everything and everyone is all the time. The focus of the week in class prior to my departure was on “daily practice”, coincidence? You tell me!.

A few days later as he pranced with joy toward our table, cheerfully calling my name upon seeing me with a tinge of pride for having remembered it: Dani, I remember, I remember, I cannot forget yoga teacher from Israel (he got his geography totally confused but that’s OK cause we’re all one anyway, potato-pothato)I asked him if he had practiced that morning. He abruptly paused as if jolted out of automation and off goes the head bobble full throttle this time surely in an effort to emphasize the seriousness of the subject matter: Oh yes! Everyday, no matter what, without fear, no fear, no mistake. Fear means you will go down, if you have no fear no one can shoot you. (Again with the sweet violent imagery) If someone shoot a bullet at me, the bullet it will rebound. I am bullet proof, yes! everyday no matter what I practice yoga. I am bullet proof. At this stage of our little chat, he is relaxed laughing at his own words and metaphors and I am cracking up the whole time. Devanand makes me happy. Paradise’s hidden track!

Once more in his own charming way, Devanand had explained what consistent commitment and clarity of intention are to the practice. He practiced everyday no matter what with the knowledge that this action he takes repeatedly day in day out is helping shape and sustain the better, stronger (bullet proof), and kinder man he wants to become…and all these, he already was!

When I asked Devanand one day if he had an email address with the crystal clear intention of sending him the link to this very post I knew I would write about him, he said No Dani, no! simple life, simple life…

You may perhaps never read this post my sweet friend for honorably choosing a simple life but it will remain nonetheless a tribute to your kindness, strength, devotion and lovely spirit. Goa was about connecting back with nature, recharging and revitalizing. It was about spending quality time with a loved one laughing our days a million miles away from a crazy, busy home, it was about stepping back and putting things in perspective, it was about forgiving, healing and understanding that all that happens to us is an opportunity for betterment. It was about practicing yoga in nature then getting drunk on coconut water, playing golf, climbing rocks, indulging in the pleasure of a daily massage, swimming with crows, walking hours on end on a spotless beach filled with young careless hippies, sleeping and breathing deeply, singing, skipping, tasting, reading, discovering. Goa was magical and sweet and filled with light and exactly what the doctor ordered.  Goa was paradise with no gates. Goa was Divine Bliss.

IN MMXIII…

by Danielle Abisaab on December 30, 2012

A new year they say is the day that marks the beginning of a new calendar year. The end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one. Time to set our priorities straight, commit ourselves to making all sorts of behavioral changes by crafting a huge list of resolutions. They say it’s an opportunity to put things in perspective, plan ahead and start something new. These promises we make to ourselves as an incentive for a better tomorrow provide great excitement and mental wriggling ………for about 5 min. Comes mid January, off we go falling back into same old, same old destructive and non serving patterns. Ah! beautiful yet tiresome human nature, what a trickster you are!

I think we all agree that this past year has been the crappiest of them all and has given us by default the right for better days ahead. Hard to sink lower than most of us have in 2012 or as my sister likes to metaphorically call it, “2012 was a Titanic Year “(read her post by clicking here) so I say from here on out the only way is up.

The positive outlook on things would prompt us to view things this way: we survived, handled, or for some of us life’s acrobats, brilliantly dodged all the curve balls Master Universe violently threw at us at times. Another upside is same Master Universe was kind enough not to blow us into smithereens given how royally wrong the Mayans were…boo-ya! So let’s quit the whining, complaining, dwelling, lamenting and depressing. Time to celebrate a new born world and raise our own philosophical bar by breaking the destructive patterns of our silly minds, create new positive habits that will go a long way (certainly past January 15), and recognize once and for all we are love and of love. Life is about moving forward, expanding, growing, connecting, changing…all the themes I may have hounded you with as the focus of the week for the past 3 months. The time has come to practice what we teach and are taught.

In 2013, I vow to let go of all the drama, trauma and suffering I may have been subject to. In 2013, I will remember that life is short and progresses at the speed of light, that memories fade and all that matters is being a kind and compassionate person. In 2013, I will get healthier and stronger so I can serve better. In 2013, I will keep repeating to myself “life is amazing even when it’s not”. In 2013, I will try my very best to make the world a better place and support people into doing the same. In 2013, I will actually create a new and improved world.

