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Election got you feeling all the emotions? Here’s a nice reminder.

taboo tuesdayDear Family,

There are many of you who are distraught, anxious and fearful of what may come and there some of you who are excited through the moon, but please know that everything always works out! There has never been a time that this hasn’t been the case. What happened today is just a reflection, a projection of truth. It is a mirror image of where society really is and to deny that is just compressing it. We are all racists, all sexists, and all judgmental. A lot of these thoughts are kept within ourselves because we are judging them to be terrible things. I admit to those qualities within myself and I have seen them in reactions towards his behaviors. Here is a person who is just able to state his thoughts out loud – to be really vulnerable. The true question you need to ask yourself is what is it about him that really upsets you because it is a reflection of what you don’t like within yourself. How can you take that knowledge then and do something different?  

Then I want to you ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen out of all of this? Really get down there in the worst situation and then just keep going. Then ask yourself what is the best thing that could happen from all of this and then keep going to the best thing ever!  After you have done this find somewhere in the middle to sit because this will most likely be our reality and then you can find that sense of peace in balance, find the space of neutrality. Have feelings about it, but continue to remind yourself that it will all work out!

Hopefully through all of this it will just allow more space for love and compassion instead of hate. All these things are coming up because we have been pushing them down. Now it’s time to be passionate about something – passionate about changing yourself first! We can only make a difference that way. We can only love fully and be compassionate towards others when we have mastered that within ourselves. So instead of weeping about today, think of what a great opportunity you have been given to do some work within yourself to get to that space of complete love and acceptance for yourself first and then for others.

At the end of the day we know that in our society one man/woman doesn’t have all the power – there is a whole group of people who have to make the decisions. BUT the power you do have is within yourself – how you decide to move forward with how you love and take care of yourself.

 

Wellness Wednesday: We Need to RELAX!

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My mind has been overactive these past few months. Shifting into fall from summer play, outdoor activities, packing lunches, toddler nap times, nursing baby, etc. seems a bit jarring, especially since my 4 year old started full day preschool, my 7 month old is becoming more awake everyday and I started working part-time. I haven’t worked since February when I was biking around the city teaching yoga classes. Here’s the thing – when you’re with children and babies most of the day, they require your presence; and the same is true for teaching yoga classes. If you’re not grounded and present in the classroom, most likely your class will suck. So I am currently moving through a brain shift – working at a computer from home while simultaneously trying to manage the household, drop off/pick up Nico from school, take care of my perfect little baby (and of course practice yoga because I don’t know how to live without it). All of this has my mind reeling. I am mentally stimulated, inspired and learning, but I’m having a hard time TURNING OFF.

The reality is that we are really busy. The yoga practices are reminders to slow down and travel from the mind, and all it’s mental heavy lifting, to the heart – to remember that the body is finite, the Self is infinite and everything we experience is for growth and learning. These practices are the most precious gifts, especially as we learn to tune in and use them to support immediate needs. I tend to make time and space for asana, pranayama, and meditation, but I rarely prioritize relaxation unless I absolutely need it. Lately, I’ve even been skimping on savasana because I am so desperate for time to move my body that the window closes (i.e. Sascha wakes up from his nap) before I am able to practice a long savasana. THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR ME. My body suffers and I don’t get the recharge that I so desperately need. Most days, I would most benefit more from a 20-40 minute Yoga Nidra than 1+ hour of asana. So, let me tell you about the magic that is Yoga Nidra…

Yoga Nidra, or psychic sleep, is a guided meditation while laying in savasana, releasing one body part at a time until the entire body is relaxed. My teacher Sri Dharma uses the example that the body is like a computer – from time to time you must close the apps to clear away the clutter so that the computer can function at it’s highest capacity. There are many different styles of Yoga Nidra meditation – some are more wordy and some will take you far out. I prefer a simpler version. Sri Dharma leads a very simple Yoga Nidra that results in total relaxation so that deep healing may occur. He also guides you through beautiful visualizations that stimulate the higher chakras. With regular practice of Yoga Nidra, you may lose body consciousness which allows for an expansive experience.

Yoga Nidra is a technique that not only facilitates the deepest relaxation for the nervous system and all of the muscular and connective tissues, but it also integrates all of the techniques that prepare you for the higher practices and limbs of yoga. The seemingly mystical experiences that may occur during Yoga Nidra aside, the practice will most likely leave you feeling recharged and refreshed in body and mind.

