Yolande’s Yard: Hamilton Heights Green Youth Market

market 5By Yolande Brener

The Brotherhood/Sister Sol opened their second annual farmer’s market on July 2nd. Their opening day got off to a lively start with about 15 customers in the first hour.

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Yolande’s Yard: Half the Road (video)

director_kathryn_bertineBy Yolande Brener

“If we [women] hold up half the sky, where’s our half the road right now?” This is the question posed by director Kathryn Bertine in her documentary, Half the Road: The Passions, Pitfalls and Power of Women’s Professional Cycling. Continue Reading →

Yolande’s Yard: ‘Birth of the Living Dead’

duane-jones-660By Yolande Brener

For a documentary about a zombie movie, Birth of the Living Dead is full of life. Packed with archival footage from the 60’s, interviews with writers, filmmakers and producers, and clips from Night of the Living Dead, the surprises keep coming right until the end. Continue Reading →

Yolande’s Yard: Asali Yoga Studio, Sweet Honey in Harlem (video)

asali1Asali means sweet honey in Somali.  Erica Robinson, the founder of Asali Yoga, had a friend create her logo of a bee resting on a lotus leaf before she knew she had a space to open her new yoga studio on 135th Street and Frederick Douglas Boulevard.

EricaHeadshot“I don’t believe you have to get all your ducks in a row,” she said. “I think you should work with whatever you have.”

“This yoga studio is a good example of speaking something into being,” she said. “I had a client who was a realtor and I said to him, ‘One day I’m going to open a yoga studio in Harlem.’ He showed me several spaces and offered me this one at a very affordable rate.”

“After this experience,” Erica said, “I believe that the universe sees that you’re trying so then it gives you something.”

The Asali studio is in the process of being renovated but already has an aura of tranquility.  The open stone walls are alternately lacquered and painted gold.  There is a soft wood floor and the window frames are a cool blue.  Outside the frosted front windows, cheerful yellow flowers peek through.

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“The thing about Erica,” said a client who found her through a Living Social deal, “is that she says hello to everyone.  She’s involved in the community.”  Another client told me she loves Erica’s “good energy.”

Because of Erica’s relaxed nature during our conversation, I imagined that her yoga class would be on the easy side.  During her Saturday noon class, I discovered that her style of Vinyasa yoga keeps things moving for the full hour and a half.

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Erica’s Saturday class had an equal mix of men and women and she gave individualized attention to each person at their level.  Although, certain poses felt difficult, I remembered Erica’s advice to breathe through the movements.  By the time she turned the lights down at the end, I felt a sense of accomplishment and even peace.

Asali Yoga also houses an acupuncture clinic on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  Erica has a variety of ideas for the future of Asali Yoga including Friday night yoga with live acoustic accompaniment, thai yoga massage classes, and a yoga/culinary retreat in Jamaica.  She plans to renovate her back room to use as a private massage area.  And the backyard will become a tea garden.

This August, Asali is studio of the month at Lululemon Lincoln Center.  On August 14th at 10am Erica will be teaching a free yoga class at Lululemon Bryant Park.  Asali Yoga’s schedule is available online at asaliyoga.com.

Here’s the video:

Photos by Alexis Percival

Yolande’s Yard: Too Late at the Poet’s Den

NB photoBy Yolande Brener

In the late ‘90’s, playwright Nigel Barto noticed that a lot of people wanted to tell him their stories, and a lot of these stories were about absent fathers.

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Yolande’s Yard: Two Roads Diverged/ St. Patrick’s Day in Harlem

2 Roads Diverged 3 - Leni and Dan Neely at IAC“People ask is there any link between the Irish and African Americans,” said Nik Quaife, the director of communications at New York’s Irish Arts Center. Continue Reading →

Yolande’s Yard: You Don’t Need Feet To Dance (video)

youdontneedfeet_3By Yolande Brener

The first five minutes of You Don’t Need Feet shows Sidike Conde going through his daily routine, getting out of bed, brushing his teeth, getting dressed, going out.  Continue Reading →

Yolande’s Yard: Mumia, Long Distance Revolutionary (video)

mumia5By Yolande Brener

Mumia Abu Jamal, birth name Wesley Cook, is the author of seven book, numerous articles for the Black Panther Press and hundreds of radio programs for NPR and Democracy Now.  Continue Reading →

Yolande’s Yard: Afro Flow at Asali Yoga in Harlem (video)

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By Yolande Brener

Pilin Anice is bringing Afro Flow Yoga back to Asali Yoga in Harlem for the fall.
And I was happy to learn you don’t have to have an afro to do Afro Flow yoga, nor do you have to be African. Continue Reading →