Thursday, August 10, 2017

New York's Newest Yoga Studio, Fifth Avenue Yoga, Is Expanding And Seeking New Space In Manhattan #Yoga #YogaInNewYork

New York's newest  yoga studio, Fifth Avenue Yoga, is expanding and seeking new space in Manhattan. The studio is a collaboration between senior Ashtanga yoga teacher, Allen Barkus (yes me) and Yoga Works trained Hannah Han.

Ideally we are seeking a shared space with a dance studio or loft willing to do a 60/40 revenue split.
For contact info please go to .

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Your Breath Is Your Brain’s Remote Control #Yoga #Pranayama

lungs illustration

Alexandr Mitiuc/Adobe Stock
A new study has found evidence to show that there is actually a direct link between nasal breathing and our cognitive functions.
We have all heard this simple saying during times of trouble: “Take a deep breath in.” Science being science, however, indicates that we may now have to update this old adage to read “Take a deep breath in it will help you be more emotionally aware but only if you inhale specifically through your nostrils and not your mouth—good luck.”
While this may seem a lengthy tip to recall in the midst of uh-oh moments, the power of active breathing—voluntarily inhaling and exhaling to control our breathing rhythm—has been known and used throughout history. Even today, in tactical situations by soldiers, or in extreme cold conditions by the Ice Man, we know that slow, deep breathing can calm the nervous system by reducing our heart rate and activating the parasympathetic (calming) nervous system. In this way, our bodies become calm, and our minds also quieten. Recently, however, a new study has found evidence to show that there is actually a direct link between nasal breathing and our cognitive functions. 

We have all heard this simple saying during times of trouble: “Take a deep breath in.” Science being science, however, indicates that we may now have to update this old adage to read “Take a deep breath in it will help you be more emotionally aware but only if you inhale specifically through your nostrils and not your mouth—good luck.”

How Nasal Breathing Influences the Brain

Northwestern Medicine scientists were interested in understanding how breathing affects the brain regions responsible for memory and emotional processing. Through a series of experiments, they discovered that nasal breathing plays a pivotal role in coordinating electrical brain signals in the olfactory “smell” cortex—the brain regions that directly receive input from our nose—which then coordinates the amygdala (which processes emotions) and the hippocampus (responsible for both memory and emotions). We know that the “smell” system is closely linked to the limbic brain regions that affect emotion, memory and behaviour, which is why sometimes a particular smell or fragrance can evoke very strong emotional memories. This study shows, additionally, that the act of breathing itself, even in the absence of smells, can influence our emotions and memory.
Initially, the scientists examined the electrical brain signals of 7 epilepsy patients with electrodes in their brains, and found that the ongoing rhythms of natural, spontaneous breathing are in sync with slow electrical rhythms in our brain’s “smell” region. Then, they also found that during nasal inhalation, the fast electrical rhythms in the amygdala and hippocampus became stronger. One way to understand this is to think of the system as an orchestra: our nasal breathing is the grand conductor, setting the tempo for the slow playing of the smell regions of the brain while weaving in the faster rhythms of the emotion and memory regions.

The In-Breath Encodes Memories and Regulates Emotions

To further understand these synchronous effects that nasal breathing has on our brain regions, the scientists then conducted separate experiments on 60 healthy subjects to test the effects of nasal breathing on memory and emotional behavior. Subjects were presented with fearful or surprised faces, and had to make rapid decisions on the emotional expressions of the faces they saw. It turns out that they were able to recognize the fearful faces (but not surprised faces) much faster, when the faces appeared specifically during an in-breath through the nose. This didn’t happen during an out-breath, nor with mouth breathing. The scientists also tested memory (associated with the hippocampus), where the same 60 subjects had to view images and later recall them. They found that memory for these images was much better if they first encountered and encoded these images during an in-breath through the nose.
Our in-breath is like a remote control for our brains, directly affecting electrical signals that communicate with memory and emotional processing centers.
These findings show a system where our in-breath is like a remote control for our brains: by breathing in through our nose we are directly affecting the electrical signals in the “smell” regions, which indirectly controls the electrical signals of our memory and emotional brain centers. In this way, we can control and optimize brain function using our in-breath, to have faster, more accurate emotional discrimination and recognition, as well as gain better memory.
So taking a breath in through our nose can control our brain signals and lead to improved emotional and memory processing, but what about the out-breath? As mentioned earlier, slow, steady breathing activates the calming part of our nervous system, and slows our heart rate, reducing feelings of anxiety and stress. So while the in-breath specifically alters our cognition, the act of slow, deep breathing, whether the inhalation or exhalation, is beneficial for our nervous system when we wish to be more still. In fact, mindful breathing emphasizes not only the breathing component, but also the mental component of paying attention and becoming aware of mind, body and breath together. By observing in a non-judgemental manner, without forcing ourselves to “get to” some special state, we are in fact then able to watch our minds and feel our bodies more clearly. This in turn becomes a path to insight and a practice we can keep working on. Our breath is powerful enough to regulate emotions and help us gain clarity, and to fully do so we must also make the effort to center our minds to the here and now.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

