Please continue to keep the North Coventry Food Pantry in mind during your shopping trips. For the October distribution they are in need of toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, baby wipes and feminine pads. They also need plastic and paper grocery bags. Please drop off any donations at the studio.
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
Sitting down to write the plan was to write about my top 9 yoga moments of ’09. I’ve already blogged about many of those moments; doing yoga with my kids, rediscovering headstand and yoga with the didgeridoo. As I began to list those moments, the one thing that came back to me over and over again was how yoga helped me grieve the loss of my father As the New Year approaches and I reflect on life over the past year, I’m grateful to have yoga as part of me, and part of my life. Forget about the first 8 moments, the number one gift of yoga, beginning each moment new with each breath.
2009 was a year of healing for me after the sudden loss of my Dad in Nov. 2008. High Street Yoga opened its doors only two months before my Dad’s passing. A few short weeks after his death, I began to teach again. My leg shook with every balancing table pose and my body, mind and spirit were numb. But with each pose and each class, the lessons of yoga taught me to live each moment in the present. I measured my healing in the moments of breath; in the time that I could sit, undisturbed without thought. Initially those moments were brief. I tried setting a timer to meditate, but usually gave up quickly. I tried doing DVD’s in my living room, but usually turned them off within 5 minutes. Eventually I learned to be kind to myself and recognize my limitations. There were many days when my mind could not be still, but somehow, I stopped and acknowledged each effort.
Yoga taught me to surrender to the feelings of grief and despair. Many days my only practice was folding into child’s pose and trying to feel comfort and serenity. We are not taught how to grieve. There are plenty of books that explain the stages of grief. Yoga helped me grieve and find my way home again.
As I say at the end of each class “We take the effects of our yoga; open heart, open body, open mind and radiate them to others” In this New Year discover your open heart, body and mind, find your truth, your peace and radiate them to the people in your life.
The winter solstice is a special day of the year celebrated by many cultures because it marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year.
Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salutation, is a series of 12 postures performed in a single, graceful flow. Each movement is coordinated with the breath. The Sun Salutation builds strength and increases flexibility. Different styles of yoga perform the Sun Salutation with their own variations.
The number 108 carries spiritual significance in many cultures: 108 is the number of "Upanishads" comprising Indian philosophy's "Vedic texts". 108 is the number of names for Shiva (a really important Hindu god). 108 is the number of names for Buddha. 108 is the Chinese number representing "man". 108 is the number of beads on a Catholic rosary. 108 is the number of beads on a Tibetan "mala" (prayer beads, analogous to a rosary). 108 is twice the number "54", which is the number of sounds in Sanskrit (sacred Indian language). 108 is six times the number "18", which is a Jewish good luck number. 108 is twelve times the number 9, which is the number of vinyasas (movements linked to breath) in a Sun Salutation 1 stands for Higher Truth, 0 stands for Emptiness and 8 stands for Infinity.
Yoga studios across the world gather on the solstice to honor the season and tradition. Typically this ritual is performed 4 times a year, with the start of each season, to acknowledge the changing world around us. It usually takes about 1 1/2 - 2 hours to complete. Some people believe that doing 108 Sun Salutations is a way of breaking out of the darkness that accumulated from the long winter. Join us at High Street Yoga on Monday 12/21 at 9:00 am for 108 Sun Salutations!
• Live fully in the moment. Allow yourself to be fully present in with out looking ahead or mentally crossing off the ‘to do’s’
• Accept “what is”….Give up wanting what you don't already have and learn how to accept what you cannot change. During the holidays this yogic philosophy is especially important. Plans change, the ‘perfect’ gift can’t be found, cookies burn. If you are feeling overwhelmed try experimenting with this yogic affirmation: Breathe in and think to yourself, "What I have is enough." Breathe out and think, "What I am is enough." Breathe in and think, "What I do is enough." Breathe out and think, "What I've achieved is enough."
• Let go of attachments… You may have an idea of the perfect holiday visit or dinner with friends and family. Sometimes things may not go as you imagined. Let go and learn to look at all the planning the gifts and the love that went into the event rather. Release expectations and disappointments.
• Look at the calendar as a whole and try not over schedule. Accept invitations with joy and say no with love.
• Most importantly reclaim family time. Spend time together, quietly enjoying the spirit of the season.
Feeling off balance is common, especially during the holidays. With all the pressure to shop, cook, spend and socialize it is easy to feel stretched beyond your limits. It can be difficult to enjoy the special times with friends and family and miss out on the true nature and genuine spirit of the holiday season when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Yoga is becoming a popular means of stress management and physical relaxation. By taking a yogic approach to the holidays you can find a sense of stability, nurture your own spirit, and create a happier family holiday.
