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

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What's in the Air for 2015?



What do I want? What do I need? Where am I going in 2015? Is my inner dialogue. Refining my direction by the way of feeling it in my gut and bringing my New Year's Dreams into my heart center by back bending is my approach to having a truthful New Year's resolution.

Here's a picture of my yoga practice as of late where I'm bringing the fire in my belly, my intention, right up into my heart center for some air. The 3rd energy center found within our mid body is called manipura chakra. It is associated with the fire element. Manipura chakra is where our deepest knowing of the self is formed. Our heart's energetic center found within the center of our chest and shoulder blades is called anahata chakra. It is associated with the air element. Anahata chakra is where we balance loving ourself and others. We all know the moment you cover a flame's air source it goes out. So my feeling is to keep on connecting to what my gut has to say about my direction and consistently work towards bringing it up into my heart's center to breathe in and out so it can last.


I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mid-Holiday Silence Exercise




During the Holidays we are most often found indoors escaping the cold and darkest days of the year. Holiday decorations, Christmas music, invitations to go here and there plus a list of things to do can unbalance us and make us jittery. My suggestion is to ground and center yourself by going outside no matter what the weather is and sit still. Notice and maybe even journal what you see, hear, smell and feel. When you're done take 3 deep breaths and go on with your day.

Before you go to bed at night be sure to revisit where your mind was during your outdoor meditation by sitting in silence for a few moments and/or read what you wrote in your journal. See if any of the qualities you noticed of the coming winter stayed with you as you moved through your day.




Friday, December 12, 2014

Winter's Water Element: Veers us towards the Birth of Light



Last week I completed my last workshop of the year as well as enjoyed my oldest son, Ryan play his final state playoff football game for 2014. Now that I'm settling into my weekly teaching and Mommy schedule plus experiencing the sudden loss of my husband's grandmother this past weekend, I'm having a little more space in my consciousness to fully acknowledge the emotions that come with the cold and darkest days of the year. All kinds of feelings are showing up for me and they are deep.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicinewater is the predominant element associated with winter. During winter the earth falls asleep. The cold and early sunsets draws us indoors earlier to become still like Mother Earth and look into our depths. While nature appears to be frozen and dead, it is not. Rain and snow frequently comes through to further encourage what fall's winds accomplished in shedding what needed to go. Rain and snow's purifying quality also dampens the earth and us so that the fire element, the sun, our yang masculine go get them energy can rest and replenish itself for the next spin of the year's wheel.

We can avoid the shadow season by overbooking our holiday calender with parties that celebrate the upcoming birth of light. However, making ourselves extremely busy will throw our well needed winter rest out of balance. This winter I'm planning on not avoiding the alone time this season calls for by carving out the time in my schedule for my mindfulness walks, yoga practice and extra sleep. It takes discipline to wake up super early in the cold and dark to practice as well as shut off the lights earlier to sleep at night. As for the walks, bundling up and moving in the cold takes plenty of inner motivation. What has been encouraging my walks is making photo art with my Iphone. Lately I'm noticing my nature walk pics are filled with the water element in it's many forms. I'm observing that winter's water reflects, cleanses and freezes into stillness from time to time as well as flows on other days into what's next with grace and trust in what's to come. I'm hoping this awareness of winter's water qualities will rub off on me and guide me into feeling light and well.

Here are some recent winter water snapshots:





Sunday, November 30, 2014

Benefits of Yoga Twisting



Digesting all that comes with wrapping up the end of the year, the good, the bad and the neutral, I find from a yoga posture perspective it is best processed by practicing yoga twisting postures. Especially after a holiday like Thanksgiving that focuses on eating and getting together with family and friends to share what you are grateful for.


Here some benefits of yoga twisting:


Improves Digestive Function


When you twist you compress your digestive organs together. This causes a lack in circulation. When you release out of the twist there is a rush of fresh blood that enters your digestive organs. Similar to an outdoor hose of running water. When it is bent, the water flow nearly stops yet when the hose is straightened the water rushes out. Fresh blood flow translates to fresh oxygen and nutrients. Overall twisting increases blood flow to the digestive body which accelerates your mid body health.




