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

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fire in the Belly workshop, Igniting Your New Year's Dreams

As we wind down from Christmas celebrations and wait for the clock to strike 12 on New Year's Eve, whispers of New Year's dreams run through our consciousness. This time last year I asked myself "Is what I wish for really what I want to attract?" As a result of listening, being truthful with myself and giving up a few things to do the work to attract what I love during 2012, my wishes slowly came through. Surprisingly they showed up with different characters and story lines than I imagined. The saying "Be careful what you wish for" sure has meaning for me as I reflect on the past year and sit in a new reality.

With the holiday's upbeat pace sometimes finding the quiet time to reflect on the past year and attract newness that's to your liking for the new year gets lost. Therefore after the bubbly is done clouding up your consciousness and the holiday fuss is over, during the second Saturday of the New Year, January 12th at 3:30 pm for 2 hours, I will be leading a workshop that's perfect for getting clear on what you wish to attract in 2013 called Fire in Your Belly, Igniting Your New Year's Dreams at www.bamboomovesenglewood.com

In this workshop I will guide you to:

Physically strengthen the 3rd chakra, the belly and lower back by way of practicing yoga postures. Manipura chakra, the 3rd chakra is the energy center from which yogis, shamans and reiki masters suggest your knowing of yourself, your gut instincts and personal power is born.

We will uncover whether your desires come from your own truth or the voices of others in your head.

Discuss how a clear mind can nourish and maintain a healthy body.

Learn 5 techniques you can practice today to keep your dreams coming towards you while still living in the moment.

Click into workshops at www.bamboomovesenglewood.com to register

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bringing the Outside In

A flowering Zygo Christmas cactus and Buddha sitting on my kitchen window sill. See the orbs of light.

I've always been a fan of bringing nature indoors. However lately I've been doing so more than usual as I feel the meditation that comes with creating sacred spaces with natural elements in my home is healing my saddened heart and swirling mind from the destruction of hurricane Sandy, last Friday's horrific school shooting in Connecticut and also a myriad of personal events I've recently been moving through.

As we sit in the darkest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and await the sun's rebirth on Friday December 21st, the Winter Solstice, we can receive a ray of hope if we choose as it is the highly prophesied end to the Mayan calender. The legend suggests a New Earth that will be rich in truth and boundless compassion will emerge. It is hard to believe these days if you watch the news, read the paper or check your friend's status on Face book. Therefore I've been finding it helpful to do as our spiritual ancestors did days before the Winter Solstice. Like them I've been meditating on the shadows of my psyche and working towards dispelling what's dark from my consciousness by taking plenty of deep breaths, candlelight gazing, going on long silent walks and ahhh yes, making sacred spaces with a variety of natural influences.

Ancient Europeans started the tradition of bringing evergreens into the home days before December 21st, winter's advent. They did so because evergreens remain green all year round and are regarded as symbols of immortality, rebirth and resurrection set against a barren winter. Here are a few ways other than the standard Christmas tree and wreath on how I brought the outdoors in since Thanksgiving. I didn't limit myself to only using evergreens as I find the silhouette of barren branches, the color of Christmas flowering and the drape of red & green ribbons are just as mesmerizing as they equally stir the energy of new things to come.

My husband Amit's Aries Ram head, gifted ? and dressed for the holidays.

Baby boy blue rustic toddler chair www.saffrontradingcompany.com with store bought white painted branches, vintage vase and ornanment

A hallway bench www.saffrontradingcompany.com with a gifted elfin Santa

A Buddha like wooden owl www.potterybarn.com leftover Thanksgiving dried flowers in a heavyweight vase www.ikea.com and a bouquet of greens turned upside down

More white painted branches in a gifted cobalt vase www.tiffany.com gives an icy & wintry look

After hurricane Sandy I found this perfect piece of driftwood along a riverside path. It perfectly rests along a lonely corner in my home. I adorned it with ceramic bells that I cut off from a very tangled bell chime I had hiding in a closet. Also tons of marsh stalks were destroyed from Sandy's blow. I took two that were salvageable and put them in a tall and weighted vase alongside my new found wooden addition.

Cinnamon scented pine cones in a vintage platter resting on the floor. It is the first thing you smell as you open the front door.

Happy Winter Solstice & Peace on Earth!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Breaking Holiday Expectations

Red berry wreath and blue paint. A cheerful color combination.