If you have a regular yoga practice, you will appreciate moving and breathing to your favorite asana. For those of you who have never tried a yoga class, this is your time to experience this ancient system of mind, body and spirit connection.
When you find yourself thinking, “I don’t have time for yoga.” Think again, and carve out one hour a week just for you. By taking time to do yoga you will feel relaxed, yet invigorated and ready to face the commitments ahead.
This Holiday Season, give yourself the gift of health, well being, balance and more.
When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way. ~ Wayne Dyer
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ~ Marcel Proust
Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful. ~Buddha
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. ~Cicero
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~ John F Kennedy
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. ~ Albert Schweitzer
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~ Melody Beattie
Namaste’ is an expression of connection and deep gratitude. I end every class saying Namaste’ and enjoy the feeling of connection to the class, and beyond. Gratitude and giving thanks is the core of mindfulness and yoga practice. As Thanksgiving approaches I’m reminded of the meaning of Namaste’ and of the practice of gratitude.
Cultivating a practice of thankfulness and gratitude can lead to a greater connection to life. Gratitude is a way of looking at things. Gratitude can teach you to look at the full spectrum of life, from the highs to the lows.
Gratitude doesn’t have to be limited to a yoga practice. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for family and friends to gather and reflect on the blessings in life. After the pie, and sweet potatoes, after the family, continue the tradition and set aside 5 minutes each day, and reflect on what you are thankful for everyday.
When we start out on a spiritual path we often have ideals we think we're supposed to live up to. We feel we're supposed to be better than we are in some way. But with this practice you take yourself completely as you are. Then ironically, taking in pain - breathing it in for yourself and all others in the same boat as you are - heightens your awareness of exactly where you're stuck.
Pigeon Pose/ Eka Pada Rajakapotasana; Type of pose: Hip opener, Backbend Benefits: Stretches the thighs, groins, back, and psoas. Opens the chest and shoulders.
Pigeon Pose, my favorite pose. I want to do it every class, but realize not everyone shares my enthusiasm. People love it or hate it. This evening while doing a Yin Sequence, gentle, long held, forward and back bends, I fell asleep doing pigeon pose. A sudden noise startled me awake and out of a dream! I was dreaming about a local Italian restaurant, dreaming about spinach ravioli while lying in pigeon pose! Crazy I know especially for the people with tight hips, or knees and find pigeon uncomfortable and painful.
Why do some poses feel so good to one person and can be so difficult for another? Why do we prefer one over the other? For me I practice the ones I’m good at. Anatomically speaking, my hips are flexible, therefore pigeon is easy for me to come in and out of and I do it often. So often I fall asleep and dream about ravioli! Not very ‘yogic’ but still very funny!
Vatayanasana – Means a ‘horse’ because the pose resembles that of a horses face.
From Light on Yoga B.K.S Iyengar “In this pose the hip joints receive proper circulation of the blood and minor deformity in the hips and thighs is corrected. The pose is also good for stiffness in the sacroiliac region.”
Yoga with my kids is often spontaneous, on the living room floor, among homework folders, pillows and our large black cat Sky. I’m not sure how it starts but I’m always thrilled when it does. We break out the book Light on Yoga by B.K.S Iyengar and the boys LOVE to try some of the advanced poses. They each take turns thumbing through the book and find the most complicated and each take a turn. It’s fun, its funny and one of my favorite times with the boys.
They remind me of the fun in yoga; that it’s ok to fall or stumble in a balance, to take risks, to laugh and to be ok with where I am with out judgment. They remind me of the true bliss of being in the moment.
Above is a picture of my middle son helping with a Yoga Kids Class and being in his favorite pose Horse Pose. Remember this pose isn’t for everyone! But enjoy your pose with sheer joy and think about what you can learn from your kids.
Why is it so hard to do the things we don’t like, on and off the mat?
Once a week I attend the yoga class of my friend Ann. In exchange for attending her class, I give her massage. It’s a wonderful arrangement for us both. While nearing the end of a balancing class Ann suggested we chose from legs up the wall, shoulder stand and as I was ready for her to say plow, one of my favorites, she said ‘head stand’ We all looked at her with a blank expression. This is a sweet and slow class, I was thinking, Headstand!!! I looked at the other women with the same perplexed look. Lisa, one of the regulars LOVES unsupported headstand and before we knew it, she was in the middle of the room legs reaching, happy as can be. The rest of us were lamenting over what to do, chose the one we love, or step out of our comfort zone and try the more challenging. I still wanted plow pose, but reluctantly, chose supported headstand against the wall. I kicked up and to my surprise (and relief) felt great! I’d forgotten how confident and energized I feel after an inversion. I realized my practice had fallen into a rut and that I often practice my favorite ‘go to’ poses and avoid the ones I find challenging or strenuous. I left the class feeling more energized to tackle the challenging poses and the first on my list is Utthita Hasta Padangustasana, Extended hand to big toe pose, a balancing posture. I hope to practice it daily, but won’t beat myself up if I don’t.
This morning while doing a DVD in my living room the instructor was explaining how to flow from down dog into a seated position and she said “the trick is to look beyond the obstacle”
Look beyond, the obstacle. I plan to look beyond my obstacles both on and off the mat and step out of the comfort zone. Namaste’
* Yoga has been practiced in the U.S. since the late 19th century, but gained popularity in the 1960s.
* According to results of a study sponsored by the Yoga Journal and released in June 2003, 15 million Americans, or over seven percent of U.S. adults, are believed to practice yoga, an increase of 28.5 percent from the year before.
* Yoga has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety; accordingly, it is often recommended to relieve the pain and anxiety of chronic conditions.
* Yoga is thousands of years old. Stone carvings in the Indus Valley depicting yoga positions date back 5,000-plus years.
Yoga eases hot flashes and boosts memory. Sun salutations may be the answer when getting older makes you sweat & forget. A new Indian study involving 120 women found that those who practiced Yoga (along with breathing exercises & meditation) for an hour five days a week had 50% fewer hot flashes & night sweats than those who simply did stretching exercises. The Yoga group also reported improved memory. By helping you unwind, Yoga is thought to free up your mind to control body functioning.” From Yoga Science
This article was written for the paper by a dear friend.
Yoga is the practice of finding tranquility through the union of mind, body and spirit. So it’s fitting that High Street Yoga, 141 E. High St., has spent the last year stretching that definition to include not only people who practice yoga, but also by embracing the community as a whole. “I think that I wanted to make this a place of community,” said High Street Yoga instructor/director Barbara Kosciewicz. “The idea of yoga in general is to open yourself and so it seemed natural to extend that to others, too.” To illustrate that, in the year since it opened, High Street Yoga has collected donations for the North Coventry food pantry, held a Toys for Tots Toy drive and offered a special monthly Kid Yoga class for local Moms Clubs as well as Moms Night Outs. Kosciewicz has been practicing yoga for a decade and has spent the last six years teaching. She jumped at the chance to create High Street Yoga a year ago, in a space that had previously been used for storage above the Academy of Massage & Bodyworks. “I was a student at the Academy,” Kosciewicz said. “The room was used for storage and Angela (Wagner) and Jim (Funk, directors of the Academy of Massage) asked me if I wanted to help them get a yoga studio started.” So the space was cleaned out, painted and turned into a room that is warm and tranquil. The soothing yellow walls are appointed with wall hangings and a large “om” symbol, and the space is large enough to allow participants to spread out and relax. This is the whole point of yoga. “People don’t take any time for themselves,” Kosciewicz said. “You may read a book or take a bath. But yoga really gives people an hour to relax. It’s really slowing down the mind and slowing down the body and letting yourself completely take care of you. You can completely surrender and completely relax. That’s my focus.” And because that’s her focus Kosciewicz designs her classes for all levels of experience. “People say that they’re not flexible,” she said. “But you don’t need to be flexible to begin yoga. Just come exactly as you are. I give modifications for every situation. If you’re pregnant or injured I can modify the postures to what is comfortable for you. Everyone in class looks different because yoga is all about you as an individual and where you are physically.” A typical class includes breath awareness, centering/meditation, clearly explained asana (the physical postures) and Savasana – the final relaxation. In addition, Kosciewicz will often add some extras to the class and during the past year has offered candle light yoga with live music, a Valentine’s Day Special that added foot soaks, chair massage and tea to the yoga class and a holiday stress buster series. Continuing the plan to give back to the community, High Street Yoga will celebrate its first birthday by offering half-price classes to anyone who brings a donation for the North Coventry Food Pantry during the first two weeks of October. Each donation also qualifies the giver to raffles and special giveaways. Classes normally cost $12 each and are offered Tuesday 7 to 8:15 p.m. and Wednesday 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Packages are available and drop-ins are welcome.
