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

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Lion's Roar Back Bending Flow Workshop

tank Strawberry Shop $4.99, skirt vintage Peruna bought in London at Marks & Spencer, shades www.forever21.com, sandals in the background www.oldnavy.com along with a straw backpack from Maria Luisa boutique in Nyack, NY

Here I am back bending in one of my all time favorite temples, Davis Johnson Park & Gardens in Tenafly, New Jersey. Technically this is not a temple, it is the remaining stone base of the original home that stood on this property some time ago. I've been visiting this park since I was a teen and each time I step into this area I always seem to twirl around, look up towards the sky like Mary Tyler Moore and come up with a new yoga flow combination.

This Saturday July 23 at 3:30pm for about 2 hours I'll be teaching my most recent Davis Johnson Park sky gazing inspired movements @Bamboo Moves Yoga in Englewood, NJ. This workshop will be a moderately paced yoga back bend flow threaded with the Lion's Roar Buddhist wisdom.

In the third turning of the wheel of dharma the Buddha speaks of the lion's roar. The lion's roar is the fearless statement we make when we realize our wildest emotions is a workable situation and not something to be afraid of. Each time we roar...I'm referring to having a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment, this is military lingo for WTF!... it is a reminder to go deeper into our practice. During Saturday's class we will practice an easy to follow exercise you can take home with you where you will start approaching your life like a courageous and graceful lion rather than seeing the world coming to attack you like a hungry lion in an ancient Roman colosseum. 

As I look at this photo and once again internalize the teachings of the lion's roar, I can see how practicing yoga in this space always feels right to me as the stone lion gatekeepers, there's more than one on the premises, keeps a watchful eye out. When your awareness is sharp and you understand even the most extraordinary energies can't take you over, then there's no resistance. When you stay open, a rhythm happens which makes the yoga moves you practice on the mat seamlessly flow into the rest of your life.

I hope you can join us this Saturday as we unwind our tight shoulders, open our hearts along with understanding how a little lion's roar wisdom can accelerate healing our emotional and physical body.

Exchange $40 in advance & $50 day of

For more info please visit www.bamboomovesenglewood.com

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Feel Your Pain...an exercise

Davis Johnson Park & Gardens in Tenafly, New Jersey
What I love about my hometown Englewood, New Jersey and the neighboring towns is the tree lined streets and exquisite attention to parks.

This park used to be private property with a gorgeous estate upon it. Now only the stone base of the home exists. I love the regal lion sculptures who greet you as you walk into the house's original entry way while there's a lion in the distance on guard as well. Seeing the home's foundation still standing strong along with the lions as gate keepers allows one's imagination to wonder what living here must have been like.

As a teen I used to go to this park to sulk, chill and admire the flowers. I read way back in some fairy tale as a child that the fairies in the flowers throw you "Glamours" each time you gaze upon them. "Glamours" are beauty spells that makes everything look better than it usually appears. For a long time I thought if I spent more time looking into flowers it would make everything better.

Amongst friends as a teen I always won who had the longest tongue contest.

Now I'm not whining or being airy fairy in the park. Instead I'm exhaling in lion's breath while my hands are interlaced behind me creating a gentle heart opening back bend. You can't hear my roar. I'll assure you, today its a fierce one.

Sticking your tongue out on an exhale and roaring is a great tension tamer. Try it. I'm sure there must be some stress within you that can use a little unleashing.

If you have or haven't been following my blog posting I've been sharing that I've been experiencing a lot of emotional healing in regards to many areas of my life these days. In fact it feels like a roller coaster. One thing after another. I've also been noticing as I drive my car and look out the window it seems as though everything I pass by is moving forward with me. This must be what the books I read about a year or two ago meant by everything will accelerate as we get closer to the end of the Mayan calender, 2012.

I rarely get into the specifics of my pain and suffering because frankly it is endless. Isn't it true for you too? We all have a story line don't we? Isn't it part of the human menu? I don't believe you really need to know about the skeletons in my closet. Do you? Now that I think about it, isn't this why reading tabloids is so popular? There's some sort of twisted satisfaction in knowing that the modern day flawless on the outside Gods and Goddesses of the silver screen experience internal mortal everyday pain and suffering .

I'm wearing blue & green on the hottest of summer days because they are cooling colors.

I do believe the tabloids are threaded with untruths. They exhibit eye catching as well as silly pictures and stories. On the bright side of the trash magazine trade, from a healing perspective, more than once I've experienced reading a flashy headline which triggered my feeling center so deeply that my worst fear has been pulled out of the bottom of my heart and brought to the surface to feel and work towards healing. Imagine, all this emotional turmoil simply by waiting on a supermarket's check out line while glancing at some cheap magazines.

