Saturday, December 3, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Wednesdays I teach Mommy/Baby Yoga class at The 14th Street Y in Manhattan. This particular rainy, wind whipping Wednesday, my core group of devoted moms strolled in with the little ones and we were more philosophical and chatty than usual. I encouraged an open forum to talk about lifestyle and meditation, while we mindfully added in some yoga stretches here and there. A full weekend of Dharma Teacher Training with The InterdependenceProject followed by on organized meditation at Occupy Wall Street this past Sunday, incited some juicy conversation including what to do about mouse droppings in your cabinets and how can one find equanimity in that situation?
One of the moms commented how her 6 month-old daughter is always calm in yoga class, but can be, well, more like a baby in some of the others. I can contest to this. I’ve never seen Naomi cry in the 3 months that she’s been coming, or baby Ken for that matter. Babies do cry in my yoga class, but it doesn’t escalate into an all out scream fest where they are all in a state of panic. Babies have empathy and that’s why if one baby continues to cry without soothing, others join in because it’s their only way of notifying someone to help out the distressed one and then they all get distressed. Interesting, huh? Moms said they like the music whether it’s Jack Johnson, Krishna Das or easy listening 70s, we cultivate a calmness that the babies vibe. We do this by paying attention to the breath, body, and opening to a more relaxed state of being.
Deb and baby Dom have been coming to class for a couple of months quite regularly. Every mom always expresses how just getting out of the house, even on stormy days, is a good thing. They are grateful to be at their yoga class, meeting new friends and the babies get some chill time. I work more with the moms getting back in touch with their bodies and they are free to feed, change diapers, do whatever it is they need to do while in class. It’s yoga after all. I am there to help cultivate some balance in a new mom’s hectic life. At the end of class, we interact with the babies. A real crowd pleaser is tree pose, holding the baby in standing position and drawing one leg up. It really looks cute, especially with a bare tushy, which happens on occasion. The class is for infants up to a year old and then they outgrow the class. Moms experience lots of transitions and I do my best to talk about letting go. There’s a sweetness and a sadness to aging. Every parent’s wish is to see their child grow up and live a beautiful, healthy life. But in order to get there, you have to let the “baby” go.
During our many subjects we touched on, we arrived at Deb beaming that she just got engaged on Sunday to Brian, Dom’s daddy. She said marriage was going to happen at some point, but they weren’t in a rush. The ring needs sizing so she doesn’t wear it on the traditional left ring finger. She held up her hand for all to see. We oohed, and then she told us Brian bought it from an antiques jeweler. Though she didn’t really need a ring at all, she loves the one he found for her. She said they have an amazing relationship and went on to tell us how he proposed … at Occupy Wall Street. Her fiancé is political activist and they have been to OWS on other occasions, so this past Sunday, she was completely surprised when he started his proposal with, “Mic check”, initiating the Human Microphone. Deb went on to say that the proposal has become somewhat of an unexpected sensation on Twitter and YouTube. She’s been fielding all kinds of comments supportive and jibing. All of the attention is completely unexpected.
Yoga class was just about over, and I have a handy dandy iPhone, so I asked if we should watch the video. Of course the ladies wanted to see the marriage proposal. It’s exciting getting engaged and we wanted to share in Deb’s glow. Brian is one romantic cat. To propose in front of a community of activists as well as close friends, and have them involved in the experience as part of the Human Microphone is way cool. I experienced the Human Microphone system for the first time, first hand that same Sunday. Words roll through the crowd. One has to pause in between thoughts and their next spoken words to be heard. Others have to pause to listen in order to repeat what they just heard. It’s fantastic. Brian’s process of having to slow down to profess his love, asking for a commitment to marry (occupy his life), and to be heard, really heard by Deb is extraordinary and beautiful beyond words. Using the words, “Will you occupy my life?”, as a way of asking someone to marry, I see becoming an alternative way of expressing sharing your life with someone. Brian went big with freedom of expression, took a risk, and this certainly expresses their lifestyle, their values and how they choose to occupy this life as they know it with each other and baby Dom. Things are happening down at OWS little bits at a time. If someone were to ask me what Brian asked Deb, I’d probably say, “Now you’re speaking my language.”