In 2013, I will encourage everyone I know to put their I-Phones, I-Pads, mini I-Pads away (as if we needed those but I have to admit they are damn hot) if only briefly and focus more on the I. In 2013, I will not shy away from saying the obvious “I love you because you are so and so…”or “I am sorry things have gone sour between us, let’s talk about it”. In 2013, I will be more genuine and truthful to others as well as to who I fundamentally am. In 2013, I will recognize the light in me as the same light in others. In 2013, I will rise above.

Out with the crappy old year, in with the happy new year.

Love to all you sweet vagabonds out there.

Yours in the vision of a more enlightened world

Rubble Rebel

by Danielle Abisaab on October 22, 2012

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent ~ Isaac Asimov  

On Friday October 19, after my morning meditation ritual, my day’s todo list came rushing in. Among one of the many things I had set out to accomplish was making it to Fedex to post my US elections ballot. I debated whether I should go in the AM or in the early afternoon, only to conclude without further procrastination that I had better get it over with. And so I did.

A few hours later, a big explosion targeting some local intelligence official blasted a quiet tree lined street into a scene reminiscent of Lebanon’s long civil war. Oh no not again! is probably what came to most people’s minds after hearing the unnerving sound of the car bomb. The first thing that came to mine after I made sure everyone I knew was safe, was that I could have been there had I postponed my morning patriotic task to the afternoon, as Fedex is located in the same exact neighborhood. I then thought by extension about my ballot and whether it had made it out safely. As I recognized that my mind was reverting to the superficial as a way to cope with the sadness and anguish associated with the heart wrenching news, I paused and took a deep breath in as if to reshuffle my priorities straight.

How can humans choose war and violence over peace and love? How can warmongers sleep sound at night knowing they are the cause for other people’s misery and grief? and most importantly why is there so much violence and hatred in the world? are questions that will always and forever beat me. One thing I am starting to wrap my mind around though is that the world will never be peaceful, never was and never will. This is far from being a defeatist attitude, it is just plain fact. Luckily, peace resides in us and it is the most real amidst turmoil. Funny thing is that life being designed with a good deal of irony, it is also in that quietness and peace that “the enemy” comes to test how peaceful we are.

That day, on my part I had failed the test once more as I grudgingly watched anger arising and being directed toward the cowardly perpetrators of such violent acts. I caught myself feeling resentment and hatred for all who continue to entertain, endorse and promote the idea of war, cruelty and destruction, I silently cursed and bitched at the injustice of life, only to realize that these feelings were nothing else than the very expression of violence in myself. My peace had been greatly compromised and hatred had perniciously gotten the best of me. Sorry to say, but people killed unjustly has always triggered me in so many crazy ways.

Snapping-out-of-things-fairly-quickly being my middle name, I then remembered the sacred teachings and all that I had been talking passionately about in class that same week: that absence of turmoil is not real peace. Real peace is rising above the turmoil and staying peaceful amidst the chaos, that a certain darkness is needed to see the stars and that if I wished for the world to be any different I needed to practice peace within myself first.

In the hope that my thoughts might be the carriers of a change (even the faintest), I choose life, I choose peace is what I kept repeating to myself over and over again and have been ever since. Join me in doing the same to increase our chances at creating a kinder world. Most importantly be safe, stay hopeful and become light. 

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We can bomb the world to pieces but we can’t bomb it into peace ~ Michael Franti 

LISTEN TO SONG 

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Call me names

by Danielle Abisaab on October 15, 2012

All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name ~ Andre Breton

So if I am going to be legendarily lazy at writing, I should perhaps at least apologize about it and entertain you once in a while with even a few lines. No need for dissertations or endless manuscripts, a few loving words will always suffice, I am starting to think. My new conveniently appropriate philosophy: less is more! Also, my twisted way of making it up to you…and to myself mostly, really, truly as one of my sweet friends reminded me yesterday (as per my own previous request) of how much I love to write. Hence this little short and sweet post.

