Expanding Access to the Movement Arts of Yoga, Dance and Gymnastics

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E Komo Mai! Welcome!

ANNOUNCING:

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Working with Visionaries on the
Frontlines of Social Change Worldwide

THE FORD FOUNDATION GRANTS KEONI MOVEMENT ARTS $19,000 OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS!

FALL/WINTER, 2014 – 2015 SESSION BEGINS OCTOBER 6TH.

SPACE IS LIMITED. RESERVE A SPOT BY FRIDAY, OCTOBER 3RD

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Our MISSION is to expand access to the Movement Arts of Yoga, Dance and Gymnastics by providing classes and performance opportunities to individuals of ALL ages, abilities and means.

Our VISION is a world in which strengthened bodies, peaceful minds, compassionate hearts and joyous spirits work together to benefit all of earth’s inhabitants.

Keoni Movement Arts (KMA) is a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. KMA does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national and ethnic origin, disability or any other legally protected status.

The pictures above represent the vast array of teaching from around the world by our
Founder and President, Paul Keoni Chun.

About: Paul Keoni Chun, KMA’s Founder, was a competitive gymnast at Stanford University (B.A. in Human Biology with emphasis in Aspects of Youth Socialization). From 1997 – 2002, he developed a recreational gymnastics program, which offered classes for children, teens, and adults, at the McBurney YMCA Chelsea Center. He had a 20-year professional dance/acting career working with New York City based choreographers and performing in Off-Broadway (including Pan Asian Rep) and regional theaters and on television. He is designated as an “Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher” with Yoga Alliance. Currently, he teaches yoga professionally in the leading NYC Health Clubs. He has over 17 years of experience teaching yoga, dance and gymnastics to individuals from 2 – 80+, and in particular, over 10 years of experience adapting yoga to individuals with special needs. As a result of the benefits that KMA’s work has provided for the community, NY1 News recognized him as a “New Yorker of the Week.”

The blog posts below highlight our recent classes, recitals and news events.

Please click here to see our current class offerings and our upcoming FREE EVENTS.

Introducing KMA from David Buffam on Vimeo.

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We are so honored that NY1 News recognized us as its “New Yorker of the Week” on February 7, 2014!

You may view a video of the segment on Keoni Movement Arts Youtube channel.

You may read the transcript of the segment on NY1 News website.

Year-End Appeal (Dec. 16, 2014)

IMG_2013_2Yo-Dan-Nastics™
… a unique, daring and fun blend of YOGA, DANCE, AND GYMNASTICS
… a great cross-training workout for the body, mind and spirit

December 16, 2014

Aloha Friend of Keoni Movement Arts,

Recently, a mother contacted me to enroll her son in one of KMA’s gymnastics classes. She shared that people have always encouraged her to get him into gymnastics because he seems to have the talent for it. Currently unemployed, she could not afford most programs and was happy to find KMA’s affordable classes. Even from his first class it was clear to me that her son does have talent. I remember thinking, “This is exactly the reason why I started KMA — to fill this type of need!” I felt so happy that KMA was serving its mission in this way.

KMA’s mission is to provide access to the movement arts to everyone. No matter the challenges, no student will be turned away. We offer financial assistance to those who qualify.

Our generous donor support allows us to offer this assistance, and to provide programming such as our current on-going weekly classes for children 3 – 5 and 6 – 9 years old, and teens/adults and individuals with special needs. We’ve developed relationships with agencies, communities and schools including Y.A.I., Sinergia, Hartley House, Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, James Weldon Johnson Community Center, P.S. 212, P.S. 51, and P.S. 111. We would like to continue building these relationships, and do outreach to other communities where access to the movement arts is limited or nonexistent.

If you share KMA’s vision and would like to support our mission please consider making a tax-deductible donation*.

Mahalo nui loa (thank you) for your consideration!

Aloha,

Paul Keoni Chun
Founder and President
Keoni Movement Arts
www.KeoniMovementArts.org

DONATE

*Keoni Movement Arts is a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and all donations are tax deductible to the fullest amount allowed by law.

