Go with the flow

Trying yoga for the first time can be an intimidating experience. But that misses the point of this ancient practice that combines stretching, breath … and peace

Yoga instructor Petri Brill strikes a pose at her studio YogaSport, which provides beginners’ classes for the uninitiated. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Yoga instructor Petri Brill strikes a pose at her studio YogaSport, which provides beginners’ classes for the uninitiated. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

JEF TINGLEY  | Contributing Writer

Some do it for their mind, some do it for their body, some do it for both. But all yoga students have one thing in common: Making the first step and taking up the practice. And while this age-old combination of stretching and breathing is meant to calm the mind and strengthen the muscles, a maiden voyage into a posterior-lifting position like downward-facing dog in a room full of strangers can send one’s heart racing. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

“People new to yoga should remember that everyone in class was a beginner at one point,” says Petri Brill, manager of YogaSport Dallas on Lemmon Avenue. “Yoga is a journey, not a destination. There is no perfect practice or perfect yogi or perfect yoga body. I think people worry about they’ll look [or] feel foolish in their first down-dog [and] that they’ll be judged. Our [yoga] community is diverse, encouraging and accepting: no judgment here!”

Mary Pierce Armstrong, who teaches at MarYoga, agrees that you should always look inward. “Yoga will come to meet you no matter where you are starting from. As long as you take the breath and the breaks you need, you will be doing awesome.”

For Wendy Moore, a 44-year-old yoga newbie, has taken these words of wisdom to the mat — literally. Moore recently completed her second MarYoga class as part of her new year regime. Any inhibitions she had about the experience were dispelled during her first visit.

“[I was] concerned about my general lack of bendy-ness, and not knowing where to put what arm and leg,” she says, “but if you look around you will figure out where your limbs are supposed to be by what others are doing.” Moore has continued to work on poses between classes with some slight variations mimicked by “what her cats are able to do.”

Keith Murray, a 37-year-old registered nurse, tried yoga for the first time more than eight years ago and was immediately hooked. He was taking classes three times a week before long. “I was a little intimidated about the whole thing at first,” he says, “but after my first couple of sessions my intimidation grew into excitement.”

A busy work schedule has kept Murray from his regular routine over the years, but he is trying to change that. “I still maintain a crazy life and work routine, but building yoga back into my life has really helped me to find balance again.”

According to yoga teacher Jennifer Lawson of SYNC Yoga & Wellbeing, it’s not just busy schedules and bundled nerves that keep people from the practice of yoga; it’s also our cultural fixation on success. “There tends to be so much emphasis on achievement and perfection that many of us are becoming accustomed to playing it safe in order to avoid the possibility of shame.”

Lawson recommends coming together as a group in a class with experienced and inexperienced yogis to create an environment that emphasizes the experience and process of yoga and not the destination or end result.

For Anisha Mandol, a 42-year-old business development manager who has been practicing yoga for about two years, these words ring true. “Once you understand your expectation from practicing, no one else’s matters. The benefits of yoga are fluid and dynamic, and each person has their own unique experience. Own yours,” she says.

And so it would seem that just as the journey of a million miles begins with one step, the journey toward a yoga-filled life begins with a single stretch on the matt (and maybe a little Namaste for good measure).

………………………………………………….

SAY NAMASTE: WHERE TO GET YOUR YOGA FIX

Options are plentiful for the budding yogi looking for a class. Get your stretch on at these studios in and around the gayborhood. You can also find information on their class offerings and schedules on their websites.

Yoga Sport Dallas
4140 Lemmon Ave, Suite 280
214-520-YOGA
YogaSportDallas.com

SYNC Yoga & Wellbeing
611 N. Bishop Ave.
214-843-3372
SyncDallas.com

MarYoga at Chi Studio
807 Fletcher St.
ChiDallas.com

Sunstone Yoga
2907 Routh St. (and other locations)
214-764-2119
SunstoneYoga.com

Gaia Flow Yoga Uptown
3000 Blackburn St., Suite 140B
214-235-1153
GaiaFlowYoga.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Show vs. Show

In this installment of Show vs. Show, we take a look at two bands both welcome at any party. It’s the battle of young and not-so-young as The B-52s bring out their campy tunes and CSS turn on their Brazilian beats for Dallas audiences.

Despite a healthy discography, we might always know The B-52s for “Love Shack,” but there are worse tunes on which to hang a legacy. Now a classic party anthem, the song has held up for more than 20 years.

The band’s talent shouldn’t be overlooked for its camp factor. When the late Ricky Wilson threw down that riff for “Rock Lobster,” he made music history with a strong sound. It’s easy to blow off, but over the years, has proven unforgettable. Guitarist Keith Strickland stepped in and filled those shoes with the perfect blend of musicality and whimsy.

Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson always keep our attention with their mod outfits and high-to-heaven ’dos, but Fred Schneider symbolizes the band most with his outrageous flair.

But don’t count out CSS for party ’peal. The Brazilian popsters may be the heirs apparent to The B-52s (if not LMFAO), infusing a comic touch on their songs. They don’t offer as much of a punchline as The Bs do, but with tunes like “Let’s Reggae All Night” and “City Grrrl,” they add their own panache. Another point in their corner is opening dance band and performance artists MEN, led by lesbian JD Samson.
This should be more like Party vs. Party. All that’s missing are the party favors, confetti and punch bowl.

— Rich Lopez

Artist: The B-52s

Concert-2

The B52's

 

Known mostly for… being the premiere party rock band veterans, churning out hits “Rock Lobster,” “Love Shack” and “Roam.”

Good for the gays? As gay as it can get. Their camp factor is off the charts.  And of course, there’s queer singer Fred Schneider.

What to wear? Anything but beige or gray. And lots of hairspray.

Relevance: The B-52s haven’t delivered big since 1989’s Cosmic Thing, but their songs are timeless fun.

Reason to be there: This is one resilient band that wholeheartedly still delivers. And how awesome is “Love Shack” going to sound live?

Reason to not: It’s in Frisco.

Deets: Dr. Pepper Arena, 2601 Avenue of the Stars, Frisco. Nov. 3
at 7:30 p.m. $27–$77. Ticketmaster.com.

Artist: CSS

Concert-1

CSS


Known mostly for… their Brazilian dance pop. Hipsters party out to this band
that wants nothing more than to have a good time.

Good for the gays? With openers MEN, both are queer-centric with refreshing
but catchy tunes.

What to wear? Ironic T-shirts and colorful Converse Chuck Taylors.

Relevance: Their latest album, La Liberacion, strikes an unusual dance chord that’s also infectious and irreverent.

Reason to be there: While CSS has a strong fan base, they are still off the gaydar. You can be the one to tell all your friends about them.

Reason to not: With this one-two punch of catchy alterna-pop, there really isn’t a reason not to be there.

Deets: With MEN. House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. Oct. 28
at 8 p.m. $18–$20. HouseOfBlues.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 28, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

The ol’ Kabuki Dance strikes again on DADT

Looks like Senator Ensign and Senator Murkowski are both having second thoughts. Typical. I’d hate to have to count on a politician to ever follow through on their word. Then again, Nancy Pelosi pretty much accomplished what she said she would in the last congress, but look where it got her. She was demonized for getting the congress to pass law after progressive law only to have the laws never even be considered in the dysfunctional Democratic House of Lords, I mean U.S. Senate.

Last night, the Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson reported that Sen. John Ensign’s (R-NV) regional representative “on military issues” told the Stonewall Democratic Club of Nevada that the Senator intended “to vote for the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill, which contains repeal language.” According to Laura Martin, communications director for the club, Ensign’s staffer said he supports repeal. “We asked her to clarify three times and she said he will vote in the affirmative on the defense authorization with ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal in it,” Martin said. The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent confirmed the report this afternoon, noting that Ensign was “leaning towards” supporting repeal of the policy. In a letter to Martin obtained by Sargent, Ensign wrote, “It is my firm belief that Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, should be able to fight and risk their lives in defense of this great nation.”

But earlier today, Ensign’s office tried to walk back the comments, saying that Ensign was still “waiting on the report from the Pentagon and the testimony of the military chiefs to see if any changes to this policy can or should be done in a way so as not to harm the readiness or war fighting capabilities of our troops.” Tonight, on his program Face to Face, Nevada reporter Jon Ralston interviewed Derick Washington of the Stonewall Democrats of Nevada, who insisted that Ensign’s spokesperson reassured the group that he was on their side. Washington found a silver lining in Ensign’s backtracking, however, noting that the Senator didn’t say that he would filibuster the measure:

Oh, goodie, he won’t filibuster. That’s nice.

Ensign is the second Republican to backtrack on a commitment to repeal the policy. Yesterday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced that she would likely back the measure on local Alaska television, but later hinted to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that she didn’t know how she would vote on the issue.

So, Ensign and Murkowski are just playing word games, and dancing that good ol’ Kabuki. What else is new in Washington, DC?




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

GetEQUAL strikes again with protest at White House’s Common Purpose meeting

UPDATE @ 11:01 PM Here’s the video of the group going after White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, the man who claimed only a few months ago that DADT would be repealed this year.  How’s that plan going, Jim?

UPDATE @ 8:14 PM via email from GetEQUAL. It was quite a protest:

David Smith, Vice President of Policy and Strategy for the Human Rights Campaign, Winnie Stachelberg, Sr. VP for External Affairs for CAP; Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, were greeted tonight by the protestors and asked to stand with the LGBT community and not attend the meeting. All three of them chose instead to cross the protest line and enter into the hotel. Smith refused saying, “I’m running late”.

