I am so honored and delighted to be adding more dates to the tour! (Click individual links for events details including payment and registration.)
I feel very locked into this identity that I'm not a dancer. Fortunately, the outside world isn't always privy to our insecurities. I was contacted by a friend, Amy Kathleen, part of the duo, Bathing Belles, who was on a short trip back to the Bu and interested in collaborating on a music video for their song, "The Hunger." The timing was serendipitous as I had just begun training with my AcroYoga partner, Inkyu, again after nearly a year hiatus due to my travels and his new freelance work. Personally, I was in a space that needed the structure of a project, even better a physical one that was on quite a tight timeline.
There's always a lot of ego coupled with insecurity- can we still do it? Bigger! Harder! Better stunts! The song was delivered to us via voice memo with little more than the sparse accompaniment of a ukelele reminiscent of a music box. The song was subtle, uncomplicated- and it informed our movements to reflect the same.
I am so incredibly humbled by the talented people in my world and lucky to have their light spark my own inspiration. Thank you for the opportunity, the encouragement and, of course more than anything, the actual grind- staying patient take after take as we battled chicken delivery scooters, drivers with quite pressing agendas and drunken youth.
Thanks to Simon for being extra hands on deck, my partner Inkyu for his never-ending patience with me and willingness to try whatever hair-brained shape comes to mind that I believe is possible. Thank you to Jess + Amy for your beautiful partnership and the inspired fruits of that love, and inviting me into the collaboration. What's come of it speaks to the unpolished charm of Busan, the magic of creating something out of nothing, and of the beauty of love and longing.
Behind the Scenes | Photos by Simon Kang
Welcome to your yoga sanctuary |
Kaizen Yoga's 200hr Intensive Residential TTC
July 1-21, 2018 | Only 8 spaces!
I am so THRILLED to be reunited with the unstoppable, Martina Rando, on her home turf of Italy for another Teacher Training opportunity! We first met working together on my 100hr program back in 2016. This year, I am returning with the full 200hr program developed from my experiences both on my home base of Busan, Korea mixed in with gems of wisdom I've picked up along the way both as a teacher and student, meeting and working with a plethora of students and studios from around the world.
Meet Your Super Star Teaching Team!
This intensive program will take place in the gorgeous city of Calabria, Italy. Over 3 weeks, we will immerse ourselves into the deep knowledge, rich history and practical application of yoga both on and off the mat. Students should have a regular practice and expect to be actively participating about 10hrs/day. This will be a mix of physical practice, self-study, lecture and cleanses.
But we'll still make reserve time to enjoy our surroundings! As part of the program we will be taking a group excursion to the sea!
I am a big supporter of intensive programs as it gives you an opportunity to really focus on the task at hand and dive deep into learning. It is not easy, but it is transformative. We welcome you on the first of what will be many steps down your yogic path!
The program is broken down into (2) 100hr modules. Students who have completed one module may attend to complete the second module and become eligible to register with Yoga Alliance as a 200hr RYT.
PART I | 7.1-10.2018| BETTER TOGETHER
YOGA AS A TOOL FOR BETTER LIVING | Focus on the research and study of human anatomy and movement; begin problem solving for a broad range of students.
In part one, the main focus is placed on laying the foundation for understand the history and philosophy of yoga. Here we will learn anatomy as it applies to yoga practitioners and common contraindications and modifications necessary.
We also move from rote knowledge into a higher level of thinking: analysis and synthesis. What limitations are students facing? What patterns are present? Going further, how can we sequence intelligently to make practice accessible and beneficial?
There is a heavy emphasis on teaching technique. Being a practitioner and a teacher are worlds apart. Here you are given a full toolbox to prepare you to step into the classroom and cultivate empowered learners. Ample time will be dedicated not only to doing physical adjustments but assessing the "whys" and "whens." We will spend a lot of time breaking down postures into their core components to build effective progressive and regressive sequences. Students will learn about "trauma-informed" teaching and how to maintain safe spaces for students.
And everyone's favorite- kriyas!