This mermaid look skirt is vintage and bought in London from a company named Peruna.

It's powerful when our heart opens up. Feelings are felt, a healing can occur and new doors can open if we release a layer of our pain and then do it again when we get triggered to feel it again. Before the heavenly gates with regal lions on each side can open up and let us into our paradise there's a whole slew of processing that needs to go on in between feeling your feelings and healing.

Shelf bra camisole top, Strawberry Shop $4.99. I inserted foam cups within the bra's shelf  for a smoother look.

The word processed reminds me of getting my hair colored, most fast foods, fruit punch or a pop tart. Yes, it takes a bunch of dye, chemicals and in some cases a little food to make what we usually refer to as processed. When it comes to our healing I'm referring to developing a little check list you can put into your emotional tool box to assist you.

Warrior 1 feet

When you get triggered to feel pain actively fight your mind from talking you out of feeling it. Becoming numb is a cop out. If this doesn't sell you on working on your personal self healing now, I can assure you if you don't heal what is showing up for you time and time again, do know it will never go away.

As I prepare to go into Warrior 1, I encourage my back leg's hip slightly forward and up.

When you feel pain which can take the form of dishonor, abandonment, anger which is the same as fear, jealousy, attachment (the same as greed), desire...whatever pain means to your feeling center not your mind...label your pain. If it is anger, say it to yourself and feel it. Notice if you can identify where this emotional pain resides in your physical body and then take a deep inhale.

I'm practicing Warrior 1 because it has a heart opening back bend which mixes nicely with my emotional healing.

Visualize your inhale bringing space, light and guidance into your physical and energetic body. As you exhale see this pain loosing a layer. Similar to what it would look like if one layer of paint chipped off a wall.

Sun glasses http://www.forever21.com/ necklace http://www.lailarowe.com/

Continue this exercise by taking another deep inhale, feel your pain and acknowledge where it is stored in your body. Exhale release and see a few more chips of suffering fall towards the earth.

Interlacing my hands in yoga mudra creates more of an upper chest & shoulder opening.
Once more take a deep inhale, feel your stuff along with the infected body part. Maybe it is your reproductive body, tight shoulders, a bad knee or a weak lower back. Visualize fresh blood and oxygen moving through you. As you exhale see your physical ailment becoming less chronic as your mental body becomes more expansive like a perfect blue sky on a sunny day while at the same time having laser pin point clarity.

My upper chest is full from my inhale, keeping me buoyant, as I transition into a front bent knee and onto the ball of my back foot with an exhale.

Three ultra conscious emotional healing breaths can be done anywhere.

At the bottom of my exhale I tighten my waistline and find flight as I continue to breathe in and out in Warrior 3.

All it takes is a little awareness and plenty of daily practice.

Bring your finger tips under your shoulders as you lengthen your heart forward & gaze like a bird in a tree, looking forward & down at us silly humans.
Nose dive down to kiss your knee as you slightly open your extended leg's hip.

A cooling transition.

From here I would move into a seated spinal twist.


A fashion healing:

These pictures were taken after I taught a yoga class. The outfit shown is my yoga cover up. Underneath my skirt I'm wearing black shorty tights. In summers past I would only wear capri tights during summer's heat. This season I'm digging deep and I'm working on myself. I gave away my capris and bought short tights to work on feeling the pain that comes up for me as I gaze in between my mushy thighs in downward facing dog.

You see, you can find a way to heal just about everything if you take a moment to realize where your pain is coming from. I'll give you a hint, my pain is not coming from my jelly thighs. Cleaning up my diet and developing a stricter exercise regimen never worked on making my thighs less dimply nor can I blame my parents for inheriting their legs. Our thighs don't look related. The pain that wells up for me as I gaze at my fleshy thighs is coming from my mind and all it's looping mind patterns.

Once again it is time to take 3 ultra conscious emotional healing breaths...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fierce Compassion: A Back Bending 4th Chakra Healing Yoga Workshop

lion's breath during an exhale with a yoga mudra shoulder opener

What do you see in the lion's roar? Fear, beauty, grace, strength, courage, love?

Have you ever had to speak up or break up with someone in either a personal or professional relationship? Perhaps you're experiencing a time when there's nothing you can do but surrender and internally scream. When you begin to experience the process of going towards your emotions, rather than blaming another and being a victim to your circumstance then your emotions are no longer coming towards you. Instead you begin your spiritual journey and a sense of dancing with your life in good, neutral and difficult times begins.

In the third turning of the wheel of dharma, the Buddha speaks of the lion's roar. The lion's roar is the fearless statement that anything that happens in our state of mind, including our wild emotions is like manure that can be weeded, receive new seeds and grow. When we roar, it is a reminder to go deeper into our practice.

