Tag Archives: Breathe

Meditation

With the hectic pace and demands of life, many people feel stressed out and over-worked. We often feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done that we need to. Our stress and tiredness not only make us unhappy and frustrated, but also can begin to affect our health. Meditating is a great way to help make you feel calmer, more focused, and more at peace.  In our busy day, we may feel like there is no time to stop and meditate, but a simple 10-15 min. is all you need to help calm your mind and body and allow yourself to feel less stressed.

My dad passed away on July 3rd. During the last few weeks, I’ve felt sad, depressed, and overwhelmed, so I decided to start meditating. Previously, I considered my yoga practice to be a moving meditation, but since I am always moving, I decided to try to sit in stillness for a while and see how sitting and focusing on my breath could help to calm my body and mind.  

In only 10 minutes a day, I was able to help transform my mind from negative to positive, from anxious to calm, and from unhappy to happy. Learning to sit with myself and love myself, helped me to find the inner harmony I was lacking.

Overcoming negative minds and creating constructive thoughts is one of the purposes of meditating. There are many different meditations techniques (i.e. walking, concentration, mindfulness, transcendental) you can choose from.  Meditating doesn’t have to feel hard or cumbersome, so no matter what you choose or how you choose to meditate, it’s up to you. The most important thing you can do is focus on the present, try to clear your mind, and breathe.

Here is a simple meditation exercise to try:

  1. Sit or lie comfortably.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
  4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
  5. Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.

I started with some simple meditations on my own, but then began to explore some guided meditations. Here are a few things I found and enjoyed:

  1. Meditation Studio– I enjoy this when I don’t have much time and am looking for a shorter guided meditation. They offer meditations for stress, relaxation, and sleep, just to name a few.  
  2. For longer meditations, I enjoy listening to Deepak Chopra’s Healing Meditation on youtube. He has quite a number of them and I really haven’t found one I havent liked.

Next time you are having a hard time or are feeling stressed, find a comfortable seat or lying position and begin to meditate. This may not make the negative experience go away, but it can help you tolerate it with kindness and patience.

Namaste!

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Benefits of Hot Yoga in the Summertime!

The hottest months of the year are quickly upon us.  As a result, most of us want to sit inside with the A/C on while having  a cold drink.  When we think of summertime activities, we don’t always think about going to a heated yoga studio to practice. However, doing hot yoga in the summer does have many benefits and can actually help you survive the dog days of summer!

Here’s a few reasons how hot yoga helps:

You can easily acclimate to the summer’s heat!

Practicing in a heated studio allows your body to become more adapted to sweating and hot temperatures. Studies have shown that hot yoga practitioners are less sensitive to sweltering temps, often aren’t bothered by temperature changes, and don’t need to blast the A/C as high as others do.

It detoxifies your body through sweat.

If you’ve practiced hot yoga then you’ve probably left the class dripping in sweat. The sweat is incredibly cleansing and detoxifying. Sweat is a great way to cleanse your organs, muscles, and glands.  Many people feel lethargic during the summer, but those who practice hot yoga feel more energized and refreshed because they sweat out bad toxins.

It helps you stay hydrated.

Proper hydration is essential when it’s hot out.  Hot yogis know that drinking fluids is essential both on and off the mat. Whether you’re losing a lot of water from a sweaty class or from simply being outside in the heat, it’s important to stay hydrated.  Hot yoga students are often already careful about staying hydrated from their hot yoga practice,so they are able to maintain that habit throughout their daily life.

It gives you stronger coping capabilities.

A hot yoga class is a great way to learn how to cope with excessive heat. When your practice gets a little too hot for you, you learn how to listen to your body and adjust to the environment; i.e. slowing down your breathing, taking a child’s pose, or grabbing a drink of water. Hot yoga helps you become more in tune with your bodies needs, particularly in the heat.  

It helps you maintain your practice all year.

I think one of my favorite things about hot yoga is walking into a heated class after a chilly winter day. But after months of taking classes during the colder months, it’s almost impossible to take three months off. When you practice regularly, yoga becomes such a critical part of your life and daily routine that when you don’t do it, you feel different, not as open or energized. So don’t let summer put a damper on all the hard work you’ve accomplished throughout the year. Get to class!

Nothing like the feeling you get after a great class.

After a long day at work, your first down dog can feel stiff and when you try to move, you experience a few creaky joints.  Hot summer temps and high humidity can actually help loosen up muscles and joints before you hit the mat, and make warming up at the beginning of class that much easier. A heated class definitely gives your muscles a good stretch and prepares your body for other activities throughout your day. My runner friends even say that they experience the same endorphin rush they get from running during a hot yoga class. They feel on top of the world!

Helps you be more active in the summer.

There is no better time than summer to enjoy a run outside, long bike ride or a hike in the woods, even in the heat. If you’re someone who has difficulty training or completing physical activities in the heat, (Ii.e. try training for a fall marathon in August lol)  a hot sweaty yoga session will lessen the shock of being active during the summer months and prepare your body to handle activities in the heat.

Get to a hot class, what are you waiting for?  

