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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Yoga in 2010, Setting a New Years Intention the Yogic Way, 30 Day Yoga Challenge and some Press in the Mercury




As I signed in to post this I found that it is my 100th post! That seems so appropriate for New Years Eve!

Yoga 2010

So much happening this time of year… I haven’t had the chance to reflect and write about yoga in 2010. My journey with yoga continues to be about healing after the loss of my mom in March. My meditation practice continues to deepen as I’ve found two amazing meditation teachers locally to practice with. My physical practice continues to be gentle and slow. I’ve been working toward full pigeon, reaching up and over my head to grab my foot.


2011 ~ My Intentions and how to set yours

Moving into 2011 I’m working toward stepping out of my comfort zone with yoga, embracing some of the more advanced poses and sitting in meditation longer. I plan to write a curriculum for teaching yoga to school aged kids and explore more options for teaching kids. I will visit more church lunch bunch groups and teach seniors chair yoga. In the spring I will organize Team Pottstown at an amazing breast cancer event in Philadelphia. I will reach out to other yoga teachers and studios in the community and organize a community event. I will continue to make yoga more accessible to everyone and I hope to continue to inspire yogis on and off the mat.

Setting resolutions can be disappointing. To read about how you can set your intention the yogic way, check out my blog post from last year.


30 Day Yoga Challenge

My practice has been inconsistent over the past few weeks. I love New Year’s because it is a clean slate. I know that in order to change a habit or create a new one it takes time. I proposed to my yoga students to join me in a 30 day yoga challenge beginning January 2nd. It is a home based practice. I am creating an e-mail support group where we can share questions and challenges. I will also send out links to suggested sequences. 21 brave yogi’s signed up for the challenge and I look forward to the group energy. It’s not too late to join in. This is a virtual group so you don’t need to live in Pottstown to join.

Press

My other yoga blog is linked to the Community Town Square Bloggers in the Pottstown Mercury. The Mercury is featuring each blogger throughout the holidays. Click here to read the Q and A about the Yoga Blog.

Namaste’ and Peace in the New Year

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

20 Item Emotional Gift Guide for the Holidays



I received an e-mail from a friend and fellow yoga teacher with this emotional gift guide. I hope it resonates with you. May you find peace and enjoy the spirit of the season.

This holiday season let’s remember that not all gifts are wrapped in shiny paper and decorated with ribbon and bows. There are many intangible gifts we can share with those who deserve special recognition.....for who they are, what they do, and the important role they play in our lives.

Here’s a 20-item emotional gift guide which I hope will be meaningful for you in this season of celebration. Please share it with family, friends and colleagues:

- To yourself....respect, confidence and faith.
- To a friend....a heartfelt and caring spirit.
- To a family member....dedication, communication and understanding.
- To our natural world....protection and preservation.
- To a good cause....generosity and ardent advocacy.
- To a traveler....an open door of hospitality.
- To our military and first responders....honor and appreciation.
- To a customer or client....excellent service.
- To the ill and hurting....concern and healing comfort.
- To the hungry and homeless....compassion and emergency services.
- To the abused, neglected and abandoned....hope and security.
- To someone with a special challenge....recognition and acceptance.
- To the addicted and troubled....a positive path to recovery.
- To an infant and toddler....attachment, attention and safety.
- To a child and teen....patience, guidance and a good example.
- To a parent in need....a helping hand.
- To an elder, reverence....gratitude and dignified care.
- To everyone you see, friends and strangers alike....a smile and positive energy.
- To people of every age....unconditional love.
- To all the peoples of the world....justice and peace.

Monday, December 20, 2010

108 Sun Salutations and the Winter Solstice





Yesterday I attended a 108 Sun Salutations Class to welcome winter at the
Soul Center in Phoenixville. All proceeds of the class were donated to The Clinic in Phoenixville, serving uninsured and under insured with low-cost or free medical care since 2001. The class was set to live Sitar Music as we were lead through the Sun Salutations by three yoga instructors.
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.

Yoga studios across the world gather on the solstice to honor the season. Typically yogis do 108 Sun Salutations. 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 108 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.