On Saturday July 23 @ 3:30pm for 2 hours I will guide us through a back bending yoga flow practice where we will use innovative yoga therapy techniques and summer's natural heat and humidity to help loosen our tight neck and shoulders. Employing equal parts of precision and genntlenes, we will crack open our heart energy center along with understand how the lion's roar can accelerate healing our emotional body and lead us to our next stage of learning and growing. 

Where: Bamboo Moves Yoga in Englewood, New Jersey

Exchange $40 in advance $50 same day

Visit http://www.bamboomovesenglewood.com/ for more information and to register or call 201 871 7000

My weekly teaching schedule at Bamboo Moves Yoga in Englewood:

Tuesdays  11:45am  Basics  1hr 30min

Thursdays  11:30am  Basics  1hr 30min 

Visit my Bamboo Moves Yoga blog at http://www.bamboomovesenglewood.com/ & Click on the orange B and read about Beginner's Ayurveda and how to beat the summer heat naturally.

Friday, July 1, 2011

How to Pack Lightly Both Inside & Out


Turbulent personal events that have happened in the last few months keep on popping through my consciousness and show up on some level during my daily interactions. As a result I've been connecting to my emotional body nearly every moment of the day and I feel my spiritual growth is on high speed ahead. Could it be the cosmic result of 2 eclipses in the last month, the Summer Solstice on June 21st along with July 1st's New Moon solar eclipse? Energetically I feel the celestial sway is forcing our life's lessons to explode in front of us now so that we can move closer in towards our garbage which makes us fearful, angry and wondering "Why me?"

I guess we can no longer just brush our filth under the carpet and leave it to handle for another day.

I'm writing about this icky stuff because based on my recent personal life experiences and listening to after yoga class stories friends have been sharing with me regarding their emotional lives being put to the test, it seems as though no one is being let off free from feeling their emotions these days?

gold toned mala beads http://www.forever21.com/

When my husband went to a real estate sustainability conference in Monterey, California just a few weeks ago I thought how nice it would be to meet up with him and have a little breathing space for a day or two in Northern California, my Utopia. I'm referring to a space that is like the place you get transported to during a good yoga session where your consciousness feels calm, free, and present. When I go there I always see a cliff, an ocean far below the cliff and a flowered meadow in the distance. All of this is graced by golden sunlight. I see this scene exactly how the French Impressionist 19th Century painter Monet would've painted it. I'm not exactly sure where this magical space is in the physical world however I know exactly where to go in my consciousness to spend time there. What most probably inspired my thoughts into creating this escape was way back in college I remember going out west to San Francisco with a girlfriend for a trip. One day we rented a car and drove south of San Francisco. Here I felt as free as a bird and I saw something like my present day's paradise realm. With Monterey Bay being two hours south of San Francisco I thought I could mini retreat into this soothing space for real with my dear Amit.

vintage trench vest http://www.forever21.com/

In the pictures shown I'm in Monterey, California. Since I went for 2 days my packing was light. Monterey is a tourist filled beach town however it's not in June what you would imagine a California beach town would be like. Notice my sweater and jacket. Since Amit went to Cali days ahead of me he warned me about Monterey's chilly weather.

Whenever I head out of town regardless of a temperature warning I always research my travel destination's weather on http://www.weather.com/ a week or so in advance. I keep checking it until I pack a day or two before my trip. Between Amit's advice and my weather tracking I learned I would need to pack for chilly in the morning weather, mildly warm in the sun at noon and light jacket worthy in the evening. This forecast calls for layering fashion.

Once I have the weather forecast as a guide I develop a little story line in my thoughts. For this trip I came up "Nippy Nautical." Monterey being a beach town, I felt a sea shore look would be perfect. Since I was staying at The Hyatt Golf Club, I knew a preppy look was a go too. Because I don't wear preppy well there would have to be a little tragically hip mixed with a prepster thing going on.

Last March, Ralph Lauren's shop "Rugby's" windows by our house in Greenwich Village was my hipster, preppy & nautical inspiration for this trip. Although I can't afford his clothes at this point in time I watch his window's styling with eagle eyes. Sometimes I even take snapshots of the mannequins in the windows and refer to the styling combos often. Because his looks are not on the way to yoga class looks, I always add a little Glamorous Yogini flair to my version.

Days before my trip I did what I call mental prep packing. This means I thought about what was in my closet that would fit into the "Nippy Nautical" story line. The next step was searching, gathering and weeding out within my closet all the nautical stripes, dark navy, red, camel, cream, gold, and white that is nippy by the seashore, hip prepster friendly in addition to having a yogini edge. I usually do this sort of stuff at midnight when all the boys are asleep. I then examine what I already own and sort out a few outfits.