PART II | 7.11-20.2018 | ACROYOGA ARCHITECTS
AcroYoga is great, but what’s the point? -Jessie (AYM)
ACROYOGA AS A TOOL FOR BETTER TEACHING | Focus on AcroYoga fundamentals, Physical Practice and Facing Challenges
Here, we challenge trainees' physicality and explore boundaries physical, mental and emotion through learning fundamental AcroYoga postures. These are accessible and beneficial for training teachers. With KAIZEN YOGA, AcroYoga is not the goal in and of itself. It is a tool to understand human movement, cultivate the art of touch, embody the beginner's mind, establish trust and boundaries and learn how to give and receive feedback both physical and verbal.
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation. — Plato
Kaizen Korea is a 200hr Registered Yoga School, whose curriculum has been vetted and approved through YA USA. Upon completion of the full 200hr program, students will be eligible to register with Yoga Alliance USA.
Tuition | €3200 / €2900 with deposit by May 15, 2018.
Room | Students will be staying in a house with single private bedrooms. Discounts for shared accommodation available for couples (must share a bed- additional bed not available in the room.)
Food | Students will be supplied with ample ingredients for self-serve meals and snacks.
Additionally Included | Kaizen teaching manual (bi-lingual), airport shuttle from Reggio Calabria Airport; one group excursion
NOT Included | flight, alcohol, travel insurance, recommended reading materials
PAYMENT POLICY | non-refundable deposit of €500 required to hold your space. There are only 8 spaces for students as part of this training so it's important that interested students make a full commitment. To be eligible for the early bird rate, deposit must be paid by 5.15.18, total due by 7.1.18. Payment plans available as needed. Please contact Mindy to make arrangements. No refunds given for partially completed program.
How to Register
Please make your deposit and send an email stating your name, what you're hoping to get out of the program and any limitations physical or otherwise. We are excited to be starting this adventure together!
Payment Info | PAYPAL to Kaizenkorea@gmail.com
What T h e H e a r t / B r e a k T o u r Means to Me
2018 felt like pulling the wrong item off a shelf in a warehouse- Jenga style. And they all came tumbling down. I was overwhelmed. Let me start there. It wasn't devastating tragedy, just a series of heartbreaking events that seemed undending- at least through my immediate lens. I didn't know where to begin.
And then I was empowered by a late night podcast listen. Heartbreak is truth. Heartbreak is pure. Heartbreak is defenselessness. Heartbreak is your heart breaking open ready to take in what it was unwilling or unable to accept before.
My last tour was in 2016. 2017 was about stillness, slowness, being present, filling up my heart before breaking it open and letting it flow over in 2018. I'm taking all that chaos of the turn of the year and channelling it into this tour. Making my way to places both new and familiar, I will be sharing these transformational experiences from both on and off the mat.
T h e H e a r t / B r e a k T o u r 's theme is manifested through one particular workshop | Therapeutic Backbending. These gets at "heart" of suffering- going into the pain and rebuilding a stronger model- physcially, mentally, emotionally. I have an extremely personal connection to my Backbending workshop. I both broke and healed myself with yoga. After 10 years of suffering chronic low back pain, I began to think yoga was no answer at all for this problem; nor were the plethora of teachers over that decade that tried explaining away the pain with, "Your core is weak." It wasn't. I wasn't.
This workshop is my personal remedy- first for the body, but anyone who's reckoned with chronic pain know it's so much more than skin and bones deep. It got into my soul. I couldn't see myself as anything but broken- "less than"- for too many years. This is not to say a sequence is a magic pill. I must stay mindful of my movements every day, most specifically in my asana practice. However, I can say without any hesitation that I have been pain free for the past five years. This practice was the advent of a new era in my skin, in my yoga, in my life. I really feel this is my best work. Beautiful shapes are great, but the true power of yoga is in its ability to help us live freely in our bodies without suffering.
The Track List
This is the sequence that will be breaking open hearts and taking names on this tour. Some classics, some fresh remixes. I think of this like giving you a chance to learn the songs before seeing the live show. Join me to take this step by step and surprise yourself with what's possible.
It is an honor and a blessing to not only be sharing my experience but that this tour is unto itself part of the process. Please join me on this journey.
Taking the long way around starting the end of April.
T h e H e a r t / B r e a k T o u r 2018 (more dates tba)
Click links to learn event details.
