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Monica DiGiovanni | Art and Yoga

"Find a freedom in your mind that is deeper than the current situation."

   ~ Rev. Gretchen Taihaku Priest

Taihaku is Monica's beloved Zen teacher and founder of Shao Shan Temple where Monica practices. The flower (Viola tricolor) is from Monica's garden where she makes plenty of space for them and bumble bees (not pictured).
Hello first name,

First let me offer a heart-felt thank you for staying with me on this path. Connection to my community, near and far, has guided me over the years and continues to do so. What I feel like I can offer back to the world is intrinsically present in my yoga and art offerings. As life evolves so do my yoga offerings as well as what I'm sharing with the world. Please take a moment to update your email settings so I'm not overwhelming you. With the onset of virtual classes I've been including contacts far-flung in case you'd like to tune in! It's been a joy to share yoga with friends who otherwise would not be able to participate. Once the warmer weather shifts and many of us also shift our activities indoors, you might be interested to see what online offerings the cooler temps bring.

A few new exciting things are on deck since the last newsletter!

Click on any of the purple links to get to the item and leave the rest.

Outdoor classes!  I've added a second in-person outdoor yoga class on Fridays in North Middlesex. The private property is yet another astounding setting with a view of Mount Hunger.  This will be a moderate class for those who prefer a bit more action in movement but will hold the same attention to inner exploration and compassion.

Monday morning in-person New View Morning Yoga in Montpelier has been a gift and will continue through the summer as long as there is interest. It is available for live-streaming! You can register below either to be present in person or  to stream through Zoom. Class  size for both outdoor classes is limited to 15 people.

All of the drop-in classes I'm offering right now are by donation, $0-25. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.


Art exhibition!  I'm thrilled to be part of a very cool interactive art exhibition at the Highland Center for the Arts in Greenborough, VT. My submission was a total shift (a mirror of my current world) in all ways. I've barely touched my oil paints during this time but have been playing with watercolor and ink and for the Shelter In Place Project I worked sculpturally! I had a completely different idea in mind about what my "shelter" would be at the start of the project than where it ended up. Check out pics and a description below.

The image is not pretty as my butterfly paintings are and it's not meant to be. It conveys a discomfort with the status quo and inequality. It is a representation of something solid, unmoving and so crumbling with time. The paper clay was was an experiment and technically a disaster but I just went with it and am happy with the results. The texture was supposed to be smooth like porcelain but it came out all lumpy. The process provided me with a contemplation that was deeper than my original idea, it took me to something larger than myself which in itself mirrors the process of my spiritual practice.


Yoga video!  The Gentle  20-minute yoga video I produced will remain online and accessible to everyone.  I have ideas for future videos that are more active so stay tuned to my website for future updates.

Wishing you the love you need and joy to help it flourish,


~~ A short meditation for you ~~

In reference to the quote above: "Find a freedom in your mind that is deeper than the current situation." 

What idea of reality are you holding on to right now that needs to either expand, dissolve or shift in some small way?

Regardless of the effort that it will take to welcome change into your life, follow the feeling that feels expansive. Follow the energy that makes you come alive. This will lead to the confidence that arises with clear thinking.

"May all beings be seen, held kindly, and loved.
May we all one day surrender to the weight of being healed.”
~ Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Moderate Outdoor Morning Yoga
North Middlesex
​During these changing times, the best muscles to exercise are the ones that support the ability to expand your world view in a sustainable way. We'll meet in person on a beautiful, residential property overlooking Mount Hunger in North Middlesex. Class will begin with meditations on fearlessly facing change followed by warming movements and strengthening to prepare for a moderately vigorous standing flow.

Fridays, 9:00 - 10:15 am
Cost: Sliding scale, $0-25
Registration is free, no one will be turned away for lack of funds

Physical distancing and other protocols will be in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19
Registrants will receive more information on protocols and directions to the site after registering
Register ~ IN-PERSON Moderate Morning Yoga (North Middlesex)
Gentle Outdoor Morning Yoga
This gentle-moderate class is the perfect way to start your week. We'll meet in person on a beautiful, residential property overlooking the Green Mountains just a five minute drive from downtown Montpelier. Class will begin with gentle warming movements and strengthening to prepare for a standing flow. Greet your life with an expansive, refreshed view of the world through the channel of inspired yoga practices.

Mondays, 9:00 - 10:15 am
Cost: Sliding scale, $0-25
Registration is free, no one will be turned away for lack of funds

Physical distancing and other protocols will be in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19
Registrants will receive more information on protocols and directions to the site after registering
Register ~ IN-PERSON Gentle Morning Yoga (Montpelier)

It is now possible to stream the Monday morning class!

If you are uncomfortable with social distancing outdoors or the drive to Montpelier on Monday morning isn't possible, you can enjoy class from wherever you are!

Click the
yellow button below to register.
Register to ~ LIVESTREAM ~ New View Morning Yoga Through Zoom
Semi-Private Outdoor Classes
Now that the beautiful weather is here, I’m open to leading semi-private outdoor classes following physical distancing protocols. If you have a group of friends you would like to gather to practice together I’d be happy to lead you.
$10-20 / person, from 1 hour - 1 1/2 hours
Travel charges incur for locations 15 minutes outside of Montpelier

Email me if you are interested!

I’m also offering live-streamed and one-on-one private classes.

