Yoga Monkeys Strike

Posted: May 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm

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Even the French baguettes got into it assuming the up dog position as a flash mob of 20 yogis struck the farmers market at Wooster Square.

Peg Oliveira leads the new non-profit 108 Monkeys (explanation to follow) that seeks to make yogas gospel of mindfulness more accessible to kids in the schools and other under-stress populations, including shoppers deeply focused on their errands.

At 12:40 p.m. Saturday, Oliveira gave the yoga troops these orders from a staging area near the Christopher Columbus statue in Wooster Square Park: Do stand up, stand down, then break into your personal positions: warrior one, warrior two. When I go into the tree pose, all follow. At the ringing of the bell, come to mountain.

In the crowded single aisle of the market, shopping co-existed nicely even with this dramatic dancers move, and the shoppers shopped on.

However, when Oliveira began a chant of seven deep oms, which she characterized as the sound of the universe, the yoga mobsters picked it up and the sound grew into a quiet crescendo. From Chapel Street to Wooster the commercial air in the market appeared to shift. Attention was being paid.

The yoga routine, which lasted no more than four minutes, culminated in all the participants bowing deeply and saying namaste, whose meaning is I share my inner light with your inner light, according to OIiveira.

For years Oliveira provided yoga classes for kids often in after-school programs, for which there was not opportunity for sustained follow-up. Suddenly staff at the after-school program and parents wanted it [too], she said.

So she founded 108 Monkeys. The number embraces infinity and nothingness, Buddha described the chattering mind as a monkey. The organization seeks to spread the word and increase the opportunity for people to participate in yoga. Its not a studio but an outreach vehicle for existing studios like Fresh Yoga, Balanced Yoga, and the many others in town reach more people and people who may not be able to pay fees. Next year a prime focus of 108 Monkeys is going to be the schools, especially at-risk kids.

At its core, the ability to engage in a violent act is a disconnect to your own feelings and to others. If you understand we are all connected and your act comes back, then you would have the empathy that would not allow you to act violently against another, she said.

Eight city yoga studios were represented in the flash mob. Through 108 Monkeys, they will be offering free yoga every Saturday night at College Woods Park in East Rock and 6 p.m. and every Friday at noon a the Hill farmers market. Click here for the groups activities that includes this fall bringing yoga to the New Haven Boys and Girls Club, The Connecticut Mental Health Center, and the Clifford Beers Clinic.

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Yoga Monkeys Strike

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May 28th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

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