Ford Foundation Press Release (Nov. 11, 2014)

Keoni Movement Arts Receives Grant from the
Ford Foundation Good Neighbor Committee (GNC)

Will use the funds to bring movement art forms to those with limited means

NEW YORK, N.Y., November 11, 2014 – Keoni Movement Arts (KMA) today announced that it received a $19k grant from the Ford Foundation Good Neighbor fund. The grant will be used over the next two years to help continue and expand the development of KMA in its mission to expand access to the movement arts of yoga, dance and gymnastics to individuals of all ages, abilities and means.

According to Paul Keoni Chun, founder and President of KMA, “We are committed to bringing the movement arts to those in financial need and we have a policy of not turning anyone away for a lack of ability to pay. This grant will go a huge way towards helping us to fulfill our mission.”

The money will be used to create new partnerships with organizations aligned with target communities, provide more class fee subsidies, develop new curricula to reach new student types and add staff to enable KMA to expand offerings to a larger audience. KMA was established in 2008 based on the tenet that principles of strengthening bodies, creating peaceful minds, expanding compassionate hearts and giving expression to joyous spirits, all work together to benefit each of earth’s inhabitants.

“Our goal for KMA is to continue to create a web of mutuality amongst these three complementary movement arts and to see people’s lives uplifted through their participation in these bliss-inducing activities.” said Chun.

Great thanks go to the Ford Foundation GNC for this generous grant.

About The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

 About Keoni Movement Arts

Keoni Movement Arts (KMA) is a qualified 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization with a mission to expand access to the movement arts of yoga, dance, and gymnastics by providing classes and performance opportunities to individuals of all ages, abilities, and means – particularly targeting underserved communities. Its unique program known as Yo-Dan-Nastics™ draws from principles of yoga, dance and gymnastics providing therapeutic and health benefits and performance opportunities of all three expression forms.

Media Contact:                                
Paul Keoni Chun
paul@keonimovementarts.org
(212) 643-9013

Paul speaking at Family Service League, November 12, 2014

Family Service League is pleased to announce an educator and parent seminar “Enhancing the Lives of Children with Autism through Technology and Movement” is being held on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 from 9am – 1pm in Westhampton Beach. This informational program is being offered to special education administrators, teachers, psychologists, social workers and parents/guardians of children with autism. The seminar will cover the principles and beneficial techniques of utilizing technological skills, yoga, dance and gymnastics to promote sensory integration at home and in the classroom. The presenters are Beth Rosenberg and Paul Keoni Chun. Pre-registration is required; the $50 seminar fee is non-refundable and includes breakfast. For more information, contact FSL Barbara Silverstein 631d 288-1954, ext. 2237 or bsilverstein@fsl-li.org.

Dancing with Keoni (June 9, 2014)

Dancing with Keoni
(final version, May 2013)
a documentary by Gabriella Murillo
“A story of a dedicated dance teacher who brings the joy of movement to children with special needs.”

Dancing With Keoni- Final Cut from Gabriella Murillo on Vimeo.

Yoga playlist, May 2014

Some selections from my Playlist:

Ina (Imagine) by Keola Beamer and Raiatea Helm

Wind Beneath My Wings, sung by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Days of my Youth by Keola Beamer and Raiatea Helm

Shamanic Dream I and II by Anugama

Cool Aberrations and Soulful Filling by General Fuzz

Theme from Schindler’s List featuring Itzhak Perlman playing John William’s compositions

Om Namah Shivaya: Harmonies Version led by Vidura Barrios on the album The Supreme Heart of Shiva

Guiding Wisdom for your Practice — May, 2014

May 5 – 11:
Lao Tzu wrote:

Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.

The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.
Tao Te Ching, Chapter 76

Certainly, we practice yoga to keep our bodies supple. More importantly, though, we practice to keep our minds and hearts soft and supple.

A supple mind will keep one’s heart open, especially during hard times. An open heart will make the experience of life enjoyable.

Do not be disturbed by the current prevailing winds, if they seem to be going against you at the moment. The winds will always shift. If your mind and heart can remain supple during such times, you will prevail.

May your mind and heart be soft, supple … and free.

Metta offering:

May my mind and heart be soft and supple, … for the benefit of all beings everywhere.

May 12 – 18:
From the classic text, the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says to Arjuna:

You have control over actions alone,
never over its fruits.
Live not for the fruits of action,
nor attach yourself to inaction.
Established in yoga, O Arjuna,
perform actions having abandoned attachment
and having become balanced in success and failure.
For balance of mind is called yoga.
– Chapter 2, Verses 47 – 53

When practicing yoga, if you can control your breath, and not worry about the posture that results from your best actions taken, your mind will ripple less. Thus, it will know balance.

