Inspiration for Your Aerobic Exercise Practice!

 

We all know that the benefits of exercise are wide and varied, positively impacting everything from how we feel to how our brains form and develop. Well, I often find it extra encouraging to discover that there is (even more) data behind the claims, both for the knowledge gained, and because I am optimistic about how it helps support and signal the shifting views on the importance of physical activity, especially for children. Just knowing that research is being conducted on the benefits of moving our bodies, in any form, is so exciting! 

My own enthusiasm aside, I encourage you to read the NYTimes link below for a quick summation of a new article in the Journal of Physiology, which further reveals the benefits of different types of exercise on the brain (Nokia, et al., 2016). The recently published study showed that aerobic exercise, such as jogging, is more effective than high intensity interval training and weight training, when it comes to neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons) within the hippocampus. While these researchers specifically highlighted the association between aerobic exercise and hippocampal growth, HIIT and resistance training certainly have their fair share of benefits as well.  Just another good reminder to cross train and diversify your exercise routine.

So next time you feel unmotivated to go out for a jog, just think of how good it is for your hippocampus! And how good you'll feel afterwards... (I have to remind myself of this all the time)

Click this link to read Gretchen Reynolds's article in the New York Times (Feb. 17, 2016):  "Which Type of Exercise is Best for the Brain?"

 

Nokia, M. S., Lensu, S., Ahtiainen, J. P., Johansson, P. P., Koch, L. G., Britton, S. L., & Kainulainen, H. (2016). Physical exercise increases adult hippocampal neurogenesis in male rats provided it is aerobic and sustained. The Journal of physiology.    

Feeding Your Body Goodness--A Positive Cycle

I truly believe that when your body feels good, you want to feed it goodness. When you feed it goodness, it feels good. Get the positive cycle? That's why a delicious, healthy snack after exercise feels so good, and why eating healthy foods makes exercise more appealing. 

I've been excited about smoothies and juices for years now, but most recently I've gotten obsessed with green smoothies. They're easy to make, delicious, and healthy. A couple weeks ago I invited my cousin to a yoga class and made her a green smoothie afterwards; she was instantly addicted, especially when she found out how simple it was to make. 

I've been experimenting with different variations, and although you really can't go wrong, this is one of my favorites so far:

Basic Recipe

- 3 leaves lacinato or curly kale

- half ripe banana (frozen if you have it)

- handful of frozen strawberries

- soy or nut milk, or water (about 1/2 a cup, adjust for consistency)

Optional add-ons

- ice cubes

- 2 or 3 pitted dates

- half carrot or apple

- small handful of raw almonds or cashews

- substitute with spinach, lettuce, or other leafy greens

 

If you have a Vitamix (consider yourself envied!), go ahead and toss it all in. Otherwise, I would recommend putting the kale in last as it can be tough on the blades to blend first. 

*Tip: when blending with dates, it helps to soak them in some hot water for 10 minutes or so to soften and plumpen; it makes them easier to blend, and is also less mess on your blender.

Again, you really can't go wrong. Just experiment, and enjoy! Go on, get yourself some greens and fruit to blend!




Teaching and Experiencing at the Omega Institute

I recently returned from the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY where I had the pleasure of teaching yoga as core faculty for a week.  It was truly a gift to spend a full week on the campus, experiencing fresh air and nature, friendly and inspiring staff/faculty, and the unique tranquility and community that Omega specializes in creating. 
I am so grateful for the time and space I had for myself, balanced with the (15 or so) classes I taught to both guests and staff throughout the week, and the other offerings with amazing faculty. I spent time on the trails, breathing in the scent of fresh earth, dew, and sunshine; I sat in the Sanctuary at the top of the hill quietly; I shared healthy, tasty meals with new and friendly faces each day. Every person I encountered on the paths through campus always met my eyes with a smile. I think it brought out the best in me and I was able to give that back in return. Although I'm not much of a morning person, I woke up around 5:30am each day to prepare for my classes, walk to the staff kitchen to make my tea, and do some writing. It was a contemplative, insightful time.
It makes returning to NYC a little bit challenging right now, but with spring blossoming, I'm easing back into the city pace and still seeing beauty all around me.

I highly recommend a visit to Omega for anyone and everyone--whether just for an R&R weekend or for a specific workshop (they have many offerings).  Who knows, next time you go it might be me teaching the open yoga classes! Check out their site here.
I look forward to visiting again myself, whether as staff or just as a visitor.  Many thanks Omega!

Groundhog sighting! 
One of the several that make Omega campus their home...

Stephanie and Jeremy Performed at Judson!

Recently I had the privilege of performing at Judson Memorial Church with longtime partner and collaborator Jeremy Finch.

With the history and beauty of a space like Judson (one of the primary sites of the birth of postmodern dance), Jeremy and I were thrilled and honored to be able to share our work there as part of their Movement Research at Judson series. 

We shared a very new work, same time and place ?, with music by Kaki King and Bonobo. I hope to have a video up here very soon. In the meantime you can check out a clip on Movement Research's site here

Many thanks to Jeremy for coming to NYC and working hard to make this happen, and to friends that came out to support. We were both very proud of the end result!




Group Class Schedule, Winter 2013

Hello! I hope everyone is well as the month of February continues.
Best wishes for a happy lunar new year and maintaining positivity and vibrancy throughout the rest of the winter season! Please read below for class updates.


Group Class Schedule, Winter 2013

Thursdays:
7-8pm
Yoga program for Stonehenge Apartment Residents, New York


Fridays:
7:30-8:45pm
Flow & Restore
Ishta Yoga Downtown, 56 E. 11th St. New York


Saturdays:
9-10:30am
Basics
Third Root Community Health Center, 380 Marlborough Rd. Brooklyn, NY

12:30-1:45pm
Beg/Int
Ishta Yoga Downtown, 56 E. 11th St., New York



I hope you will join me for either a group class or a private session. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or inquiries. I always offer specials on your first private session.

---> Stephanie.Fungsang@gmail.com

Updated Group Class Schedule & Gratitude this Thanksgiving Season


I'm thrilled to announce a *new Saturday morning class* that I will begin teaching weekly at 9am, beginning this Saturday 12/1, at Third Root Community Health Center. I'm a great admirer of Third Root and have enjoyed being a substitute instructor the past few months. Very grateful now to be joining on as a regular instructor on the schedule.  Whether for yoga, acupuncture, herbal consultation, bodywork, or the many other offerings at Third Root, come check it out!

Along with another instructor, I will soon be representing Ishta Yoga at Stonehenge Apartments, teaching for their residential yoga program.  My weekly class will be on *Thursdays from 7-8pm*, at Stonehenge 57 (400 E. 57th St. New York, NY). It's not a public class, but if you know anyone who lives in Stonehenge apartments, classes are free for residents! 

As some doors open, some doors close as well--I will no longer be teaching my weekly class at Chinatown Sports Club on Tuesday nights. It was a difficult decision, as the space and people have become almost a second family since I began teaching there almost four (!) years ago, but I'm excited to have more time to pursue other endeavors.   I have so much gratitude and appreciation for the time that I spent working at CSC, where I grew as a person and instructor with my exposure to populations I would not have come into contact with otherwise--namely the Chinese and elderly communities. The students and staff that I've worked with and gotten to know over the years have become not only valuable friends, but also an important connection for me to a Chinese community that I miss dearly without my huge Chinese family in Ohio. Thankfully, I will continue to visit and sub when needed, so you'll still see me around there. 

Much to be grateful for during this Thanksgiving season!  New opportunities, health, family, and good friends. Special shout out to my dear Uncle Kam, who has been strong and resilient throughout his battle with cancer. We had a good time celebrating Thanksgiving dinner, cramming 22 people into his hospital room!

Thanks for reading, and many blessings to all this Thanksgiving weekend.
 


My new public group class schedule:


Tuesdays:

Ishta Yoga Uptown (1026 3rd Ave. between 60th & 61st St. New York, NY)
9:30-10:45am
Open Level


Saturdays:

Third Root Community Health Center (380 Marlborough Rd. off of Cortelyou Rd. Brooklyn, NY)
9-10:30am
Basics 


12:30-1:45pm
Open Level
Ishta Yoga Downtown (56 E. 11th St. between Broadway and University Pl. New York, NY)




Questions? Thoughts?
-----> email: stephanie.fungsang@gmail.com

Benefit Class for Hurricane Relief


I'm excited to be joining many other Ishta Yoga teachers by donating the proceeds of my upcoming class to New York Cares, a volunteer organization that takes action all year 'round on a number of issues, and is currently also taking part in assisting those affected by the hurricane.