Don’t ask where the inspiration to share this with you came from, maybe from the various internet identities and nicknames I have on different accounts or could it be that one conversation about the defining role of parents in our lives and every single thing that they do may have sparked something worth mentioning out loud. Like I said don’t ask me, haven’t got the faintest idea. Inspiration is everywhere  I guess.

OK now, to the point:

Every year, more that 120 million babies are born on earth. Those who survive will sooner or later undergo the initiation process of receiving a name which will then become at the core of their identity. But I have always questioned the fact that who is more at the core of your identity than yourself? why are we not granted the natural and effortless option to name ourselves at one point in our life assuming of course that our given name is not to our liking or a name we don’t really identify with.

For some odd reason, I think of myself more of a Kim than a Danielle for instance.

The poet David Whyte refers to this stepping into our power as “the soul declaring itself”. So let’s pretend we could all assume a new identity that is more in line with who we have come to be, what would your new name be?

For those of you hard core yogis willing to take this game one step further, what would your Yogi name be? (See table below) Please do share the results.

Your’s truly: KIM aka KARMA MOUNTAIN DANCER

John and Jane Doe’s demise

by Danielle Abisaab on September 24, 2012

Inside of us is the desire to press beyond our limitations.  This is what pushes human beings to evolve from the Stone Age to the Electronic Age. Just sixty years ago, the goal to land on the moon was unthinkable. Well, not only have we gone to the moon suckers, but we made it to Mars and it’s only the beginning. Reason is we have the ability to push the envelope and broaden the perimeter of just about anything, and that includes ourselves.

This post is about expanding the dormant genius and stopping the ordinary, regular and limiting inside of us from getting in the way of our awesomeness. Mr and Mrs. Doe you must leave the building now! I am special and too busy acing my life.

One thing that stands in the way of moving beyond our limitations is a very curious tendency we have at coming up with all sorts of excuses: I am too young, I am too old, I don’t have enough money, I am too much of this, too little of that. The more challenging the situation, the more ginormous the excuses. Some people even have a whole arsenal of excuses under their belt and are ready to blame another person for their own shortcomings. They will tell you their mother did not love them or their father was never around, or their teacher never cared about them…..These are the HE DID-SHE DID people.

Then you have the people who believe their life is controlled by circumstances: If only my parents had not divorced, if only it hadn’t rained that day, if only I lived in a different city, if only my cat had not died from heart failure.… Meet the IF ONLY people.

If you believe you have some limitation holding you back, sorry to break it to you, but it probably means you are pretty good at making excuses. The only real limitations you have are the ones you create. It becomes so easy to tell ourselves stories, that we start doing it all the time, because it now seems natural to do so. How many times have you come up with a solid excuse not to go out for a night cap with some friends arguing that you had a terrible day at work and your dog got sick and your car broke down and your cousin is in the hospital and your neighbor was arrested by the police. You end up going anyway despite the shower of empty explanations either due to excess guilt (you did lie after all, that is what excuses are) or because you have damn convincing friends you cannot but yield to or simply because that excuse was not so solid after all. Irony is you ended up having a blast that night and you even managed to meet the love of your life in the process. This harmless night out propelled you in a glittery and glorious new chapter of your up-until-then miserable life. Imagine all you would have missed just from coming up with a bunch of lame justifications.

Self sabotage is not for geniuses. Start training yourself not to make excuses and look at your limitation as a test. If you fail the test, you get to take it again and again, and that will only make you more confident and determined when taking it again.

Thomas Edison fathered the light bulb as you all know, after having failed a gazillion times at it. Someone asked him how he managed to stay motivated. He answered: I didn’t fail 999 times at creating the light bulb, I found 999 ways in which it did not work. That’s the attitude of a genius, no matter what happens it is a still a success. What others would perceive as a failure was to Edison “positive feedback”, the very attitude that will allow you to aim for the sky rater than the ceiling.

I am personally going for the moon, care to join?….(and don’t you dare come up with an excuse)

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LET THE MIND BE THE MIND

Let the mind be the mind.