I stick to my color story. If a pair of jeans has silver hard ware it gets booted out because I'm going with gold accents for this trip. I do this so the accessories and jewelry I pack matches. If you start adding silver, brass and pewter looks then you'd might as well bring everything in your accessory department. My suggestion is stick to one color hardware on your clothes, jewelry and shoes. Yes, your shoes might have hardware that can clash with your outfit.

You may feel this is obsessive but you'll experience if you try this method you will cut down on the amount of stuff you pack. As well as not paying extra once you check your bags in at the airport.

3/4 length sleeve red cardigan http://www.forever21.com/

As I moved through my conscious packing ritual I was surprised to see how many "Nippy Nautical" options came through my closet. This past spring I did very little nautical inspired shopping. I only purchased one pair of gold flecked boat shoes, a faux sea shell necklace with matching earrings and two striped tees when the store shelves were rockin' nautical looks.

The editing is the trick. Not bringing it all with you. That is where having a color story that you follow to the T including coordinating make up and nail polish will lighten your arms as you move to and through your travel destination.

Another bonus to this packing method is when you arrive at your destination you'll be able to coordinate more outfits out of what few looks you brought in no time. Why? Because everything already matches.

How to travel light made easy:

1. Have a story line.

2. Stick to a color story and don't slip anything in your bag that doesn't coordinate with it.

3. Don't worry about having packed too little.

gold flecked boat shoes http://www.forever21.com/

Doesn't it look like fall in June with the red leaves on the grass.

Here you see me preparing my shoulders to gently morph into my peaceful Warrior 2 and then into an extra special half moon pose. I believe my breathing room and a little extra sleep this morning has made me over ambitious.

light weight floral scarf http://www.oldnavy.com/

Packing lightly has become my speciality since I moved out of a New Jersey suburban house and into a New York City apartment years ago. When you live in an over crowded city you learn how to live minimally quickly. Some don't mind the overstuffing however I prefer to live in a space that is not over congested including my junk drawers.

I live by the motto of, if you haven't worn it, read it or used it for a year's time give it away to someone who could benefit from it. This is what I call GYing it. A Glamorous Yogini keeps on shedding her old stuff, accepting all the new that comes through while moving deeper into his/her truth.

I can advise you on packing consciously and lightly however I can't guarantee that you won't bring everything with you anyway. Here I'm referring to our minds. You know what I'm talking about, the endless inner chatter about our to do list and worries. Regardless of my yoga practice I'll let you know my inner chatter came with me on the plane and my ego's voice is even louder than before now that my daily routine is off. My ego is fighting for control.

What do you do when your inner voice is screaming "Hey, pay attention to me!" Do you numb it with wine, food, shopping and sex? Well, sometimes. However these techniques are fun for a moment but short lived.

striped tank http://www.forever21.com/
I've noticed a common thread regarding the Masters. I'm referring to enlightened souls like Thitch Nat Han, Paramahansa Yogananda, Krishnamurti, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and many others. They teach breathing techniques as a form of slowing your mind down and achieving presence. They also suggest letting go. How about including feeling? The emotional release. When those feelings come up not your ego's story line of "What if? How? Where? Why me?" I'm referring to what you need to heal, maybe it is feelings of dishonor, loss of a loved one or abandonment from your family, friends possibly your colleagues. When these feelings come up I've experienced success by consciously taking them in to feel during my next inhale, then exhaling as a means to start releasing these feelings out from my emotional body little by little.

first layer white shelf bra cami http://www.strawberryshop.com/
When I do this I start feeling a little more calm and grounded. I believe it is because I've asked my ego to take a hike as I connect to my feelings, breath and present moment. For a few moments at least within my consciousness I can stand in my power rather then as a victim.

navy tights http://www.americanapparel.com/
I hope this emotional release technique can help lighten your mind's load as you travel or not this summer.

If none of this babble makes sense I recommend trying it anyway. When you're confused that means your ego doesn't know what to do and you heighten your chances of hearing your divine guidance.

As far as the posture choreography in the photos. You can see here how my extended side angle is mutating into...

sunglasses http://www.forever21.com/
A bound extended side angle.

earrings http://www.lailarowe.com/

I look down for grounding and balance.

As I position myself to lift my back leg.

A bound 1/2 moon pose is so hard. Wearing boat shoes and standing on the grass it's even worse.

This tree makes a good wall out here in nature. Here I can place my hands on the tree (not my butt) for support as I work towards slowing my mind down as I watch my breath, balance, lengthen my grounded leg and rebind my hands.

Ahhh! Freedom and flight at last!

My view above as I freely ride my bound 1/2 moon.

A photo of Carmel by the sea. 20 minutes or so south of Monterey, California.