During the holiday season it is easy for many people to feel disappointed and let down rather than peaceful and joyous. I guess it is because most of us have such high expectations of how we would like people to act and things to go. Memories of past pleasant holiday experiences or festive holiday images that we've seen in movies and forget are fictitious dance in our head when holiday lights are strung and parties begin.

This past weekend I was geared up to teach and spend some alone time with my husband. Unfortunately he had to leave town and one of my classes never happened. With some unexpected free time on my hands while I was mentally and emotionally wired for the opposite, certainly had me feel out of sorts. After taking a few deep breaths and pressing my two feet deep into the ground, I knew I wanted to feel whole and not attached to the way my time was supposed to flow. Therefore I turned this scenario around into having an unexpected and well needed date with myself. First I opted to do what always seems to unite and ground my fragmented self other than practicing yoga postures, I went for a long walk.

With my phone silenced, my voice quiet and my camera around my neck here are a few images of what I saw and did.

I noticed that although winter begins in about one week there are leafless branches with tight buds on some trees that are waiting to bloom by next spring.

Drops of water that look like crystal balls with what looks like alternate realities within.

A berry realm

Enjoyed a manicure with www.karmaorganicspa.com Christmas morning polish with gold glitter on my ring finger. I also went thrift shopping and bought a rustic blue vintage chair for my toddler. The red berry wreath and blue house I saw earlier in the day sure made an impression with my color choices.

I picked up 3 glass bottles for $1.75 while thrift shopping. They are perfect to display my berry branches.

If you find any one of your great expectations falling apart this holiday season, you may just want to practice being quiet and allowing your senses to wrap around inspiration rather than attachment to what could have been. I've noticed by practicing, there's a world beyond the world I think I live in. Allow it to reveal itself to you and experience the magical holiday season.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2 Fun & New Combinations

A couple of weeks ago I was in San Francisco where I took a variety of yoga classes. There was a combination of two postures that two different teachers offered that I would never have thought of linking together simply because of their difficulty in completely opposite parts of the body. Bakasana, crow pose followed by ardha chandrasana, 1/2 moon pose. However after experiencing these postures linked together I can say I felt lighter afterwards. This was a well needed feeling after experiencing the heaviness in New York City and New Jersey as a result of the devastation from hurricane Sandy only a week and a half before my trip out west.

Scarf & top www.zara.com

When I returned back home and made it to a yoga class from a teacher I never studied with before I was stunned to once again experience the crow to 1/2 moon combo. I guess this isn't just a west coast combo. In addition to my fascination with movement and how it makes me feel, I believe what you wear and how you put it together is just as interesting.

When I had these pictures taken I had just finished teaching class and it was very cold outside. I had a black parka on top however I took it off to show you before my wardrobe gets all festive with my Christmas reds and greens, how I combined two opposites, stripes and animal print. We all have these prints in one form or another in our closet. When combined together, I love the way these two opposites have a way of creating a fun and carefree look as well as dress up the same old, same old black tights. Well, these tights are a little different because they have a mini skirt attached.

Bakasana, crow pose, tights www.forever21.com

These darkest day's of the year that lead up to the sun's birthday, the Winter Solstice on December 21st are jam packed with holiday prep and waves of stress. Therefore finding the grace in small things like combining two very different yoga postures and patterns like stripes and cheetah have a power to them that can charge you up in just the right way if you're open to it. This holiday season I'm going to try to remember the concept of seeing the grace of small things. I want to end this historic Mayan era of 2012 right by combating the stress I feel that has accumulated deep within me from last month's hurricane and the personal events that came with the two eclipses that sandwiched a short rest during Thanksgiving Day.

My antidote in reducing the waves of anxiety that show up is sitting stilltaking deep breaths and feeling what comes up. Overall I'm going to practice slowing down, shopping less, restoring what I have such as going to the tailor and altering a few outfits to take on a second life in addition to opening up a bucket of paint and adding some new color into my life. Most importantly I'm going to work like an archer on an open field, who can smell the scent of pine riding on the wind and hear the crackle of a dead leaf as it is stepped on. I'm going to practice watching and notice the many small gifts that come my way and inspire like finding the match to a single sock or the passerby who gives a knowing glance to my inner light and holds the door open a little longer as I push my stroller and baby Krishna through. You never know when grace will come!

