Tag Archives: Gratitude

Happy Planksgiving!

For the month of November, Empower Yoga students and friends have been participating in a Planksgiving Challenge. It is 30 days of giving thanks and planks.  No prizes are awarded, it’s more about having fun, creating community, challenging ourselves and of course giving thanks! Each day our plank holds get a little bit longer. We started with a 20 second plank and are working our way to a 3 minute hold on November 30th.

Planksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! Planking is not only a really great way to activate and strengthen your core, but a great way to work your whole body!

Are you ready to jump into our #Planksgiving Challenge? Don’t worry if you find it too difficult to hold, you can plank as long as you can and break it up into smaller parts. Try to hold a few more seconds each day! Remember to stay aware of your form- it’s quality, not quantity that counts. Challenge yourself, but not to the point of injury.

Why you should be thankful for the plank:

  • No equipment needed
  • Improves your posture
  • Promotes a flat belly
  • Works more than just your core
  • Reduces back pain
  • Burns calories
  • Builds strength
  • You can do them anywhere

How to safely do a plank:

  • Start out lying on your stomach with your hands flat on the floor, directly below your shoulders
  • Have your legs out straight and toes curled under
  • Press your hands into the floor, squeeze your core, and come up into a straight arm plank position
  • Don’t allow your hips to sag or your butt to come up
  • Think about squeezing your core and drawing your belly button in towards your spine, and pressing your hands into the floor the entire time
  • Try to keep your head and neck in line with the rest of your spine
  • You can do most of these on your forearms, too, just place your elbows directly underneath your shoulders!

Click for 35 fun plank variations!

Happy Planking 😉

 

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Renew Your Practice

Spring brings a heightened awareness of new life. Flowers begin to bloom and trees begin to grow. It’s the perfect time for renewal and new beginnings. It could mean taking a new direction or following a new path in life, so let your creative juices flow!

With spring comes a time of fresh starts and it’s not just about spring cleaning your home. It’s also internal cleaning. It’s time to get rid of stuck energy, release anything that isn’t serving you anymore and get ready to embrace what is to come.  Spring is the season of beginnings so it’s a perfect time to try something new or revitalizing something you’ve done a lot. Maybe you’ve fallen into a habit and routine and are looking to make a change. Perhaps it’s time to spice things up.

If you’ve been interested in taking a yoga class or are looking for ways to renew your practice, we can help.

Here are some ways to break old habits, get a fresh start, and a new perspective.  Let us help you find your most powerful self.

Try a new type of yoga class.

If you’ve never taken a yoga class or have only ever practiced flow yoga, then you’re probably pretty comfortable in down dog. But when was the last time you stayed in pigeon for more than five breaths? Alternatively, if you always attend the yin and restorative yoga classes, why not challenge yourself to try out a flow class?

Trying a different style can be as challenging as going to yoga for the first time. You will move your body in new ways and explore yoga from a different angle. At Empower Yoga we have a variety of styles to choose from. Whether it is Slow Flow, Yoga Nidra, Yoga Sculpt, Hip Hop Yoga or somethings else, a new style can truly renew your yoga practice.

Try a class with a new teachers.

No two Power Hour or Power Flow classes at the studio are the same. While we follow a similar sequence, each teacher brings their own unique personality, training, and experience into the class.  The more teachers you learn from, the more variety you are going to get. This can help you discover new poses, challenges, and ways of moving.

Schedule a private session.

One way to renew your yoga practice is to schedule a one-on-one session. Private classes obviously cost more money than a group class, but they are worth every penny. You get to work with a skilled yoga teacher who can help you explore and deepen your yoga practice and test your limits. Private classes are also a great way to learn how to go deeper into poses or learn modifications to poses. Modifications, can be critical to know, expecialyl if you have an injury or health impairment.  

Sign up for a Retreat.

One of the best ways to get a fresh start is to get away from it all entirely. When you leave your routine you’re forced to break habits. You begin to look at and do things differently. A yoga retreat can be the perfect way to do this. This May Empower Yoga is heading to Belize for our first ever retreat. Stay tuned for future retreat opportunities.

New practice, new attitude.

Having a fresh start is about more than doing something differently. It’s also about the attitude you do it with. Spring is the perfect opportunity to embrace change, so keep an open mind and an adventurer’s spirit. Awaken your mind to all the opportunities available to you and trust what the universe has in store.  You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised as to what new beginnings can do 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful Spring.  We look forward to helping you grow your yoga practice this season!

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Dear Yogis…

Dear Yogis,

Tomorrow is Empower Yoga’s one year anniversary and I wanted to take an opportunity to reflect and share some of the thoughts I have going into year two.  I opened Empower Yoga a year ago for a few reasons. First, to have a heated power studio in Central Jersey because there wasn’t one before now, but more importantly to create a safe place that people could come to learn and grow- physically, emotionally, & spiritually. I named this space Empower Yoga because I want you to feel empowered every time you walk out the door. I want you to know that you are so much more than what you sometimes believe and I hope through our classes at the studio, you truly start to see that and you begin to discover your most powerful self.

