Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guided Meditation

 Enjoy this guided meditation with Deepak Chopra!  It's only 4 minutes!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Week 5

Principle #5
Let Go and Be Patient

    Most of us have become really used to holding onto the layers of our experience.  We have work, family, relationships, bills, dramas, and these things become our reality.  But they aren't. When you strip away all of these layers, there is just you.  The exercise of letting go is not an easy one, but necessary to avoid losing the true essence of who we are in the wilderness of daily life.  When you are finally able to let go of the layers that bind you,  you have gained the opportunity to only add back the ones that enrich your life, and let the ones that detract from your life slide away.

    Be patient with yourself as you learn to let go.  Meditation is fluid and changing.  Some days you will be able to sit easily other days it will be a struggle.  Some days your mind may be quiet, other days it may jump from thought to thought.  You can't be "bad" at meditation.  Even on the days when your mind wanders, that is a step on the path towards letting go.

The Breath
This week we will practice rhythmic breathing.  This technique purifies the lungs, blood and cells of the body.  It helps to strengthen the heart and regulate the heart beat.  It also aids in creating internal balance and harmony.
1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes
2. Breathe in through the nostrils 2 breaths in, then 2 breaths out.
3.Continue this pattern of 2 breaths in and 2 breaths out, maintaining a steady rhythm, like a metronome, for 2-3 minutes.
4. Stop the rhythmic breathing, and sit quietly, breathing naturally for a few moments.

We will continue to meditate twice per day for 5 to 10 minutes.  In the spirit of letting go, we will work through a visualization where we will begin to let go of our layers.
1.Sit comfortably and set your alarm
3.Begin to let go.  Visualize work, stress, chores, drama, those that caused the drama and anything else that does not serve you.  Visualize these things as bubbles.  In your mind's eye, see your finger popping these bubbles, and the stressors falling away.  Continue going from bubble to bubble, until each one is gone.  Release this visualization, and let go.  Let go of your body, life, and all the physical trappings of life.  If it helps, keeping your eyes closed, bring your focus to the third eye, or the space behind the forehead. Keep your focus here until your alarm sounds.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Deepak Chopra- Part three of Introduction to Meditation

 I'm really loving this Introduction to Meditation series!  Enjoy:-)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

60 Day Meditation~ Week 3

60 Day Meditation Challenge
Week 3
I hope everyone has been enjoying their meditations!  Hopefully you’ve been able to carve out some time at least a few times per week for your meditation sessions!  Remember, you can join us at Asana Yoga + Dance in Middletown, NJ for 30 minute meditation on Mondays at 6:45.

Principle of Mediation #3: Relax Your Body
                Meditating is more than just relaxing the muscles and bones.  You’re allowing a whole process to happen in the nervous system and emotional body.  This week, before meditating, we will do a part by part scan of the body to help relax, and identify and areas that are holding onto tension.  Sit quietly with the eyes closed, and take a moment to notice the body as it is.  Notice if you feel tension anywhere in the body.  Now, starting with the head and the face, we’ll work through each area of the body, bringing our attention and breath to each in turn.  It might help to envision each body part melting away before moving on to the next.  From the head and face, move your awareness to the shoulders and arms, then to the upper back.  Continue this way until you reach the feet.  Then bring your awareness beneath the skin, envisioning the muscles relaxing to the bones.  Now move on to the breathing technique.

“Always first draw fresh breath after outbursts of vanity and complacency.”
Franz Kafka
                This week we will practice “The Complete Breath”.  It is simply fully expanding and filling the lungs as you inhale and completely emptying them when you exhale.  This technique relaxes the mind and body and prepares the mind for mediation.
-Begin by sitting tall, taking a few deep breaths and relaxing.
-Slowly inhale through the nostrils allowing oxygen into the three chambers of the lungs.  Expand the belly.  Expand the ribcage. Expand the upper chest and shoulders.
-Slowly exhale, completely emptying the lungs.
-Continue breathing like this for 2-3 minutes.