Happy Holy Days!

Vintage bag

Booties www.ninewest.com, bangle www.forever21.com, gloves www.lailarowe.com

Ardha chandrasana, 1/2 moon pose

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Colorful & Green San Francisco

The week before Thanksgiving I was lucky enough to join my husband on a business trip to San Francisco. Having been there several times in the past, I always came back east calling it my West Coast New York City because of it's busy city streets and rich cultural mix. Now that some time has gone by since my last trip to SF and I see the world from a different lens than before, I now call it a more colorful and greener New York City. Don't get me wrong, I love where I live but San Francisco's layer's of colorful paint, buses that run on electricity rather than gas, attention to adding green wherever they can plus a surplus of thrift shops sure left me thinking about coming home and making a few more earth friendly and beautifying my space with what I have changes.

Here are a few pictures from my trip including the best yoga school's I visited, a yoga lover's airport surprise and a bright coral top I picked up in my new favorite San Franciscan boutique www.miramira.com. This top is not only my souvenir but it sure did brighten up my suitcase and it's New York City's autumnal inspired wardrobe picks of brown, black and pumpkin orange clothes. If you follow my blog, you know I believe in the rule of three colors when it comes to packing light. However the next time I go out to the West Coast I'll be sure to add a bright color just because the sun touches you a little differently out west.

An adorned Women's Building. See the wires from which the buses receive energy to run.

Planters over store fronts

The most creative and rich in spirit Yoga School in town www.sf.laughinglotus.com They also have a New York City school.

A nice find for a grounding practice www.yogagardensf.com

The trees on the west coast are super enormous and having left New York City where we lost about 400 trees in Central Park due to hurricane Sandy, I'm looking just a little bit more into trees these days.

I love how this semi sheer coral knit top from www.miramira.com  is short in the front with the perfect tail in the back to cover up my back side.


I'm also crushing knee high wooly socks these days for extra warmth and breaking up my monotonous yoga tight look. Socks, shades & necklace www.lailarowe.com booties www.ninewest.com tights www.marialouisaboutique.com

After going through security in San Francisco Airport you'll pleasantly find this sign and a yoga space before entering the food court. The space is a little heavy for my senses but an awesome effort from SF Airport!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Easiest Veg Butternut Soup Recipe You'll Ever Find

Last month when Autumn's chill became the norm here in New York City and the marketplace appeared to be taken over by pumpkins, squashes and knobby gourds, I searched the net for heart warming & healthy soup recipes to include this seasonally orange family of veggies into my family's diet. First and foremost do know that gourds are not edible. During my online search every recipe I found was super confusing plus called for too much prep and cook time.

What I did learn was that each soup recipe I read had a common thread I could follow to create my own. Through experimentation and plenty of taste testing I came up with the easiest and purest golden butternut squash recipe you'll ever find. No blender, hot oven nor peeling and straining needed. I do want to stress that I passed up on cooking with pumpkins and the seasonally gorgeous red turban squash because they take some extra muscle and patience to cook up.

One night in October I served my golden butternut squash soup over rice with a bunch of steamed broccoli on the side and my husband said "Yum, did you make this soup or store buy it?" When I told him I made it from scratch and how quick and easy it was, he smiled and said "One day I'll make it for you." This one is for you babe!

All you need is:

2 cups of organic vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

A medium sized golden butternut squash

A medium sized yellow onion

2 tablespoons of canola oil

2 cups of water

The tools you need:

Butcher's knife

Cutting board

Nonstick frying pan


Steamer basket

Medium sized pot and lid to hold the steamer basket

Deep pot to cook & simmer your soup

Slotted Spoon

Soup ladle

Oven mitts


Soup spoon

The how to:

Thickly slice your squash. Avoid the pitted middle. If some of the slices have pits, no worries and no need to pit nor peel the slices as of yet.

Place the steamer basket filled with squash slices in a medium sized pot with 2 cups of water. Bring water to a boil, cover, continue to let the water boil as you steam the squash and step aside.

Start slicing your onion and peel off it's paper like shell. Dice it up!

In a nonstick frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil for a minute. Then add onions. Move the onions about with your spatula and cook them until they sweat. Set them aside in a small bowl.