Details:
Ishta Yoga Downtown (56 E. 11th St betw. Broadway & University Pl)
Saturday 11/10/12
12:30-1:45pm
Beg/Int 

Come take class for yourself, and also contribute to a good cause. It's a win-win situation!

Many thanks in advance.

Website Update in Process!

Thanks for your patience as I update and re-format the site... I'll continue to post in the News section, so do keep checking back.

Hoping all that have been affected are doing well and adjusting post-hurricane. Updates on my experiences biking around NYC and volunteering in Brooklyn soon. For now, so much gratitude for the safety of loved ones and all that I have been blessed with.


Questions? Curious about taking class? Interested in trying a private? 

--->  stephanie.fungsang@gmail.com

Come to Yoga Class!

Updated Group Class Teaching Schedule


Weekly:
Ishta Yoga Uptown (1026 3rd Ave. betw 60th & 61st St.)
Tuesdays
9:30-10:45am
Open Level
 
*NEW CLASS*
Ishta Yoga Downtown (56 E. 11th St. betw University Place & Broadway)  
Saturdays
12:30-1:45pm
Beg/Int

Chinatown Sports Club (225 Park Row, by Worth St.)
Tuesdays
7-8pm
Open Level



Subbing:

Third Root (380 Marlborough Rd. off of Cortelyou Rd.)
Sunday October 14th
9-10:30am 
Intermediate

10:45am-12:15pm
Basics


Ishta Yoga Downtown (56 E. 11th St. betw University Place & Broadway)  
Tuesday October 23rd
2-3pm
Restorative


Yoga People  (160 Montague St. betw Clinton St. & Henry St. Brooklyn, NY) 
Mondays November 5th & 12th
12-1pm
Basics Express
 
Friday November 9th
12-1pm
Basics Express 

Sunday November 11th 
2-3:15pm
Bliss Out (Restorative) 



Questions?
----> Stephanie.Fungsang@gmail.com

Teaching Yoga at Third Root Community Health Center


I'm thrilled to be joining the yoga staff as a substitute instructor at Third Root Community Health Center in beautiful Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.  Third Root is worker-owned cooperative and strives to make their offerings (yoga, acupuncture, massage, herbal consultation, educational workshops, etc.) accessible to people of all income levels by functioning on a sliding scale. They truly value cultivating community, and try to make the space relevant to those that live and work in the neighborhood.  There is always interesting stuff happening here, so come check it out!  Stay tuned for my teaching updates.  
 




September Update: Learning new things, especially about my process of not knowing

Back to School Fever... 

"The Revolutionary Practice of Mind Body Medicine"


Actively seeking out new knowledge and education is something I respect and always strive to make a constant habit, either by reading and research (books, articles, and blogs) or by attending workshops and trainings. I even consider the weekly classes that I take with my teachers part of my continuing education; all of these experiences inform my work as an evolving student, teacher, and human being.

Last week I took a slightly bigger step and traveled to Boston to immerse myself in a week-long continuing education course titled "The Revolutionary Practice of Mind Body Medicine," which was held at Harvard Medical School and presented by the Benson Henry Institute of Mind Body Medicine at MGH (Mass General Hospital). For anyone who is interested in learning more about any subject or field, regardless of occupation, I would highly recommend continuing education courses. Many universities have a department of continuing education and often the courses do not require a semester-long commitment.  
Check out these links for more info:

Harvard Medical School's Continuing Ed:
https://cme.med.harvard.edu/
The Benson Henry Institute of Mind Body Medicine:
http://www.massgeneral.org/bhi/

The course/conference I fortuitously came upon while doing some education research was a Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm intensive, which made it a dense but exciting week of lectures, workshops and networking. I met people from all over the country and world, in all different medical professions, who were interested in incorporating more mind body medicine aspects into their practices. You can imagine I spent every free moment trying to pick peoples' brains about their professions and work/life styles. The professors and lecturers were all incredibly knowledgeable, and of course most importantly, the content was fascinating and had me on the edge of my seat every moment.  I have over 600 pages of documents to go through and am still processing all of the information inside my brain!