“One realizes through meditation that one is a necessary, intimate and important part of the universe.  One starts to relate deeply to everything that exists.  There are no longer separate entities.  You are THAT.  This is a mystical state of meditation.” 
Swami Satyananda Saraswati
                This week we will continue to meditate once per day for ten minutes, or twice per day for 5 minutes.  For this week’s meditation, you will choose a visualization of something or someone that supports you, or helps you to feel grounded and balanced.  It can be anything!  A favorite place, cherished friend or family member, an object with sentimental value.  Prior to mediation, gaze at a picture, or other representation of your visualization.  To begin meditating, bring your awareness to the third eye, or the space behind the forehead. (Your eyes are closed for this)  Breathe naturally and begin visualizing the image you’ve chosen.  Continue this for 5-10 minutes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Introduction to Meditation 2

For everyone participating in the 60 Day Meditation Challenge, and even for those who are not.  Here is video number two in Deepak Chopra's Introduction to Meditation series.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

60 Day Meditation Challenge-Week 2

60 Day Meditation Challenge
Week 2
Principle of Meditation #2: Get Comfortable
                Traditionally, the vision we have of someone deep in meditation is the meditator sitting in lotus position, with a super straight spine and a serene look on their face.  In reality, this position is very hard to maintain for any length of time, and almost impossible to relax in.  You can sit anywhere, in any position you’d like, so long as you’re comfortable.  If, during meditation you become uncomfortable, it’s okay to move.  We’re meditating, not playing statue!  Some things you may want to have to make meditation more comfortable are: blankets, pillows, or a rolled up yoga mat or towel.  You can use any of these props as necessary to support your position.  If you’re sitting on the floor, support the spine by sitting up against a wall or piece of furniture and sitting on the blanket or roll up mat or towel.  Your legs can be straight, but if you are sitting cross legged, you can place the pillows under your knees.  If sitting in a chair or sofa, make sure your feet are supported by placing blocks or books underneath them.  You can also sit criss cross, with your legs up, however you need to sit to be comfortable.  Finally, you can also lie down to meditate.  I would avoid your bed, but laying on the floor with your legs up a wall is a nice restorative position.
A human being is only breath and shadow.
This week we will focus on lengthening and deepening the breath.  For one to two minutes, count each inhale and each exhale.  Fully inhale until you can no longer inhale counting the length of the inhale slowly and evenly.  Don’t aim for a specific number, just see what happens naturally.  Then do the same for the exhale.  So with each inhale, you are fully saturating the lungs with oxygen, and with each exhale you are completely emptying the lungs.  Maybe you can start to carry this deep breathing into your daily life.  As you deepen the breath, you are building the energy to create change and growth.
“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.”
~ Buddha
                To begin your meditation, let your breathing return to normal.  This week we will meditate on a mantra.  A mantra is a sound or phrase designed to help the mind focus.  Our mantra this week is “So Hum Namah”.  In Sanskrit, “So” means true, “Hum” means self, and “Namah” means turning back to.  So this phrase roughly translates to “Turning back to my true self.”  During your meditations this week, repeat to yourself, “So Hum Namah”.  If you find the mind chatter and life noise creeping in, just return to the repetition of your mantra.
Our goal this week will be to add a second 5 minute meditation session to the day, or continue to meditate once per day for 10 minutes, which ever fits into your schedule better.
Enjoy, and let me know if you have any comments or questions.  Also, our in studio meditation will begin on Monday, November 7th at 6:45pm at Asana Yoga + Dance in Middletown, NJ.  If you’d like to join us in person, all are welcome!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Introduction to Meditation

For those of you doing the 60 Day Mediation Challenge, and even for those of you who are not, here is a video by Deepak Chopra.  He provides a brief discussion of what meditation is.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

60 Day Meditation Challenge-Week 1

Week 1
                What is meditation?  It is the practice of relaxing and turning inward.  By working to “tune out” the mind chatter, to do lists and worries, meditation offers the unique opportunity to focus completely on yourself and what YOU need.  The benefits are numerous, but some of them include stress reduction, calm mind, and an open heart.  As we progress through the 60 days, you may find that you have more energy, patience and compassion.  That’s meditation!  Helping you to live your life rather than muddle through it.
 The first principle of meditation is “Be kind to yourself.”  Meditation doesn’t have to be hard, boring or serious!  You are engaging in an activity (or non-activity as it were) designed to be nurturing.  When you sit for meditation, do so with the spirit of taking care of yourself.  Don’t try to control the situation or outcome, and don’t become angry with yourself for doing it wrong.  I’ve got news for you!  You can’t mess up meditation.  As long as you’re sitting and breathing, you’re doing it right!
The Breath
                Each week we will practice a new breathing technique that can be used prior to meditation.  Breathing before meditation can help to quiet and balance the mind, thereby making your meditation practice more seamless.  For week one, we are simply going to observe the breath.  For a minute or two before meditation, just sit, close your eyes and breathe naturally.  Don’t try to change or control the breath, just observe it!
Meditation Challenge
                For week one, our goal is to meditate for at least 5 minutes per day.  If you’d like to sit for longer, go for it!  But really, all you need to experience the benefits of meditation is five minutes.  Remember principle #1:  Be kind to yourself!  Don’t push too hard or turn this in to a chore.
                To begin:  Find a comfortable place to sit, where you will be warm, and can be undisturbed.  Set your alarm for 7 minutes (2 for breathing and 5 for meditation).  I recommend using your phone’s alarm clock feature and choosing a soothing ring tone.  Once you are comfortable, rest your hands in your lap, close your eyes and begin to observe your breath.  Don’t worry if you do this for the full two minutes or not, just until you feel your mind quiet down a bit.  Now you’re ready to meditate.  Our meditation this week will also focus on the breath.  For the next five minutes or so, you will sit and breathe.  As you breathe in, think to yourself “I am breathing in.”  as you exhale, think “I am breathing out.”  The repetition of these phrases helps to train the mind to shut out the mind chatter and noise and bring the focus inward.  Continue the repetition of these phrases until your alarm sounds.  Then take a few moments to sit quietly before gently opening the eyes.
Summary of Week 1
1.       Sit and observe the breath for one to two minutes
2.       Meditate for five minutes repeating phrases, “I am breathing in,” I am breathing out”.
3.       Try to do this once per day this week.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Guided Mediation with Erich Schiffman

Recently, my posts have been about meditation.  Meditation is "the real deal" as Erich Schiffmann says.  It is the most important part of yoga, but more than that, it is important in life.  Science is catching up with the Yogis, and are finding a regular mediation practice profoundly impacts the health and well being of the practitioner.  I won't go on about science in this post.  Just click on the "om" below to be taken to a 13 minute guided meditation with guru, Erich Schiffmann.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Guided Meditation with Deepak Chopra

Take time to meditate today!  Click on the link below to experience a 5 minute guided mediation with Deepak Chopra.  Besides taking 5 minutes for yourself, the benefits of meditation will extend through the rest of your day.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Yoga F.A.Q.s

    Recently, several people have mentioned that they'd love to try yoga, but are a little intimidated by the fact that they don't know much about it, or what to expect when going to a yoga studio for the first time.  I don't know how many out there feel the same, but hopefully this post will help clear things up if you feel similarly.
   What is yoga?  Well I'll tell you what it's not.  Yoga is not a religion, nor does is contradict any religions.  It doesn't even have to be a spiritual practice if you don't want it to.  If you do want it to, yoga will complement any religious belief by promoting compassion, awareness and mindfulness.  Yoga can be one or more of many things.  It can be an amazing physical practice that will help to promote physical fitness, and a counter balance to many common ailments.  It can be a philosophy and a way of life.  You can leave your practice on the mat, or bring its principles with you into your life, as many of these principles apply to more than the physical postures.
    Who can do yoga?  Anyone!  You don't have to be flexible, strong, thin, young or even healthy to benefit from  a yoga practice.  Walk into many yoga studios and you will see people of all ages, shapes and states of health.  The point is to fit your yoga practice to your needs.
    The decision to actually get up and go to a yoga studio can be a hard one.  It's a step outside your comfort zone, and all yoga instructors understand that.  Just know that we are thrilled when someone who has never practiced yoga before comes to class!  We're excited that we get to share yoga with you.  Also know that you are not being judged.  Everyone in the class, including the teacher remembers their first foray into yoga and are eager to make it painless for you.
    A few things to know before hand:
You'll want to bring your own mat, which can be purchased at most big stores like Target and Walmart, but are also probably sold at the studio.  If you sweat, bring a small hand towel, and also a bottle of water (preferably not glass, most studios request that).  Dress comfortably, in clothes you can move easily in.  Be aware though, that if your top is too loose, it may shift and slide when you do postures where your hips are higher than your head.  You may want to wear a top that is form fitting.  Dress in layers, especially in cooler weather.  You'll want a long sleeved shirt, and maybe socks for when you are meditating, or in final relaxation.
Plan to arrive at the studio about 15 minutes before your first class.  You'll need to provide your info, and fill out a health history form before taking class, as well as purchase your class or package.  Also, the instructor will probably want to get to know you a bit, and this will give you a chance to ask any questions you may have.
Once you are in class:
Don't stress!  Lay your mat out, have a seat and enjoy your first class.  Don't push too hard.  Although it's hard, it's important to not compete with those around you.  Yoga is supposed to feel good, and although the first class may have it's moments of discomfort, every effort should be made to work at your pace.
If you don't like the first class, don't give up!  There are so many different types of yoga, and different styles of teaching.  There will be at least one that you connect with!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Seasonal Yoga