Congratulations Deb, Brian and Dom!!!
Monday, October 3, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Notes from post-its, notebooks and scrap paper.1) I Won’t Eat That Stuff, But I’ll Feed It To My Kids
Exhibit A: Fluffernutter sandwich on Wonder Bread with the crusts cut off. One of my friends said, “I won’t eat it, but the kids like it.” She also said that if she didn’t give it to her kids, other moms would. I have much to say about this, but perhaps until I have children of my own, I shouldn’t be on my high horse.
Please do not defend this “food” with a cry that at least it’s vegan.
Why Your Children Will be Sicker Than You
2) Are We Too Domesticated?… Little Boxes On The Hillside …
3) Why I Like Younger Men (Alternate Title: Does Age Really Matter? A Proud Cougar)
One doesn’t have to get too deep about this, but I have thought about it. I can pretty much say I have dated younger men since my mid 20s, I am now 42. The age gap is widening, I am still dating men in their 20s and loving it! My girlfriends in their 20s say they wouldn’t date the men I do because they are artists (read unstable). Great! Less competition.
4) AA Got You Sober, But Now You’re Hooked On Caffeine, Cigarettes, Adderall, Ambien, Red Bull and You’re Still A Mess … I Know, I Know … You Can’t Mediate So I Won’t Ask You To Try. (Alternative Title: Does Sobriety = Clarity?)
I can spot the speedy, unsettled mind “sober” people from a mile away. Or when they feel compelled to strike up conversations with me by asking if I am a friend of Bill’s while I am meditating riding a subway car. No, I am not a friend of Bill’s, or at least THAT Bill. Perhaps my year and half involvement with a “sober” person opened my eyes and heart to many things.
5) How It Really Works – Living a Conscious Life or Living a Compulsive Life Co-written with Dr. Miles Neale
I love listening to Miles Neale live or on podcasts. What I have learned from him is that it really comes down to karma and how you choose to live your life. Miles asked me write about this topic with him and this is what I have thus far …
Have a look at the chart and then ask yourself, “Self … which cycle do I want to live in?” These are the choices according to The Buddha and the yogi texts of Patanjali.
I am going to put it in layman’s terms.
Behind door #1, the Compulsive Life of Samsara, which so happens to be surrounded by stacks of money, a fancy sports car, some Barbie Doll looking chicks, a shopping spree at Barneys, we’ll even throw in a case of Red Bull and Chopin vodka, if that’s the vodka en Vogue these days. What if you could dine at Mario Batali’s Babbo every day for free or eat pizza, cookies and have soda for breakfast lunch and dinner with no side effects? OK, we’d meditate longer if we could have Babbo for free every day. Just kidding, sort of.
6) How Is It When A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings In China It Is Felt Around The World? Impossible!
7) Sitting In A Hot Shrine Tent Is Good For You (Alternate Title: Why Would Someone Spend $1,700 To Sit In A Hot Shrine Tent In Silence For Four Days As A Vacation?)
June 30 – July 5 you will find me sitting on one of these cushions.
I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.
Sad Joy sitting with three archaryas.
8 ) Darn It! I Missed Barneys New York Friends and Family Day – Get Purple Points, So I Can Shop More! How Could This Happen To Me?!?
I like to reference Barneys NY and I would be an absolute hypocrite if I said I didn’t like Barneys. But when is enough, enough? Give up constantly going for more.
The Yamas can help you with this I want more, craving thing.
All I Want For Christmas is Samadhi
9) Less IS More
10) Guilt VS Remorse
Guilt says I am bad. Remorse says I am sorry.
And if I had all the time in the world, not really article worthy, just baffling …
11) How Is It That You Passed Your Driver’s Test And Are Allowed To Drive?
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I was excited to be me! First thing in the morning, I went to Yogis Anonymous to take class with Krista Cahill. I had researched her classes and watched on YouTube the craziness that goes on there. Well, it looked kind of crazy to me. I practice yoga, but not this flying stuff. Some of these asanas will knock you off your asana. Out I went from Marina Del Rey where I was staying to Santa Monica in the wind and rain to try and fly. This flying term is something that’s been going around for a number of years though I’d never heard of it when I started practicing what seems like 100 years ago. “Flying” kind of looks more like gymnastic, but if you add some pranayama, Lulu Lemon wear, and a yoga mat, then it’s called yoga.
