Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Performing this Sunday June 13th at Figment Fest!!

I will be performing this Sunday @ Figment New York, on Govenor's Island; in a piece choreographed by Bex Burton(Sense of Motion): "HELLO! A Spontaneous dance for Infinite Hoopers."

Performances will be at 2pm, 3pm, 4pm. Location TBA.

Hope to see you there!!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Intro to Hoop-Yoga Fusion Workshop
Saturay February 12th 3:30-6:30pm
Do Yoga Do Pilates/Body & Mind Builders
78 Reade Street NY, NY 10007
$25 in advance
$30 day of
Limited space, so please register early by calling the above phone number or by visiting: (click register for classes and then "workshops" to sign up)
hula hops & mats provided will be provided
All levels welcomed

Yoga+Hula Hooping
  • a cooperative relationship (as between two persons or groups)

Hoop-Yoga Fusion is a new style of mind/body/spirit practice, brought to you by Nicole Benisch. It combines the playful art of hula hoop dance wth the unifyting practice of yoga-asana; a delicious symbiosis inspired by Taoist, Tantric, and Sufi philosophies. Meaning, it is a practice designed in the spirit of "going with the flow", and connecting with our bodies as vehicles for enlightenment. Hoop dance is an intense cardio exercise that cultivates "tapas" (inner fire!) and strengthens the core; while asana tones, grounds and expands.

Spin, stretch, and sweat your way to a full experience of the limitless bliss, joy and beauty of this very moment!!!!

"I am a spinning wheel upon the infinite."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hoop-Yoga Fusion!

Hoop-Yoga Fusion morning warm-up with Nicole Benisch (Music by Beats Antique)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Abandon Hope! Let's Dance!

Life is a crazy roller coaster ride sometimes. As my teacher says, obstacles will ALWAYS come. Sometimes they’re just a tiny speed bump and sometimes you find yourself broken, defeated, and lost in the middle of an eight car pile-up. Regardless of how severe an obstacle may be, if you don't pause to contemplate the lessons to be learned from these (oftentimes) extremely unpleasant experiences; you are missing out on a massive opportunity.

When the going gets tough, it’s natural to reach for something outside you to numb the pain, or to avoid it altogether. Hope is one way of reaching. I am in an 8 car pile-up situation at the moment, and have come to despise the phrase: “All you can do is hope for the best.” So, I’ve replaced it with “All you can do is abandon hope.” *

Hoping for the best has served to make me more confused, stressed and frightened. Hoping for a situation to be any other way than how it is, is just another trick of the mind to steal your attention away from the present, thereby increasing fear of the unknown. I realized this once I decided to take some time with my fear, to confront it head on by just sitting with it for a while. Fear began to lose its power. I stopped hoping and starting being. By abandoning hope in times of duress we can be present with what IS, and as scary as that may be, it’s infinitely more productive than losing the moment to hope. Consider this quote from Chapter 13 of the Tao Te Ching:

"Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don't see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things."

Hope is just something that keeps us running from the present moment, from what is. Let's let it go and be present here, right now, together. It may be scary, but we are warriors.

This is what I’ve learned so far from the recent hiccup in my path:

It really IS not where but WHO you're with that really matters. I
flourish when surrounded by gentle, genuine, generous souls who
delight in the joyful experience of living this life heart wide open.
Living it to share joy, plain and simple. My people dance in their
underwear with hula hoops in a sea of bubbles, covered in glitter and sweat,
glowing with pure-sattvic luminosity. They don't mask it, they bask in it.
My people laugh with you, not at you. My people hug strangers with
the same love and compassion as they do their own child or

Are you my people???? If so,abandon hope and let's dance!!!

Forever Dance
I am happy even before I have a reason.
I am full of Light even before the sky
Can greet the sun or the moon.
Dear companions,
We have been in love with God
For so very, very long.
What can Hafiz now do but Forever

*the phrase “Abandon Hope” is from the book “When Things fall Apart” by Pema Chodron

Monday, August 23, 2010

Be Healthy Y'all! Quin(wh)oatmeal

1/3 cup Quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup water
/2 cup unsweetened Soy/Almond milk
(this is my latest obsession, I buy the West Soy brand, but you can use any milk that your little heart desires!)


