Loving life with nature, beauty and yoga's wisdom.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

3 Virtues- 3 Rituals Yoga Study Circle at Birchwood Center

Seeing light within the darkness with 3 Virtues- 3 Rituals.

     Seeing light within the darkness is so much better when you're not alone and rather with a loving and all embracing community like we have at Birchwood Center in Nyack, New York. This coming Friday evening Nov. 16th at 7pm-8:30pm, I'm leading a Yoga Study Circle called 3 Virtues- 3 Rituals. Here we will focus on 3 heart opening and healing meditative rituals to find Forgiveness, Compassion and Gratitude.

      First I will lead us through a Tonglen meditation. What is Tonglen meditation? Tonglen means taking and sending. Tonglen is a Buddhist heart healing meditation which enables us to take in pain and send out relief for ourselves, for other people and for the world. This loving kindness mediation helps us to realize and remember that we are not the only ones feeling pain and suffering. This practice helps us to think bigger and move out of our own misery, joy or neutral everyday feelings of boredom. Practicing Tonglen is a Compassion meditation which gives us a sense of shared humanity. This feeling of unity is what heals feelings of isolation, darkness and aggression that we feel.

      I will then lead us through a hand Mudra meditation which will focus on heart opening hand gestures. I will break down and explain each mudra followed by putting them all together into a hand yoga mudra flow. Anyone can do this practice. Its up to you to sit or stand. We will conclude this mudra flow with an easy to chant heart healing mantra.

     Finally I will lead us through a beautiful Gratitude/Forgiveness meditation that will prep your energy for the Thanksgiving Holiday ahead. Please join us and consider bringing a friend who you feel may benefit.

     Please visit birchwoodcenter.com to register for this special event.


Monday, November 12, 2018

Bandhas/Inner Locks Yoga Wisdom

   This Bandhas post is inspired by my recent teaching about our inner energetic locks at Ramapo College of New Jersey's 200hr Yoga Teacher Training special Bandhas Study class. I hope these notes enlightens this topic. It sure takes imagination, patience and practice to embody these energetic teachings.

    In yoga we have the 5 Koshas. They are 5 body sheaths. The 1st is Annamaya Kosha which is the physical flesh and bones layer of us. Then there's the Pranayama Kosha which is the energy body sheath. It's considered our subtle body or you can call it our pranic body. Pranayama Kosha includes the nadis which are energetic channels that run through us. Sushumna nadi is the central channel which holds the chakras. Within Pranayama Kosha we also find the Vayus which are the 5 characteristics of our prana. You can visualize the 5 Vayus as energetic patterns that are found within the breathing cycle.

    At first there are 2 Vayus that are important to understand to connect to the Bandhas. Prana Vayu which is our inhale, originates at the diaphragm and moves upward to the collarbones and expands into the chest. Apana Vayu, the exhale is found in the navel and moves down into the pelvic floor. It is a downward and inward aspect of our breath. Mula Bandha is an energetic lock that stops that downward breath from spilling down and outward. Mula Bandha moves Apana Vayu up. It's an energetic concept which lightens one's jump to the top of the mat, assists you to lift your feet off the floor in crow pose and much more. When you find Mula Bandha there's a grace and a feeling of strength that comes over you. You can't miss it when it happens.

    Uddiyana Bandha is found in the navel center. Uddiyana means flying up. Imagine an energetic bird flying up from your core body and upward when you exhale. When you engage this mid body lock Samana Vayu, the belly breath aspect of your pranic body is stimulated. Engaging Uddiyana Bandha tones the abdomen and lower back in addition to healing and strengthening your digestive body.

     As we move up the Bandha body we arrive to the neck, where we find Jalandhara Bandha. It's a gesture. A subtle bowing of the chin. It's where the mind and eyes bow to the rising chest and heart. While practicing Pranayama, breath control, yoga philosophy suggests that the rising in breath needs to be redirected and contained within the torso by engaging Jalandhara Bandha. Visualize this Bandha as an energetic net which catches the in breath and lets all that good prana float around the throat which utilizes Udana Vayu as well as directs your healing prana to the chest to energize the heart center where you will find Vyana Vayu.

      There are so many layers to these energetic teachings. My suggestion in learning and embodying these Sanskrit words and energy body concepts is to simply show up on your mat and practice. Eventually you will feel it all.

Monday, November 5, 2018

November's Special Event Offerings

I'm wearing beautiful crystal healing Amazonite necklaces by my yogini friend Susan Durbec. You can find her creations on Facebook by liking her page Earthworks by Susan

      November's brighter mornings and darker nights makes winter and the New Year feel so near. Yet we have a little bit more time to reflect and let go of the past year before Thanksgiving starts the Holiday season. I have a few teachings I'm offering this November that just may prepare you to usher in 2019 from a grounded and peaceful state.

      Bandhas, Mudras and Vayus subtle body energy teachings Friday Nov. 9th  6pm-9pm at Ramapo College of NJ. This special class is 1/2 lecture and 1/2 posture and meditation practice. This teaching is designed for Ramapo College's 200hr Yoga Teacher Training and is available for drop in students. Please see ramapo.edu for more information.

