Healing and becoming whole with nature, beauty and yoga's wisdom.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Valentine's Day Couple's Yoga Workshop at Birchwood Center Nyack, NY




    My Mother is from Ecuador and to acquaint me with her culture and family I spent my childhood summers in South America. Here I was introduced to yoga sometime in my pre teen years by my yogini Grandmother. She did breath exercises, yoga postures and meditations at home and often referred to and quoted her spiritual teacher Paramahansa Yogananda. I have many good memories of going to yoga class with her. When I returned home from my summers in South America I didn't seek out yoga until later in my life. I believe my early introduction to yoga and having experienced its calming, grounding and empowering benefits made it a first pick lifestyle choice when lets say life's waves got very rocky. I've come to learn having a yoga practice has a way of making you a better surfer through life's highs, lows and neutral moments.

     This February I'm happy to share that I am leading a Valentine's Day Couple's Workshop Saturday February 17th from 2:30-5pm that's designed for couples and partners ages 10 years old and up at Birchwood Center in Nyack, NY.

     This special class is for all levels and will be perfect for someone who is brand new to yoga. In this heart opening class you will ground, center and warm up alongside your partner, followed by easy partner yoga poses that will relax your neck and shoulders and strengthen and stretch your back body. We will conclude our practice with a nurturing restorative pose and final relaxation. Participants are invited to stay for refreshments and community at 4:30pm.


     $60 per couple 

     Early Bird Special! $50 per couple if purchased by February 14th

     Please Visit   www.birchwoodcenter.com   for more information and to register



Monday, December 18, 2017

Winter Solstice Meditation: Grace

 



   Grace can be understood from a spiritual context or with physicality to describe how one moves with ease and beauty. The quality of grace I'm reflecting on during these last dark days of December is how it mysteriously appeared several times for me this past year and filled the void that absolutely needed a lift. Grace is a blessing. A bridge that brings you to the other side. It's like touching the divine and not being able to hug it for long. Similar to water, grace slips through your fingers and leaves you feeling refreshed. It is a light that swoops in to free and heal us.

   I believe grace is a feeling we seek this time of year as we let go of what was and prepare for what will be in the New Year. As we celebrate the holidays, light candles and await the rebirth of the sun perhaps you can consider meditating on the gift of grace in your life. How has it touched you?



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Gratitude and Forgiveness Meditation




   A couple of weeks ago I taught an open level vinyasa flow yoga class at Bamboomoves Yoga in Englewood, New Jersey on Thanksgiving Day. Being that Englewood is my hometown, teaching on a high energy day like Thanksgiving gave me a little extra rush of joy that's pretty much indescribable. At Bamboomoves we had a full house of eager to practice students. There were some people present I've known most of my life in addition to the daily crew who brought family and friends.

   What stood out most for me was the lovely energy that filled the room at the end of class as the class rested in a heart opening restorative yoga pose. Here I guided everyone into a Gratitude/Forgiveness Meditation. I'm taking the time to post this guided meditation because I was inspired by this group meditation. Also because the teachings of gratitude and forgiveness have helped me tremendously. Although there's times I may forget to embody gratitude and forgiveness, I've come to learn there's always another day to start again.


    Gratitude/Forgiveness Meditation


    Recline on your back with your arms extended at heart height. Palms face up. You can also try the folded blanket under the arms and behind your shoulder blades option as shown in the photo above. Extend your legs with your feet hip width apart. Let your knees and feet turn out. If your lower back feels tension place a folded blanket or pillows under your knees to ease your low back body.

   Close your eyes. Let go of your last conversation and relax your body. Notice the tidal quality of your natural breath. Let go and rest.

   Gratitude, being thankful opens you to attract abundance. Forgiveness connects you to your highest self. Finding forgiveness is a step towards gratitude and abundance because you need to let go of resentments, anger, fear and all that's negative to make the space to receive the many gifts that await you. From this open and receptive space is where you can create. Creations that will serve you and many more. If you hold onto resentments and anger you block your positive flow. Clinging onto judgements creates a very thick wall around you. You hurt yourself, those around you and possibly strangers. Letting go and forgiving yourself, your enemy and whatever it is that ails you will remove this wall and overtime change your situation.



   Visualize what you are ready to forgive.

   Rest

   Visualize what you are grateful for.

   Rest

   Visualize abundance and joy.

   Rest

   Visualize what you can give.

   Rest

   Repeat to yourself "I will stay open. I will stay open. I will stay open and not get stuck within one opinion and sit in judgement."


   Deepen your breath, make easy movements to transition into sitting in a comfortable crossed legged position. Sit for a few moments in silence before you go on with your day.



   *Special thanks to Dada J.P. Vaswani from the Sadhu Vaswani Mission in Pune, India and his teachings on Gratitude and Forgiveness. The next International Moment of Calm is August 2nd at 2pm for 2 minutes where you can join many people around the world get quiet, forgive and receive plenty of freedom as a result.