Today is a very exciting day for me. Work begins this morning on my Yurt; a traditional Mongolian Circle Hut that I will use as a home based Massage Therapy Business. The Yurt has been a vision of mine even before I became a therapist. Some twists and turns in the road have delayed the process, but now things are falling into place!
Two talented carpenters (and friends) begin today, clearing the land, digging the trench for electricity, and building the platform foundation. The actual Yurt will be delivered on Oct. 22nd and assembly of the Yurt will take a few days.
I feel fortunate to be surrounded with wonderful and talented friends that are helping me with the business. Melia of Priceless Moments by Melia will help with web design; and her sister designed the awesome Exhale logo!
My lifetime friend, Lori, bought me a book over 4 years ago when I began thinking about this, called Circle Houses. The first page of the book says “to the nomad soul in all of us” The quote makes my heart smile!
Established over 20 years ago, The North Coventry Food Pantry is located in the basement of the North Coventry Township Building. Operated by volunteers, the pantry is open on the first Tuesday of every month from 9am to 10am for distribution.
The food pantry was something I was vaguely aware of. Occasionally my kids brought home a note from school that they were collecting food for the local pantry. A friend picked up donations of toilet paper, so I would donate monthly. But still, that is where my involvement ended. The same friend organized a vendor event for the pantry, where local vendors gathered and donated a percentage of their profits to the pantry toward the purchase of a freezer. I set up my massage chair and donated proceeds, but still I didn’t feel connected, until I held my own event for the pantry.
Last fall I offered a free evening of yoga, tea and giveaways, as long as students brought food for the pantry. I was thrilled to see students reach out and bring in full bags of food. I filled my van and met one of the board members at the pantry for the first time. I was excited about the donations from the yogis. But the experience was soon humbling. EVERY donation helps, don’t get me wrong, but the food we collected was a drop in the bucket compared to the need. I immediately felt inspired to help and began volunteering whenever possible. Volunteer opportunities can include pulling food off shelves, sorting food into bags for families, or assisting at the monthly distribution.
I learned that the pantry is run by a small group of volunteers that pour their heart and soul and tremendous amounts of time into helping local families. They receive some shipments from the state, but rely heavily on donations from the community, families, schools, churches and organizations. Some months donations come in, especially before Thanksgiving, and some months the shelves are bare.
Yoga teaches that as we develop spiritually, our awareness and compassion grow, making us more alert to suffering around us and less able to turn away from it. In essence, the pain of others becomes our own, and we feel driven to relieve it.
The United Nations' (UN) International Day of Peace is celebrated on September 21 each year to recognize the efforts of those who have worked hard to end conflict and promote peace. The International Day of Peace is also a day of ceasefire – personal or political.
The peace dove flying with an olive branch in its beak is one of the most commonly featured symbols for the day. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam a white dove is generally a sign for peace. The dove can also represent “hope for peace” or a peace offering from one person to another, hence the phrase “to extend an olive branch”. Often, the dove is represented as still in flight to remind people of its role as messenger.
On the International Day of Peace, also known as Peace Day, people around the world take part in various activities and organize events centered on the theme “peace”. Events vary from private gatherings to public concerts and forums involving large audiences. Activities include: Interfaith peace ceremonies.
A toast for peace. A peace choir. Lighting candles. Peace prayers. A peace convoy of vehicles. Tree planting for peace. Art exhibitions promoting peace. Picnics for peace. Peace walks.
With the end of summer comes a time of change, and new beginnings. For me, that means coming home to a regular yoga practice.
My summer was filled with sunscreen, swimming, hikes, day trips and a wonderful family vacation. For a large part of the summer my husband traveled abroad and I was both Mom and Dad. My practice suffered. In the time when I needed yoga the most was the time when I neglected it. By the end of each summer day, taking care of three kids, cooking, cleaning, and laundry, taking care of the yard and vegetable garden and squeezing in massage appointments I was tired by the time the kids went to bed. I didn’t make the time for yoga and for myself.
Summer is over, the kids are in school, my husband is home for the time being and my regular yoga practice resumes, and what a difference! My energy level has increased; I sleep like a rock and feel more present during my practice and beyond. My senses are heightened and I feel able to enjoy each moment. And for those moments that are simply impossible to enjoy, I recognize that the moment will pass.
I’ve begun each day with 10 minutes of meditation. It’s a small amount of time, but its enough for me and works with my schedule. I’m setting my intention for each session, opening it up to the universe. Finally my practice of asana is (almost) daily. Change can come slowly, 5 minutes of stretching each day, 5 minutes of meditation or 5 rounds of sun salutations.
