Tag Archives: Yoga

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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Tips for Yoga Teachers

Sometimes as teachers, we get hung up on what we do in our own practices, rather than what the students in our classes need. As a teacher, I think it’s important to read the room and assess your students needs so that you can be mindful about what and how you’re teaching, and the impact it may be having on the class.

I recently went to a class where the teacher stopped the class constantly to show a pose or to point out faults. This really interrupted the flow.   As a teacher, I know that I can sometimes talk a lot and I’ve stopped the class before, mostly to ensure everyone was moving safely, but I think we need to be aware of what we are doing and why we are doing it. I think it’s important to teach with intention and purpose and allow students the time and opportunity to explore their bodies and breathe in their own way through the practice.  

Things to consider when you’re teaching a class:

Don’t forget to look at your students: I hate going to classes where a teacher stays on their mat and practices in the front or when he/she sits in the front and just stares off into space. Be sure you’re walking around and looking at the students during the practice. Make eye contact, smile, check their alignment, or make an adjustment if you need to. Stay in the moment of your teaching. Remember this is about the students, not you.

 Find the talking balance: Sometimes students need cues and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes teachers call cues that are unnecessary because they think they need to talk throughout the class.  Sometimes the cues can be bad enough that the students have no idea what the teacher is asking you to do.  Choose your words wisely, briefly model if you need to, but cue and make adjustments as you go along. This can help enhance a student’s experience in the class.

 Don’t force a student into a pose: Not all bodies are created equal. Ask students if they have injuries before class and let them know ways to modify poses ahead of time if needed, based on their injuries.  Then, during class, look and see what alignment points need to be addressed. First give verbal cues and then a physical adjustment if needed.

 Offer variations to poses:  As you cue various poses, offer students options to either modify or enhance the pose. Every time we step on our mat, we have a different experience. Sometimes we need to take it easy and sometimes we need to amp it up. It’s important to remind students to listen to their bodies.  I always remind my students that I am just a guide so they should: “do what feels good & don’t do what doesn’t feel good.” This I find allows them some freedom to explore and find what poses feel good for them that day.

 Be authentic:  Don’t be something you’re not. Do your best to try to connect with your students, but teach from the heart. Your students will look up to you and the words and wisdoms you share, so be authentic, honest, and most importantly…be you.

 

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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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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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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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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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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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Salute to Summer

This Monday, June 20th will be the longest day of the year, otherwise known as the Summer Solstice. The word solstice comes from the Latin solstitium: from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop). So on Monday, make time to stop, reflect on your year, acknowledge how far you’ve come and set your intentions for what you want to create or encourage in your life during the second half of the year, until the Winter Solstice. Continue reading Salute to Summer

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You’re More Than a Number

scaleA few years ago, I use to be fixated on what the number on the scale said and at times, I let it rule my life. I was obsessive about wanting to lose weight and  would weigh myself constantly; when I got up, after I went to the bathroom, after a run, before bed, etc… I created this notion in my head that I had to be a certain number in order to feel good, pretty, fit, or overall happy. The scale became an unhealthy obsession for me, so a few years ago, I ditched it. I started to realize that I was more than just a number and that I didn’t want the number on the scale to control who I was or how I felt about myself. So I started to workout for me because I wanted to live a healthy life and be my best and strongest self.  When I want to see improvements in my body, I don’t need the scale to tell me, I can see it by how my clothes fit, how much faster I can run, or how much more I can lift. Those things let me know that I am making progress.   Continue reading You’re More Than a Number

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30 Perfect Things!

I have been thinking about how often people take things for granted.  How we sometimes focus on the negative in our lives and we forget about all the good things.  Somehow we’ve learned to believe that we need material items to be happy.  So we go to work, hoping to make lots of money so we can buy things we want.  We believe that these items will help us feel more fulfilled or make us feel that we matter; proving our worth to the world.

Since I quit my job and taken a pay cut, my husband put me on a budget.  At first I thought, “what am I going to do?” Then I realized that I don’t need much.  I have so much already and more than what money can buy.  I started to think about all of the wonderful things in my life and having done so, I feel more content, more happy, and more sure that I am exactly where I need to be in life.  

We don’t need to buy things to make our lives beautiful or joyous. We don’t need more glamorous items in our lives to find happiness and contentment. We can find these wonderful qualities in what’s already in front of us.

At times, I forget this. But in my best moments, I remember and my heart expands with more love for life and everyone around me.

In my mind, these things are perfect and are proof that we don’t need to buy anything to be happy, cool, excited, or content:

  1. Family
  2. A quiet morning walk with the dogs before sunrise
  3. A run outdoors with good friends
  4. A great cup of coffee
  5. Reading a book curled up on the couch
  6. A hug
  7. A yoga practice
  8. A delicious fruit smoothie
  9. Holding the door for someone
  10. A good workout
  11. Hot soup and good bread
  12. A song that gets you singing and/or dancing
  13. Fresh fallen snow
  14. The sound of the ocean
  15. Meeting a new friend
  16. A sunset
  17. Leaves changing colors
  18. A fire in the fireplace
  19. Cuddling with your significant other
  20. Sunday mornings in bed
  21. Pancakes
  22. Spending time with friends
  23. A bite of mango
  24. Reflecting on life, blogging
  25. People laughing around you
  26. Imagining future possibilities
  27. Helping someone else
  28. Writing a note, email, or text to someone you care about  
  29. Knowing that you love yourself
  30. You

“Happiness isn’t about getting what you want all the time. It’s about loving what you have and being grateful for it.”

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