Friday, November 5, 2010


CIY Create-it-yourself + Eco-PIYO: Pilates &Yoga Workshop
The DAZA Sisters

We are the DAZA sisters, Carolina and Laura, two artistic Colombians currently educating and training our talents, as well as advancing our goals in New York City. We created CIY+Eco-PIYO, an innovative workshop, by juxtaposing the principles of Yoga, sustainable fashion, and healthy eating for Freshmen students at NYU’s Third North Hall. This project was developed to assess the necessities of a community of NYU students, potentiate their talents and capacities, and inspire their artistic creativity.

As the Fashion and Textile Designer, I (Laura) started the workshop by sharing the ideals of ‘Recycling, Transforming, and Creating’ to offer students the tools to create for themselves eco-friendly accessories from wasted and colorful fabrics. I wanted to share with them artisanal techniques of sewing, folding, plaiting, and pleating.

Some of the questions I posed at the beginning of the workshop were: ‘Is it fun to buy something already made for you without know the Why-Where-When-What-Who made it? Why is ready-to-wear clothing usually the only option in the market? Could we find ways to motivate young students and empower them to create their own functional and aesthetic eco-friendly accessories that can inspire their artistic creativity?

We organized this workshop dreaming about motivating our students to be more conscious about connecting their bodies, heart, and soul, with the environment. Each student sat on their Yoga mat, and immersed themselves into their own hands-on creative world, where they experimented and played with colorful pieces of fabric, and wasted remnants thrown away by a NYC-based fashion company. As the Colombian music played Caribbean rhythms, our students manipulated the scissors, needles, and threads. In one-hour, students were able to create beautiful and unique artwork such as headbands, pins, and belts. The ambiance was full of creativity and energies to begin the magical Yoga practice, led by my sister Carolina.

As a group fitness teacher with more than five years of experience, and a Food Culture graduate student at NYU, I (Carolina) led the Ashtanga Yoga practice. We began in a child pose were students began centering themselves, deep breathing, and opening their hearts. As the flow began, they opened into a Downward Facing Dog, and slowly began energizing their bodies. The breath was connected to the cycles, and their flow to the delicate sounds of Colombian cumbia drums, Bossa Nova, and French contemporary music. As they inhaled, students transitioned at their own pace through basic cycles of upper to lower plank, upward to downward dogs, and standing mountain pose with several basic sun salutations. We open into standing poses, twists, forward and backbends, with the ultimate goal of inspiring students to set an intention for their practice, and bring the connection between their own body, soul, and heart. As students breathe, we build up a community where each one was flowing at his or her own pace, gently breathing from one movement to the other, while keeping their own heart awakened and receptive.

The practice transformed our creative space into the power of breathing, energies, and centering on top of the world. Our sky was full of students’ happiness, dreams, and passions. As the practice advanced for one hour, I began to lower down the pace of our flows, and slowly transition into different backbends. The group began smoother breaths, until gently connecting the palms of the hands into their heart center, and transitioning into their final relaxation. After hugging their knees, rocking side to side, massaging their lower backs, opening their hips, and relaxing each muscle of their bodies, students closed their eyes and laid down heavy on-top of the earth, letting go anything that might have been disturbing their own world of tranquility and wonders, and flowing into the final relaxation.

After the final breaths and the quote I read, altogether we pronounced Namaste, to be grateful with the group, especially for sharing each other’s energies, practice, and intentions with me, and the rest of the group. Each student was advised to bring their own serving cup and spoon, and after our practice, we enjoyed natural plain yogurt, crunchy maple-honey granola with coconut, dried cranberries, and pecans, bananas, strawberries, and Agave honey, amongst other delicious and healthy delicacies. The two-hour long CIY+Eco-PIYO workshop by the DAZA sisters was a community arts-based project with innovative fusions of diverse talents, passions, and dreams of making social change through the artistic creative world. It was a magical and beautiful workshop! Please share your comments or questions at: