Saturday, July 31, 2010

Every Monday evening at Studio Bliss: Harp in two Carina Raisman classes

I'm positively overjoyed to report that in addition to playing every Saturday at 3 p.m. in Brian Tuck's class, I will also be playing another weekly spot at Studio Bliss: Carina Raisman's Monday evening classes.
I could easily fill this blog with all the positive things I have to say about Carina. She is one of my most cherished teachers, one who has helped to deepen and refine my yoga practice and who has changed my life for the better in many, many ways. I am honoured beyond measure to have the opportunity to bring musical support to her classes each week.
In additon to her Yoga Alliance certification in Ashtanga Yoga, Carina has studied Anusara yoga with John Friend, Satyanada Yoga at the Kedar School of Barcelona, and Hatha Yoga at the Institute of Yoga and Meditation in Montreal. She also holds a bachelor's in immunology and microbiology from McGill University that informs her teaching and gives her a special understanding of the ways in which asana and pranayama can improve our health. She empowers other yoga teachers and bodyworkers with this knowledge in her anatomy courses at her home studio, Yoga for You/Yoga pour toi.
Her tremendous intellect is paired with a huge heart, making her a teacher who is beloved by many near and far.
The classes I'll be playing in on Mondays are absolutely wonderful to take back to back if you feel so inclined - it's like a mini workshop! Each one is also a treasure in and of itself.
From 6:30 to 7:45 p.m., Carina teaches an invigorating Hatha Flow class in which you will come away with new insights into your body and new ways to breathe fully and feel the postures deeply. From 8:15 to 9:30 p.m. is her Yoga Therapy class, or as she calls it, "the class that you create." Bring your aches and pains, chronic conditions, cares and worries, and tell Carina what you need help with. She is available for the half hour between the two classes and afterwards should there be anything at all you'd like to tell her about in private - she can incorporate it into the class with complete discretion and respect for your needs.
Come and join us for breath, movement, knowledge, strength and healing. I look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Harp and hatha flow yoga: Every Saturday at 3 p.m. at Studio Bliss

Harp and yoga lovers, take note: Starting this coming Saturday, July 10, I'll be playing every Saturday from 3 to 4:15 p.m. in a hatha flow yoga class taught by Brian Tuck at Studio Bliss. Le cours est bilingue :-) et très accessible même si vous n'avez jamais fait de yoga de votre vie. Brian believes yoga is for everyone, and he will happily guide you to benefit the most from any posture.
Brian is a friendly, enthusiastic and nurturing teacher who offers a fusion of different yoga styles. How he came to yoga is also inspiring!After suffering from a respiratory condition when he was younger, Brian was told he would never even be able to run. He started yoga to help rehabilitate himself, became a teacher and years later finds himself running from class to class.
Studio Bliss is just above Roy on St. Laurent, about a 10-minute walk west along Pine Avenue from the Sherbrooke metro. Buses 144 and 55 will also get you there.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Musician, heal thyself

The healing effects of the harp in medical treatment are becoming more and more well known as harp therapeutics programs like the International Harp Therapy Program and Harp for Healing train harpists to work as therapeutic musicians in hospitals and hospices.
But did you know that harps can also be healing for the people who play them!
Dr. Ron Price is a harpist with a Parkinson's-like disorder which kept him from realizing his dream of becoming a professional performer. He continued playing for his own enjoyment and pursued a career in special education. The healing effects his harp playing had on his own condition led him to play for his students with autism and hyperactivity, and inspired by its calming and grounding effect on them, he started a beginner's harp class for people struggling with neurological disorders called "Healing Harps."

