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

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.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer Reflection Meditation Ritual

The end of summer's vacation like pace can enable you if you let it to, more time and space to go on location for a meditation. What I mean by this is to find a source of water like a pool, fountain, creek, brook, river or ocean and sit where you can see the sun reflecting off the surface of the water. If the light is very bright, sit to the side so you will not hurt your eyes. Gaze into the light and water and notice.

What do you see? Perhaps diamond sparkles or maybe you will see the clouds and sky mirrored off the surface of the water. What do you feel? Possibly lighter and part of the beauty before you. Stay here for as long as you like and be sure to take 3 deep breaths to ground and center before you go on with your day.

The benefits of practicing a meditation ritual like this is, when you exercise observing light reflecting off of anything it will be easier to notice what is light in your daily life and be able to appreciate it. Also when you take the time to clear your mind and body and notice the beauty in your surroundings it is almost impossible to hurt yourself, others and your environment.

Repeat this summer reflection ritual as often as you like.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

September's Upcoming Yoga Teachings

Seeing back packs and fall fashion in the forefront of stores, grass yellowing and leaves falling creates an undertone of sadness for me as the height of summer's lushness is fading and fall's cooler mornings and nights settles in. The upside of August is the harvest season has begun and whether or not you're contemplating making sauce with this season's tomatoes like I am or taking a break from being an all-star at work, it is a month of less appointments and more space thus creating the ability to reflect and gratefully acknowledge the fruits of this year's labor.

I'm doing just that this month. Slowing down, reflecting and picking and choosing exactly what I feel is best to offer my students and myself regarding yoga. Here is my September weekly class schedule, workshop and special event offerings:

Tuesdays   10:10 am   All Level   1 hr and 15 min   www.bamboomovesyoga.com  Palisades Park, NJ

Thursdays   11:30 am   Basics   1 hr and 30 min    www.bamboomovesyoga.com  Englewood, NJ

Sundays   12 noon   Basics   1 hr and 30 min   
www.bamboomovesyoga.com  Englewood, NJ

Beginner's Yoga Workshop   Saturday   September 13th   3:30 pm-6:00 pm www.bamboomovesyoga.com in Englewood, NJ

Flexibility not required, just curiosity!

Veggie Fest 2014   Saturday   September   13th   12 noon-6:00 pm  @ Secaucus Meditation Garden  1200 Koelle Blvd, Secaucus, NJ

Learn about and enjoy New Jersey's premier vegetarian food. Friend me on Facebook and learn more about it.

Finally I hope as you sense fall's back to school learning energy, where we attend to the realm of the mind now that the earth and needs of the body have been tended to this summer, I can see you on the mat where we can shed, learn and renew with each other.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

What is the One Exercise I Can Do to Flatten My Belly?

A few classes ago a semi brand new to yoga student asked me "What is the one exercise I can do to flatten my belly?" With a shy and eager to know the answer grin she awaited my response. I've been in the body business for a long time and I've come to realize in this moment I can keep her inspired or never see her again. Having answered this question so many ways over the years, the best answer is the hard to digest truth that there's not just one exercise rather exercising the ritual of just showing up on the mat and being consistent about it. She smiled, expressed her gratitude for my response but I knew deep down I didn't give her the quick fix answer she wanted.

Leaving her, the yoga school and making my way to the market I thought more about this question and how I could simply answer it. As I shopped through the market and hand picked vegetables and fruits, loaded my car and went home to cook I realized what I was doing is part of the answer. The lifestyle choice of carving out the time to shop, chop and dice fresh and natural produce rather than just eating anything out there.

With this being said my 2nd best and equally important answer to flattening your belly is getting a cutting board, a knife, fresh produce and cooking away. Admittedly I'm a working Mama who drives all over the place and generally can be found with my laptop at Starbucks eating a bagel with light cream cheese on early days or eating a veggie and cheese sandwich at lunch time. However what I'm consistent with is 5 to 6 nights a week the cutting board, knife and fresh produce is ready to go.

During the summer I use a huge wok to stir fry my cutting board creations. I'm vegetarian yet my 3 boys aren't. Once or twice a week I will cook them fish in a separate pan yet my veg dishes are so tasty over brown rice or pasta they rarely ask for more than I'm preparing.

Below are 5 Veg meals on the cutting board from last week's dinners.

www.fieldroast.com Italian vegan grain meat, yellow corn, heirloom cherry tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash. With a dash of vegetable oil in the wok lightly stir fry the sausages first then add a bit more oil and add in the vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste.

www.soyvay.com Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce, extra firm tofu, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash. Pour a little vegetable oil in the wok, add tofu and stir fry until the tofu turns blonde. Add sauce and simmer for a bit. For this dish I stir fry the veggies in vegetable oil in a separate wok then add salt and pepper to taste.

Tofu, kale, vidalia onion, yellow corn, red bell pepper, zucchini. Splash a little vegetable oil in a wok, add tofu and stir fry until blonde. Add soy sauce for flavor. In a separate wok add some vegetable oil and the vegetables leaving the kale out until the last few moments of stir frying. Add salt and pepper to taste.

www.fieldroast.com Smoked apple sage vegan grain meat, vidalia onion, yellow corn, yellow squash. With a little vegetable oil in the wok first stir fry the sausage slices. Add a bit more oil and stir in the veggies to cook. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

www.anniechun.com Gluten Free Teriyaki sauce, tofu, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash. Put a little vegetable oil and tofu in a wok and stir fry until it turns blonde. Add sauce and simmer. In a separate wok and veggies and a bit of vegetable oil and stir fry. Salt and pepper to taste.