Last winter I performed the 108’s with a friend. This was my first time with a group. The class was lead by three instructors. Each instructor led three rounds of 12 Sun Salutations. Participants were encouraged to listen to their bodies and rest in child’s pose and to take drinks. Each instructor led us through Surya Namaskar A. The repetitive movements were meditative. My thoughts settled into the movement and breath. I felt calm and clear. My own yoga practice is gentle and reflective, not as physical as some. For me, this was stepping out of my comfort zone. I learned quickly, not to lower down in plank but just flow from plank to up dog with my toes tucked and then to down dog. This modification worked for me and allowed me to flow and breathe.

Yoga is not only meditative, it is also fun. Everyone laughed when someone upfront said they were dying for a cappuccino. On the last round the instructor encouraged us to set an intention. He suggested the importance of this because last year he set the intention to the universe that Cliff Lee would come back to the Phillies.

I enjoyed the little touches they did to make the class special; the cool peppermint water they sprayed on us which felt great because the room was heated, the cool stones placed on our forehead during Savasana and the tea, apples and cookies after class. The class was amazing. I felt great and only a little sore. After some forward folds this morning I feel really good. I look forward to the 108’s each season, with a class or on my own.



I’m often asked the significance of the number 108. This is from a blog I posted last winter.
.
Why 108?

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
108 is the number of Sutras in the Yoga Sutras.
1 stands for Higher Truth, 0 stands for Emptiness and 8 stands
for Infinity.

Namaste’

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yoga Holiday Cards

I love these yoga inspired holiday cards from Yoga Dudes. Check out their website for some fun yoga inspired cards, jewelery, clothes and more





Friday, December 3, 2010

Tai Chi at High Street Yoga




Coming in January Tai Chi! Taught by Dr. Richard Stephenson of Montgomery Community College. Saturdays at 9 am beginning January 8th. Begin the new year with this ancient practice and enjoy the lasting benefits. Contact Barbara for more details.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stress Less for the Holidays with Yoga





Om for the Holidays

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.

Tips to Finding Balance in the Holidays


• 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. 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.

10 Easy Chair Yoga Poses to do at Home or the Workplace to Help Reduce Stress during the Holidays and Everyday!

Move in and out of the poses on a breath and stay for 3-5 breaths.

Neck Rolls –drop your right ear to your right shoulder, left ear to left shoulder, chin to chest and then drop the head back. Stay in each pose for 3-5 breaths.

Extended Arms
– Extend your arms in front of you, clasp the hands and extend the arms over head. Keep the shoulders away from the ears.

Wrist Stretch - Hold up one hand in front of you like you would when saying "stop." Interlace your fingers with your other hand and pull your fingers back gently to provide a stretch to your wrist. Relax your shoulders. Change the position of your hand so that your fingers point downward, and the back of your hand faces away from you. Take hold of the back of your hand with your other hand and pull gently toward you to stretch the back of your wrist. Repeat on the other side.

Eagle Arms
- With your arms in front of you and forearms parallel to the floor, bring your right arm under your left, the backs of the hands can touch or the fronts of the hands. To deepen the pose, lift the arms a little higher and away from the body.

Modified Cow Face - Inhale and reach your right hand up and over the head touching the back of your left shoulder. Repeat on both sides.
Cat Cow - On the edge of your chair, Inhale and arch your back gazing up and opening through the chest and low back. Exhale round the spine and gaze toward the abdomen. Continue breathing and moving this way.

Seated Forward Bend - Sit at the edge of your chair, with feet hip width apart, on the inhale hinge from the hips and bend forward. Grab opposite elbow to opposite elbow, or let the fingertips rest on the floor.

Seated Twist - Sit on your chair with your right side against the back of the chair. Grab the back of the chair with both hands. On an inhale lengthen the spine and on the exhale begin twisting to the right. Twist first with the belly, chest, neck and finally the head. Repeat on the other side.

Hip Opener
- Sit on the edge of your chair, cross the right ankle over the left knee, if this is difficult for your knees cross your ankles on the floor. Gently hinge from the hips bend and forward. Repeat on both sides.

Modified Down Dog - Stand behind the chair an arms length away. Hinge from the hips, with knees bent or straight, bend forward and rest your hands on the back of the chair in an L shape. Breathe deeply and stretch the entire backside of the body.

A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well." ~Unknown

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Morning Yoga






15 Yogis gathered to begin their day with gratitude on Thanksgiving Morning. The class enjoyed watching the first snow fall of the year while they stretched moved and gave thanks. In the spirit of Thanksgiving $185 was collected and donated to the North Coventry Food Pantry.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Grateful Anniversary by Guest Blogger Susan Smith




November celebrates my first yogi anniversary, as Barbara’s student. So, when I received the email for guest bloggers, it couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time!

