Monday, January 25, 2016

Exciting Learning Opportunities for You and Me!

Exciting announcements!!

Starting February 4th, I'll be teaching Aerial Silks 101 every Thursday 9-10pm at Om Factory!

I'm so excited to bring my unique yoga-influenced approach to teaching aerial arts. Aerial silks are a tough skill to learn, with a challenging learning curve. Many new students (myself included) spend weeks dealing with muscle soreness that will make you think you must have gotten hit by a truck and forgotten about it; tying ourselves in knots attempting simple wraps, and needing rescued; finding our brains and our bodies at war when we try something that makes sense and seems safe when we observe it...but that our bodies simply refuse to do just yet.

There's no getting around that frustration and discomfort is part of the deal.

BUT, starting with 101 classes is a great way to minimize those challenges! My students will learn silks from the ground up, building proper technique into their muscle memory that will serve them for a lifetime.

And when those inevitable frustrating, tough, even painful moments come up? I'll be close by with emotional support, and a reminder that things ARE happening, even if it doesn't seem like they are, and to hearken back to our last post, focusing on your results will only leave you unhappy. Focus on your work, and know that all things are coming with practice.

My students will get stronger safely, and in time, they'll move on to level 1 silks classes, where they can begin to build their silks vocabulary on top of a strong foundation of clean technique, and a solid understanding of how to work with the fabric instead of against it.

As someone who started by silks career in open level classes, I can tell you that that kind of foundation is worth its weight in gold. Whether you're just looking for a fun way to get in some weight training exercise, a few good instagram photos, a fun hobby, or an incredible career, you'll get farther faster, and you'll avoid injury by investing this time in the basics.

AND, another exciting announcement:

I'm attending a DONA-approved Doula training workshop!

What's a doula?? Well, the easiest thing would be to read their position paper on birth doulas. The first couple paragraphs will answer all your questions. But to put my own spin on it, let me add this:

Giving birth is an intense physical and emotional experience. There's no getting around that frustration and discomfort is part of the deal.

BUT, working with a doula, a labor support specialist, can help to minimize those challenges! Doula clients learn coping techniques from a trained professional, building proper technique into their muscle memory that will serve them in labor, and beyond.

And when those inevitable frustrating, tough, even painful moments come up? Their doula will be close by with emotional support, and a reminder that things ARE happening, even if it doesn't seem like they are, and to keep the client on track with the birth they wanted, working with the medical team to provide emotional support while they keep mother and baby safe.

Sound familiar? I did some paraphrasing, but I started with a straight copy/paste of my description of my aerial silks 101 classes. When you're trying to do something hard, whether that's learning aerial arts, or giving birth, having someone there to hold the space for you to do more than you dreamed possible can make all the difference in the world.

So does this mean I'm going to be a birth doula?? Well, that's a long process. There are plenty of challenges for me to get through, and a lot of questions I have to answer first. I'm not concerned about those fruits of my actions at this time, and neither should you! I'm incredibly excited to devote my time and energy to learning about a process that has fascinated me my entire life (in spite of my complete lack of a desire to participate in it myself), no matter what comes of it.

I just know that ever since I learned what doulas were, I was fascinated by the idea of doing that work myself, and when the trigger came for me to start seriously looking into doing my training, the pieces fell into place remarkably quickly and easily. Could birth work be my calling? It seems like a funny bedfellow with aerialist, but then, I've never let that stop my before. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I hope to see you February 4th, or another Thursday 9-10pm in the near future, at Om Factory Union Square. I encourage you to sign up in advance to reserve your spot at

Live Omily,

Monday, January 18, 2016

On Entitlement

It can be really hard to sit patiently with your efforts, and not get fixated on the results.

This is what yoga asks us to do, but our society is largely driven by the idea that efforts=results, that if you work hard, you 'deserve' the fruits of your efforts. (Hey, capitalism!) This isn't a terrible equation; after all, sometimes, it's true. But it's usually a profoundly unhelpful one.

A lot of people try to turn it around like an algebra equation, solving for X in a way that doesn't help anyone:


No results=no effort.

In other words, poor people are lazy people who are getting what they deserve. Black people are still struggling because of their 'thug culture', women just don't WANT to be in leadership positions as much as men do, trans people are choosing to alienate 'normal' people with their 'alternative lifestyle' etc. etc. etc...

And that's just one part of why yoga teaches us to look at that equation differently:

efforts =/= results

Which is not the same as saying that you aren't entitled to human rights: clean water (looking at you, Michigan. WTF?), healthcare, food, shelter, etc. If we want to claim the title of 'civilized', if we want to say that we live in a society with values (to say nothing of that nebulous concept, 'Christian values'), then those are the human rights that we need to be striving to provide to each and every human being regardless of their efforts.

Because efforts, and the fruits of those efforts share only a very tenuous relation in the best of circumstances, but this is incredibly true in our deeply flawed world full of systematic oppression.

Anyway, this isn't actually what I planned on talking about today; its just what came out. I actually wanted to talk about I've been putting in the effort, working my ass off, unsure if anything was happening, and doing my damnedest to not worry if anything was happening, for months. For years.

I could see what I wanted to look like in the incredible aerialists around me. And I could see that I did not look like that. But all my work wasn't moving me from point A to point B

It finally clicked that I needed help. I looked for the best, I found it, and lo and less than six months my movement quality had changed so much that people don't recognize that its the same person in both sets of videos.

I could have kept right on efforting, letting go of the results, forEVER and gotten nowhere. 