Happy Autumn!  As the weather changes, so do our yoga practices.  Click on the picture below to be taken to an awesome 8 minute restorative sequence designed by Melina Meza for the Fall season.  8 minutes!!!! You can do that!  Make it your gift to yourself today!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pre- Natal Yoga

          Yoga can be a great way to physically, mentally and emotionally prepare for childbirth.  It helps to improve circulation, strengthen postural muscles, and may help to alleviate minor aches and pains associated with pregnancy.
Before taking a yoga class, please speak with your doctor to ensure that a yoga practice is appropriate for you during your pregnancy.  Also, let your instructor know that you are pregnant so that he or she can make the necessary adjustments and recommendations. 

A few things to know before taking a yoga class while pregnant:

o   Avoid prolonged poses on the back after the first trimester.
o   Avoid poses that stretch the muscles too much, particularly the abdominal muscles.
o   Avoid all poses that put pressure on the abdomen, especially forward folds, twists, and belly down postures.
o   Modify folding poses with legs apart so the belly comes between the legs, and bend from the hips, not the back.
o   Come out of poses very slowly.
o   Feel free to use the wall to support certain poses.
o   Avoid standing motionless for long periods of time.
o   Do not attempt to learn advanced or inverted postures during pregnancy.
o   Remember to breathe freely throughout the class.  Speak with your instructor about which breathing techniques to avoid during pregnancy.
o   It is normal to feel fatigue, especially during the first and third trimesters.  Trust your body, rest when you need to, and avoid any pose that doesn’t feel right.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Just wanted to share a guided meditation from Rainbeau Mars.  Click the link: and enjoy 10 minutes of "me time".

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pose of the Week: Bridge Pose

Whew!  Thought I wasn't going to be able to get online tonight what with all this post hurricane craziness!  This week's pose is Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, or, Bridge pose.  Not only will this pose help you to de-stress, it will also help you to release the tension held in the chest, shoulders, and neck.  Other benefits include improved digestion, reduction anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia and is beneficial for those suffering from asthma, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and sinusitis.

To begin, lie on your back on the floor, arms and palms flat on the mat alongside the body.  Bend the knees, and place the bottoms of the feet on the mat, bringing the heels in close to the sitting bones.  Pressing your arms and inner feet into the floor, tuck the tailbone, and lift the hips off the floor.  Continue lifting the hips until the thighs are about parallel to the floor.  Keep the inner thighs engaged and try not to let your knees splay out.  If comfortable, bring your hands together underneath you and clasp them together.  Begin to work your shoulder underneath you, opening your chest and sternum towards your chin.  Rest here and breathe for about 30 seconds.  When coming out of the pose, release your shoulders, and carefully roll down thorough the spine, keeping the abs engaged to protect the back. 

If you have any neck injuries or issues, avoid this pose or practice it under the guidance of an experienced instructor.

To make this a restorative pose, place a block or bolster under the sacrum (the large, triangular bone at the base of the spine) and rest the pelvis on it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday's Pose of the week

The transition from August into September usually means a return to a hectic schedule, which can bring with it stress, fatigue and over stimulation.  This week's pose is a helpful tool to combat these conditions.  Balasana, or Child's Pose is a restorative pose that offers an opportunity to quiet the mind, go inside, and take a break from a hectic schedule.

To begin, kneel on the floor with your big toes touching, and sit on your heels.  Bring your knees about hip width apart.  Exhaling, lean forward over your thighs, and bring your forehead to rest on the floor.  Allow you arms to rest alongside the body with the palms facing up.  Stay here and breathe anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes.  If it's uncomfortable to sit on your heels, place a rolled up blanket between your thighs and calves.  If resting your forehead on the floor is not comfortable, place a block or pillow in front of you and rest forehead on that.  This pose should be avoided if you are pregnant, have diarrhea, or knee issues or injuries.