Detoxifies


As mentioned twisting cuts off blood supply to the digestive body and coming out of a twist floods your digestive organs with fresh blood. This rush of fresh blood can help to cleanse cells of any built up waste because with increased circulation comes increased cellular detoxification. Think of a sudsy sponge having scrubbed a dirty pan. To cleanse it you place it under fresh running water and twist it out to remove the dirty and soapy water. When you untwist it to absorb fresh water and soap you can continue your dish washing process. Perhaps this soaking and wringing out a sponge image can be useful in understanding how yoga twisting can detoxify your digestive body. 





A Supple Spine


Our head naturally tilts forward, shoulders droop and our chest inverts because of gravities downward pull on us. Slouching eventually leads to back pain. Practicing yoga twists stretches and strengthens the mid body which reduces the back pain that comes from slumping forward as well as the stiffness of muscles and other tissues that surround the spine. With practice your back body will become more flexible and strong making you pain free and happy.





Stress Relief


Yoga twists are great postures to practice if you have stress and anxiety. When you twist you help to open up your chest, shoulders and back. Releasing built up body tension results in an improved mental state. A feeling of calm takes over and your breath becomes more evident thus enabling you to experience the present moment.




Space to Receive


With improved digestive function, detoxification benefits, a more supple spine and feeling calm and present by twisting, you then have the space to start anew. Similar to a fall tree's branches twisting on the wind and shedding leaves, we can also look forward to a springtime bloom if we follow nature's cue and let go. Sure, uncertainty and fear will arise when there's any change in something yet the gifts that come with transformation only come in if you make the space.



Please join me in letting go and making room for 2015 at my "Twist and Set Yourself Free Yoga Workshop" Sat. Dec. 6 at 4pm @ www.bamboomovesyoga.com in Englewood, New Jersey. 


Here we will ground and center with an easy to follow on your back twisting practice followed by a seated meditation and easy rhythmic breath work. We will deepen our "Twist and Set Yourself Free" yoga practice by moving through a slow and mindful vinyasa twisting sequence. You will be given techniques and the opportunity to go deeper than before into a variety of yoga twists. We will conclude our practice by acknowledging (via meditation and resting in a restorative yoga twist) what we want to let go of and that which we wish to receive in the next turn of the wheel in 2015.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Bandhas and Mudras Magic Yoga Workshop Notes



Bandhas are energetic locks found within the body and mudras are hand gestures. They are both expressions of yoga's subtle body teachings. Meaning they are meant to be sensed and felt rather than being fixed and concrete. The chakras which are energy centers found within the body and mantras, verbal recitations are also subtle body teachings.

In preparation for my "Bandhas and Mudras Magic Workshop" at Ramapo College of New Jersey I created what I call bandha and mudra art as picture notes. In each picture you see me in a posture associated with a bandha or mudra. I've added additional text to define the teaching by name and a few key words to coax you into feeling the teaching. As you look through the pictures try not to analyze and memorize simply feel it out. In the feeling is where the magical part of the subtle body yoga teachings starts to show itself.









Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bandhas and Mudras Magic Workshop



November's brighter mornings and reflective nights makes the moon's light seem a little brighter. It is the same moon but with all this extra growing darkness our shadows that spook us, charge us up or rather be kept under the carpet glare at us with a more potent eye. To compliment this energy of going deeper into the unseen world I will be leading an open to the public subtle body yoga workshop at Ramapo College of New Jersey called "Bandhas and Mudras Magic."

Bandhas refers to the different parts of your body you can lock to save a little energy and experience more power. While mudras are hand and arm gestures you can do to bring different energetic channels found in your fingers together to ignite a particular focus. As for the magic part of the workshop, well that is personal. If you quiet yourself down enough and are open to these subtle body yoga teachings your senses will pick up on the magic that has always been there for you to acknowledge.


Friday   November 14th   6pm   3hrs   at Ramapo College of New Jersey  

We will meet in the Bradley Center   room Q228 

Drop ins $35

Friday, October 31, 2014

Fall Style

Leopard scarf and 3/4 sleeve top www.zara.com Kasyapasana/an arm balance dedicated to Kasyapa



Every fall is the same kind of super fast pace for me as my children are busy in school and a few more workshops are added to my teaching schedule. To keep myself from feeling like Summer's sun filled days immediately blended into Christmas break, I practice paying attention to the in between moments by of course practicing yoga but also scheduling walks in nature, taking pictures of Autumn's foliage plus updating my Fall fashion, beauty and at home style.