Weekly Drop-in Virtual Yoga Class
I'm very excited about my virtual class offerings streamed from my home micro-studio! It's time for solace, strength, and inspiration. Register for free by clicking on the link below or visit for more details regarding class pricing and descriptions. I'm also streaming private lessons if your practice needs a little uplift.
NOTE: All streamed classes require a free personal Zoom account.
Register for Virtual Yoga For Focus And Fitness

20-minute Gentle Yoga Video
This very gentle 20-minute yoga and meditation video is dedicated to frontline workers at Central Vermont Medical Center and essential workers everywhere and is brought to you by CVMC Wellness. It is meant support anyone needing to decompress from stress and exhaustion. The practice is accessible and able to fit anywhere into your day. Try it just before bed to help you sleep better. The only props you'll need are a blanket or two and cushions or pillows.

"Shelter In Place" Art Exhibition

"Impossible Things"
Monica's submission for the

"Sheltering In Place Project"
A reflection by Vermont artists and writers’ on time spent during Covid-19
Created by artist Hasso Ewing
View the artist notebook here

Highland Center For The Arts, Greensboro, VT
On view by reservation only to prevent the spread of COVID-19
until August 9

Contributed to by over 100 Vermont artists and writers
Proceeds from sales of art benefit the Vermont Foodbank

Exhibition description:

Early this past winter the Fair Housing Project and the T. W. Wood Gallery & Arts Center collaborated to create a spring exhibition commemorating fair housing. Hasso Ewing submitted a piece for consideration, was accepted, and then traveled to Morocco. Covid-19 abruptly shortened her trip, she returned home to a shut-down and new, shared, unpredictable horizons. Reflecting upon this “new world” and the art she had submitted – of multiple plaster houses, nested in branches, representing fair housing and shelter – to the now cancelled TW Wood show, Ewing realized that this was no longer her OWN project. Rather, she thought, since all Vermonters were sharing a new experience, her project should reflect that experience. So Ewing invited Vermont visual artists and writers to create a reflection of their time spent Sheltering in Place to stand as a memorial to what was lost, and gained, from sheltering in place during the time of Covid-19.
The visual art submissions had to be no larger than 6 x 6 x 9 inches, weigh no more than 8 ounces, and be made from materials found in and around ones shelter.  Ewing collaborated with poet Geof Hewitt, who invited Vermont writers to create a haiku. 
Over 100 artists and writers responded with originality, insight and enthusiasm that must be witnessed and celebrated. 

Monica's artist statement:

Title: “Impossible Things”
Materials: Hand-made paper clay from receipts, invoices, bills, and to-do lists of the artist, PVA glue, US $, sewing pins, cardboard, rice paper, dried poppy stems, and ink.

After the energy it took to stabilize my life at the onset of the pandemic, I had time to take stock of my own situation in relationship to my community and beyond. The pandemic has given me an opportunity to deepen my Zen practice through meditation and artmaking as well as through my role as a yoga teacher. One particular Zen practice has made holding the enormity of our times more accessible, The Four Vows.

The tiny scrolls hanging from the roof of the house sculpture are hand-written in Chinese calligraphy and contain the Zen Buddhist Four Vows. The Four Vows are chanted as a drone to meditate on impossible things. During the pandemic (and often, really) I meditate on equality for all beings. A world where there is no inequality based on race, wealth, education, age, gender, sexual preference, or anything inherent to being human. 

The bed of nails is an ancient Hindu yogic practice designed to help one reach beyond dogma, conformity, false truths, and misguided decisions to realize a higher truth. 
At the interior of the crumbling façade is money sinking on the bed of nails, not able to get beyond its dogma. The Four Vows hold the space around it to support clarity, strength and persistence to overcome a seemingly impossible vision – that all beings are honored and respected – an idealistic vision not attainable under capitalism.


Note on installation: This piece isn’t much to look at from the outside; it’s meant to be viewed close up, peeping through the holes past the façade. The alternative is to hold up a phone to take a picture of what’s inside.


Also note that the call to artists and submission deadline occurred prior to the violent death of George Floyd and the uprising of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Therefore, this discussion and experience is not present in the exhibition. I'm sure without a doubt that BLM and discussions of injustice against BIPOC would have been more prominent in the artwork. This in itself gives food for thought about how the world is changing and desperately needs to change.

Check out my paintings...

Pictured: Parthenos Sylvia, oil on canvas 18 x 24"
Dharma Resources...
Dharma titles written by queer, black authors:

“Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, & Liberation” by Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, and Jasmine Syedullah, Ph. D.
Dharma study:
Dharma practice:

Different practices resonate with different people at different times. Here are a few I've been able to embrace wholeheartedly to support decisions that are ethical and at the same time ambitious. The Four Vows are recited as a drone to approach insurmountable odds and impossible tasks with courage and tenacity. The Ten Grave Precepts can be as uplifting and inspiring as they can serious. They are a compass for life.
The Four Buddhist Vows (New York Zen Center)

Sentient beings are numberless; I vow to save them.
Delusions are inexhaustible; I vow to put an end to them.
The Dharmas are boundless; I vow to master them.
The Buddha Way is unattainable; I vow to attain it.
The Ten Grave Precepts
1. Affirm life; do not kill.
2. Be giving; do not steal.
3. Honor the body; do not misuse sexuality.
4. Manifest truth; do not lie.
5. Proceed clearly; do not cloud the mind.
6. See the perfection; do not speak of others.
7. Realize self and other as one; do not elevate the self and blame others.
8. Be generous; do not be withholding.
9. Actualize harmony; do not be angry.
10. Experience the intimacy of things; do not defile the three treasures.



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Copyright © 2020 Monica DiGiovanni | My Wild Beat, All rights reserved.

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