Honey, Cinnamon & Ginger to taste

Combine quinoa, water, and soy milk in a pot and bring to a boil over VERY low heat. Low heat helps maintain the integrity of the soy milk which has a habit of make a frothy, sticky mess when exposed to high heat. As soon as the liquid starts to boil reduce heat, cover and simmer over very low heat for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, stir, then replace cover and let the quinoa sit for another 3-5 minutes (depending on if you want your quin(wh)oatmeal more or less liquid-y).

Add honey to sweeten, then sprinkle with cinnamon and ginger.

Why quinoa instead of regular oats, you ask? As advised by my Ayurvedic practitioner, Pratima; I am avoiding sugar and gluten as much as possible. Quinoa, amaranth, millet, and buckwheat are non-glutinous grains. I don't know much about cooking with the others, but I LOVE quinoa because of its texture and quirky look. Plus, it's super filling.

The possibilities for this dish are endless! You can add nuts, fresh fruit, dry fruit, agave nectar instead of honey. For a savory dish you might add some chopped veggies, herbs, and maybe some cumin and turmeric powder.

Smile and enjoy the creative and soulful act of cooking yourself (and friends perhaps?) a nourishing, healthy meal!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Be Healthy Y'all! Chick pea, Carrot and Cucumber Salad

1 Can Chick peas, drained and rinsed, boiled until soft
1 cup chopped carrots, boiled until tender
1 cup chopped cucumber (i like the seedless kind)
tsp whole cumin seeds
tsp whole corriander seeds
tsp whole black mustard seeds
3 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Place chopped cucumber in a mixing bowl.

In a medium pot bring 4 cups (or so) of water to a boil. Add the chick peas & carrots. I like to add the peeled carrots whole and then cut them after when they are tender. :) Drain, then add the chick peas & chopped carrots to the mixing bowl and set aside.

In a small frying pan warm 3 tbsp of olive on medium-high heat, then add the spices, they should "snap" and begin to brown. When they start to brown remove from heat and add to the mixing bowl. Salt & pepper to taste and then give a light toss.

Et voila!

You have a quick, easy, delicious and healthy salad.

Combine with rice for a heartier meal, or just eat right away for a light healthy snack! I think some fresh herbs would be a nice addition as well.

As always, be creative and SMILE!!!


Ps - careful not to burn your seeds like I just did!!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Art & Spirituality…Musings on Theatre and Yoga

Art & Spirituality…Musings on Theatre and Yoga

Jerzy Grotowski, was a luminary of experimental theatre. His views and work, cultivated in his “Theatre Laboratory” are truly extraordinary and inspiring:

“There is only one element of which film and television cannot rob the theatre: the closeness of the living organism. Because of this, each challenge from the actor, each of his magical acts (which the audience is incapable of producing) becomes something great, something extraordinary, something close to ecstasy.”

Indeed good theatre is cathartic, magical, even! The actors make mirrors and expressions of themselves in order that they (audience AND actor) may share this elevated experience. And, there is something special about the shared experience between the performers and the audience which I believe is incomparable in art. Grotowski , on the actor:

“The actor makes a total gift of himself. This is a technique of the “trance” and the integration of all the actor’s psychic and bodily powers which emerge from the most intimate layers of his being and instinct, springing forth in a sort of ‘translumination’.”

Grotowski believed that training an actor should involve a clearing away of negative habits, thought patterns, blockages. In doing so, through various physical, vocal and mental exercises, a state of “passive readiness” is cultivated.

I cannot help but think of Yoga here. And, incidentally, Grotowski drew heavily from the Yoga tradition in creating the exercises he experimented with, in his laboratory of theatre.

In Yoga, you must first create a firm foundation, space in your body, and from that effort toward stability and spaciousness the pose will naturally expand. I always think of a flower blossoming. Never forcing the pose happen, but essentially allowing the pose “do you”. It’s the same with a good performance. Once an actor has cultivated that state of “passive readiness”, the performance can then blossom forth from a place of intuitive wisdom, and spontaneity! The same can be said of other performance arts: music, dance, opera. If you’ve ever seen any live show and afterward felt like you just had a mystical, spiritual experience, then you know what I am talking about!!!

It’s an interesting symbiosis to reflect on: the place where art & spirituality cross paths. Without acting I would not have found Yoga, and it turned out to be acting & the theatre of all things that helped reinvigorate and inspire my yoga practice.