To see rain 3 days in a row is unusual for LA in March. Even though I was on vacation, I didn’t mind the rain.
About 10 minutes into the class, I realized that I needed to work on my handstand game if you will. My handstand is wishy-washy. I can’t count on it.* And my hands feel like they are glued to the floor. Instead of trying to move my hands to gather balance, I flip over. I came to fly, not flip. Flipping I know all too well. My handstand feels stagnant and stuck to me. I arrive and descend the same way. I lift one leg at time, left leg then right, try and find balance and then I am tired, and done. I thought I was in the habit of switching my kicking leg to balance out, but I have clearly favored one side for so many years and fatigued before I switched sides that the balance the sides thing out never happened. I do what is easiest and most likely to produce the results I want – a handstand I can hold. Huh, now there’s something to look in to. This is why I practice yoga, for the life lessons. In this case I need to investigate what needs balancing in my life. Just investigate, not fix. What happens on my mat is what happens in my life off the mat. Lessons are learned on that sweaty, sticky mat. This is very exciting and only something that can be understood and felt by actually doing it.
There is no post yoga affects pill. Thank God!
*Side bar here, I don’t need to count on my handstand. It’s a handstand. Handstands are fun and playful and fatiguing and juicy and well, the list goes on. I take it in stride.*
I love to have fun in a yoga class. If I fall, I fall. Of course a mindful yogi notices her surroundings before she attempts a pose that has potential for going awry so that she doesn’t kick someone in the head. We don’t go to yoga class for that – to be kicked or to kick someone. Know you space upside down, too.
Gratitude to Krista Cahill, she has a new fan. The class sequencing flowed even when I floundered, and though the pace was faster than I’ve experienced in a long time, it felt good. I loved her play list – Led Zep and Bon Iver come to mind. Completely humbled, I decided to go back and take her class again. Two great classes, great atmosphere, great teacher, I caught the bug to learn to fly.
So far I have been to 3 classes and body is aching all over. How much lactic acid can muscles produce any way? Geez, it’s not like I don’t use my body every day to teach. When I feel a muscle group saying hello to me, I try and name at least a couple muscles and think of their actions. It’s been a good anatomy review actually.
Raghunath said I’d be flying in no time. Even if this isn’t true, I am devoted to going to his class. Raghunath has a wonderful energy, makes me laugh and besides we all need a yoga teacher named Raghunath. Did I mention he plays the harmonium throughout class? So fun!!! Total dork yoga class humor here, but a phone was ringing, no less it was coming from his bag and he asked, “Who put their phone in my bag?” Many of the students in class are either teacher trainees or yoga teachers, so we all got a big chuckle out of that. Had to be there?
In learning to fly I have learned that I need to build my upper body strength. I’ve had shoulder injuries in the past, so I am being careful as to how I build up strength without reactivating my left rotator cuff injury from 8 years ago (my shoulder actually froze) and right AC joint about a year ago. I am listening carefully to my body and watching my will. Being the restorative yoga junkie that I am, going to flight school is helping me find balance by getting out of the house with my yoga practice, and trying some new poses on for size. The two practices couldn’t be more polar and by united them, seeking balance, here it comes … Yoga.
I’m having so much fun, even if I’m not actually “flying” in class, I do float out after savasana. I am not yet a frequent flyer of this flight club, but I will be. Um, and this club we can talk about.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Work the yamas!!! Ahinsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya, aparigraha
The yamas are the external disciplines of yoga lifestyle and also thought of as the five restraints. What fun is that to have restraints? Geez, yoga peeps are just no fun at all! Can’t I just work on touching my toes and call it yoga? If you are reading this then I know that you know that there is more to yoga than just being able to touch your toes. In fact, it doesn’t make one iota of difference to me if you can touch your toes or if you can’t. What perks my ears up and tingles my mind are your thoughts and attitude towards touching your toes. Now we’re talking yoga. There is no guarantee that if you can touch your toes you will live a happier healthier life. However, if you work the yamas, you are at least heading in the direction of living a happier healthier life and a bi-product may be that you eventually touch your toes. And if this day ever happens, you probably won’t remember why it was such a big deal to begin with.