Amanda, an almost 30 something, aspiring yogi is searching for a different life. As a former nanny and dog sitter Amanda falls into a gig writing “For Idiots” travel guides. While struggling through her yoga teacher training and an on and off again relationship, Amanda gets a call from her editor Maxine with her next assignment, to travel to India in search of enlightenment for idiots. Along the way Amanda teams up with partner Devi Das and together they travel through India to find Amanda’s teacher. Through her search for enlightenment Amanda goes to ashrams, meets gurus and encounters everyday people.
I liked this book because it felt like a great summer read while learning about a variety of spiritual traditions from, Buddhism, Vipassana, and hot yoga. This book offers humor, and insight into the ‘trendy’ ashrams and the daily life of regular folks in India. Anyone with a passion for yoga, or just looking for a fun summer book should check this out.
Music can evoke a memory, change a mood, liven up a party and lift spirits. Last night at High Street Yoga, Dave Antonio shared the restorative power of healing and sound. Dave combined Sitar, Gong, Flute, Didgeridoo, Tibetan Singing Bowl and various bells that helped create a calm and meditative state. He played intuitively and as the flow of the class increased the rhythm of the music flowed seamlessly. The highlight of the evening was the very long final relaxation where Dave played and walked throughout the studio so students could feel the vibration of the didgeridoo. The sound meditations offered a peaceful and special evening of yoga.
The first signs of fall; the cool crisp mornings, changes in the air, leaves and sky leave me feeling bittersweet. With those beautiful changes comes the beginning of the school year for my children. I love having them home in the summer and having a job that can allow me to be both with them and work. So when September rolls around, I move forward with a sense of dread. The relaxed lazy summer days have come to an end and in my world the chaos begins.
As parents, my husband and I, make an effort to balance outside activities with home and down time. We try very hard not to over schedule our children. But, with three children, managing their schedule and mine is a part time job in itself. Yesterday, the chaos began, with our annual first day trip to the ice cream parlor after school, the mounds of paperwork, homework, photos needed for lockers (that required a trip to the drug store to print them) dinner and alas my Tuesday night yoga class. I woke this morning to lunches, backpacks, choosing clothes, brushing hair battles and trying to get to my morning yoga class. That’s when I checked my e-mail and found this wonderful message from a local Reiki Master and Mediation teacher I know.
"PEACE. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work, it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." As we embrace a New season with New routines and New structure, remember to find your own personal PEACE and Live it. With that New sense of PEACE you gain Greater Inner Strength.
THAT is exactly the message I needed. Earlier in the morning I remember thinking, “I need to find a way to embrace all of this or I will drive myself crazy!” And the message was there for me…Just when I needed it. In this time of fall and change and new routines, I hope you can find peace, inner strength and joy in the chaos of life!
Yoga studios and teachers across the nation will donate yoga classes and organize their own local Yoga Month events to help bring greater awareness to the field yoga. Studios and teachers will also encourage new students to try yoga for the first time by accepting the Yoga Month Card (One Week Free Yoga). National Yoga Month is supported by a variety of local and national companies like YogaFit, Lucy, Jade Yoga, Shakti Mat, Be Present, True Bloom, The Hub LA Yoga Studio, Samasati Retreats and media organizations like Organic Spa Magazine, LA Yoga, MyYogaOnline.com and Yogamates.com. Visit www.yogamonth.org to add Yoga Month events or donation classes. New students may receive and print out the Yoga Month Card good for One Week Free Yoga at hundreds of participating yoga studios nationwide.
The National Yoga Month campaign is administered by the Yoga Health Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization registered in the State of California. All funds benefit the national awareness campaign and yoga health education for at-risk children in schools.
I've been re-reading the book The Parents Tao Te Ching; Ancient Advice for Modern Parents by William Martin and wanted to share the following passage.
Quiet the Mind
Our bodies produce the bodies of our children. Our noisy minds produce the fears of our children. But the Tao produces the spirit of our children.
Still the body. Quiet the mind. Discover the spirit.
Meditation is not complicated nor esoteric. It is a natural skill, practiced in many variations. Breathe in and think "Be..." Breathe out and think, "....still." Once you learn, teach your children. You don't have to call it meditation. Call it "being still like a mountain." Bring forth their natural ability to remain quiet and at rest. (Yes, they can, even if for brief periods. Can you?)
The Yoga Sutras written by Patanjali is one of the most influential spiritual writings of Yoga. The core of Patanjali’s Sutras is an Eight Limb path. The first limb Yamas have to do with training thought, actions and speech in relation to the external world and with relationships with people. The Yamas are broken down into 5 characteristics; non-harming, non stealing, truthfulness, remembering the higher reality and non-possessiveness/attachment to objects.
