Sunflower Mandala

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Sunshower Power!

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Was it raindrops that I felt against my skin? This morning, walking to my car after teaching my seniors yoga class at Sinai Free Synagogue in Mt. Vernon, I felt a few wet drops tap my arm. With the sunshine burning bright overhead, my first thought (typical New Yorker) was that I had been christened by a bird. But, no, as more refreshingly cool drops dotted my skin, I knew it was a sun shower (or, more accurately in this case, a sun sprinkle).

A long-ago favorite refrain singsonged in my head: “Sunshower just the sign of the power, of loving you, oh baby!” (An old classic 70s disco tune from the innovative Bronx-born group Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band.) On the drive home, with crystal drops dotting my windshield, I sang the tune (“Ooh, my whole life through, I’ve been walking in the rain; until that day, I chanced on you. And the sun came pouring down too …”), filling in forgotten lyrics with hums. There’s something a bit magical, and musical, about the contrast of a sunny sky and light cool touches of raindrops.

Our yoga practice offers magical contrasts of its own: stretching long and firming taut; expanding and condensing; steady, strong effort and deep-down delicious relaxation. All companion opposites, joining together in a beautiful and powerful dance. 

When I pulled into my driveway, the rain still dotted my windshield and the sun still shone. Then, as magically as the sunshower began, it ceased. I hope that you find some magic today in your yoga practice and beyond, whether you are walking in the rain, in sunshine, or both. 

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

There’s One More Yogi in Heaven

Saying goodbye to a special lady

Yesterday, we said goodbye to Mollie Vogel: yogi, friend, wife, mother, teacher, role model. Nicknamed “the mayor of Mount Vernon,” by the many people whose lives she gently touched, Mollie passed away on Tuesday, a little more than one month after the celebration of her 95th birthday.Yogini Mollie Vogel

I was lucky to know her, luckier still to be one of her  yoga instructors. I was the last teacher she worked with during her 50+ years of dedicated yoga practice. I’m sure I learned more from her than she did from me.

Mollie’s memorial service was held at Riverside Memorial Chapel in Mount Vernon. The rabbi who lead the service described Mollie as “a woman of excellence,” or “eshet chayil” in Hebrew. Loving, smart, and stubborn, she raised four children with her husband, Seymour Vogel. In her 40s, after the couple’s children were grown, Mollie obtained a driver’s license so that she could return to school to earn a college degree.

Mollie worked as a nursery school teacher for many years. Following her retirement in her late 70s, Mollie remained active in every sense of the word: politically, intellectually, spiritually, physically.

While I can tell you tidbits about Mollie–that she volunteered in a local soup kitchen; that, as a yoga ambassador, she accompanied me to a senior home to encourage the residents to practice yoga; that she had an amazing om (click here to read an article about Mollie)–I am not adept enough with words to express all that she meant to me. I see Mollie as a spiritual warrior, a woman who walked a path of peace with strength and dignity.

I hope I can walk a similar path to Mollie’s, and that I can keep up with her. Because I think that somewhere, perhaps on a yoga mat in heaven, she’s doing one awesome downward-facing dog.

 
Friday, April 17th, 2015
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