Please give a warm welcome to the Yamas! ahinsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya, aparigraha.
So exotic! Yes, be intrigued. If you work the yamas the way Gisel works a bathing suit or for my benefit (putting bramacharya on the side for a sec) the way Jack White works a guitar, your life will change. How you can change your life is to work on your karma (this is a whole other discussion, but I leave you in the good hands of Dr. Miles Neale). You can work on your karma via the yamas. Recognizing when you are straying from a yama or practicing a yama is the key here. The results of practicing the yamas are peace, success, wealth, power, and freedom.
Mr. Jack White working his guitar during a phenomenal show with Wanda Jackson. I felt creepy looking at photos of Gisele and don't have any personal ones, so, sorry no bikini babe for this post.
First on the list is ahinsa (non-violence).
The obvious aspect of not harming is of course the physical act of violence and the intention to hurt another sentient being. You starting hearing this from the get go, “Tommy, don’t hit your baby sister, it’s not nice.” Going deeper with ahinsa are harmful thoughts towards self and other. “I am not good at anything.” “She looks fat in that dress.” People have these kind of thoughts all of the time. Abide by ahinsa and you cultivate peace. When a society is grounded in nonviolence an atmosphere is created where others can let go of their hostility.
Would you like to be successful? Satya
There are many different ways to define and view success. For instance, how about reaching a goal or to have a favorable outcome? When you practice the second yama, satya, translated as truthfulness, the outcome is success. Geshe Michael Roach translates Patanjali’s Sutra 2.36 Satya pratishthayam kriya phala shrayatvam – “If you make it a way of life always to tell the truth, then anything you undertake will have a successful result.” The truth is authentic and whole. Much like oatmeal, the truth will set you free.
Number three on the list is asteya (not stealing).
The outcome of not stealing is wealth. Not only should one not take what isn’t freely given to them, there is also the more subtle version of asteya like stealing someone’s time. Yoga is discovering and living the subtleties in what seems obvious. If you want to take your practice of asteya up a notch, you can even think about giving (dana). Generosity breeds wealth. Wealth comes in many forms, not just monetary. Health, happiness, ease of life, joy from simple pleasures are experienced by those who practice asteya.
Brahmacharya, the fourth restraint.
For today’s practitioner, brahmacharya can be viewed as conscious use of sexual energy or restraint from indiscriminant sexual behavior. The texts back in the day flat out said celibacy for yogis. Working this yama in modern times, consider honoring the relationship you are in. If you are engaging in sex, is it a healthy, normal level or are you obsessed and demanding? Obsession about anything is never a good thing. Are you loving and caring with the person you are having sex with? Seems like the obvious answer would be yes, but this is not always so with all the “hooking up” that is happening these days. Are you actually making love or just having sex? When you get brahmacharya figured out, you will have power.
Aparigraha (non possessiveness) is the yama when practiced that will lead you to freedom.
Freedom comes to those who stop wanting and coveting. Not only should you not be greedy, but you can share. To practice aparigraha is to know that you have all that you need. And if you are fortunate enough to have multiple homes, cars, “things”, share them unconditionally. They are only things and meant to be enjoyed. Coveting and desiring only leads to dissatisfaction. “If only I had a new _______, I’d be happy” this is just not true. There is happiness and contentment for you right in this moment if you can see that you have all that you need.
Action = Karma
Write down the 5 yamas and what they mean. Contemplate how you honor and practice the yama and where you can use some work. This is how change happens. Be the changes you want to be. No one else can do this for you. It’s work, hence working the yamas.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
|Seane Corn et moi|
My friend Kate that I did a yoga teacher training with, sent me an email last Friday asking if I was available to be the eyes on Seane Corn for a photo shoot so that the poses are picture perfect. I was flattered, honored, and cleared my schedule. Of course I could and would love to! How wonderful to get to meet Seane one-on-one, and my job was to adjust this knee or that hand with verbal cues much like teaching. Let me say that Seane is picture perfect without my help, but having posed for asana photos myself, I look at them and say if only I'd had a tweaker to adjust this one little thing. I asked Seane if she requested a professional set of eyes on her or if it was Whole Living Magazine's idea. She said she always has someone fine tuning, though let me tell you she knows her body well in these poses as one would suspect. If not for the still life of a photo print, I wouldn't of had to say a word.