 Behind its restless activity,

 just one layer deeper

 is stillness, and beneath

even that, is an ocean of mystery and truth.

 Swim in this eternal sea

 until you know yourself

 to be infinity, and bring

 that knowing back into

your day. Why struggle

 to be what you are already?

.

Let the mind be the mind

 but don’t bind yourself

 to its limited reality.

 Trust your experience of

vastness. Trust the truth

 that never loses potency

 or disappears in fear.

.

Let the mind be the mind

 and identify not with

thought, but silence.

…from “Limitless” by Danna Faulds.


For want of a better world

by Danielle Abisaab on August 10, 2012

As I strolled down some Lower East Side street in NY on one bad day a few years back, brain drowned in unruly thoughts, gaze unable to go past my converse shoes, I remember discovering the following quote written in white chalk on the sidewalk. “Better things will come your way”.  Shy of that moment I had completely forgotten that even when living in the gutter, one must always look up to the stars. And there was this street philosophy by artist James De La Vega manifesting as a beam of light in the gloom of my day to remind me of just that. I had just been spiritually smacked!

(Scroll all the way down for more images by artist)

Someone concerned with people’s well being had ingeniously planted a message of hope for those looking down, physically as well as metaphorically, (which I discovered later happens to be at the core of James De La Vega’s work) Someone’s words were rooting for a better world and I, like many thousands of frantic New Yorkers happened to be on the receiving end.

Under no false pretense do I dare compare myself with or proclaim myself as any artist or philosopher but here goes a few quotes I may have once written or even tweeted. From me to you, humbly blowing your way pieces of my heart in the hope to lighten and enlighten your day, uplift your mood if it needs to, feed your thoughts in some way or just make you plain smile.

~~~

If you absolutely cannot meditate, then you of all people need to meditate

~~~

e…x…..p…….a……….n…………s……………i……………….o…………………..n

~~~

Life is good even when it’s not

~~~

uǝɥʍ ɹnoʎ plɹoʍ sǝoƃ ʎsdoʇ ‘ʎʌɹnʇ puıɟ ʇı uı ɹnoʎ ʇɹɐǝɥ…to flip it around

~~~

Walk around smiling today even if you have no reason to. By the end of the day, you will have one.

~~~

Practice yoga even if you don’t practice yoga. Yoga means union. You, me and the universe are all one. Practice just that.

~~~

open your heart

~~~

ʎɐp ɐ ǝɔuo ʇɹǝʌuı

~~~

☮ ♥ and to the world

~~~

The pose begins when you want to leave it

~~~

As a teacher, I got through my day as a student

~~~

Happiness not only does not dwindle from being shared but actually increases as you do. See for yourself, go ahead and share some now

~~~

x ♥

~~~

(about students) Without you it’s just an empty room

~~~

We are all teachers, we are all students , we are all one

~~~

You are perfect exactly as you are

~~~

Letting go is as easy or as difficult as you make it to be

~~~

Plant a tree on your birthday

~~~

Everything starts with one

~~~

You don’t need anything but what you will get

~~~

Letting go is as easy as dropping a ball, you just have to want to