Because we are so busy and our minds constantly turned on, finding time to find deeeeeeep relaxation is essential. Sri Dharma says, 1 hour of Yoga Nidra is comparable to 4 hours of sleep. Totally worth it.

Here’s how!

(1) Go to a class! We offer Yoga Nidra classes! Wednesdays @ 7:30-8:30 pm, Thursdays @ 1:00-2:00 pm (this is a cOmmunity by donation class!) and on Saturdays @ 6:10-7:00 pm.

(2) There is no shortage of free guided Yoga Nidra audio on the internet, but I recommend spending a few dollars on a quality recording that you will use over and over again. I, of course, recommend Sri Dharma’s Yoga Nidra. And here’s a good iPhone app!

Deep relaxation reminds us that we are supported. By the Earth, by our loved ones, and by our highest Self. I highly recommend taking time from your busy life to slow down and go deep. I promise to continue to remind myself that I, too, need to relax. Give it a try!

Wellness Wednesday “A Little Everyday”

emmayoga1

Yoga is spreading like wildfire across the country and the world, and with good reason! The sacred science is just that, a science – meaning with consistent practice, Yoga will systematically take you as deep as you are willing to go. Once you get a taste of the bliss, or “yoga high,” it will leave you wanting more, which is why you see so many folks walking around with yoga mats on their backs and yoga studios filling up daily classes. Culturally, we tend to binge on entertainment to stimulate and satisfy the senses, but bingeing on Yoga will only lead you deeper into infinite knowledge and union with your higher Self (!!). Bingeing on asana, or postural yoga (the exercise), can surely create exercise junkies and enable more activity in the mind and body. Eventually you may notice that it is not working anymore. So you have to go deeper, more subtle. Here’s what I’ve learned in my many years of practice and from my Yoga teacher, Sri Dharma – with constant practice, you will reap the benefits. To practice a little everyday is better than practicing A LOT OF YOGA two or three days a week. This makes sense for me now more than ever as a mother to a 4 year old and 6 month old. Gone are the days when I could practice 2 hours everyday! I mean, binge all you want! But don’t neglect the practice on the days you don’t get to a class.

What does “practice a little everyday” look like? For me, it means 20 minutes of meditation in the morning and 30 minutes of asana with a baby rolling around next to me. Sometimes it looks like 10 minutes of pranayama and reading a Yogic text or article to fan the flames inside my heart. I practice asana in the grass while my boys play outside! It looks different everyday according to my needs. Sometimes I make it to a 90 minute yoga class! That being said, taking classes and connecting with community through your local studio or practice space has been so nurturing to me. In my experience, the safe learning space, a haven if you will, of a trusted studio will provide you with the Yogic techniques and support to integrate the practices in your life, and to do a little everyday.

The concept integration always comes up for me. We are constantly integrating new teachings, processes, information. After my second son was born, we went through a process of integrating a new member into our family. More and more integrating. So seek out the highest knowledge and teachings available to you and integrate your own personal lessons into your daily life.

It’s also nice to share tricks and experiences – it helps us support and share with each other. How do you practice a little everyday? Post below in the comments!

#whatdharmataughtme

Wellness Wednesday – Emily Moore’s Recommendations for Self-Care

Ah, wellness. From the ancient traditions, to the scientifically touted, and even the latest fads there are so many worthwhile routes to take when it comes to self-care. Experiment and see what makes you feel well, and by well I mean peaceful, happy, and physically vital. Here are a few that I recommend:

  1. Eat a vegetarian diet.
  2. Move your joints a little every day. A few rounds of sun salutations every day is a good place to start.
  3. Take a few minutes several times a day to be silent and still. During those moments let go of any sense of the past or future, as if they don’t exist. Imagine like your mind has access to nothing but this continuously unfolding moment. You can even take the practice out into the world; it doesn’t have to be done on a meditation cushion.
  4. Get a copy of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, find the section on the Yamas and Niyamas (book twsutraso, beginning at section 30). The Yamas and the Niyamas are the ten ethical guidelines–Ahimsa (non-violence), Samtosha (contentment), etc.– that serve as the foundation of the eight limbed path of yoga. Practicing the Yamas and Niyamas is very liberating and without them your yoga practice will only get you so far. Choose one of the ethical guidelines and meditate on it for ten minutes at the end of every day for a week or a month and then go on to the next one. Think about how you practiced or failed to practice it during the day, consider how it felt when you practiced or failed to practice it, then feel a sense of it deep in your heart and sit with it for a few moments.