      3 Virtues 3 Rituals is a Yoga Study Circle I'm leading Friday Nov. 16th  7-8:30pm at Birchwood Center for Yoga and Massage in Nyack, New York. As yogis and yoginis we strive to embody Compassion, Gratitude and Forgiveness. In this special class I will lead us through 3 different rituals which employ meditation, mudras and mantras to fully experience these three heart opening and healing virtues. Please visit birchwoodcenter.com for more information and to register.

     Gratitude Yoga Flow is a special Thanksgiving Day Class I'm teaching Thursday November 22nd  9:30am-11am at Bamboomoves Yoga in Englewood, NJ. It is an Open Level Vinyasa Flow class which is similar to a Level 1/2 class. This class will include a very special Gratitude inspired mediation while in a heart opening restorative yoga posture. Please visit bamboomovesenglewood.com for more information and to register.

Friday, October 26, 2018

7 Wheels of Light- Chakra Study at Ramapo College of NJ

Svadhisthana Chakra/2nd Chakra 

     Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means wheel of light. Long ago in India it was realized that we have many chakras or you can call them energy centers within the body. The great sages suggest there are 7 chakras for us to be concerned with. Imagine them as 7 wheels of rainbow colored light that run up our spine and towards the crown of our head. When our chakras are open and balanced a smooth flow of energy runs through us. This leads to good health. When the chakras are blocked or closed disease sets in.

     This post is my gift of chakra online notes and art I created for the Ramapo College of New Jersey 200hr Yoga Teacher Trainees to enhance their understanding of our energy body. There's so much more to understanding and balancing the chakras but I feel gazing into this art and reading through each chakra's Sanskrit name, color, emotional, mantra and physical associations are a great way to start the healing and balancing process.

     Muladhara Chakra means our Root Chakra. This 1st Chakra is red in color and found within the base of our pelvis. It governs emotions related to our survival. Think our fight or flight instinct. Our money, home and family sits within this center. It is blocked or closed when our survival needs are not met. We can spend a lot of time stuck in this center. To heal and open it we must ground ourselves. Take off your shoes, feel the earth and do your yoga practice. This consistent grounding work will assist you in developing a firm foundation to grow from. The mantra is LAM. Its element is earth and its glandular association is with the adrenals. The sound of the drums strengthens this center.

Affirmation- "I am safe."

     Svadhisthana Chakra meaning the sweet abode of self is our 2nd Chakra. It is orange in color and located between our reproductive organs and sacrum. It houses our feelings of pleasure and creativity. When you love yourself and I mean really love yourself, you can feel pleasure. When you feel pleasure, you can create anything you want such as a relationship, cook a delicious meal to decorating a room. Finding self love, pleasure and being creative will balance your 2nd Chakra. What closes it is living a life of dislike and following someone else's lead. The mantra is VAM, its element is water and its glandular association is the testes, gonads and ovaries.

Affirmation- "I feel pleasure and I create."

     Manipura Chakra, meaning city of the shining jewel, is our 3rd Chakra. It sits within our navel and its color is yellow. It is where our ego, our power,  is born. Our will to do anything comes from this center. Fire is its element and it is related to everything we digest from food to emotions. Our gut knowing can be called our second mind. This center is blocked or closed when we consume unhealthy food or stay in a job or relationship we no longer vibe with. To heal this center be true to your wishes and reach for your dreams. The mantra is RAM and its gland is the pancreas and spleen.

Affirmation- "I am powerful."

     Anahata Chakra, meaning unstruck sound (the sound of two forces that don't touch) is the 4th Chakra. Green in color it resides within the center of our chest. It is where we learn to balance loving ourself and others. The first three chakras were self serving. The 4th chakra brings us out of ourselves and into a relationship with others. It is blocked when we are guilty and question ourselves for doing this or that. How to heal it is to be open. To equally receive and give love. To serve others and mean it. Its mantra is YAM. Its element is air and the gland it is associated with is the thymus gland. The sound of the piano and stringed instruments like the violin soothe this chakra.

Affirmation- "I am love."

     Visshuda Chakra, means clear, is the 5th Chakra. This chakra is blue in color and resides within the throat. It governs our speech. Do you speak too little or too much? Both are not good. You need to balance your speech to have a healthy throat chakra. Lying to others and lying to yourself by not saying what you mean closes the throat chakra. Listen to yourself and listen to others. This will help you purify your speech heal your throat chakra. The mantra is HAM. The element is ether. Its glandular association is with the thyroid.

Affirmation- "My words are blessings."

     Ajna Chakra, means "I see" and "I command." It is the 6th Chakra and is commonly referred to as the third eye because it sits at the center of the brow line. It is the purple colored chakra that brings us out of the senses and into a higher realm of our consciousness. It is the center from where our beliefs are born. It is blocked or closed when we see things in one way or it's the highway. To heal and open it you must sit in your own truth and see beyond the Maya which is a Sanskrit word which means the illusions of the world. This helps you to understand why things are the way they are. The mantra is OM. The sound of the flute eases this chakra and the glandular association is the pineal gland.

