Pottstown’s High Street Yoga; Room to Stretch, Quiet to Reflect

Sunday, September 27, 2009

North Coventry Food Pantry

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.

Find what your heart calls you to do.

Monday, September 21, 2009

International Day of Peace Sept 21st

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.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Coming Home - to Yoga

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.

How will you incorporate yoga into your day?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Enlightenment for Idiots A Novel by Anne Cushman

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.

Live Music Yoga

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.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


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!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Yoga Awareness Month

September is Yoga Awareness Month.

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.