Cool Girls with Tag: New York

Gail Grossman

Name: Gail Grossman
Age: 48
Location: Port Washington, NY
Occupation: Yoga Teacher, Yoga Studio Owner, Author

A thriving business owner and a zen-like yoga practitioner are two spheres that are hard to imagine converging, but studio maven, author, mom, and yogini are all different facets to the same shining diamond that makes up Gail Grossman of Long Island, New York! This bendy and butt-kicking business maven just recently wrote a book, Restorative Yoga for Life, that’s blazing trails for blissing out, and she shares her joy of the practice with her students every day. “I love the practice, and that’s why I wanted to share with others, I truly get “high” from their energy!” she says.

And a “high” is right, as Gail has a self-admitted yoga addiction! “I was practicing Pilates. My trainer thought I would like yoga and took me to a class,” she explains, reminiscing about her first foray. “I was hooked from the first time I came to my mat.”

At Gail’s studio, Om Sweet Om, she teaches five classes per week, in addition to a bunch of private sessions for students, some in their homes. While she loves all styles of yoga, it’s the restorative practice and its ability to ground both body and mind that she’s most known for touting. And learning to back off of a vigorous, athletic practice is what helped her to discover new dimensions of her practice, both as a student and as a teacher. It all began with an injury…

gailardha“I was doing something in a way I shouldn’t have. I was compensating and moved my body in a way that wasn’t very conscious. I pulled my hamstring right at the sitting bones and it took a very long time to heal, so I had to back off from my practice. Ultimately this was a gift! I had a better understanding of the injuries that my students dealt with, and it made me a better teacher,” she explains.

Other than a daily practice, “even just fifteen minutes,” Gail manages a busy schedule of family, yoga, and managing her studio.

“I try to take Mondays off; I’ll take a class and deal with my errands. The rest of the week I work. I have a combination of working from home, answering e-mails, and writing. I handle all of the studio management stuff from home, because I get more done! I try to spend time at the studio just hanging out with students and teachers whenever I’m available,” she says. “Some of the ups and downs I’m learning to get a handle on, and minimize, since I have no control over them!” she smiles. Spoken like a true guru!
In December, Gail’s first book, Restorative Yoga for Life, was published, and since then she’s penned articles for Yoga Journal, and will even speak at the Yoga Journal Conference in New York this coming April. She also leads teacher trainings at the studio and heads international trainings for adults to teach yoga to children through YogaKids.

“I still feel like I have so much more to do, though,” Gail says. “I’m really open to whatever comes my way. I love what I do. I never get bored with yoga, there’s always something to discover. The body is a complicated vehicle for our personal growth; we’re always changing and so are our bodies. That excites me! Constantly discovering new things keeps it fresh.”

For bending but never breaking, we think that Gail Grossman is one Cool Girl!

To learn more about Gail’s work, you can check out her website, and if you’re in the New York area, drop by Om Sweet Om to take a class!

Mary Joyce

Name: Mary Joyce
Age: 32
Location: Long Island, New York
Occupation: Special Education Teacher

Mary Joyce is at the head of the class, not just as a special education teacher, but also as a yoga instructor in her home of Long Island, New York. Growing up, Mary surmounted injuries as well as stereotypes, practicing karate when she was 16, and hitting her yoga mat even after shoulder injuries,. She also refuse to quit on her snowboard even when her tailbone and her pride told her to stay away from the slopes and stay in the chalet.

She credits the endless love and support of her mom and dad for keeping her going, even when the stress of work, graduate school, and a grueling roster of physical activities, threatens to exhaust her. She also is quick to point out that her students are – and have always been – incredibly influential and inspiring.

“All the children I work with, and that I’ve worked with in the past, have each been more of a teacher to me than I could ever explain,” she says.

All the children I work with, and that I’ve worked with in the past, have each been more of a teacher to me than I could ever explain.

Between the deadlines and workload of school, both being at the chalkboard and buried in books as a student herself, Mary has to find a way to blow off some steam. While yoga is great for mellowing her mood, she cites snowboarding with being the biggest stress-reliever. Her arctic air affair began four years ago, when her friends managed to get her on a mountain. Unfortunately, she didn’t start carving turns with grace and ease. “My first experience wasn’t a positive one,” she says. “By the the second time I went I managed to break my tailbone which put me out for the season. I felt very discouraged because I didn’t pick up the sport as easily as others. For years after that my close friend harassed me on a weekly basis, but my fear and aggravation of learning something new and difficult held me back.”

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Wendy Chan

Name: Wendy Chan
Age: 30
Location: Williamsburg, NY
Occupation: soon-to-be emergency medicine resident physician / filmmaker

Wendy Chan began her sojourn into emergency medicine by volunteering at the emergency department in an Oakland, California hospital. At the time she was working full-time as a video producer, but she had no idea how much like a movie her life was about to get.