Metta offering:

May I take actions, whether I succeed or fail.
May my mind remain balanced, … for the benefit of all beings everywhere.

May 19 – 25:
Lao Tzu continued:

Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is people’s greatest help.

True words seem paradoxical.
Tao Te Ching, Chapter 78

In every yoga posture, add a yielding quality to it.
Keep your breath fluid and your mind will follow.
Things are always changing. Nothing is solid.
Knowing this can be of great help to those you love.

Metta phrase:

May I be as yielding as water … for the benefit of all beings.

May 26 – June 1:
Lao Tzu wrote:

The ancient Masters were profound and subtle.
Their wisdom was unfathomable.
There is no way to describe it;
all we can describe is their appearance.

They were careful
as someone crossing an iced-over stream.
Alert as a warrior in enemy territory.
Courteous as a guest.
Fluid as melting ice.
Shapable as a block of wood.
Receptive as a valley.
Clear as a glass of water.

Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?

The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment.
Not seeking, not expecting,
she is present, and can welcome all things.
Tao Te Ching, Chapter 15

For sure, our outer life can be very muddy at times.

And so can our inner life be as well. But the good news is that we can actually do something to make our inner life less muddy.

Yoga and meditation practices can help us to clean up the murkiness in our own minds until we can see things a little clearer. It can cultivate for us the patience to wait for right actions to arise. It is easy to slip into being impatient; doing so, though, may lead us to taking wrong action.

Can you remain unmovable in your meditation practices and simply sit still and watch your own muddy mind? Like the Master, can you welcome ALL things?

I hope your ongoing yoga and meditation practices can lead you in this direction. Keep practicing!

Metta phrase:

May my own mud settle. May I wait for right actions to arise … for the benefit of all beings.

FREE Community Events on May 18th!: Yo-Dan-Nastics™ for children, Yoga/Meditation for teens/adults (May, 2014)

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Move and Meditate with KMA!

Join us for Two Free Classes on Sunday, May 18

Have a child who wants to experience the joy of movement? Bring them to our Keiki (children) Yo-Dan-Nastics™  (3 – 9 years) class!

Are you an adult or teen who wants to reap the benefits of yoga and meditation? Join our Metta Flow Yoga class with Loving-Kindness Meditation for teens / adults  (16+ years).

Day/Date: Sunday, May 18th
Time and Class:
2:15 – 3:15pm, Keiki (children) Yo-Dan-Nastics™ (3 – 9 years)
3:30 – 4:50pm, Metta Flow Yoga with Loving-Kindness Meditation for teens/adults (16 + years)
Where: DaNY Studios
305 West 38th St. @ 8th Ave.
Studio 5
Cost: FREE (Donations welcome)

Both classes will be led by Paul Keoni Chun.

All levels are welcome!

Space is limited. Please RSVP by Wednesday, May 14th. Call (212) 643-9013 or contact us here.

Thanks, once again, to our generous donors for making these free community events possible!

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Guiding Wisdom for your Yoga/Meditation Practice (April, 2014)

March 31 – April 6:
The Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, wrote in the Tao Te Ching:

True perfection seems imperfect,
yet it is perfectly itself.
True fullness seems empty,
yet it is fully present.

True straightness seems crooked.
True wisdom seems foolish.
True art seems artless.

The Master allows things to happen.
She shapes events as they come.
She steps out of the way and lets the Tao [the Way] speak for itself.
– Tao Te Ching, Chapter 45

Often when we are practicing yoga postures, it is easy to find one’s self seeking perfection in the execution of them. Yet, truly, there has to be a “stepping aside” quality … a “staying out of one’s own way” quality … in each posture we execute. It is only when we step out of our own way and let go of trying to be perfect that the Tao or “the Way” can work its magic through us.

Back in 2000, I acted in a production of The Teahouse of the August Moon with Pan Asian Rep. It takes place after World War II at a time when Okinawa was occupied by the U.S. Military. I remember a scene where a U.S. officer saw a one-of-a-kind wooden tea cup that was crafted by an old Okinawan wood carving artisan. The Okinawan artisan describes how it took him many years to learn how to paint a flower on the inside of the cup like his father used to. Still, though it took a lot of effort and time, he said in the end, “it’s imperfect.” The point the artisan was trying to make is that something is perfect in and of itself because it has imperfections.