New York's Newest Yoga Studio, Fifth Avenue Yoga, Is Now Open. Www.FifthAvenueYoga.Com #Yoga #YogaInNewYork

Special Offer For Those Reading This: Bring A Friend Free For Your First Class.

Welcome to
Fifth Avenue Yoga

New York's newest studio is a collaboration between Yoga Works trained Hannah Han and Allen Barkus (yes me). The teaching philosophy of Fifth Avenue Yoga is based on traditional Ashtanga Yoga. We focus on healing and fitness for mind and body, adapting to each student's needs. For now classes are focusing on vinyasa flow, incorporating the 8 limbs of yoga.

 I will will be teaching special workshops/trainings, along with Hannah Han,
on Traditional Ashtanga Yoga Healing Therapy. I teach the traditional practice as taught by Manju Jois, whom brought Ashtanga Yoga to America along with his father in 1975. Since 2004 he has been
my exclusive teacher for advanced studies into the intermediate, second series. I've taught this practice to all types of people including athletes, obese (one person lost 70 lbs in 8 months), breast cancer patients (and recovering), people recovering from surgeries and injuries, children and even a woman
who had emphysema.


.Asta=Eight  Anga=Limbs  Yoga=Union
"The Eight Limbs of Yoga"
The author of the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali, described yoga as eight limbs of a tree: Yama, ethical disciplines; Niyama, self observation; Asana, posture; Pranayama, breath control, sense withdraw; Dharma, meditation; and Samadi, a state of joy and peace. Therefore possibly one of the greatest misconceptions of yoga is that it is a purely physical practice.

For more details and class schedule please visit: 310-310 0862

312 Fifth Ave, 5th Fl, 10001 (5th Ave & 32nd St)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

This video is for those interested in Ashtanga Yoga who never had the opportunity to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, or those who want to remember him. He chants the Ashtanga opening prayer, leads Surya Namaskara B, calls out a few asana names and counts breaths. He briefly discusses several aspects of Ashtanga Yoga.- Baird Hersey

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Guest Post: The Shadows Of Yoga & Spirituality: I Was Raped By My Yoga Teacher In India #ProtectWomenWorldwide