Also, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina was greeted tonight by protestors who chanted to him “Obama, What’s Your Plan?” and “Keep Your Promise!

Here’s a photo of Justin Elzie, Rob Smith and Scott Wooledge at the protest:

______________________
On Tuesday nights here in DC, there’s usually a gathering of White House staffers, often led by Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, with leaders of progressive organizations. The meeting is called “Common Purpose,” but is better known as the “veal pen” — a term coined by Jane Hamsher. Basically, the White House gives the groups their marching orders — and most of the groups have done as instructed. We can see how well that’s worked.

Among those attending the meeting tonight are CAP’s Winnie Stachelberg and HRC’s V.P. David Smith. Rea Carey from the Task Force is there, too. (UPDATE: Just learned Messina was there.)

Tonight, the Common Purpose attendees were met by representatives from GetEQUAL, including seven of the DADT protesters who were arrested yesterday for handcuffing themselves to the White House fence. They decided to directly address the progressive leaders, because as the sign notes, “There’s no common purpose without equality.”

From GetEQUAL’s press release:

This evening, seven of the original 13 LGBT veterans and advocates who were arrested yesterday at the White House fence, stood outside of the Capitol Hilton (1001 16th Street NW) to protest the White House’s “Common Purpose” meeting, a mostly secret, low-profile gathering of White House officials and institutional, progressive organizations aimed at controlling the agenda and messaging around those issues, which includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. The invite-only meeting, first launched back in 2009 by White House Chief of Staff Rahmn Emanuel, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina and others, has been previously criticized by liberal, progressive bloggers and advocates for its attempt to shut-down any resistance to the White House’s strategy by instilling fear of retribution amongst the organizations invited.

Here’s the quote from GetEQUAL’s Heather Cronk via Politico:

“The White House’s Common Purpose meeting is the primary way that progressive ideas and values supported by a majority of Americans are being upended and compromised,” said Cronk in an email to POLITICO. “We are calling on the progressive groups attending these meetings to shake free the yoke of White House staff who are refusing to push forward the progressive ideals that President Obama campaigned on.”

Here are the messages the will greet the Common Purpose attendees tonight. I’ll post more about the protest when I get more details:







AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Lambda Legal’s Ken Upton says today’s Prop 8 ruling will have little immediate practical impact

Ken Upton

We spoke Wednesday morning with Ken Upton, a senior staff attorney with Lambda Legal who’s based in Dallas, about the potential legal implications of this afternoon’s expected ruling in the Prop 8 case. Specifically, we asked Upton what the ruling could mean to folks in Texas, and why we should care.

Upton noted that even if U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker strikes down Prop 8, it’s likely that the decision will be put on hold pending appeal, meaning no same-sex marriages will be performed in California.

“In the short run, it’s not going to do anything as a practical matter because it will be stayed,” Upton said of today’s decision. “Nobody’s going to get married in California, and the decision won’t be the final decision, because it’s going to get appealed at least once. As a practical matter, it won’t really do anything, but it will start the ball rolling on a path that could eventually do something.”

Upton said he is optimistic Walker will strike down Prop 8.

“I read the transcripts, and I heard the arguments, and I read the briefs,” Upton said. “The law is strong in our favor and the evidence was I thought very persuasive in our favor, so it won’t surprise me if he rules for us.”

But Upton added that the key to today’s ruling is not whether Judge Walker upholds or strikes down Prop 8, but the manner in which he does so.

“The result won’t be the final one anyway,” he said. “At this point, he’s just firing the first salvo if you will. What will really be interesting is how far he goes. What will he say about the constitution and how it protects gay people? What level of scrutiny will he give it? Will he talk about marriage itself or will he talk about discrimination against gay people? The immediate effect of it will be more one for lawyers to dissect than it will have any practical effect. It’s going to be years before we know the ultimate result.”

Despite minimal practical impacts, Upton acknowledged that a victory today will give the LGBT community a psychological boost.

“It feels good to see courts do what they’re constitutionally required to do, and that is be a check on government and the political arms of government,” he said. “One colleague suggested that everybody have a bottle of tequila in their office, and once we win, every time the other side calls him [Walker] an activist judge, take a shot, and see how long it takes to get drunk.”

—  John Wright

Matt Bomer’s Heterosexual White Collar Con Man Purposefully Strikes Out With the Ladies

Last night, USA Network's "most wanted" (get it?) series White Collar returned for its second season! Matt Bomer, the out-ish actor and partnered gay father of two, plays con man Neal Caffrey. He sometimes enjoys flirtations with members of the opposite sex!

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

—  John Wright