 

You can catch Emily on Thursdays at 12:00pm for a Vinyasa Flow and stay for BHNY Pic 2her lovely Yoga Nidra at 1pm.

 

Wellness Wednesday -Thoughts For The Holidays

My accountant sent out an email out today and I thought I would share this with you. It’s a wonderful reminder as we move quickly through the rest of this year and beyond!

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

“Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.”

“Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.”

“Remember, that the scary-looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day is a slave to addictions or mental disease that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares …”

“Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slowly through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.”

“Remember that each day, of all the gifts given to us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love. ”

 

xo

 

Wellness Wednesday – Tips for Managing Anxiety

slow down and relax

The end of a calendar year often brings bouts of anxiety for even the least anxious of us. Anxiety is a strange concept, grouped in the abyss of psychosomatic conditions that no one seems to fully understand. Because anxiety does not bring lasting physical markers in the body, as a heart condition does for example, treatment for it tends to be convoluted.

Here are some yogic tips for managing anxiety:

1)   Notice. To combat anything we must first notice what is happening and when. For me, anxiety has similar telling signs: upper lip tingles, neck feels like it’s got the butterflies up from the stomach in it, and my breath shortens and shallows. What are your signs? Pause in the midst of an anxious moment, or even an anxiety attack, and note your signs/symptoms. They tend to be the same each time.

2)   Breathe. Deep full-body breaths are rare in our day, even if we go to yoga. Many get through a yoga class without taking a full breath in and out. When you notice anxiety coming on, stop and breathe…deeply. If you need to, bring your hands to your ribcage and feel your lungs press your ribs wider until they fill up your palms. Ideally, place palms around the widest part of your ribcage (about a palm and a half south of your armpits) with the thumbs gripping the back ribs. Take 5 or 10 deep breaths, expanding belly and ribcage in all directions.

3)   Look & List. Silently name the items you see around you. For instance, clock, fan, ceiling tile, shoes, etc. Name the items you see just as a way to ground you in the room, don’t get caught up in or make up a story about the items.

4)   Ask. What is true right now? Often in the midst of anxiety we lose touch with what is right in front of us at the moment. Is that fear that’s causing your anxiety actually true? Has that thing you’re worried about happened yet?

5)   Reward yourself. Ana Forrest, the creator of Forrest Yoga, tells you to reward yourself lavishly for having caught a habit when you’re trying to change your behavior. So if you’re trying to stop eating sugar and you catch yourself desiring or even eating a piece of chocolate, instead of beating yourself up, she tells you to reward yourself lavishly for having noticed in the first place. This is step two of her four-step plan. I’ve found it very helpful. We rarely give ourselves the positive reinforcement we need and it’s a great way to begin, especially when you’d probably rather berate yourself.

Hope you find these tips helpful.


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Blog post by Maddy Bortes. You can find her classes at BHNY on Mondays and Saturdays

Wellness Wednesday – The Festival of Lights

festivaloflightsWe are currently right in the midst of the Hannukah celebrations and I wanted to share my thoughts on this Festival of Light.

Three years I ago I was living in Israel and didn’t yet know any of the beautiful yogis that lived in DC who are reading this blog post right now.
As I celebrated this holiday with a dear friend in the ancient city of Tzfat we heard a story that resonates with me strongly this time of year…
A wise and old king was looking for the perfect man to marry his beautiful daughter. He selected the three most wise and brave men he could find. He built three square rooms and gave them a final test to win his daughter’s hand in marriage. He instructed them to find one thing that could fill the room wholly and completely.
 