Here are a few Fall inspired changes with me and my home that help in keeping me in the moment.



Sandalwood smells like Fall to me and this purse perfect perfume balm allows me to reapply and smell this grounding scent throughout the day with ease www.pacificaperfume.com crystal heart and yellow candle holder www.saffrontradingcompany.com

Dark vamp nail polish that is FREE of the harmful 3 chemicals found in most nail polishes www.nailtini.com  Eka Pada Rajakapotasana variation with Garudasana like arms/King pigeon pose with eagle like arms

Sacred altar corner space in pumpkin orange adds a little seasonal spirit to any room without changing everything. Cushion www.saffrontradingcompany.com Whole Trade dried flowers from www.wholefoods.com The pumpkin scented candle is from the drugstore while the sandalwood mala beads, goldstone crystal, Ganesh and scarf over a small bench are all items I have in the house.

Uttarabodhi mudra/a gesture of enlightenment in the golden woods.



Thursday, October 23, 2014

King Pigeon Pose Variation



Sometimes you need to modernize a classic posture like King Pigeon Pose/Eka Pada Rajakapotasana to make yourself and your students feel as though we are getting further down our path. If you feel inspired, change it up the next time you practice this pose like I did here with eagle like/garudasana arms. Be sure to stay true to details like propping up under the front leg's hip if you need to find space and balance. The result feels refreshing and may surprise you and your regular gang how possible it is to do.

Below is a King Pigeon Split/Eka Pada Hanumanasana variation.



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chakra Healing and Balancing Art

Base of pelvis


In preparation for my Chakra Yoga Workshop at Ramapo College of New Jersey, I've put together what I call Chakra Healing and Balancing Art. Since chakras are spinning wheels of light that are found at the base of the pelvis and run up our spine plus through the crown of our head in a variety of rainbow like colors can sound abstract, I felt creating these visual images may help you better understand your chakra energy body.

There are 7 chakras and each corresponds to different emotions that I like to interpret as positive affirmations you can say to heal and empower yourself. Also each chakra like the muladhara root chakra shown above corresponds to a different part of the body, element in nature, color and mantra.

Take in each image and notice what you feel and where you feel it. There is no wrong or right answer, just notice. This is how we heal and balance our chakras, by feeling and not critically thinking about them.


Reproductive and sacral body

Navel, side body and back waist

Center of chest and in between shoulder blades

Throat

Center of brow line

Top of head

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Classic T with an Edge



I'm grateful to have been gifted this perfect white t shirt by Moon and Venus. It is a James Dean classic piece that feels like a silky second skin without compressing and squeezing away the real me. Marina Ryback, a longtime lingerie designer, who knows what a woman needs created www.moonandvenus.com Her design is unique as it is made in Italy with a new seamless technology. She includes delicate corset like lines to define and flatter your body. There is also a subtle sheerness to this t in the most sexy and tactful of places, the neckline and shoulders.

I appreciate the fine design found in this line. Especially in body wear as the trend these days is to hide and bind you, which always results in me taking it off the moment I get home and changing into something more comfortable. This top however, I slept in and my husband noticed I wore the two pieces I was given all weekend long. Both on and off the yoga mat.

#supportfinedesign #tanktop #notshown #comingsoon





Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Exercise Noticing Change



Darker days and cooler nights are more obvious now that we have experienced this week's Fall Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. What are you noticing that tells you we are shifting into a new season? Leaves turning into sunset hues of gold, orange and red. Birds no longer serenading you to wake up in the morning. Where you live may feel like summer at noon and cold enough for a light jacket in the evening. Or perhaps there's more rain where you live.

If you are feeling stuck in experiencing the same old thing day after day, taking a moment where you use your senses of seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling how your environment is changing in apparent and not so pronounced ways may help you get out of the what is vibration and into what is becoming.

List 3 changes you have noticed since the hottest days of August. You can do this in your mind, paper or snap pictures with your phone's camera. Exercising noticing change a few times a week will keep you in the moment, aware that everything in your environment transforms and it is your choice to flow and grow with it or not.


Soccer season and green grass fading to gold.

More cats roaming about.