I've been on sets many times as talent when I worked on commercials and I've dreamed of being on the cover of any magazine representing yoga. In my 18 years of practice, this is the closest I've come so far. Seane is as beautiful and gracious in person as one would imagine a yogini of her stature to be. I think that I was more floored by her asanas than the crew was. Until you actually try a downward facing dog you have no idea the work that you are asking of your body and breath. Put in a room full of advanced yoga practitioners, I am always in awe. The asana practice is just so beautiful to watch.
After we wrapped, I went home and unrolled my mat. Sean's presence inspired me and revved up my love for yoga, all of yoga. There is so much to learn on the mat that transitions to life off the mat. That's what yoga is about, honoring the divine in self and others.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
reminders on how to cope with
the big-red-heart-shaped-box-full-of-chocolates day
and any day
Soften your heart to what is ...
My best friend of 20 years shares her birthday with that of Saint Valentine. Her birthday had always been a point of contention. Friends would have plans with their Valentines and sometimes men wouldn’t want to take her out for her birthday because it was Valentine’s Day. Before writing this, I asked her how she feels about her birthday now. Her response was, “Neutral - it is my birthday and I am full of love.” This was really nice to hear. In finding the middle path or what I sometimes like to call the Baby Bear in the Three Little Bears – not too soft, not too hard, just right – she was able to let go of the anxiety over her birthday.
Admittedly, I am a bit freakish over remembering dates and occasions. Not in a Marilu Henner kind of way with superior autobiographical memory, but above average. Of course there’s my story, your story, and then what really happened, but for this tale, we are going with my story since I am doing the writing.
Valentine’s Day can be yet another dreaded calendar holiday or not. Pressure to buy a token of admiration for someone can be daunting. What if I’m dating someone that I don’t feel “that way” about, do I get him a gift? What if he gets me something? How you want to deal with Valentine’s Day is all perspective just like any other holiday that the masses celebrate. I used to poo-poo Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark holiday, but it turns out that Esther Howland created the first commercial Valentine’s Day cards in 1840. Huh, so it wasn’t Hallmark after all. Maybe I could soften my perspective and be neutral to February 14th like my BFF had become.
Show gratitude and give hugs, smiles
or those little candy hearts …
In 1994 I actually had a Valentine and I remember for a few of reasons:
1) Because Adrien Brody was my Valentine.
2) BFF was visiting Los Angeles where I lived at the time. She had a layover while travelling from Australia to NYC.
3) I moved to LA in Nov ’93 and met Adrien within weeks of settling in. He was my roommate’s friend and always crashed at our house. Some girls have all the luck and sometimes they do literally just knock on your door.
Adrien arrived at my house with a bottle of Pinot Noir and a Valentine’s Day card (he commented when he handed the wine to me that he knew I liked Pinot Noir and he was right). How thoughtful. I gave him a star shaped candle embedded with secret little charms. There was no pressure or awkwardness. Just good old fashioned fun Valentine swapping.
One doesn’t need to present a gift on Valentine’s Day or dread the day. February 14th was chosen as a day to show your love to special people in your life. I am hopeful that all who read this have at least one special person in their life, and if not make that special person yourself. You can smile randomly to people you pass, and do your best to hug someone, too. Bear hugs are great!
Be cool even when others push your buttons ...
We were off to a very good Valentine’s Day celebration. A mutual friend of BFF and mine wanted to take us ladies out and his friend for dinner to celebrate the birthday. Seeing as I had a date, Adrien, I informed the friend that I already had plans and the friend said to bring along whomever I wanted. I invited both Adrien and my roommate because we had all spent the day together, and were having a good time. Six of us met up for what intended to be a festive dinner. I’d rather not relive the gory details of the evening, but let’s just say there was drama and lots of it. The mutual friend had a mean streak of jealousy, got drunk, acted out, and left in a huff. It’s probably a good thing because my Valentine and roommate wanted to set him straight, but they took the high road instead by letting him leave with out further incident.