Join Empower Yoga this summer this summer & get your sweat on!

 

 

 

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Mindfulness

As a yoga instructor, I frequently have students asking about mindfulness and how to live more mindfully.  A good place to start, is defining the term.  The commonly acknowledged definition of mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Continue reading Mindfulness

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Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it.

openMy yoga journey started about 10 years ago. I have to admit, I was kind of in a dark place at the time and a friend of mine dragged me to my first class. I wasn’t sure what to expect or if it would even help me feel better.  While I liked the class, I was still a little skeptical about yoga, but I decided to give it another try.  After a handful of  times, I started to see and feel the benefits of yoga. I began to recognize ways that yoga was beginning to change my life. It helped me feel better in my body, feel better about myself, be in the moment more, see the world in a brighter light, and appreciate the people and things around me more. Yoga has opened my eyes to so much and ever since then, yoga has been a huge part of my life and a huge part of my daily routine. I am not sure where I would be without it.

I knew I always wanted to teach. I always played school when I was a kid, which eventually led me to going to college and grad school for education. I received my degree in Elementary and Special Education, a masters in Special Education, and a CAGS in Administration.  Becoming a yoga teacher seemed like a natural progression. First, I started to incorporate it into my classroom and was amazed by the results.  I saw first hand the benefits it not only had on me, but on my students as well. I knew yoga was pretty special.  So when I moved to NJ with my husband almost 5 years ago, I finally decided to get my yoga certification so I could share the joys of yoga with others. I wanted to give back to a community that had given me so much. I fell in love with teaching yoga and decided that I’d one day have a studio of my own.

While most people talk about their dreams, I try to go out and grab mine. I have always been a goal setter and a slight over achiever.  I sometimes don’t know when to stop. Once I achieve a goal, I quickly move on to the next one. I try to enjoy every second of this amazing life and never want to miss an opportunity to truly live. I am always trying to push the boundaries and see what I am truly capable of.  I’m not afraid of a little hard work and when people tell me I can’t do something, I will work even harder to prove them wrong.  Now I know that there are cards stacked against me in regards to opening my own business, but I firmly believe that I can and will be successful.  At the end of the day, if I can help people and help better their lives in even the smallest of ways, than I have already succeeded. I look to the future filled with excitement and optimisms for being able to help people and allow them to learn and grow so they too can be and do their best.  I can’t wait for the studio to open come January!

I coming-soonchose the name emPOWER Yoga because I  want people to leave the studio feeling empowered and strong, ready to take on the day with enthusiasm and strength, knowing that they can tackle any obstacle that may get in their way.  We are capable of so much more than what we give ourselves credit for. I hope that when my students step on their mat, they begin to see and understand that. I hope they can cultivate strength and awareness on their mat’s that will transcend off their mats and into their daily lives.   

The studio will offer a variety of vinyasa based classes that are appropriate for all levels.  I am dedicated to spreading the love of yoga to all in a safe, fun, and encouraging way. I will work hard to help my students learn and grow so they can be and do their best.  I hope to get them ready for new experiences that will help them push past their boundaries and open them up to new ideas and challenges, both physically and spiritually. I hope to inspire people to be the best version of themselves and live their best life.

epy-campus-towmTo learn more about the studio and classes, follow us on FB or IG @empoweryoganj or visit our website: empoweryoganj.com.  Stayed tuned for studio updates and special promotions.

Namaste

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Setting The Foundation

sunriseLife is full of new beginnings. Every day, when the sun rises, we have a new chance, a new opportunity to start over and set our foundation for the day, week, year. When we get up we should ask ourselves: “what is it that we want to do or accomplish?” and then get started on doing it.  It doesn’t have to be anything big, earth shattering, or profound, but it should be something that we can do to better ourselves and help us to be the best that we can be.  What we do and think each morning will set a foundation for our mood and behaviors throughout the day. Continue reading Setting The Foundation

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The Importance of Breath

This week I took a yoga class with my good friend  Ayami. In class she talked about the importance of breath and becoming more aware of our inhales. We spent our practice conscious of our breathing; maintaining slow, long, consistent, and smooth inhales and exhales as we transitioned through the poses and postures.  

Afterwards, I began thinking more about the importance of breath and Ujjayi breathing. So this week’s blog is dedicated to Ayami.  Thank you for the inspiration. Continue reading The Importance of Breath

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3, 2, 1… Yoga

KB balanceAs I yoga teacher and CrossFit coach, I’ve tried to get my CrossFit clients to understand the benefits of both types of training and how they can balance and support one another. Unfortunately, neither group has been too keen on trying the other; more so the CrossFitters then yogis and to be honest, I just don’t understand why.  At my box (CrossFit Nassau), I used to hold weekly yoga classes for the members.  At first, they were popular, but after a few months, fewer and fewer people attended and we eventually stopped offering them.  I was bummed because I’ve seen first hand how yoga has helped my strength training, i.e. yoga has helped me improve my core strength, range of motion, balance, breathe, and acts as a great stress reliever. What was it going to take to get more CrossFitters to understand these benefits? Continue reading 3, 2, 1… Yoga

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