~~~

If you want to find out how evolved you are spiritually, try spending some time with your family.

~~~

Offering your words is very much like offering a piece of yourself.


We’re all in this together

by Danielle Abisaab on July 16, 2012

The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself. ~Edward Bulwer-Lytton

As I once wrote a few months ago, we are under the illusion that we can do many things by ourselves; but in almost every instance everything is set in motion by and requires the assistance of others. Think about it, the food you eat for example is first picked by a person, processed by someone else, packed by another, placed on the supermarket shelf yet by another…so on and so forth. Designing a building, writing a book, composing a song are what appear to be solo endeavors but without the inspiration factor, which undoubtedly has its roots in the work of someone else, you wouldn’t be able to give birth to your creation.

When you freely give your ideas and input to someone else because you know they may be able to benefit from your knowledge or even give birth where you cannot, you are literally moving your own seed to more fertile territory. Furthermore, when a creation, an experience, a thought is discussed, constructed, published, recorded, distributed, enacted and ultimately enjoyed by other people; the unfathomable magic of our ability to co-create occurs. This is the very essence of the relationship between the yoga teacher and the student.

When I set out to become a yoga teacher, my main incentive was to quench the thirst I had for some deeper knowledge of yoga. In other words I had no desire to teach really, it was all going to be for me. Little did I know things were about to change drastically. When I placed a sticker that read: “We’re all in this together” on the front cover of the binder compiling my courses and assignments, I was far from realizing how true it was until the very first time I informally downdogged my peers at work. They ganged up and begged me to teach them a class. “The demands of being an architect is taking a toll on our bodies, and you can help fix it” they said. So naturally, after gently denying their request a few times, I gave in and taught them some of the things I knew.

To this day, I remember the powerful feeling that washed over me right after we concluded class. I literally felt the calling and knew there and then that teaching was going to be my new life. Changing people’s lives was suddenly a real possibility and it brought me buckets of happiness. Evidently it was time to share the knowledge and spread the seeds beyond my own personal garden, but the most interesting insight I had in that moment was that even as I endorsed the role of the yoga teacher, I would always remain a student and more importantly it became clear that the ultimate teachings were about to come from my students.

We are all teachers, we are all students, we are all in this together.

Anonymous students testimonials

by Danielle Abisaab on July 16, 2012

A dear friend of mine once told me “Your students are the live testimony to how good you are as a teacher”

This is what I once wrote to my beloved teacher:

Sweet Ruth,

I would like to thank you first for reminding me to delve into the teachings of the scriptures. I have strayed onto other types of reading lately, and you brought me right back where I forgot I so love to be. After your Monday spiritual talk, I came home and picked up my Patanjali sutras book without a trace of hesitation. I have been reading them since every day, and I am experiencing the joy (on a cellular level) that comes with the understanding of such powerful and true words. They are magic in the way they bring transformation.

Secondly, I can’t express how happy I am you and Robert will be witnessing and experiencing our heritage very soon. I feel honored.

And finally I’d like to say how sorry I am for not being able to attend your workshop, there is nowhere else I would rather be but I have a commitment I can’t walk away from unfortunately. Please know I will be with you in spirit as I am every day. You are one beautiful soul and I am thankful for having been offered with the gift of finding you as a teacher.

Have a great time this afternoon. And a happy, happy birthday.

Danielle

**********************

My turn to thank YOU a million times for all the wonderful things YOU once wrote:

Dear Dani,
Thanks so much for the warmth and encouragement! I wrote in my little texts and said in the orientation last night that my first yoga class in New York was in an old, colorful school, every teacher I’ve had since has seemed to open up the possibility of me being here and when I started thinking about it and doing the reading, I felt like I was looking at a map of a territory you’ve been showing us in class, piece by piece, or like taking nice long walks through it, and I realized how much you you’ve taught us and (I hope) how much I’ve learned, woo! It is however pouring rain and cold here so I am missing a little beiruti spring sunshine!!! Have a great day and class tonight, aw!
 Love.

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As for sharing constructive feedback and comments on substitute teachers, I find this a delicate task as everyone has its own and personal approach to teaching that resonates differently with every student. To me all the different teachings are complementary. What really matters is the personal link and feeling between teacher and student. There are teachers I try once and never go back. 
H. is gaining momentum and her Friday class attendance is growing. I like the end of week slow approach. She is very committed and one can feel it. 
C. has a punchy dynamic lovely approach. I also like this class. 