I started teaching yoga as a way to give back to a community that gave me so much. I believe that we all have the capacity to feel healthy and strong, and I want to help you feel that too. When we allow our bodies and minds to move freely, when we let go of our ego, when we quiet the chatter in our heads, and join together in community and breath, we begin to experience a profound sense of being truly awake and alive.

We live in a crazy world and sometimes all of life’s circumstances can weigh us down and hold us back. We are constantly bombarded with information about how we should live or what we should do. It can be intimidating and very overwhelming, but I hope that through your yoga practice, you can get a glimpse into the space beyond your busy mind; where you’re already calm, clear and where all your answers lie. A place where you can let go of some of the emotional baggage and just be.

Now being a yoga teacher does not make me an expert on life and all things spiritual. I can only authentically share what I have learned from my own experience. It’s your job to put your yoga into practice in a way that fits with your daily life. I can instruct and inspire, but you must do the work.

Just remember, the days you feel like skipping your practice are the days you need it the most. Keeping yoga a consistent part of your day and/or weekly routine will help you to thrive both on and off your mat. Yoga will help you in those challenging moments you face. Once you’ve been practicing a while, you’ll notice a calmer, happier, and less anxious version of you. I can promise that I will always be here to support you in anyway I can. Come sweat, move, and breathe with me! Come discover what you’re truly capable of.

Thank you for being a part of this amazing Empower Yoga community and allowing me to guide and instruct you.

Much love,

Keri

 

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Making Friends in Yoga

Over the years, I have discovered that yogis make some of the best friends. From my studio in Boston, to my own studio now, and the ones I’ve worked in and visited along the way; I have met so many incredible people & have built many lasting friendships. Yoga is a truly great place to meet and connect with people.

Yogis of all ages and backgrounds are often united in their love of yoga and a common desire to be friendly both on and off the mat. I’ve been able to deepen friendships through the transformative experience that was my teacher training, numerous classes I’ve taught and attended, workshops, as well as community gatherings and potlucks.

With yoga as the glue, I have found that that the things we have in common are far greater than those things that set us apart. So yoga studios are a great place for meeting people and building friendships.

Yoga for the individual:

Yoga is about self discovery. It’s a wonderful way to become more in tune with your mind and body so you can find your true self.  Yoga helps eliminate suffering, stress, and negativity in our lives. During a yoga class, you’re challenged to bring your attention inward and connect with yourself on a deeper level.

With an open mind and willingness that’s cultivated in class, we can work on ourselves and begin to strip away the negativity. When we let our guard down like this, we not only begin to explore a deeper connection to ourselves, but also a deeper connection to others.

Yoga for the group:

While yoga is very individual, it is also very collaborative. Yoga helps create union with one another and a sense of togetherness. Through collective breath and movement in class, yoga helps create bonds with the people around you like none other.

Once class is over, there’s this overall feeling of oneness, connection, and collaborative energy.  There’s this beautiful window of opportunity to make introductions, mingle, and foster a deeper connection and potential friendships to those around you.

Next time you’re in class:

Spark up a conversation with your yogi neighbors in class, introduce yourself to the teacher, talk to people after class, whatever it may be, break out of your shell, be brave, allow yourself to be vulnerable and open. We are all connected and if nothing else, one thing we know we have in common, is our love for yoga and our dedication to our practice. There is always space in our lives for new positive people. Take a chance, say hi.

 

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Thank You To My Family & Friends

I wanted to dedicate this week’s blog to you; my family and friends. If you’re a new reader to my blog, you may not be aware that last weekend, my husband and I opened our very first business, a yoga studio- Empower Yoga.  I have been talking about starting this business for over two years and now my dreams have finally come to fruition.  I have so much to be grateful for in my life, particularly for all of the wonderful people in it; who have been a part of my journey, helping me get to this point. This letter/blog is for you! Continue reading Thank You To My Family & Friends

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Cultivating Gratitude

What are you grateful for? Have you thought about it? Do you show gratitude in your daily life?

At times, I often feel that we take so much for granted and forget about all the good that is present in our lives. Instead, we think about all the things our lives are lacking. However, when we stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing and we have so much to be grateful for.

In an effort to remind myself and others of all the things we should be grateful for, I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s blog to the idea of gratitude! Enjoy 🙂 Continue reading Cultivating Gratitude

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Keep a Contented Heart

happiness-projectA couple years ago my husband and I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I recently revisited this book because I’ve begun to find myself needing a few reminders about what happiness means and how to find happiness in our life, especially when things become difficult for us.  

So I decided to pull the book back out and revisit the chapter, November. Keep a Contented Heart is the heading for this chapter.  I started reading and thinking about this idea. What does “keep a contented heart” mean? Well literally, according to the dictionary, “contented” refers to happy and at ease, and “heart” is the organ that pumps our blood and is also the central or innermost part of something.  So having a contented heart means to be happy at your core.  Would you say that you have a contented heart right now? My immediate answer is no, but after some more thought, I would answer yes and I am sure you might too.  At first, keeping a contented heart can feel like a giant task, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact I think it can be easily attainable.