A few days later her returned. The first man showed the kind his room which he had filled to the brim with small pebbles. The King took a bagful of sand and dropped it on top of the pebbles. They all watched the sand fill the empty spaces between the stones. 
Excitedly the second man showed the king his room, which he had filled with sand. The King pour a barrel of water into the room and watched it absorb between the grains of sand.
The third man nervously invited them all into his room. The first two men sneered for the room was completely empty! The King, looking intrigued, asked the man to continue. He pulled from his pocket a candle and lit it quickly. The room filled with light, wholly and completely. The King smiled.
Light, with is properties to not only brighten the dark places but to also fill space completely, is certainly something to be celebrated.
The word namaste translates to “the divine light that resides within me, bows to and acknowledges the same divine light that resides in you.” We all carry a divine light within us; a spark, a flame, a passion that shines bright when we are living life authentically in love, in joy, and in gratitude.
We take these eight days to reflect and meditate on the light we carry. The adage that a candle’s fire is the only things that can be shared endlessly and the original flame will not diminish. Practice flaming your own inner flame while simultaneously recognizing the spark that every person you meet carries too. And maybe light some candles this week and celebrate your own little, Hannukah, you own Festival of Light.

heatherBy Heather Markowitz

You can check out her upcoming workshop in January – The Artist Way. You may also be familiar with her amazing movement BHNY collaborates with –  WithLoveDC.

Wellness Wednesday – Tips For Dealing with Overindulgence

overindulgence_by_whoalisaa-d5kuzda.jpgThis post is especially helpful now during the holidays, but there are many reasons throughout the whole year why we sometimes overindulge. Celebrations, birthdays, gathers or just good food and drink! In the moment whatever we are overindulging in feels so good but it doesn’t always feel so great the next morning. This post is also just helpful in general if you’re taking time off to travel for the holidays and are out of your routine/healthy eating plan. Here are a few things I love to do the next day to get my feeling better physically and mentally:

  1. First thing drink hot water when you wake up. If you have lemon add that to it, and if you have cayenne add a sprinkle and/or a sliver of ginger. Drink it slowly, let it relax you as you wake up and start to clear your mind of any emotions tied to your overindulgence.
  2. Once you’ve had your hot water make a green smoothie or a green juice. I’m not always ready to put something like that in my stomach so sometimes I mix my green powder with water and drink that up. All the green goodness helps me reboot my energy and feel a bit better.
  3. Exercise! Go for a run, do some yoga…just get physical. You’ll feel better when you come back just for moving your body!
  4. Take a nice warm shower, letting the steam really linger on your face as you take long deep breaths. You can exfoliate your body or face, give yourself a hair mask, anything to feel good, clean and healthy!
  5. Try to include some fruit with your breakfast and have a salad at some point during the day. Include a side salad/veg with your third meal. Even if you know you must carry on celebrating throughout the day/week then at least you’ve worked out and have healthy plans for at least one of your meals.

Enjoy your celebrations, and just remember to keep on taking care of yourself anyway you can!

Wellness Wednesday – Joy Jar

Ever since I opened BHNY I have been serving (working) my little butt off to make it a great space for our clients and staff. I really haven’t had many adventures except my exciting trip to Costa Rica and Sailing. The adventures I am referring to are small adventures. Marco and I were burning ourselves out and we were forgetting to have fun in the middle of growing this wonderful thing to let off some steam. WE REALLY needed to after my miscarriage. So…

I decided to create a Joy Jar. I went to Target and bought a fun polka dot jar in the $1 section, cut up some paper and grabbed some pens. I sat Marco down and told him. “We don’t do things to have fun anymore all we do is our service and although our service brings us great joy, we need to do other things to grow our spirit”.

We each wrote down 10 things that we wanted to do. Things that we had on our bucket-list, things we haven’t done in a long time, and things we wanted to experience together. We have to enjoy one Joy a month!

12241110_10102522918602847_8775328282057429218_oWe pulled our first Joy out of the Jar a few weeks ago and of course it was SKYDIVING! We researched it a little, but never really took the plunge to book it. We knew we had a limited window since the last weekend to jump was 10/22.

Skydiving was definitely in the stars for us on 10/22! We still were on the fence about jumping out of a plane until about 12:00pm when we got a clear sign from God to go! We were teaching a yoga class at the local juvenile detention center for a lovely organization called The Hope Association for their Love Your City event. One of wonderful ladies there had showed us a Groupon for the same place we were planning on going to. So we booked it and raced home to change and drive out to Warrenton, VA. It happened so spontaneously!

It was a12295420_10102525719849127_7643864547916229766_nmazing! I have grown so much with my fear of heights. It is because of my practice. I have gotten to the space where I am no longer afraid to die. Death doesn’t frighten me.I have lived a wonderful life with no regrets! Keep practicing my friend and don’t forget to add a little joy to your life every month.

xoxo