The 5th characteristic, aparigraha, attachment to objects, leads to a desire to possess these objects, as more objects are obtained the seeker finds he is not fulfilled.
When I began blogging, writing about my kids was not the intention. But being a Work at Home Mom, observing life through their eyes is what I do and Yoga philosophy becomes crystal clear.
In Pennsylvania there is one convenience store/gas station that is a mega business. We live in a small town and it is the busiest store everyday of the week. People go there daily for coffee, hoagies, snacks, slushies, you name it. A second store is being built within a 2 mile radius. My nine year old son is very disturbed by this new store. He laments daily on how ‘sad it is because it will run a smaller gas station out of business’ and ‘how we don’t need another because we already have one’ He recognizes the concept of ‘need vs. want’ which is the core of aparigraha. He understands the importance of looking at life from the vantage point of having enough rather then lack, a concept so crystal clear to a 9 year old.
There is so much to be learned from children and the path to simplifying my life continues. I will continue to feel gratitude for the abundance in my life and not the lack.
There are two ways to live your life; one is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle – Albert Einstein. Not a Yoga Sutra or Yoga philosophy, still, words to live by.
My jet lag has recovered and I’ve had time to reflect on our family trip to The Netherlands to visit my in-laws where everything felt like a miracle. My boys 7, 9 and 11 drank in everything from the moment they boarded the plane in Newark until the moment we arrived home two weeks later. Everything was a miracle in their eyes and mine too. They found joy in the well manicured boxwoods and hedges in every Dutch yard, spotting windmills and driving by canals, noticing that biking is for transportation and not just pleasure, playing with cousins and communicating the way only children can and eating LOTS of vlaai (pie) at outdoor cafes
Biking to the store became a great joy for my oldest son, along with attending a professional soccer game and watching endless sports with his Opa. Visiting a local bird trainer and allowing one of the Harry Potter owls to sit on my middles sons head was a highlight for him, He also enjoyed bungee jumping and running with me on the flat brick roads through the farms and greenhouses. Being offered ice-cream when visiting friends and family, watching Sponge Bob speak Dutch and learning endless Dutch words himself was a highlight for my youngest son. Each day brought us something new to explore and enjoy. This was by far my favorite trip to Holland and only a snapshot of our trip.
I wanted to attend a Yoga Class while in Holland to experience Yoga with a Dutch speaking instructor, relying on my intuition and observation to guide me. But because of our schedule and the schedules of the studios it didn’t happen. Most Dutch families take a three week vacation so many studios were closed. Because Yoga is not just the physical practice, I believe I still experienced yoga through the practice of mindfulness and being present. Being present means giving your attention to everything that is happening in the moment. I enjoyed the miracle of every moment with the help of my children. This is a practice for every moment, no matter the circumstances.
I am heading to The Netherlands on Thursday to spend two wonderful weeks with my family, visiting my inlaws. My husband has been out of the country for a month for work so we are looking forward to time together. Visiting my husband's family, for me is about enjoying the simple things; his mom picks up fresh bread at the bakery every morning for breakfast, steaming pots of tea, biking to the store, soup every night for dinner and reconnecting with family. I'm also hoping to take a yoga class or two in his home town and look forward to a class in Dutch!
My classes at High Street Yoga will be canceled for the next two weeks, 7/28, 7/29, 8/4 and 8/5 and will resume again on 8/11 and 8/12.
Check Out the Press Release for a side business I'm in, A Wedding in a Box, promoting yoga and massage to brides!
By GARY PULEO Times Herald Staff
UPPER MERION — You could say that five designing women were thinking outside the box when they came up with the idea of packaging their talents inside a box.
Specifically, “A Wedding in a Box.”
The friends’ services and products — custom jewelry, honeymoon planning, photography, makeup consulting and yoga/massage — don’t literally come packed in a box, of course.
But for the time and frustration the one-stop shopping can save, the concept itself might seem like it’s gift-wrapped and tied with a bow to a detail-oriented bride-to-be.
“It all has to do with branding,” said Carrie Grabowicz, the jewelry crafter of the group.
“We do give out a jewelry-size bracelet type box that has our cards inside explaining all about our services. So everyone sort of can remember us as ‘those box people.’ The idea just makes it all easier for brides, with everything in one place, neatly packaged up for you.”
The idea for A Wedding in a Box evolved from the successful businesses of the five women, who found that the synergy of collaborating ultimately enhanced the experience for the entire bridal party, Grabowicz noted.