Monday, November 20, 2017

My Thanksgiving Week Yoga Teaching Schedule




     There's always something to be grateful for. Let's celebrate it. If you have some free time this Thanksgiving week I would love to see you and your loved ones on the mat. If not have a Happy Thanksgiving!





Tuesday   9:15 am   Level 2/3   1 hr and 30 min   www.birchwoodcenter.com   Nyack, NY


                12 noon   Gentle Warrior   1 hr and 30 min    www.bamboomovesenglewood.com    Englewood, NJ   
                 



              
Wednesday   11:45 am   Gentle Plus Yoga   1 hr and 15 min   www.birchwoodcenter.com   Nyack, NY 





Thursday   9:30am   Gratitude Yoga Flow Open Level (level 1/2)   1 hr and 30 min   www.bamboomovesenglewood.com   Englewood, NJ





Friday   9:30 am   Level 2/3   1 hr and 30 min   www.birchwoodcenter.com   Nyack, NY 




Thursday, November 9, 2017

Bandhas/Inner Locks Inspiration



 

     To understand the bandhas, our inner locks, we must tap into our energy body. The fastest way there is to sit still, close your mouth and deepen your breath through your nose. Eventually you can pause for a brief moment at the bottom of your exhales while contracting your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles as well as bowing your chin down to your chest. This action of contraction are the bandhas. However the work is refining your breath and finding the subtle muscular work needed to find your inner locks. This requires plenty of time studying with a skilled teacher and your imagination.


      This Bandhas post is inspired by my teaching last week about the inner locks at Ramapo College of New Jersey's 200hr Yoga Teacher Training special Bandhas Study class. Below are a few notes on our 3 most sought after inner locks:


Mula Bandha- 

   
     Mula means root or foundation. It is located within the perineum. A beginner way to find it is to contract your pelvic floor muscles. Overtime the contraction is more central within the perineal body and less focused within the anus and urogenital muscles. The benefits of engaging mula bandha is our exhale, our downward wind called apana vayu meets our inhale, our upward wind called prana vayu. This meeting creates that wonderful and healthy yoga bliss zone state that keeps us coming back for more yoga.


Uddiyana Bandha-


      Uddiyana means flying upward. To find it contract your abdominal muscles in and upwards after a complete exhalation. This lock sits within our fire center, our third chakra. This bandha burns the impurities that weigh us down and replenishes our well. Engaging this lock strengthens the core body and massages the heart.



Jalandhara Bandha-


      Jala means a net or web. To find it drop the chin to the chest. This energetic net catches the nectar, amrita that drips down from the crown chakra. This nectar would be burned within the fire of the belly if this lock is not engaged. Jalandhara bandha regulates blood flow to the heart, neck and head. Similar to mula bandha, engaging jalandhara bandha encourages the upward wind, prana vayu to meet with the downward wind apana vayu. This union balances our energy in a beautiful way.



Monday, November 6, 2017

Bandhas Yoga Study at Ramapo College of NJ

Containing your Inner Light


     After taking your first few yoga classes you will start recognizing the Sanskrit words that are being used. Words like prana, namaste and Om are most likely said during class even if your teacher chooses not to speak much Sanskrit. Eventually you will hear "engage your bandhas." This is a popular cue that means way more than squeezing your pelvic body, abs and dropping your chin down to your chest. However doing all that squeezing on the bottom of your exhales is a good place to start. Over time those bandha contractions become more subtle and the energetic result of engaging your bandhas creates a distinctive and positive energetic shift.

      To start the definition of bandhas is locks. More specifically the energetic locks that can be found within our body by controlling our breath. Traditionally bandhas were considered powerful and advanced Tantric practices that were done for positively affecting your body's subtle energy and not for structural support while standing in Warrior poses and beyond. Classically it is only called bandha work if it is practiced in a seated position with a purpose of energy management by way of breath work.

      However I'm guilty of so many times in class saying "engage your bandhas" as a quick cue to encourage my students to contract their pelvic floor, abdominals and neck muscles while in more difficult postures. I guess you can call an "engage your bandhas" cue while in a Warrior pose, a bandha like movement or simply a pelvic, abdominal and possibly a neck contraction. Trust me, there's a benefit to the quick and easy "engage your bandhas" cue whether you are seated in its cross legged origins or sustaining a Warrior pose. We will talk more about this distinction and the specifics of the bandhas, their energy body anatomy, benefits and easy to understand ways to teach and practice bandha work this coming Friday Nov. 10th 6-9pm at Ramapo College of NJ within the Krame Center. This special Bandha Yoga Study class is part of Ramapo College of NJ's 200hr Yoga Teacher Training and is open to drop in students.

    Please visit www.ramapo.edu for more information.