The Benson Henry Institute (BHI) is directed by Herbert Benson MD, who coined the term, and wrote the book by the title, The Relaxation Response.  This is an important biological process that is elicited by various techniques, and counters the harmful results of too much stress.  Stress is a normal and important thing that all organisms experience: essentially it is what we experience in response to an external or environmental threat. As humans we developed this ancient survival technique/ability called the Stress Response, also known as the "fight or flight" response, in case we had to flee from a predatory animal or a dangerous situation.  However, stress becomes unhealthy when the constant loading of stress becomes unmanageable, and essentially, leads to disease and other physical, mental, or emotional ailments.   

Throughout this course we learned about what happens on a cellular and cognitive level (lots of science!) when the human brain/body is under stress, and also what happens when it is relaxed.  There are many studies that show that relaxation techniques (meditation, focused breathing, yoga, etc.) can reverse the negative effects of stress, and also establish positive results regardless of the presence of stress.  There were presentations by psychiatrists, nurses, nutritionists, sleep specialists, naturopaths, and more.  Other than learning about these subjects, one of the most rewarding things about the week was having evidence-based studies to refer to that said this really works
It's inspiring for me as I continue to research and feel out what area/field I'm interested in pursuing to develop my career, and carve out a space for my passion to help people to feel good.  I'm also excited to integrate some of the information and skills that I learned into my current yoga classes.  Check back soon for an updated teaching schedule!


The Uncomfortable but Fruitful Process of Self-Exploration, Searching, and Taking the Next Right Step...


For those of you out there who might--like me--be seeking out an area of real passion, feeling uncertain as you make life and career transitions, or quite simply, just don't know what you're doing, you may be comforted or inspired to know that you are not alone, that it isn't hopeless, and that good things happen to those who seek it out.
I was almost at my wit's end in August when I was seeking out various health/wellness-related career paths and trying to negotiate within myself and to those around me how I could manage this supposed 'career transition', while continuing to dance and pursue this vague but present desire to create and perform with my body. I've known for a while that I won't be doing dance as a career for my whole life, or even much more beyond the near future, but at the moment I also don't feel ready to stop.  It's a difficult place to be--in between professional worlds and personal goals.  

I decided at the very least that I needed to take the step to do something that would help me feel in motion, productive, in a process, etc (perhaps please my parents or those pressures from within and without myself) and I sat down to find some continuing education (at the suggestion of a friend), courses, volunteerism, internships, whatever I could find, in the health/wellness field. One thing led to another on this magical thing we called the internet, and I discovered the Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine (I had been told vaguely of some organization in Massachusetts, and with only a few google combinations of words I found it). With some more digging, I found that they offered training programs (through MGH/Harvard), and then I finally found this course which was to happen in a matter of weeks. I took the dive to find out if I could even take it, as it lists only tuition for "MD's and Healthcare Professionals", and as I am neither, even if they accepted me I didn't know if I'd be able to keep up with the material. 
Well not only was I able to register, when I took a leap of faith to ask for the possibility of tuition assistance (asking for things has never been easy for me), I was able to fill a partial scholarship spot that I wouldn't even have known existed had I not inquired.
I was beyond thrilled and grateful for this opportunity, and couldn't believe how things had somehow fallen into place when I thought things were just going to keep falling.  And I knew that I had gone through one of those challenging moments when "the next right step" is unclear, or even discouraging, and yet I put my intention out there and took a step anyway. Easier said than done, but this has taught me that things are possible if we can get out of our own way, and take a risk without taking it so seriously.

Well who knows where it'll lead me to now. But at the very least I had the privilege of absorbing an amazing week of education in a field I'm interested in working in; I now have a new source of information and resources to turn to; I have a handful of new contacts; most importantly, I've gained the confidence to know that if I simply ask for it, good things can happen (ie, don't be afraid to ask). 

One of my favorite lecturers of the week reminded us that at each moment, our minds have the ability to decide whether to feel negative or positive about the situation we face (unfortunately it's the negative pathway that's easier for most of us); that in the morning when you wake up, you can either crawl back into bed, or you can say, "bring it."


So?
BRING IT.





Thanks for taking the time to visit!
Questions? ----> Stephanie.Fungsang@gmail.com


Come to Yoga Class!