I think one of the most important things that leads to happiness is attitude; which Gretchen writes about in the chapter.  I believe attitude speaks volumes about how to achieve a contented heart.  If you can master a good attitude about whatever comes your way, good or bad, it can go a very long way to building your happiness level. I work daily on keeping and maintaining a positive attitude about life, even when I feel derailed or when life gets hard.  I awake each day with the mantra, “It’s a great day to be alive” and work hard to live up to that mantra by trying to achieve greatness each day.

And when I refer to greatness, I do not mean having power or wealth.  To me, having greatness can mean something a little different every day. It can include setting small, attainable goals that I set for myself.

For example:

attempting a new arm balance

running a faster mile

PRing my deadlift

complimenting someone

acknowledging someone’s hard work

It can also mean having the courage to stand up to injustice and the ability to help and be kind to all (i.e. people, animals, the environment).

For example:

being a vegan or vegetarian

not polluting our environment

offering support to someone who needs it

being a voice to the voiceless

As a former learning consultant and now yoga teacher and studio owner, I have spent my career caring for and teaching others. I believe in the importance of helping, supporting, and being kind to all beings and share that belief with my students through my words and actions.  I try to not take anything for granted and appreciate the small gifts in life.  This positive attitude, will, and desire to live a good, strong, and kind life has helped me to work towards achieving a contented heart.  I believe that it is important to be grateful for the things we have, tell the people in our lives that we care about them, and do something each day that will challenge us and help to make us better, because we never know if this day will be our last. Live it up!

November after all is the month that contains Thanksgiving, and it is a great time to work on having a contented heart. It’s a month that focuses on gratitude, thankfulness, and counting blessings both big and small. What better time to work on this?  There is no time like the present!

What can you do today to help you have more of a contented heart tomorrow?

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Always Growing & Always Changing

KM YOGABefore I became a yogi and exercise fanatic, I was many things. It took me many years of exploration and soul searching to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.  While I don’t believe we ever really stop learning, as I’ve gotten older I have become much more in-tune with my feelings, needs, wants and desires.  I have learned to love myself and work hard everyday to never doubt, never hate, and never criticize who I am.  We all make mistakes and I try to learn from mine with compassion and love.   Continue reading Always Growing & Always Changing

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Life Lessons From My Dogs

A & S 2My husband and I have two dogs (Sebastian and Annabelle) that we cherish and love. They are are more like children to us then pets. They have made our lives so special in so many ways. They’ve shown us endless amounts love and devotion and we could not be more grateful to have them as a part of our family.  In fact, because we love our dogs so much we decided to adopt one more… a little pug we named Liberty. LIBERTYWe could not be more excited.  As our family continues to grow, my heart continues to expand as I open myself up to more love than I’ve ever imagined.  I owe a lot to these special dogs.

Having dogs has taught me so much about life and love, so I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s blog to my babies.  Here are some of the things I’ve learned from my dogs! Enjoy! Continue reading Life Lessons From My Dogs

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Block Party

Why yoga blocks can enhance your yoga poses:

block crowDid you ever try using blocks for yoga? If not, you should consider incorporating them into your yoga routine.  Blocks can be extremely useful to your yoga practice. They can help provide length, stability, and comfort, but can also create a challenge and are a great way to enhance your practice.

Blocks can help you progress into the more challenging variations of certain yoga poses, helping you build better strength and balance, and allowing your body to get into a more effective shape of the posture.

Yoga blocks provide: Flexibility, Strength, Support, & Balance

block pyramidAs you work to increase balance and flexibility in your practice, yoga blocks are a great tool. Yoga blocks allow you to safely move into poses so that you are aligned, open, and feeling good.block triangle When your are having a hard time performing some poses, for example half moon pose, warrior pose, pyramid, or triangle; the blocks can serve as a supporting tool that you can place your hand(s) on to help bring the floor to you, allowing for added length to your arms and getting full extension in the pose. Choose the block height based on your flexibility. Note that you may choose a different height each time you get on your mat.

Yoga blocks can also provide support. Blocks can support your head and neck during lying positions or support your weight during sitting and standing positions. In a lying position, place the block under your neck to avoid straining your neck or spine. In seated positions, try sitting on a block; either cross legged or legs behind you as in hero’s pose for example. Sitting on a block is a great way to alleviate any tension or discomfort on your knees. When in a standing pose, for an extra challenge or degree of difficulty, try standing on the block (i.e. maybe in tree pose or warrior III) and see how it feels, this is a great way to work your balance and your core.


butt on blockAdditionally, since yoga blocks can help support weight, they can also maintain balance. This is helpful during standing, squatting, as well as sitting positions. Blocks will help you find your center of gravity so you can maintain your balance and hold a position longer, feeling more open and aligned.block bridge 2

So next time you’re in class, rather than worrying about how the blocks will make you look, think about how they will make you feel!

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