Education Listings, Winter 2007/2008


According to a recent study, frequent meditators can shift their brain function from the stress-addled right frontal cortex to the chilled-out left frontal cortex. New York doesn't seem an ideal milieu in which to practice this art, but who needs to relax more than New Yorkers? The frazzled might consider taking The Mind-Body Connection: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Techniques at the Jewish Community Center, a primer in sitting and walking meditation.

Winter is typically a time of freezing exter-iors, overheated interiors, and the resulting scratchy throats, runny noses, and watery eyes. But the New York Open Center suggests you can Winterize Yourself: Build Immunity, Vitality, and Joy. Tonic herbs, essential oils, and massage feature. Letha Hadaday, the author of several books (including Feed Your Tiger, which we're assuming is a metaphor) as well as an expert in alternative medicine, will lead the workshop.

Sting has revised his claim that he and his angular wife Trudie Styler have tantric sex for six hours straight. He now admits that those six hours may well include "dinner, a movie, and maybe a lot of begging!", but for those still curious about the ancient practice, the New York Open Center will host a weekend workshop, entitled Timeless Loving: The Path to Ecstasy, hosted by husband-and-wife instructors. They promise to help us "discover how to integrate ecstatic spirituality into our lovemaking and everyday activities, improve intimate communication skills, and come closer to others."

Babies usually strike us as pretty relaxed—well, the babies that aren't screaming their heads off—but the 92nd Street Y nevertheless offers its popular classes for parents in the art of Baby Massage—Parents and Babies.Apparently, by releasing lovely oxytocin and endorphins, infant massage can relieve the symptoms of teething and colic. I'm not teething much these days, but I want one!


For anyone who's ever thought, if only for a moment, of breaking into some of those pretty glass cases at the Met and making off with some of those precious ornaments (guilty!), the Fashion Institute of Technology offers a far less criminal option. Students can learn to make their own priceless heirlooms by attending Collectible Jewelry I and learning "European techniques of knotting, weaving, and stringing with pearls, crystals, and semiprecious stones."

Chain mail has been used as a military accou-trement for nearly 2,000 years. And it is now apparently being used as a fashion accessory. At Artez'n in Brooklyn, Stephanie Maslow-Blackman of Metalicious will lead a workshop in Zen and the Art of Chainmail, where she'll teach students to create a byzantine flower chain and a three-in-three chain, to be worn as bracelets. Tough bracelets.

Idle hands are the devil's playthings, we're told, so you should keep yours busy—and warm—over the winter months. You might consider the Brooklyn General Store's Fair Isle Mitten Workshop, a four-class session that teaches experienced knitters the basics of Fair Isle knitting, also apparently known as "stranded colorwork." Fair ye well.


Comedy is famously all in the timing, but who has time to take a course and learn this timing thing? Luckily, the Upright Citizens Brigade offers an Improv 101 Intensive, in which students complete an entire class in merely five days. Students learn how to create characters, build scenes, and work with the wackiest of props. The course concludes with a class performance.

You wouldn't call Mark Morris's choreography baroque, precisely, but the first Saturday of every month his school offers 18th Century Dance Classes, taught by members of the New York Baroque Dance Company. This winter's offerings are the minuet and the bourree. For those who prefer more contemporary forms, weekly classes in belly dance, West African dance, and modern dance also feature.


Sir Kingsley Amis's greatest novel, Lucky Jim, contains perhaps the English language's finest description of a hangover. Amis's literary strategy? He spent consider- able time researching down at the pub, but also argued, "The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of one's trousers to the seat of one's chair." If you've got the sitting part down, but your skills still need refining, Gotham Writers' Workshop offers a series of one-day workshops on subjects such as Travel Writing, Children's Book Writing, and Character Development.

Some people, we are assured, still keep those old-fashioned diaries, actual handwritten ones that they don't link to on their MySpace pages. If such a concept sounds strange, though intriguing, you might sign up for Journal to the Self, a six-week workshop at New York's Open Center led by Michele Bernstein in which students learn techniques such as "capturing moments, character sketches, dream logs, guided imagery, shifting perspectives, tuning in to the stream of consciousness, topical reflections," etc.

For Children For warmth, we like to depend on trusty radiators, vintage cloth coats, and a liberal supply of hot toddies. But animals apparently have other strategies to keep themselves cozy in the chillier months. The Bronx Zoo offers Winter Wonderlands, a class for children and their adults, which details how chinchillas, grizzlies, and snow leopards adapt to the cold. For those of us without our own fur coats, cocoa is provided.

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