The Tao, the Way, cannot work through us unless we change our idea of what perfection truly is.

I know what it feels like to overwork a project in my attempts to make it perfect. But, with the “overworking” comes additional stress and thus, the easeful path of “The Way” can easily elude me. Sometimes, I just have to step back and say, “it’s perfect, as is” and move on.

Metta offering:

May I stay out of my own way. May my perfectly imperfect perfections … somehow benefit all beings everywhere.

April 7 – 13:
Lao Tzu also wrote:

All streams flow to the sea
because it is lower than they are.
Humility gives it its power.

If you want to govern the people,
you must place yourself below them.
If you want to lead the people,
you must learn how to follow them.

The Master is above the people,
and no one feels oppressed.
She goes ahead of the people,
and no one feels manipulated.
The whole world is grateful to her.
Because she competes with no one,
no one can compete with her.
– Tao Te Ching, Chapter 66

Often in our quest for more power, we only look upwards and strive higher. Perhaps, attaining power has more to do with having the humility to understand better who and what is beneath us.

In striving for more power in our yoga practice, perhaps we attain more by having more compassion for our very own weaknesses.

Always keep your ego below your heart.

Have compassion for the weak link in your body in every yoga asana.

Strive higher by experiencing the lower.

Metta offering:

May I know humility. May my powers attained somehow benefit all beings everywhere.

April 14 – 27:
Again, from Lao Tzu:

Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has roots that go deep.

I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.
– Tao Te Ching, Chapter 67

In yoga, we simply return to the breath, over and over again. We find the simplest postures where we can breathe fully. Doing so, we return to our source of being.

In yoga, we practice patience, knowing that Self-Realization takes a long time to achieve. Doing so helps us to accept our friends and enemies, just as they are. In not trying to change others, others are changed.

In yoga, we practice compassion for ourselves, knowing that it is the key to healing the mind and the heart. When we can have compassion for our own suffering, truly we can understand just how all beings struggle to make sense of the human condition they find themselves in.

May you hold onto your three greatest treasures.

Metta offering:

May I remember simplicity, patience and compassion. May I remember these three for the benefit of all beings everywhere.

April 28 – May 4:
Lao Tzu suggested:

The generals have a saying:
“Rather than make the first move
it is better to wait and see.
Rather than advance an inch
it is better to retreat a yard.”

This is called
going forward without advancing,
pushing back without using weapons.

There is no greater misfortune
than underestimating your enemy.
Underestimating your enemy
means thinking that he is evil.
Thus you destroy your three treasures
and become an enemy yourself.

When two great forces oppose each other,
the victory will go
to the one that knows how to yield.
– Tao Te Ching, Chapter 69

In each yoga asana, there is going to be tension between opposing forces. In order to lift our spine to the heavens, we have to strongly root our feet deep down into the earth. To find the right balance requires engaging muscular effort. If you’re losing your balance, it might be because one force is overpowering the opposing one. Victory, in yoga, comes to us when we can cultivate a yielding quality in each asana.

In life, too, victory can be ours when we can practice yielding. In NYC, we are constantly experiencing opposing forces coming at us. Rather than giving in to a knee-jerk, habitual reaction when we feel we have been assailed, perhaps it is better to take a breath and yield. Likely, one will emerge victorious for having done so.

Metta offering:

May I yield. May I yield, … for my benefit and the benefit of all beings.

Hartley House field trip, 4/14/14

On April 14th, KMA treated a group of children from Hartley House, a neighborhood nonprofit settlement house, to a free Yo-Dan-Nastics™ field trip. The children enjoyed jumping, stretching and “Om-ing.” Fun was had by all! MAHALO (thank you!) to all our donors who made this experience possible. Without such support, KMA could not continue to be a valuable resource for our community!

Enjoy these photos:

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NY1 News “New Yorker of the Week” recognition! (Feb., 2014)

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We are so honored that NY1 News recognized us as its “New Yorker of the Week” on February 7, 2014!

You may view a video of the segment on Keoni Movement Arts Youtube channel.

You may read the transcript of the segment on NY1 News website.