In writing this I hope to spark a flame in my fellow practitioners, teachers, potential seekers, women, and men in this world to be open to the possibility that everything has a shadow. I believe we have the responsibility to turn into, rather than away, from these more challenging aspects and hold all members of a spiritual community accountable for their actions, teachers and students alike. Specifically, our teachers are human like ourselves and are just as capable of inflicting wounds as they are to evoking healing.
This is a demand for Yoga Alliance to seriously invest time and money into creating a task force that can thoroughly investigate previous and current accusations of sexual assault in the industry, and to be transparent about these investigations with the general public to ensure a safer environment.
This is a plea to teachers that they require of themselves ongoing self-reflection and welcome outside measures of accountability knowing that they too can be deluded by these less “spiritual” parts of themselves and by projections others place on them, especially when in a role of “expert”. Though our levels of experience with the practice vary, I believe we are all students, and we are all teachers to one another. As a young woman seeking teachings for my own growth and healing I fell prey to a man who prescribed to this power dynamic, and even once told me, “I’m going to make you famous.” I looked at him in confusion because I had come back to India only to help teach the practice at his Yoga Shala. In my innocence, and perhaps blindness, I was taken advantage of in a very damaging way.  My body was invaded to the fullest extent; in the fall of 2013, I was raped by my own Yoga teacher, and owner of a major school in India that is in full operation still to this day.
I will never forget the sleepless days leading up to leaving India… the all night bus ride that took me to Mumbai…my traumatized body trying to make sense of what happened. I could not go to the police. I had witnessed the man who raped me pay them off on a weekly basis to ensure his illegal activities were covered. I was terrified of what worse things might happen to me if I did report him.
Heading down the crowded Indian streets in Goa I had a panic attack right before a scheduled meeting with my teacher (the owner of the school) and the other instructors for what we were going to teach in the courses coming. I turned my scooter around, called my husband at the time and told him I had to come home NOW. After returning to the United States I went to Planned Parenthood and reported the rape in a private room.  I had my frail body examined in fear I had been given a permanent marking of disease. Later I would learn from lawyers that because it wasn’t reported in India there would be no chance for justice, no matter how many reports made in the United States.
So I will say it again, and please pay attention. This is the voice of a woman who was raped by her own Yoga teacher; by a man who [still] owns a well-known school in India, Sampoorna Yoga School. Very few have wanted to face my trauma; nobody seems to want to dethrone the man who owns such a large school or disturb the romantic idea of Yoga only for healing. Instead, most want to avoid these dark truths, spiritually bypass the pain and focus solely on the “sunshine and rainbow” essence of Yoga. There are, however, a few who have left the school since I told them and witnessed inexcusable behavior, and for that I am eternally grateful.
This is the voice of a woman who has cried, yelled, hid herself in shame, and made repeated attempts to serve justice. This is not a call for sympathy; this is a call for action and a call for others to join with me in putting a stop to this happening again. A call to those within the legal world to investigate how this man, Deepak Sharma, could be brought to justice, and a call to help me hold the organization Yoga Alliance accountable for turning a blind eye to the allegations made back in 2015.
They [Yoga Alliance] are a multi million-dollar company paid to provide oversight. In their code of ethics they state that they hold schools and teachers accountable to “Avoid words and actions that constitute sexual harassment or harassment based on other legal protected characteristics” (Yoga Alliance Code of Conduct, 2016). They clearly are in violation of this moral and legal imperative. I wrote and contacted them several times. They responded on February 19, 2015, that they would “look into the matter,” but I never heard back from them. It has been over a year and I refuse to wait any longer and demand action be taken immediately.
Sampoorna Yoga School is still in good standing with Yoga Alliance. I am afraid other women similar to myself continue to visit the aforementioned school, and perhaps other questionable schools within the Alliance, and continue to be taken advantage of.
I recently spoke at a Jungian conference and told my other story of molestation and recovery in the wilderness, as this [speaking up about my assaults] is one of my commitments I have made as an adult woman to change what is happening in this world. After the presentation I had eight of 50 women come up to me over the next two days and whisper with tears in their eyes, “Me too.” 
My prayer is that women, men, and children who endure this abuse do not have to whisper anymore, and that these practices and teachings lead us to inhabit and empower our body rather than vacate it in search of something “better” outside of us.
This is the story of a woman who is speaking because I believe we can face this. This is most importantly a story of us… standing together in solidarity and restoring not only balance to the scales of justice, but also restoring the balance of shadow with sun. For there to be rainbows, we need both.
Thank you.
Cori Wright
@YogaAlliance #IDemandACTION #ProtectWomenWorldwide
  1. Share this post in your community to help encourage others to speak up, or simply know they are not alone.
  2. Write, tweet, call, etc. (whatever your social media platform is…) Yoga Alliance and demand action for this case. If you mention my name and the school they will have my complaints, and also others on file.
  3. If you are a lawyer who thinks you may be able to help me in pro-bono work, please contact me at I am a graduate student who has expended all of my resources trying to make my case.
  4. Donate time or money to your local resources for other women like me, such as; SASO, Planned Parenthood, or one of these organizations listed on this website:
  5. If you are interested in helping me create a non-profit that will work to build refugees and help centers for women who are not as fortunate as me to leave the place where the attack occurred, please contact me personally.
Cori Wright is currently living in New Mexico and pursuing her masters of science in Somatic Psychology in order to help other victims of sexual assault and chronic illness in wilderness based settings.
Original post:

Useful resource:

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Yoga, Politics, And Mind Manipulation #Yoga

Image result for yoga peace sign

Pattabhi Jois* was once asked (Paraphrasing).."With all the horrible things going on in the world, how are we to continue living our lives?" His answer (Also paraphrasing) was "We elect politicians to take care of those things and you should just focus on your anus/self " I mostly agree with that
philosophy but from growing up in the marketing world I also recognize how voters and even the
politicians we elect can be manipulated with bad/misleading information and the constant repeating
of outright lies to the point of convincing people that they are true.

Most everyone remembers "Weapons of Mass Destruction", the primary reason the United States and
some our our allies entered into a Middle East war.   Now we know that information was fabricated with some entities appearing to greatly profit from war, discounting the loss of life and destruction of property and trust.

In our most recent U.S. presidential election the winner (Donald Trump) was outright lying 85%** of the time  versus 35%** from the looser (Hillary Clinton), yet through a form of mind manipulation a good portion of the voters were convinced that She was the one less truthful.

As yogis I believe we have a responsibility to look inside ourselves to find the truth; looking beyond
politics religion and alternative facts to peacefully unify the world. We are one.

  *Pattabhi Jois was the originator of the modern Ashtanga Yoga practice. **Estimates.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

From NPR.Org, Mainstream Medicine Just Catching Up To What We've Known For A Very Long Time: "Got Back Pain? Try Yoga Or Massage Before Reaching For The Pills"

New guidelines recommend patients with back pain try exercise, yoga, or massage before drug therapies.
Hero Images/Getty Images
Most of us suffer back pain at some point in our lives. In fact, it's one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor. Many of us also probably reach for medication. Now, new guidelines from the American College of Physicians say try exercise, yoga, or massage first.
That's a pretty big change for both doctors and patients, but a welcome one, some doctors say.
To come up with the recommendations, researchers analyzed more than 150 studies looking at what works and what doesn't when it comes to lower back pain.
The type of acute pain we're talking about is your "garden variety back pain you might get after shoveling a little too much or over-exercising," says ACP president Dr. Nitin Damle — not the kind of pain that radiates down your leg and causes numbness, or the type which results from a major accident.
In contrast to other types of pain, Damle says acute back pain usually goes away on its own. "The body will adjust, the inflammation will go down," he says. It may take a few days or even a week, but eventually you'll be back to normal.
So why risk side effects of medication, he says, if you don't have to? Side effects can include gastritis, stomach upset and a rise in blood pressure.
Instead, the new guidelines suggest techniques to speed up the healing process, including heat wraps, massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation which can "relax the muscles, joints, and tendons so people can be relieved of their low back pain sooner, rather than later."
Other options that can help include exercise, "mind-body" therapies like yoga, tai chi, mindfulness-based stress reduction and guided relaxation techniques.
For patients with chronic pain who just aren't responding to these non-drug therapies, the guidelines recommend medication to reduce inflammation such as ibuprofen and naproxen, which are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Acetaminophen doesn't reduce pain or inflammation and is no longer recommended for back pain, according to a review published in Annals of Internal Medicine on Tuesday. In certain cases, muscle relaxants might help short term.
If that fails, and pain persists, the next option could include medications for nerve pain or narcotics for pain. "Only in rare circumstances should opioids be given," Damle says, "and then only at the lowest dose possible and for the shortest period of time."
Primary care doctor Steven Atlas, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School who practices at Massachusetts General Hospital, wrote an editorial accompanying the guidelines. He describes them as a needed change. "We are moving away from simple fixes like a pill to a more complex view that involves a lot of lifestyle changes," he says.
Atlas says this is a big cultural shift. In order to make non-drug treatments more commonplace, he suggests doctors expand their referral systems and that health insurance companies consider covering these costs.
The guidelines were published online Feb. 13 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.