Looking back from where I am now, I return to the summer of 2007, when life as I knew it was changing before me, like it or not. An extremely private problem was becoming harder to keep under wraps. I have a chronic lung disease called
Cystic Fibrosis. Something I would rarely tell anyone about, since I did not (and still don’t!) want that disease to define me. I had to admit to myself that, for my own good, it was time to retire from the business world.

My priorities in life needed to change and taking care of myself was (and is) my new full-time job. I won’t sugar coat it. . It was a difficult transition. Over the next year or so, I cleaned out and organized about every nook and cranny of the house but when I found myself alphabetically organizing my spices I decided that, even if there were limitations to what I could do, it was time to work on reinventing a new life.

One day I worked up the courage to attend class at High Street Yoga. With Barbara’s welcoming spirit and gentle approach to the practice, I knew I was in the right place for me.

As I progressed in my appreciation for the benefits of yoga, I wondered if incorporating lessons from our weekly sessions would be helpful to do on a daily basis??? So, the experiment began with a few minutes at the beginning of each morning to see if I could encourage a more positive, healthful attitude . . . funny enough . . . it seems like if my head is in a better starting place, the glass looks half full rather than vise versa.

Thank you to Barbara for your part in enriching my life’s journey. I am grateful for what I am learning and can say that I am coming from a more healthful, empowered place. Each new day is a gift and it’s exciting to think of the possibilities that may be ahead!

Most recently, I added The Metta Meditation, to my morning routine. It can be found on October 6th blog entry. Let me encourage you to take a few morning minutes. . They just may influence your day too

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mom Finding Refuge in Yoga with Legs up the Wall by guest blogger Carrie Grabowicz




Legs up the wall is top on my list of favorite yoga poses. My love for legs up the wall began when I was doing my teacher training with Gurmukh Mike Noury of Yoga of India. He began each class with students starting out in legs up the wall as they came into class. When my kids were younger, beginning at ages 1,3 and 5 I would crave time to be still throughout the day. One of my tricks was this “hey lets see who can stay in legs up the wall the longest” I always won! Probably not my greatest parenting moment or even very ‘yogic’ but it gave me a few minutes of much needed peace in my day.


Recently I’ve been finishing up the inversion sequence with legs up the wall or supported shoulder stand at the wall and then settling into Savasana. Last week as we were settling into the pose fellow yogi Carrie, SAHM, and owner of
Hammi Jammi Jewelry shared a great story with the class about seeking refuge in legs up the wall and I immediately said “Can you write about that for the blog?” Parents with children of all ages can relate to her desire for a few minutes of peace throughout the day. I know I can!


I am a SAHM of two active boys and try to run a jewelry business on the side. I say TRY because my husband travels every Monday thru Thursday for work and I don’t get as much accomplished during the week, as I would like. Yeah sure, I can keep up with my blogging and Facebook for my business, but my real passion of creating is left for the weekends. If this doesn’t sound crazy enough for you try throwing in preschool, cub scouts, soccer, and house cleaning, wash, grocery shopping, cutting the grass and yard work…you get the picture. I do try to carve out little specks of “me” time to keep my sanity. We all have crazy lives; I’m not implying that my family is much different from yours. I just think that we can all relate in one-way or another. We all can have empathy and compassion for the plight of the SAHM (not sure why it’s called this….I’m rarely ever home).

I do try to practice yoga, ALSO not as much as I like. Barbara has been my teacher and my friend for the past several years. She introduced me to the practice of yoga and I’ve been hooked ever since. I practiced though out my second pregnancy and I think that it really helped with my delivery. For me, yoga is a much more spiritual and meditative practice more than a physical one. It calms and relaxes me. I also feel very connected to the other people who are practicing with me. It’s a connection of mind, body, and spirit and I begin to crave the classes towards the end of my busy week.

On a particularly crazy Saturday a few weeks ago, the vicious cycle of wash to be put away was piled all around me; the kitchen sink was piled with dishes; the kids we constantly nagging me for things; the dog wanted a walk; every toy in the house was dumped in my living room. I could barely think and focus on what I should clean up first. I silently went upstairs, went in my closet, and shut the door. I laid on the floor and put my legs up the wall (Viparita Karani). This is a very comforting and relaxing inversion and I instantly started to feel better. Then I heard, “Mommy, Carrie….Babe, where are you?” My peace and quiet was broken. My “me” time was done. Then the door opened up and my husband was dumbfounded. He asked, “What in the heck are you doing?” I just looked at him and simply said, “Yoga.” Then, with a clearer head and a different prospective, I was ready to tackle the mess of my house.