Now, am a bit biased, spoiled, and this cannot be new to you. As you live and demonstrate a high standard of discipline, motivation combined with the theoretical verbal and blog part, this is of great help to increasing my motivation, seriousness in practicing and finally aiming ever higher. But, it should not be any teacher, but myself keeping the motivation and seriousness up on my own. I will get there. 

Your mix is perfect and resonates with me. Great music, not Hare Khrishna sound in every moment, nice dash of humor, seriousness and credible explanations. You reinvent your classes, you change.

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Hi Dani,

I just wanted to let you know that I am moving away from Beirut (still 3 more weeks of classes with you!) as there never seems to be a good time to mention it before/after class.  Really, I just want to thank you for your teaching and inspiration.  When I think about things on a karmic level and the fact that each stage in life/each place we go to offers us a lesson or a gift, yoga was clearly what I needed to learn from Lebanon.  So not only did it make it possible to survive Beirut, but its really changed my life for the better.  And its not just yoga per se but your classes.  Your teaching is truly magical.  There is an energy and peace in that room that Ive never found in any other class.  I will miss going to your classes more than any other aspect of my life here, but I know I will be able to carry a little of that with me.

I am taking a year off to travel/live in various parts of the world and then not sure where I will end up.  Please keep me on your mailing list. If you are ever teaching anywhere in the world or organizing a retreat, I would so love to be there.

Good luck to you in everything you do.  You are a gift to Lebanon.

Thank you so so so much!
Namaste

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Dani,
I miss your wonderful teaching…and as I type the words, I think “that’s it…Dani’s teaching style brings the wonder of it all to us.”  I was touched by your note, and wanted to let you know that in spite of the excellent teachers here in Washington, I haven’t quite found the “wonder” yet…I have indeed started teacher training, and have found to my dismay that the reading and studying means that I actually find myself practicing less frequently in terms of classes although I’m trying valiantly to deepen a home practice (which is hard as my belongings just arrived from Beirut last week, so the house is not very well organized or conducive to yoga at this point).

Nonetheless, I’ve found a lovely group in the training, mostly women (I don’t know why that is the case oftentimes in the US), very focused and very open to doing other activities together (meals, a walkathon for hunger, a rally to counter the September Sarah Palin rally, etc).  The foundations of the course are Jivamukti, but we do relatively little chanting and I so wish we did more (miss your harmonium!!!)  It is nice to meet others who are one parallel paths, and the feeling of community is quite strong.

I find I’ve enjoyed the Sanskrit introduction and the anatomy the most thus far, and I find I can now appreciate how difficult it must be to come up with elegant and fluid sequencing class after class.  I do believe in the transformative power of yoga, and I believe this is the right time for me to try to focus more on my practice…I can see that I am able to “detach” a bit more from family/work/life “crises” and challenges and just let things be rather than fighting the tide at all times, and that feels like a relief sometimes!  

I am so glad that you are still teaching at the Embassy…you will never know how much we needed you!

Peace.

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Thank you! Looking forward to my double header – and making the most of my time left with you. I can’t believe this wonderful time in my life is coming to an end, and my re-found love for yoga has been such a big part of it. Thank you so much for that – I attribute it entirely to your teaching style. You will be a tough act to follow, but we’ll see what Jerusalem holds for me. 

x

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Dear Dany

Even though you would like to portray a Grinchy outlook it doesn’t really work that well! I just wanted to thank you for everything you have given me and us during your classes. They are a continual source of joy, peace and mind opening experiences. I will probably not be able to come to class in the next few weeks since all our children will be coming from Amreeka but if there is a possibility I will be there with an additional girl or 2.  

Wishing you the best.

Lots of love

XOOXOXOXOXO

N

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Dear Dani,

Just a quick reminder for you to remove me from auto-registration for Monday and Thursday yoga as discussed last night.

I’m happy to know that I’ll still get a few chances to take classes with you before I leave Lebanon permanently. I’m back for a bit over a week in the New Year and will sign up for one or two!

All the while I’m very sorry to be leaving your studio behind – I’ve learned to appreciate yoga even more since taking your classes, found so much new inspiration, both physically in the sequences you create and mentally with the tools yoga can provide! Thank you – it has really been one of the highlights of my stay here.

If you’ve got any tips for keeping up my practice in Paris, I’d much appreciate it!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Enjoy spending time with your family.
Best

H.R

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Dani!

I just realized I never actually got a chance to say goodbye! I left Beirut 2 weeks ago and moved back to Switzerland. I was always hoping to come have a last class and say properly goodbye but the last weeks were a bit crazy and I never got around to do it. Sorry about that. I wanted to thank you for a fabulous year of yoga! I really appreciated your classes! It was an island of peace, generosity and open-midendness in the midst of crazy Beirut! 

Thank you!

A.