“Brides can benefit from our combined expertise. We combine our talents and treat brides the way they should be treated, with custom and personal touches that are top notch.”
The partnership helps each of the A Wedding in a Box businesses grow independently as well, she added.
“We’re all separate entities and function separately,” Grabowicz said. “ But ‘A Wedding in a Box’ is a way to have five people promoting you, working together and trying to offer you the best.”
Should photographer Melia Rios-Lazo’s display at The Court at King of Prussia, promoting her own business, Priceless Moments, drum up some new clients for her, it could well bring some of those wedding dollars to the other partners’ endeavors as well.
“Everything we offer can also be purchased a la carte,” Grabowicz pointed out. “So people aren’t obligated to take everything we offer.”
With Hammi Jammi Jewelry, Grabowicz creates brooches and other pieces of “wearable art” from sterling silver, copper and even domino tiles.
“My company name comes from a name I gave my kids when they’re acting goofy,” she said, laughing. “I customize everything according to what the bride wants, like earrings, bracelets and necklaces. Many brides tend to wear pearls, but sometimes they may want something a little more bold, like a ruby color.”
The jewelry items can be for the bride herself, or for the bridesmaids to wear the day of the wedding, Grabowicz said.
Squaring off “A Wedding in a Box” enticements are stress-relieving yoga and massage by therapist Barbara Kosciewicz, who tends to both “the bodies and minds of the wedding party,” makeup and skin care attention by Clare Herkendaal of Arbonne and honeymoon possibilities offered by CruiseOne’s Danielle Weber.
Though most of the women live in Pottstown, they are all “very mobile” and available to present a mini bridal show throughout the area, Grabowicz said.
“A bride and her attendants can have a massage, try on make-up, enjoy a high fashion photography session, learn about honeymoon destinations, try on some one-of-a-kind jewelry ... while enjoying camaraderie with friends — and some chocolate.”
How long have you been practicing yoga and how did you get started?
I went to a MOMS night out and that was the first time I did yoga and was hooked. That was almost 3 years ago.
How have you seen yoga make a difference in your life off of the mat?
Namaste really made an impact on me. I feel like there is such an interconnectedness in the world that people forget to acknowledge. We are all part of the human race and should try to remember that. Everyone has different struggles to deal with, but we need to remember that we are more alike than different.
For me there was an immediate emotional component to the practice of yoga. Did you feel an emotional shift?
I especially like the mind-body connection with yoga practice. I feel more centered and able to take on the daily tasks in my life.
What are your favorite poses?
I really like pigeon pose. I am pretty flexible so I feel very comfortable in many of the poses that we do.
You are busy in your life as a mom, wife, small business owner, how do you fit yoga into your daily/weekly life?
I really try to incorporate the breathe aspect into my daily life. My kids really push me to my limits and I try to take alot of breathes before I over react.
You practiced yoga through your entire pregnancy, how do you feel yoga helped throughout the pregnancy and during labor and delivery?
Wow, I am a HUGE advocate of yoga during pregnancy. Your body changes and becomes more flexible when you are pregnant and I think that it helped keep my hips open and helped with breathing during labor.
What advice do you have for a beginer that is worried that they may not be doing yoga 'right?'
Just do it!!!! Barb is very good at tailoring the poses to your special needs. She also tends to give different variations of the asanas to make everyone feel capable. I also laugh at myself alot...laughter is good for the soul too !
The physical practice of yoga is Asana. However Asana is only part of a larger philosophy. Yoga philosophy teaches transformative possibilities, awareness and presence. The question is, can you take the awareness from the yoga mat, to daily life? I think so.
Today I was glancing through the book A Year of Living your Yoga; Daily Practices to Shape Your Life by Judith Hanson Lasater. The book is designed to support your yoga practice off the mat one day at a time over the course of a year. A teaching or aphorism is presented each day with suggestions of how to incorporate Yoga philosophy into daily life.
I have three young active boys and this evening we headed to the local H.S for an evening of tennis and fun. Parenting is a continuous process, a journey, sometimes a struggle. My youngest son likes to do things ‘perfectly.’ At age 4 he taught himself to read. Last summer, he insisted he didn’t need swim lessons, and after watching his brothers he taught himself to swim. I should have been more mindful of this while heading to the court. He felt highly frustrated that he couldn’t play tennis the first time he tried. His frustration increased. I tried every parenting technique I could think of. At a loss, I asked him to sit with me on the bench. Suddenly it came to me, Inhale, Exhale, my daily aphorism for today. “You will experience at least one stressful moment today. When you do, remember to inhale and to exhale. Breathing will slow you down, so you will be more likely to make the choices you enjoy in your life.” So I did, I just sat and inhaled and exhaled. After several minutes we felt calmer and I felt more able to work with him. Paying attention to the small things, the circumstances and the awareness of each moment is the core of yoga practice and is the core of graceful parenting. I’m thankful for the reminder.