So lesson 1: Feeling entitled to the results is not the same thing as trying different kinds of efforting to help you get them. It wouldn't have made me more noble, or more yogic, to keep up the same shit that wasn't working for another few years before giving up on my dreams for good.

lesson 2: ASK FOR HELP! Don't hesitate to pay for that help if thats an option. A friend or mentor can help you out over tea or lunch, sure, but if you're paying someone for their no-how, they are focused on you, and you will get what you need.

lesson 3: Don't ask for help by wailing, "Heeeeeelp!!!" pathetically. Do some of the leg work yourself. Figure out what those missing pieces are, and ask the right sources for those missing pieces. Or ask the right sources to help you pinpoint your missing pieces. Then ask the right sources for those missing pieces.

lesson 4: This is a privileged thing to say. I know that. But if you are privileged enough to have financial leverage, don't be cheap. Time is money. Experience and expertise are pearls beyond price. And also use your privilege to fight systematic oppression. Please and thank you. If you are not, bartering skills may be a great option for you! Don't hesitate to ASK (see lesson 2). All anyone can say is no.

I leave you with this. My performance from late July (there is a lot of fun nonsense in the beginning; feel free to skip to 1:20), and a snippet from my performance from yesterday. I don't know what your journey looks like. I don't know if the lessons I learned will be beneficial to you. I'm definitely not saying that doing this stuff will results in results. After all, you're not entitled to those. But, I'm confident that these lessons can't hurt, that if they don't help a bit, they may at least get you thinking about your journey in a new way, and all kinds of things could come of that.

I'm not entitled to my results...but I'm sure as hell celebrating them! (with Farmer's Market spicy brownies!!! :-D)

Live Omily,

Monday, January 11, 2016

Eating Omily: Is That a Challenge?? (Spoiler Alert: Yes.)

Happy Monday! I wanted to share this fun Farmers' Market challenge with you! If you've got an instagram, you could win prizes, but either way, you'll get a chance to discover new foods, and get more delicious nutrients into your life!
If you're just trying to get more veggies in your life, there's plenty of low-hanging fruit for you to enjoy (pun totally intended!): red apples, orange carrots, green...greens. You get the picture.

On the other hand, you can challenge yourself to try something new! I got sprouted adzuki beans as my red item for this week! I can't wait to give them a try!!

If you don't live in NYC, you can of course still spend the next month exploring the food rainbow...and maybe you can make up your own challenge by inviting your friends to participate! Share ideas, share recipes, and eat good food!

Are you stuck with grocery stores? Does trying to eat local feel like one big discouragement-fest? Let this challenge motivate you to scour your produce department: can you find something both red, and local this week?? If not, whats the closest place something red comes from? Are there local options in other colors? Take some notes so you can use that info later. Remember that local food will always be seasonal (at least in the ballpark, or else it will store well), so you don't even have to bother checking the country of origin label on those sad-looking strawberries.

Have fun, guys! And mention me on instagram so I see what you find! I'm @emily.hursh

Friday, January 8, 2016

2016 is Here!

Happy 2016! I'm seriously stoked for what this year will bring. I'm adding more healing and performing arts to my arsenal right, left, and center studying palm reading, astrology, single and doubles lyra, and aerial hammock, and a practical skill or two, too, with my sewing machine on its way...

I have hopes and dreams, and BIG goals for this year...but I'm also reminding myself that the universe may have its own plans for me. It can be tricky to walk the line between putting myself out there, and giving things a shot...and pushing for something that I'm not ready for.

I have high hopes for my first performance of 2016...but I also injured my shoulder right off the bat on January 1st! It seems to be minor, but it's making running my act that much more tricky, right when I need to be getting it into my body and polishing it. I won't know what kind if impact this will have until I find out how long it takes the discomfort to go away.

I don't know whats going to happen tomorrow yet. Neither do you! Google calendar aside, there's a lot we don't know. And there's a lot of freedom in not knowing it.

As you look over your New Year's Resolutions, leave a little breathing room. Maybe you won't achieve all those goals...but maybe you'll achieve goals that are beyond your wildest dreams!
Here's my turned-out, active split on January 5th!
Here are mine...what are yours?

1. 180 degree turned out split

2. Being able to put my foot on my head by grabbing my foot with my hand, instead of needing a fabric wrap to pull it there

3. First professional gig

4. Get my professional hooping act to the polishing stages

5. perform a doubles act

6. sew curtains, a scarf, and my first professional costume!

7. go to weekday mass once a month

8. visit a door of mercy in the diocese, go to mass there, and receive the sacrament of reconciliation

9. make progress on choreographing a professional hammock act

10. Make time to clean and organize my apartment, so it looks like a pleasant haven

11. continue to process my shitty old recordings about what my body should look like or what its measurements should be, and add new recordings about my worth as a person, not as a piece of decor

12. Work on the skill of speaking up when I encounter sexism, racism, ableism, transphobia, homophobia, and other forms of oppression in a way that addresses the person at the level of understanding they're at, so  I can be a more effective alley.

13. More acts of self love: more cups of tea, more snuggling up with a book, more time with friends, BUT, less guilt when life gets crazy and stuff like this doesn't happen.

There are other things I want to do...write more, enter more writing contests, make more money, teach restorative yoga...but 13 is my lucky number, so I'm leaving official resolutions at that. Maybe I'll change some of these around...nothing is set in stone.

And my most important New Years practice is my rememberlutions jar! I haven't re-decorated my jar for 2016 yet, but I already have several things in it!! Will you be making one this year?

Of course, you know drawing a tarot card for the new year is another practice I love, but that's another blog post!

What practices have you been enjoying this new year? Share any juicy ones in the comments!

Happy New Year!
Live Omily,