Monday, September 15, 2014

An Instant Stress Reliever



For instant stress relief go outside or stand at a window and gaze into the sky. Allow yourself to trance for a bit. After a few moments acknowledge what you see. A blue sky. What color blue? Turquoise, pale or medium blue? Are there a lot of clouds? What are their shapes? Is the sky grey? Do you see planes or birds?

Close your mouth and take 3 deep breaths in and out through your nose. How do you feel? Clear? Spacious? Did the pain in your body disappear for the past few moments? We rarely make the time to just notice the sky. If we spend time outside we often have an agenda to meet people, be somewhere or walk, jog and/or bike ride a certain distance to achieve the perfect 60 minute exercise routine. The next time you need some insta stress healing, look up into the sky and nature will reflect back to you exactly what you already have sitting inside of you: space, breath, expansiveness and the ability to transform.







Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Beginner's Yoga Workshop



A goal of mindfulness is to have a beginner's mind. A mind that can acknowledge the present environment, exactly the way it is without trying to change it. Like a little child full of wonder and curiosity. We can all be beginners at anything and learn something new and grow if we are open enough to try. If any of this sounds interesting to you, perhaps joining a Beginner's Yoga Workshop is for you even if you have been practicing yoga for decades.


I will be leading the Beginner's Yoga Workshop   Saturday   September 13th    3:30pm-6:00pm @Bamboomoves Yoga in Englewood, NJ


Flexibility not required, just curiosity!


Workshop Highlights:


Posture Alignment

Energetic Alignment

The Art of Vinyasa-Moving with Breath

Modifications/Using Props

Meditation Tools and Techniques


$40 paid in advance $50 day of


*If you bring a friend you can participate in the workshop for FREE!


Register @www.bamboomovesyoga.com in Englewood, NJ


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Gratitude Memo




With Labor Day Weekend behind us and the long lazy days of summer evolving into a more grounded and cerebral time of year whether or not you are going back to school, I'm grateful for having experienced summer's more spacious days where I was able to spend some time reflecting on the fruits of my labors. During the past weeks I've picked the sweet fruits I've earned and tossed out the rotten. This coming Fall I will be sharing what I feel will make a difference.

To motivate myself, an intention I've written in my daily memo and plan to read often is:

I will remember to notice and celebrate as I harvest sweet fruits during the last quarter of the year. I will gratefully and humbly hold my basket up high and share my abundance.




Eka Pada Rajakapotasana in Hanumanasana/King pigeon split pose, Top www.saffrontradingcompany.com shorts www.zara.com bangles www.lailarowe.com Quartz ring from the Museum of Natural History boutique




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Iyengar Inspiration




One of the meanings of the word inspiration is breathing in. You can even see a part of the word spirit in inspiration. To become inspired you must breathe in the spirit of something. The spirit of a system, a leader, a style is what comes to me as I ponder and process last week's physical passing of B.K.S. Iyengar.

When I decided to drop the dumbbells and devote my wellness career around yoga, meditation and vegetarianism I was studying at Cyndi Lee's Buddhist inspired yoga school, Om Yoga. This is where I first learned about Iyengar, a living master from Pune, India. I bought his books at Om, read about him, visually memorized his photographs in postures and nearly every class I studied in at Om Yoga, his name was mentioned when there were references to form and philosophy. I'm forever grateful for his devoted service in teaching this magnificent ancient system. I find it amazing that a woman like myself from a suburban New Jersey town was able to be inspired by his teachings, taught by his devotees and has spent most of my career spreading yoga's wisdom.

The beauty of the Iyengar method and teachers today of various styles of yoga that apply his method with straps, blocks and blankets is that with openness and practice anyone can experience yoga. Yes, you can reach and possibly touch your toes, slow down your mind plus improve your health while you connect to yourself and all beings. It simply takes making the time to patiently sit still and watch your breath. To allow your thoughts to arise and blow away like leaves on the wind. Inspiration seeks stillness. Anything you wish to have is waiting for you to breathe it in.



Pictured here is Natarajasana/King Dancer's Pose. I was able to find this posture during my teenage ballet days yet lost my connection to my foot until last week. A combination of practice, hope and letting go of some old emotional baggage is what I believe got me back into this pose at 45. Doesn't my little one look inspired?

T-shirt www.saffrontradingcompany.com vintage circle skirt.