Some of his harp students have broken through paralysis, or used parts of their bodies they never thought they would use again.
"My signature is now legible," said Sue, a harpist in the class, "where six months ago it was not. You can actually read my name now."
(I warn you, the video may cause you to shed a few tears as it did me.)
"When I play, I get real close to the harp so I can feel the vibrations go through me and I will totally not feel my body at all," by Lisa, another harpist in Dr. Price's class. "I won't feel the pain in my legs, I won't feel my head ache, I won't feel tired, it's just me with the music... I forget about everything."
I truly believe that all music is healing. Many music therapists, therapeutic musicians and sound healers have miraculous stories to share of healing brought forth by music played on instruments of all kinds, as well as toning and singing.
In my experience, though, there is definitely something special about the harp. Among other things, there is the literal, physical sensation of a harp vibrating straight into your heart that some believe is the source of its tremendous healing potential.
Dr. Amy Haynes, a physician that Dr. Price has consulted about the healing power of music, says the effects of harp playing are "immediate and obvious."
She says it's important to play every day for lasting healing effects.
"The benefits tend to be temporary, so if you don't practice the harp for a few days, you will notice a decline in your function," she said.
"But we're temporary beings, we need to eat every day, breathe every day... so... play the harp every day!"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Harp and flow yoga: Wednesday, June 23, 4:45 to 6 p.m. at Studio Bliss

This coming Wednesday, July 23, from 4:45 to 6 p.m., I’ll be playing harp in a flow yoga class taught by Rebecca Halls at Studio Bliss. Amis francophones, le cours est bilingue :-)
Most of us have the day off the next day for la St-Jean, and lots of folks will take Friday for a long weekend. Come and get it started off right with a dancelike sequence of yoga postures linked by the breath that will both invigorate and deeply relax you!
Studio Bliss is just above Roy on St. Laurent, about a 10-minute walk west along Pine Avenue from the Sherbrooke metro. Buses 144 and 55 will also get you there.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Start your weekend with harp and yoga: 8 p.m. May 28 at rad'a

Come hear me playing harp this Friday night in a candelit yoga class taught by Albert Bissada.
If there's anything better than harps and yoga, it's both together at once!
Please come and join us this Friday in Montreal from 8 to 9 p.m. at rad'a montreal for just $10.
rad'a is located just a few steps from the Laurier metro station at 841 Rue Gilford (St. Joseph exit).

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A new harp comes home!

Another long blog hiatus - translation, yoga and harping are occupying quite a bit of my time these days, and writing, cooking, crafting and socializing have been on the back burner over the winter.

I have many joyous harp tidings to share: In the long-standing tradition of crazy harppeople with more strings than brains, I am pleased to announce a new harp has joined our family this spring: a 25-string Triplett Christina Therapy Harp!

I have wanted this particular harp for some time, as I want to focus on playing in spiritual, healing, wellness and therapeutic settings, and in addition to my weekly lessons, I am studying the distance learning material for the International Harp Therapy Program this year. I have a Reverie therapeutic harp for non-musicians and people with restricted mobility to be able to play along with me, and its companion needed to be significantly lighter and slenderer than either of my current harps in order to be compatible with my walking/public transportation lifestyle.
Since this harp is specially designed for therapy, and has such a sweet, clear voice, it couldn't be more perfect for my needs! This particular model is fully levered with Camac levers and is made of bubinga, an African rosewood that is wonderfully rich and resonant. I'm taking it to the luthier tomorrow to adjust a few levers that are out of tune, and then will be spending lots of time playing it so it can further develop its voice (the seller developed arthritis shortly after purchasing it, so it really is like a new harp). So if you call and I don't answer, I'm probably lost in my dreamworld, and didn't even hear the phone.

Even more exciting perhaps, if that's possible, is that I am making plans to attend the Southeastern Folk Harp Conference this fall, a whirlwind of concerts, master classes and special workshops. Because it's in Asheville, I'll get to spend some time with my mother and grandmother, too!

This winter I've been working on some Bach, Handel and Haydn, some gorgeous arrangements and original compositions by Kim Robertson, and Celtic pieces from Scotland, Ireland and Wales. I'm also trying to master a number of special techniques, some more maddening than others, the most crazymaking being able to consistently play harmonics. Guitarists don't know how easy they have it!