Affirmation- "I understand and see the truth."

     The Sahasrara Chakra, means the crown chakra, it is the 7th Chakra. Its color is white and it resides on top of the head. When this chakra is open there is no black and white. There is no duality. There is only ONENESS and pure connection to everything. When this chakra is blocked or closed let's just say your WIFI is not working. The mantra is OM and ringing bells soothes this center. The glandular association is the pituitary gland.

Affirmation- "I am peace."

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Chakra Study at Ramapo College of New Jersey

7 Wheels of Light Art

      This coming Friday October 26th from 6pm-9pm I'm leading the Chakra Study Yoga Workshop at Ramapo College of New Jersey. I love sharing this teaching because when I learned about the chakras my life changed in a extraordinary way for the better.
       Chakra is a Sanskrit word which means wheel of light. In ancient times in India it was realized that there are many energy centers within the body. The great sages and teachers suggest there are 7 of them to be concerned with. These energy centers are responsible for letting a smooth flow of energy to move throughout your body. When all 7 chakras are open you have perfect health. When a chakra is closed or blocked you become ill. I personally use this wisdom to improve my health. As the years go by and I observe my energy body, I am amazed by what it teaches me about myself.

      In this workshop you will learn how to open the 7 chakras, how to balance them and the science of the chakras. This special event workshop is 1/2 lecture and 1/2 easy to follow yoga and meditation practice. Please bring a yoga mat and wear comfortable clothing to move in.

     This teaching is part of the Ramapo College's 200hr Yoga Teacher Training. Drop in students are welcome to join for $35. We are meeting in The Krame Center at Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ. Please visit ramapo.edu for more information.

Monday, October 8, 2018

October's Special Event Offerings

Tandavasana/Pose dedicated to Lord Shiva Cycle of Life Dance Pose
wardrobe by www.whbm.com
Hudson River View and a White Clematis Blossom

    I'm offering 3 special events this October. The 1st event honors October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. If you or someone you know has experienced pregnancy or infant loss, this coming Sunday October 14th 2pm-4pm is Griffin's Giving Fund's 3rd Annual Remembrance Ceremony and Reception at the Taub Family Education Center in Englewood Health at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Englewood, NJ.

    This event is FREE and open to the community. It will include music, art and time for reflection. I will speak as well as lead us through a heart healing seated meditation which includes gentle movement that's designed for all levels to easily follow. Extended family, friends and children are welcome. Complimentary parking is available. Please RSVP to perinatalbereavementteam@ehmchealth.org or call 201-894-3635.

    There's still time to sign up to The Path of Wisdom 40hr Yoga Training which starts at Bamboomoves Yoga in Englewood, NJ Friday Oct. 19th at 6pm. This training is designed for yoga practitioners and or yoga teachers who are seeking inspiration. Whether it's to get back on the mat, learn new sequencing, how to play the harmonium or diving deeper into the Yoga Sutras and energy body. Whatever you seek I'm sure there will be something for you. Please visit www.bamboomovesenglewood.com for more details and dates. This training is accredited by the Yoga Alliance for 40hrs.

    Finally on Friday October 26th 6pm-9pm I will be leading my favorite special teaching of the year, the Chakras Study Workshop at Ramapo College of New Jersey. This teaching is part of Ramapo College's 200hr Yoga Teacher Training. Fortunately it is open to drop in students for $35. The Chakra Study is half lecture and half easy to follow asana posture practice followed by a wonderful chakra balancing meditation. My advice is to share the love and bring a friend. Please visit www.ramapo.edu for directions. We will be meeting at the Krame Center.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

NEW Classes-Creative Core Conditioning at Birchwood Center Nyack, NY

   This week I started teaching Level 1 and Level 2/3 Creative Core Conditioning Classes at Birchwood Center for Yoga and Massage in Nyack, New York. CCC classes are upbeat barefoot body sculpting classes which focuses on strengthening your abdomen and lower back as well as toning your buttocks, chest and arms.

   So far the enthusiasm from the students participating has been amazing. I'm so grateful to have this opportunity to share what I've learned so far in both fitness and yoga. I realized this year that I've been teaching for 30 years. I started teaching body sculpting classes and aerobics when I was 18 years old. Around the time of 9/11  I was teaching and practicing both yoga and fitness. Deeply saddened by profound loss, I slowly stepped away from fitness and focused on healing with deeper yoga study and teaching yoga. Today I'm humbled and extremely grateful to reunite within my teachings the healing and strengthening benefits of both fitness and yoga at www.birchwoodcenter.com

Please join us-

Mondays   10am   1hr   Level 1   This class is excellent for brand-new beginners, Gentle Yogis and Yoginis and Level 1 practitioners.

Thursdays   9:15am   1hr   Level 2/3   This class is perfect for those of you who really want to feel the burn.

Be prepared to have fun and get stronger so that we can live healthier lives.