Enjoy, and remember to breathe deeply!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pose of the Week: Mountain Pose

   Mountain Pose, or Tadasana, is a foundational pose in any yoga practice.  It serves as the starting point for many poses and sequences, but by itself can help to improve posture, reduce flat feet, ease sciatica, and strengthen knees, thighs and ankles.
  To practice Tadasana, come to a standing position.  Allow the arms to hang neutrally at the sides.  Look down at your feet, and position them so that the base of the big toes are touching, and the heels are slightly apart.  Sway back and forth, side to side, and explore the different extremes before coming to a standstill at center.  Firm the thighs and lift the knee caps.  Lengthen your tail bone towards the ground, and keep your abdominals engaged but not tense.  Slide the shoulder blades down the back and keep the shoulders back, but relaxed.  Float the head and the neck directly over the pelvis, and imagine a line of energy running through the mid line of the body.  Soften your eyes and your face, and breathe for 1 to 5 minutes. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Yoga Pose of the Week

Starting tonight, every Monday night I will post a pose of the week.  Along with a picture, there will be a description of the pose.  I hope this will help you to learn the benefits of each pose, and maybe incorporate it into your own practice.
This week's pose is Ado Mukha Svanasana
Also known as Downward Facing Dog, it is one of the most known poses, and an integral part of any practice.  It does double duty as an energizing pose, and also one that becomes a resting pose during vigorous practice.  The Sanskrit is pronounced: AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna.  If you have Carpal tunnel syndrome, or Diarrhea, please do not attempt this pose, and make your instructor aware of your condition.  If you have High blood pressure or a headache: Support your head on a bolster or block, ears level between the arms, after getting a doctor's OK to practice.  Also, if you are pregnant, please avoid this pose late term, and always get a doctor's approval before practicing while pregnant.

Begin on hands and knees, shoulders directly over wrists.  Tuck your toes, and push your hips up until you come into an inverted "V".  If you find your heels are very high off the mat, walk your feet in a bit until your are able to sink them a little further down.  Be sure to press your hands into the mat evenly, and also that your head and neck are relaxed, but between the arms.  Hold this pose anywhere from 1-3 minutes.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independance Day

Happy Fourth of July!  Here is a quote on freedom I like by Thich Nhat Hanh:

"Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice... No one can prevent you from being aware of each step you take or each breath in and breath out."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

So Hum meditation

  The benefits of meditation are obvious.  Who couldn't benefit from a few moments of quiet, restful awareness?  What yogis have known for thousands of years, western medicine is just beginning to understand.  Despite all the studies, and texts and talk surrounding the practice of meditation, the practice itself is simple.  There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Many people don't meditate because they simply don't know how to start.  The following is a simple meditation on a mantra to get you started.
  A mantra is a sound, a word, or a phrase designed to help clear the mind of chatter, and bring awareness inward.  The mantra we will be using for this meditation is "So Hum", which means "I am that".  "That" refers to a collective unity between you and the universe.
  To begin, turn off your phone, TV, and anything else that might beep, ding or ring.  Sit quietly and make yourself comfortable. Set a timer or alarm clock for 10 to 20 minutes, and gently close your eyes.  Spend a few moments breathing, and allowing the mind to wind down.  Now begin to repeat your mantra silently.  "So Hum.....So Hum....So Hum....".  You can match the mantra to your breath by saying "So" on the inhale, and "Hum" on the exhale.  Continue this until your timer sounds.  If you find your thoughts wandering, envision a broom sweeping them aside and return to your breath and your mantra.
  If you make time daily for meditation, you will soon experience all the benefits it has to offer, a calmer mind, more energy, and decreased stress levels.

Friday, July 1, 2011


More than ten years ago, my yogic journey began.  I was a dance student, and required to take one yoga class a week.  Later, I returned to yoga as a college athlete seeking to improve my flexibility.  I came into my practice with a bit of arrogance.  After all, I was very fit, and a competitive athlete.  I expected yoga to be easy.  My first practice became a lesson in humility, and through the years my practice has provided many more lessons, in addition to the physical benefits.  A few years ago, I decided to become certified to teach.  I have gained so much through this practice, and I love passing it on to others!
Please keep checking back here, as I will frequently update this blog with all things yoga!