Come join us in Busan for an intensive weekend where we're working on drills and skills for acro and beyond!
We're going to the beach and the park! Camp will be spent both in studio and outside. (Weather permitting!)
Camp will consist of AcroYoga technique, conditioning and community building!
Saturday OCT 1 : AcroYoga Fundamentals = 5hrs + 2hrs jam
Skills covered include :
L-basing and back bending (folded leaf, bird, back flying (bird, plank), Upside Down and All Around: Inversions and Star
5~7: Jam! (open to all camp participants!)
Oct 2,3: Intermediate = 15hrs
Sunday 10.2: 10~7pm 'Spin Cycle!' (8hrs)
Monday 10.3: 9~5pm 'Keep Rollin’ (7hrs)
Skills covered include :
Handstand Club, Acro Conditioning, H2H basics: Tuck sit, F2H
Acro Backbending: waterfall, fall in love, Catherine’s Wheel
***Prerequisites for Intermediate program:
Acro Camp Day 1 Fundamentals OR
Be familiar and comfortable with the following:
basing AND flying Folded Leaf
basing AND flying Bird
base OR fly: Star
Wild Thing (camatkarasana) R+ L OR full wheel (urdhva dhanurasana)
30 sec reverse table or upward plank
handstand at the wall (either belly or back)
Please be mindful of injuries (particularly wrist and shoulder.) This intensive schedule is much more demanding than a 1hr class and can aggrivate injuries putting you and others at risk. Please exercise caution and care!
Full Program 20hrs of instruction : 290/ 230 (Early Bird DC)
Intermediate Camp (Sunday + Monday): 250/200
Acro Fundamentals (Saturday only): 80/60 (EB)
*TTC students :
Intermediate Camp 140
Full Program 170 (must be paid by EB)
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT!
RSVP and pay by Saturday, Sep10 and save 60,000w!!!
bank transfer to Busan Bank # 112-2057-1302-01 (Yum Mee Ok)
From out of town? Let me know and I will put you in touch with others coming from out of town. There are many great deals on AirBnB for larger groups!
Sun protection gear (hats, long-sleeves as needed)
It will be sweaty- gloves (bicycle gloves or taxi driver style gloves available at convenience stores)
Mat or larger towel for outside (it will get dirty!)
An outfit you would like yoga photos in (taken on the beach)
Your energy and enthusiasm!!!
Through a series of very fortunate events, I was able to spend the entire month of March with two dear friends, former yoga students and out of this world award-winning filmmakers: Tess and Thom of Tiny Town Media.
Tess came to my studio a couple of years ago after taking a sabbatical from her pressure cooker life in the film industry to travel and restore some sense of balance. Thom was still working distance on the web series, Guidestones. It was actually during their time with me in Korea Thom won his Emmy for excellence in editing for said project. Yes, an EMMY!
It was hard to see them go but the world is round and I knew our paths would make their way in time. Since their time in Korea, Tess and Thom founded Tiny Town Media, a video production company based in east coast Canada focusing on small town, personal, character-driven stories through both narrative fiction and documentary. Work and family had taken them England; and that's where best laid plans began to shift. As they say: life is what happens when you're making other plans. Lucky for me, with their newly unscripted planner, my Mexican retreat in the works and another friend further south, they made their way to Tulum.
I needed to capitalize on the golden gem that had fallen into my lap: we got to work.
No two people are more talented at crafting a story full of heart, expression, and emotion through both still and moving pictures than Tess and Thom. Sure, many people can paint pretty pictures. Others have the digital game down pat. Tess and Thom are the purest listeners I've met. Not only in work; it is what drives them. They have a sincere curiosity that brings them into the heart of a story. This sense compels their travel and interactions with local members of whatever community they temporarily join.
This is more than a cliche travel technique. This is how they approached my sister, my best friend's husband, the cenote kids, the local coconut vendor, the women of the retreat and me both as a client and a friend.
They produced three stunning videos: Diafano, spotlighting AcroYoga, Elucidate, a keepsake and overview of the week-long retreat, and Buscando Lugar, a highlight reel of yours truly.