Whether you've never done yoga before, or have tried a hundred different styles, I invite you to come check out one of my classes. It's always guaranteed to be a good time for your mind and body.  I teach at several locations around NYC, and often my schedule shifts weekly; so come back frequently to see when I'm teaching! As always, thanks for taking the time to visit.



Current Group Class Teaching Schedule


Tuesdays:
9:30-10:45am
Open Level
Ishta Yoga Uptown (1026 3rd Ave. betw 60th & 61st St.)

7-8pm
Open Level
Chinatown Sports Club (225 Park Row, by Worth St.)



Wednesdays (thru August 1st):
5:15-6:15pm
Beg/Int
Ishta Yoga Uptown (1026 3rd Ave. betw 60th & 61st St.)



Friday August 10th:
7:30-8:45pm
Flow & Restore
Ishta Yoga Downtown (56 E. 11th St. betw University Place & Broadway) 




Saturdays (thru Sept. 1st):
12:30-1:45pm 
Beg/Int 
Ishta Yoga Downtown (56 E. 11th St. betw University Place & Broadway)  



Sundays August 5th & 12th:
2-3:15pm
Open Level
Ishta Yoga Downtown  (56 E. 11th St. betw University Place & Broadway)



Sunday August 26th:
2-3:15pm 
Bliss Out (Restorative)
Yoga People  (160 Montague St. betw Clinton St. & Henry St. Brooklyn, NY) 



Thanks for visiting. Come back often!
Questions? ---> Stephanie.Fungsang@gmail.com

Performing, Teaching, and Travels in June and July

Phew! It's been a busy but rewarding past couple of weeks full of traveling, dancing, and teaching. 

After weeks of intensive preparation, on June 30th Alison Chase Performance had a successful evening at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine as part of the Portland Performing Arts Festival.  We showed some great repertoire (Tsu Ku Tsu, Devil Got My Woman, Ben's Admonition, Femme Noire) and premiered a new dance theatre work, The Handsomest, a retelling of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's short story "The Handsomest Drowned Man" using dance, sound, and photo and film projections.  The team put a lot of hard work into this show, and we were all proud of the results. 

 Image courtesy of Alison Chase



A quick turnaround to Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Faithful dance partner Jeremy Finch and I joined up as part of a team of over 25 artists taking part in the new FleetMoves Dance Festival, July 5-8, which got the town moving with a daily offering of visual art, performance, and dance classes.  Some highlights included: site specific "secret" dances that took place all over town each day, a 5:30am Dawn Performance on the breathtaking Whitecrest Beach (we had a substantial  audience of purposeful attendees, and others caught by surprise), and a productive week spent living, working, exchanging ideas, eating and bathing with a new group of inspiring artists. 


Jeremy and I co-led the FleetMoves Workshop with Brandin Steffinson, a four-day dance movement workshop encouraging playfulness with our energy, weight, and intention as we became friends with the floor and each other. As a group we listened to our  bodies and moved in ways that felt organic and delicious, waking up the muscles and joints.  Jeremy, Brandin and I shared some partnering/weight-sharing and improvisation techniques, and generally encouraged freedom and joy in movement. Based on our feedback, I think it was a great success! 

 Jeremy & Stephanie teaching demonstrating some moves during the 
FleetMoves Workshop at Wellfleet Preservation Hall
Photo by Zena Bibler


As part of the Mainstage Performance which featured a handful of the FleetMoves artistic team, we premiered a new duet called "Glue Like Always"; video to be posted shortly.  It was a varied and colorful evening that included works like our oozy and flowy partnering, a professional ballerina solo, and a dance that used only lighting and projections powered by two bicycles (and amazing bicyclists!). 


We were so grateful for this full and invigorating experience; thanks to Zena, Katie, and the FleetMoves team! 


View at Whitecrest Beach

Yoga Classes

You can catch me teaching at some/all of these yoga studios around NYC:

ISHTA Yoga Downtown (56 East 11th st, NYC)
ISHTA Yoga Uptown (1026 3rd Ave, NYC)
Chinatown Sports Club (225 Park Row, NYC)
Yoga People (160 Montague St. Brooklyn)
Brooklyn Boulders (575 Degraw St. Brooklyn)