“On my first or second day in the hospital, a paramedic shoved a bag of ice into my hand and said to me, “Make sure the patient we just brought in from the motorcycle accident gets his gum” and I thought, “Gum?” Then I looked down and saw I was holding the guy’s “thumb”.  The medical team later reattached the guy’s thumb and I remember thinking, “Wow!  It must be wonderful to be able to help people in such a profound way on a daily basis.”

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Dani Vetere

Name: Dani Vetere
Age: 31
Location: Los Angeles and New York
Occupation: Writer

Writer Danielle Vetere has her name in bright lights burning up the outskirts of the Great White Way. With her full-length play Hadrian’s Wall opening after winning a slot in the highly-competitive Fringe Festival, she’s recognizing her dreams to become a denizen of dramaturgy.

Growing up in Staten Island, New York, Dani wanted to be an architect, but she shrugged off the idea around the same time that she figured out she preferred words to numbers. It didn’t take long for her passion to persuade her onto a path as a writer.

I was one of those weird, introverted, bookwormy kids living in their imagination.

“I was one of those weird, introverted, bookwormy kids living in their imagination. I remember two distinct moments in school that led me to think about writing. One was in the third grade when a teacher chose my short story to read out aloud, to my simultaneous pride and embarrassment. The other was in the eighth grade when my English teacher cited me while using the word “playwright” in a sentence as part of a spelling test: “Playwright. Danielle might someday be a playwright. Playwright.” I didn’t know what she was talking about. Years later, when it came time to choose college majors, it just made sense.”

After college, Dani dedicated herself to becoming a professional writer, obtaining a Master’s in the same illustrious NYU program where she’d attended undergrad. She also worked for several successful television shows that will remain unnamed as well as for a Broadway production. After a few years spent further honing her skills, she was hired by the Disney TV show Phineas & Ferb, and she moved to Los Angeles to truly live the proverbial dream.

But all the while, the siren song of the stage called to her.

Dani completed a full-length play and, on a lark, submitted it to the Fringe Festival, where it was accepted. In August, Hadrian’s Wall will make its Manhattan debut, and Dani will watch her words come to life in the city she misses fiercely.

The play is a pair love stories revolving around a reclusive archaeologist who is suspected of stealing an artifact from a dig fifteen years ago. “It’s really about the way we can hold onto the past, and base our identity on it, and feel protected by it, when really what we need to do is take risks to be safe and happy,” Dani explains. So is she nervous about opening night? And what’s it like to watch the process of a play coming to life?

“It’s trippy and fun and satisfying to see your work live – as opposed to on a screen – but it’s also very raw to sit there experiencing that at the same time everyone else is,” Dani explains. “Being in New York means it’s the most discerning audience possible and they’ll have an opinion about every single word that’s spoken. But it’s also all the more validating because of that,” she adds.

When asked about the future, Dani’s goals seem to be more simple than the drama she produces for stage and screen. “I want to keep being able to make a living writing, and to keep getting better at it. I’d like to always keep my priorities straight and not put money first. But I’d also like to be able to live in New York City without a roommate and still be able to buy something at Forever 21 once in awhile.”

For giving stories a shot and entertaining the masses, we think Danielle Vetere is a very Cool Girl! If you happen to be in the New York area in the month of August, check out Hadrian’s Wall at the Fringe Festival to see what all the fuss is about, or just take a peek at the play’s website or Facebook page.

Courtney Van Nostrand

Name: Courtney Van Nostrand
Age: 35
Location: Long Island, New York
Occupation: Pharmacist

Courtney Van Nostrand does drugs…in a good way! This Long Island pharmacist sympathizes with the difficulties her patients are facing, in part because of her own recently-diagnosed struggle with MS.

Courtney has been a pharmacist for nearly ten years. “Being a pharmacist is hard because you’re constantly torn between having a high work load and wanting to help your patients, which takes time away from production. It’s a constant battle to be quick, accurate, and efficient, and still have time to spend time with them,” she says.

Unfortunately being behind the pharmacy counter isn’t the only familiarity Courtney has had with serious illness. In February of 2010, everything in her life changed.

“I was taking my girls to dance lessons near my home. I was at a traffic light and suddenly everything just started looking double,”

“I was taking my girls to dance lessons near my home. I was at a traffic light and suddenly everything just started looking double,” she explains. “I blew it off thinking it was a headache or the glare from the snow, but it got worse over that weekend. I went to the optometrist thinking maybe my glasses were screwy, and he sent me to the doctor.”

After a series of tests, they recommended an MRI. “They discovered the lesions on my brain,” Courtney says. “Then I went to the neurology clinic at Stony Brook, and they confirmed what the specialist thought…”

It was Multiple Sclerosis, also known as MS.

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