Working with T & T was the perfect mix of working with a friend and top notch professional. They took my piecemeal wishlist ("I want to look hot, and strong, and interesting, and sincere....blah....blah...blah....") and crafted a visual narrative with depth and heart. It was my story but with elevated vocabulary and technique. During the shoot, they kept me comfortable (as one can be standing on one leg in the hot Mexican sun) and pretty (as one can be melting the hot Mexican sun) and knew how to talk me into giving them what I would want to see. And it was nothing like I could've ever imagined.
Thank you so much for all of the work, Tess and Thom. You are as talented as you are hardworking. This work far superceded like or dislike: I feel each and everyone of these vignettes.
Let Tess and Thom Tell Your Story!
Promote your work as a yoga teacher, musician, etc, let them capture your wedding memories, your festival, event... they can do it all!!! Check out their latest work, Coastal Stories and other projects.
AcroYoga is an ongoing mental and physical exploration and collaboration. Our first time working together in nearly half a year, AcroYoga isn't like riding a bike. We continue to develop from minute to minute, and coming into partnership requires continuous calibration and care. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. And every now and again, there is there that perfect synchronicity: being in the moment together.
This is my favorite place in the whole world and I was determine to share my loves: yoga and Tulum with others. Thank you everyone that make Elucidate so magical! I'm looking forward to doing it again, February, 2017!!!
When we started shooting, I was looking for a glory reel. I wanted to look pretty doing pretty things in a pretty place. Watching this, Tess and Thom captured a longing, a searching, for a place where I felt connected that I didn't realize I was seeking until far into this process. Thank you for capturing this part of the journey. Your insight is nothing less than brilliant.
Behind the Scenes!
Tulum has magical powers. More than white sand beaches and avocados for days, Tulum is a very unique destination. Located in the Riviera Maya, the place pulses with the energy of ancient civilizations that first cultivated this land and the modern communities that continue to give it life.
Elucidate: to make clear, illuminate, clarify, unravel.
It was my vision to impart this experience through the medium of yoga. I questioned: how do our experiences and surroundings lead us to greater understanding of the micro and macro?
The retreat featured an absolute powerhouse of talent:
I cannot thank you enough Tiny Town Media for your exceptional talent and work ethic to provide us with these images that never fail to call us back to this incredible experience.
Most importantly, thank you to Gerri, Mary Ruth, Cheryl and Shannon for their adventurous spirit, open mindedness, and humor. Thank you for taking this journey with us! We can't wait to do it again!
While Mindy's away, the AcroYogis will play! Kaizen is very excited to welcome Luka Agres as a guest teacher for the month of March! Luka has extensive training in AcroYoga and Thai Massage. Originally from Croatia, he is constantly criss-crossing the globe spending his time training and teaching the movement arts he loves.
Luka has completed both level I and II with AcroYoga.org and the Partner Acrobatics teacher training. Luka will be sharing his wealth of knowledge during weekly yoga and AcroYoga classes. He is offering a very special 4-week course: Thai & Fly. Here students will gain a foundation on therapeutic arts, both in the air and on the ground.
This is wonderful opportunity for the Kaizen community to have Luka teaching with us over the entire month of March. During that time, he will also be available for 1-1 Thai Massage appointments and advanced AcroYoga private lessons. Interested students may contact him directly. For more on Luka's experience and training drop by his site! Don't miss out on all the great classes with him in March!
It was yoga that broke me. I went for a bind my first year of practice trying to win a "bind-off" against the girl next to me that was happening entirely in my head. Mine alone. Then POP. I did nearly irreparable damage to my back that stills require ongoing management 12 years later.
What I needed in yoga more than anything, was to feel together rather than against. This need grew proportionately with my time practicing- both as a teacher and a student. Partner-focused practice has radically transformed my classes, my students and me. Over time playing with AcroYoga, I saw the impact of people being interdependent in class rather than a group of individuals doing personal practice side-by-side. Yoga in its highest form is union. In other forms, we sweat. We laugh. We struggle. We bend. We break. On a good day, yoga gives us the gusto to try. On a great day, it gives us the moxie to stare in the face of both the sweet and the sour. On the best days, we grow wings to rise above all the destruction compounding around us and find something beautiful beyond. Acroyoga goes even further yoking the dynamism and delicacy of individuals together and says: don't just find something beautiful; create something beautiful by putting the pieces together. It comes together. We come together. And we realize, we are better together.