Check on your squash. Use an oven mitt to remove the hot lid off the steamer. With a fork pierce through the squash and feel if it is cooked through. It will feel soft. If it is, then remove the basket (use your mitts) from the hot water and set it on a counter top to cool.

While the squash is cooling off for about 10 minutes, it is a good time to adjust or turn on music plus set the table.

Once you don't see steam coming from the squash and it is warm to touch, take your soup spoon and start spooning out the pits. Once your slices are clear of pits, start spooning the squashes mushy flesh into your deep pot. I like to call it my cauldron.

Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and onions. Set a low flame and let your soup simmer for about 10 minutes.

Use your slotted spoon to mash up any leftover squash chunks that haven't smoothed out with the heat.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bread or over rice with steamed broccoli on the side. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cerridwen, Celtic Moon Goddess & Keeper of the Cauldron of Wisdom

It has been intense since hurricane Sandy came through town. Lives and land was lost in New York and New Jersey as well as everyday conveniences such as electricity, hot water, and mass transit were shut down or spotty in some areas. Parks were closed because so many trees fell down and loose branches were at risk to fall. Also buying gas meant waiting on line for hours because the harbor was closed last week to fuel carrying barges. Fortunately my family and friends are OK and my home never lost power. However living amongst this chaos made me revisit what I felt during 9/11. Feelings of disbelief, sadness, crankiness and streaks of compassion.

The storm peaked last Monday night. The wind sounded like a freight train that zoomed several times past my window and this was the first time I saw lightening that was green, blue and magenta in color. By Thursday Nov. 1st my birthday, I ventured a little further away from home to teach a yoga class in a neighborhood that had power. Here I saw 4 people sitting at a table for 2 at Starbucks sharing one outlet. I noticed how families were walking together on a Thursday afternoon and opening restaurant doors hoping to get a table to eat warm food. Despite the pain and hopelessness I could feel in the air, I also sensed humility, love and compassion was being birthed.

Even with Sandy's blow, I still cherish this time of year. The nights grow longer and colder while the veil between the spirit world and the mundane world grows thin. Our thoughts turn inward and towards our ancestors. What I've come to learn from my Celtic ancestry is the ancient sabbat Samhain is what we now call Halloween. They both celebrate the past, those on the other side and a death to what no longer serves us. The Celts regard Nov. 1st as a fresh start and New Year. Being that the Celtic New Year is my birthday, the vibe of acknowledging the past while pressing the reset button feels right to me.

I sense people who've felt Sandy's shake and sat in the cold and dark without electricity for days have recently taken a good look at their lives. Themes of starting over, oneness, patience and conservation are riding on the wind. I find it interesting how deep introspection and working as a community to survive came before today's presidential election.

These pictures were taken 2 days before the storm. At the time I was contemplating Cerridwen the Celtic Moon Goddess who is depicted in the modern world as the ugly old green witch with warts on her nose who stirs up potions and looks into her steaming cauldron for messages about the future. Cerridwen is a crone/aged goddess but she by no means is dark and ugly. She is a moon light bearer of wisdom, an aspect of Mother Nature and her folklore is vast and rich. Her most well known history links her to the legend of King Arthur's search for the Holy Grail.

Cerridwen bestows the magical power of reflection.

Vintage Betsey Johnson tunic, tank & tights www.forever21.com

By reviewing, clarity and a new vision comes to life. I guess you can say your power gets turned on.

On the night of the storm this was my personal prayer to Cerridwen:

Lady of Magic, Moon Goddess Cerridwen, keeper of the cauldron of wisdom and transformation. I call on you tonight.

Guide us during this time of world evolution from the old patriarchal regime's ways to the new age of equality for all living beings including plants, all animals and natural resources.

www.karmaorganicspa.com meet me at sunset nail polish, bracelets gifted from India, booties www.forever21.com

Dark Mother, as we scry and look into the water show us answers to accelerate our transmutation. We won't brood over the past nor jump to far into the future. Rather we will receive your divine guidance to shape and shift us and bring the energy of transformation into our daily lives and communities.

Lady of Mystery, Mother Nature, I honor you on this long dark night.

I practiced plenty of deep squatting/malasana variations during this period as I've always envisioned and refer to the pelvis as a deep and wide pot when I lead classes.

Skull ring www.marialouisaboutique.com

I wish you ease and connection!