Special days can evoke drama as we all know, especially when there are red roses and red, heart shaped, boxes filled with chocolates involved. Recognizing all that you have albeit love from a partner, friend or family, is still LOVE. I think my BFF discovered some peace of mind when she surrendered to what is … her birthday is on the same day as St. Valentine. This is something she cannot change so there’s no point in fretting and wishing it to be otherwise. You can relate this philosophy to so many other “problems” we create for ourselves. If you really have a look at your “problem” chances are you are the one who gave yourself the “problem” to begin with. If you slow down enough to see this for yourself (via mind body practices) or slow down enough so that hopefully a really great friend (who does mind body practices) can help you see that you pretty much are the solution to your problems, then your will world shift.
If nothing else live for love …
Pardon me, but my yogini is showing. Connect with the love and light in you that is just pleading to be let loose. Like dancing when no one is watching or singing at the top of your lungs out of key and all. You feel good. You laugh and shine. Suddenly you are a Valentine.
In December I read Jesus, I Love Jews By Angela Raines. I really liked her article and for those of you who read it you may recall that Mr. Brody was listed as the “Bad News Jew” for not being associated with any known eco causes and for having owned a hummer. I wish I could shed some insider light on this, but it was many, many, oh so many year ago that we frolicked. When I knew him, he drove a brown classic Caddie. Maybe not so good with gas, but does that count as vintage and recycling? I know I am grasping at straws and Raines really wanted to give him props, but couldn’t find the support. Adrien was very young when we were hanging out and reflecting on my own journey into having some sort of relationship with the universe, I think I had only one yoga mat at the time and it stayed in my closet mostly. I certainly have grown leaps and bounds in the past 17 years chances are he has, too. Let’s keep our eyes peeled to see if Adrien gets some green/eco causes on his bamboo plate. He is a good egg.
Take it to heart … metta meditation practice
Metta also known as maitri, translates to “loving kindness”. Why not try a 10 minute heart opening practice for Valentine’s Day?
1) Carve out 10 minutes of your day where you can sit and be still. You may sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor, spine upright or sit on cushions on the floor if you are able to support your spine and its natural curves. The photo at the top of the red heart is my meditation cushion. You may want to record these instructions to listen to as you are settling into your “seat”.
2) I suggest the app Zen Timer. It has numerous gong sounds, settling in time, journal option, and if you like intermittent gongs during your sit you can program that option.
3) Once sitting, start your timer and use the delay bell setting. Rest the hands on the thighs. Mentally scan your body and feel its presence. Where your legs are. How your seat feels. Shoulders relaxed. Skin on the forehead without expression. Space between the top jaw and bottom jaw. You are coming into the present moment.
4) Any time during your sit, if it feels natural, you may bring a hand to your heart. We feel emotions in our solar plexus where the heart beats, and also in our belly, or gut instinct. They reside very close to each other in our bodies.
5) I use these four thoughts for metta medition:
May I be happy
May I be healthy
May I be safe
May I live with ease
Focus the mind on the first thought, “May I be happy” for a couple of minutes. Then let that thought go and focus on the second thought, etc. The time will go way faster that you ever imagined. If you can set aside more than 10 minutes, the next step is after you have wished loving kindness for yourself, choose a loved one to wish metta thoughts to. Eg: May you (fill in the name) be happy, may you be healthy, etc.
Thoughts other than what you are focusing on will arise. When this happens, and it will, as you notice the thought label it thinking and let it go. Gently take your mind back to the phrase you were focusing on. Please be light with the mind voice and kind to your self. Flogging is not part of the practice.
6) When the gong chimes, you may like to acknowledge your practice by bringing the hands together at the heart and bowing.
7) That’s it!
If you are interesting in learning more about meditation, I suggest finding a teacher or a mentor. The Interdependence Project based in NYC, has chapters throughout the country and pod casts accessible to all!
Monday, January 3, 2011
Smiling with tears
Swimming without fear
Laughing in the morning blizzard
A kiss that takes your breath away
Feel another’s heart beating
Touch the sunlight on a freckle
Hands clawing like the flicker of a flame
Every pore opens
The ride is not black and white
There is much to learn in the grey
When a heart is broken open
Love is devotion
Om namah shivaya