It is in this spirit that I have developed Kaizen's AcroYoga Architects Program (AA). It aims to pull back from AcroYoga as spectacle and use its fundamentals as tool for building and connecting communities: across experiential, linguistic and cultural boundaries.
AA starts with the base of yoga. My "Kaizen Yoga" is far from my own. It is a practice influenced by many teachers over the years focused on applying yoga therapeutically: be that application physical, mental or emotional. From there, AA integrates AcroYoga principles of community building, cooperative learning with an emphasis on physical feedback and exploring movement beyond the confines of traditional yoga practice. Finally, we use this collaboration to start impacting our smaller individual communities. This impact may be specifically AcroYoga focused or may take the principles of empowerment and connection and apply them in a way we never imagined possible!
I am very proud to announce that this program has been reviewed by the powers that be at AcroYoga Montreal: my teachers, mentors and inspirations Jessie, Eugene, Jill and Heidi. Through some edits and follow-up clarifications, this program was granted approval by AYM and will be its first affiliated preparation program. This part is particularly significant for me. Rather than mailing off a syllabus of hours to an organization that doesn't know me from Adam, I carry the weight of representing myself with integrity to AYM whose opinion I hold in high esteem and whose reputation I'm responsible for upholding in the face of prospective students. This is a responsibility I take to heart.
I look forward to seeing and promoting the continued growth and development of AcroYoga both here in Korea and beyond wherever the Architects may take it!
Elucidate: to make lucid or clear
Why do we retreat? In other words: is it the act of withdrawal? Is it retreat in the sense of surrender?
a. The act or process of moving back or away, especially from something hazardous, formidable, or unpleasant
b. Withdrawal of a military force from a dangerous position or from an enemy attack.
c. The process of receding from a position or of becoming smaller
d. The process of changing or undergoing change in one's thinking or in a position
This retreat is far from an escape. Through this six-day exploration, we will elucidate: make lucid or clear. This time serves as an illumination and an integration.
This program aims to integrate movement with stillness, interaction with introspection, playfulness with sincerity.
Tulum, Mexico is nothing short of heaven on earth. The life there is palpable. Beyond the obvious beauty of the white sand beaches, there is something visceral about being in place where one of the world’s first civilizations began.
Over six days, we will play, pose, sweat, serve, celebrate, experience and elucidate. Far too often there is a separation of “America-lite Mexico” and “local Mexico.” Why do we travel if to retreat into the comfort of doing what we’ve always done? This “retreat” is an exploration of what is beyond our comfort zones: physically, mentally, spiritually, geographically, culturally, socio-economically, gastronomically, and more. There are plenty of opportunities to take in the splendor of the Mayan Riviera visiting its various white sand beaches. Dinner will be another opportunity to explore local cuisine and support local businesses rather than opting for an all-inclusive nondescript menu. Participants will have a chance to take a cooking class and perform Karma Yoga as part of the experience.
Daily Schedule (subject to change)
Rise and Shine yoga | breakfast | yoga master class | lunch | beach time and exploration! | Sunset Slow Flow yoga | dinner
Activities include: day trip to Chichen Itza, Coba, Akumel Beach (home of the Turtle Sanctuary)
Additional activities include yoga photos, cooking class, and a night out!
Full details on master classes as part of the retreat available above.
In an effort to make this accessible across all price points/sleeping arrangements, accommodations are not included, but as Mindy has people on the ground and is familiar with the area, she will assist with organizing a place that fits your needs.
Cost of full 6-day program includes:
Airport shuttle from Cancun to Tulum r/t
daily transportation between studio, the beach, pueblo (town), tours
entrance fees at Chichen Itza
transportation and tour of historical and local sites
3x yoga classes/day (non-excursion days)
language support, assistance with accommodations, general trouble-shooting
Yoga photo session in various scenic locations (photos by Mindy/ www.iwritelight.net)
Ready to join us in paradise? Great! Contact Andrea Franz Parks from Toula Yoga at firstname.lastname@example.org