Inhale, Exhale, How have you used this in your daily life?
It’s a five hour drive from my home in Pottstown Pa, to the town where I grew up. My 3 boys and I make the trek often and have the trip down. We know a variety of restaurants along the way, which exit has a gas station, when we are half way etc. Let’s just say we hit the road on auto-pilot. After a long drive through the rain on Thursday we decided to stop at a trail head for a bike path that runs through the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. This is about an hour from Grandmas house and was recently discovered on my last one on one trip with my middle son. Despite the lingering rain we decided to get out and stretch. We headed through a clearing in the bushes to get to the river. The boys were thrilled to be out of the car and near water. I was happy to stretch my legs and shake the feeling o f grogginess from driving. The boys happily gathered rocks and tried to see if they could throw one and then immediately throw a second to land in the ripple of the first. The boys played while I took in the surroundings and immediately began to breathe. Not just breathe, but mindfully, completely clearing my mind of the driving agenda, the rain, and the fatigue. I folded into a forward bend and felt a deep sense of peace in that moment, I felt complete stillness. The sounds and laughter of the boys, the rocks hitting the water were all in the periphery. I felt complete peace in that moment, exactly what I like to encourage while teaching pranayama and meditation. We headed back to the car, the rain finally ended and I’d like to say there was peace for the rest of the drive. That wouldn’t be realistic. There was still some bickering over the card game “Bull.” This time my reaction to them was different. I didn’t turn and say ‘knock it off’ or the classic from childhood “I can stop this car” I took it in stride and so did they. So often in class I encourage students to find moments of silence throughout their day. I find myself saying “Five minutes of mindful breathing everyday can make each day so much better” And on Thursday after a long drive I felt bliss in an ordinary moment of mindful breathing.
Rewind, back to my teacher training. My yoga instructor Mike, always reminded me never to turn my head during shoulder stand. We were in a modified shoulder stand using the wall for support and he said something to another student. I immediately turned my head thinking he was talking to me. Of course he wasn’t, and I heard a pop in my neck. I came out of the pose and was fine, a little sore, but fine. Shoulder stand is now on my list of poses I don’t enjoy.
Fast Forward, to Saturday. I taught a free class as part of the Pottstown First Saturday Series. The class was gently underway and coming up the stairs I heard kid’s voices. The door opens and in to the class enters my friend Anne along with 3 of her 4 kids. A moment of panic set in…. I was thinking, I teach kid yoga and I teach adult yoga, but I’ve never taught them together! How am I going to do this to make it graceful and fun for everyone?
The kids got on to their mat, and began to immediately settle into the practice. This was a class designed for adults and not at all like the kids classes I teach with frog pose, superman pose and lively upbeat music. I was impressed! The youngest yogi age 4 struggled getting into twists so just like any other student, I found a pose that could work for her. Rock Pose. As the practice winds down, I like to give students a choice of bridge, plow or shoulder stand. While demonstrating shoulder stand I heard “yes!” whispered from all three kids with great enthusiasm and looking toward the back of the room they were happily reaching their feet to the ceiling supporting their torso and loving it!!!
Those three little yogis taught me a lot yesterday morning. They reminded me about doing a pose for the love and fun of the practice. They reminded me about expectations for the students I teach and importantly how I parent my children and the expectations I have for them. Thanks for the lessons little yogis.
Namaste’ and Welcome…… Many of you know I’m not up to speed on technology. I don’t consider myself a dinosaur… but close. I still have a pre-paid cell phone, never text; I don’t have an i-pod and wish I could navigate the computer better. I get by with the help of my 11 year old son and good friends I call and ask for help. Despite my limited technology skills, setting up a blog has always been appealing to me. I follow several blogs, My good friend Carrie has a local jewelry business called Hammi Jammi Jewelry and I love checking out her new pieces. I often peruse vegan blogs to find something to make for dinner and check out the blogs of friends that write about their family. It’s a fun way to stay connected and updated.
My intention for the High Street Yoga Blog is to update upcoming events, share my experiences with Yoga and post articles, websites, and videos relating to yoga.
When setting up the blogspot I thought the logical first entry should be the evolution of High Street Yoga, but as I’m not a linear thinker, that post will come later….