Namaste’

Monday, October 18, 2010

Guest Blogger Camella Nair




When I started blogging I had no idea where it would lead me and the connections I would make. I started blogging quite simply as a marketing tool. I thought it would be a great way to communicate with current students and get the word out about Yoga in my small town. My journey with blogging has been something entirely different. I’ve connected with other yoga teachers and enthusiasts all over the United States, Canada and even South Africa. My blog is linked to Teach Street, an online community that brings teachers and learners together. They’ve launched a guest blogger program and I am so happy to have been acquainted with Camella Nair. Camella teaches Yoga and Meditation and runs several Yoga retreats each year. She is currently writing a pre/postnatal yoga certification program. She’s published two books Aqua Kriya Yoga and Prenatal Kriva Yoga and has a CD called Aum Hatha Sadhana that is available on CD Baby and was published in Elephant Journal.

I hope you enjoy her words of wisdom as much as I do.


Yes, we can practice yoga any time, any place, anywhere! As much as I love teaching yoga on the mat and in the swimming pool, I seem to be in demand in the Kitchen.

Let me elucidate. My mother is an excellent cook. Pastries especially, like her mother.(both have cold hands) Me and my sisters seem to have incarnated into a family that puts together food in a pleasing and nourishing way. What then is this yoga in the kitchen?

I live in a yoga community that has a communal kitchen where tenants can volunteer of their time and talents a few nights each month and cook a wholesome veggie meal. We have a lovely lady who organizes the calendar each month and buys the food for us. All we have to do is show up and cook. It takes precious time of course and as I have so many things on my 'to-do' list, sometimes the realization that, 'tonight is my night', comes as lead weight on my already burdened stack of 'things to do.', like teaching asana, writing books, studying, doing ayurvedic body massage,etc.

I can almost hear my inner voice screaming,” When are you going to just be still and take a break?" If I am honest I think of yoga asana most of the time with the same sense of dread. I know the effort it takes to begin the practice and as I often tell my students,” You are here and you could be cleaning the toilet, or clipping the cats nails." It is hard to get onto the mat sometimes and practice asana when the mind would much rather keep wandering aimlessly from one thought to another or giggle at the ease at which we think that cleaning the toilet or clipping the cats nails is more important than doing our asana practice at all. So I think the reticence that I have to cooking is just my mind playing tricks on me. Why? Because once I have begun to peel and chop and steam and bake, I realize that my mind is focused and serene and I am in a state of utter contentment.

Discovering a Labyrinth in my Own Backyard By Guest Blogger Anne Crew







Imagine discovering a labyrinth literally in your own backyard?

Last week I received a text message from a friend and yoga student telling me about her experience discovering a labyrinth at the Shenkel Church in North Coventry. Walking the labyrinth was powerful for her and she agreed to chronicle the experience.

The Shenkel Church is around the corner from where I live but I hadn’t heard about the labyrinth either. I asked a friend that is a member of the church and learned that the labyrinth was built by young church member as a project for his Eagle Scout badge. His uncle Pete Wanner of Wanner Landscaping helped him with the project. I had the opportunity to walk the labyrinth this morning and met Anne after my meditation. Please read about her experience below.

This morning, I finally took the time to walk behind our home to a meditation labyrinth. Yes, I know… meditation labyrinth in North Coventry? But yes! It was built as an Eagle Scout project by a parishioner of the church behind my home in a peaceful field. It is a simple design, nothing elaborate. But should a meditation location reflect anything but simplicity? So after my morning run, I decided my cool down could take place on my way there.

As I reached the garden, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have read about labyrinths throughout history. I have walked them in gardens. I never received anything deep inside me, but they have intrigued me. At the arbor entrance to the labyrinth, there was a laminated sheet. It discussed the labyrinth and its history. It covered the connection through religions and cultures. It discussed how you enter with one mindset. Walking slowly and focused you come to the center, pause and reflect. Then you exit, often with a different outlook as you walk the same path. The sheet also mentioned how when you walk, you seem to come closer to the center but then are diverted outward not reaching the center but needing to walk more to reach your center. This can reflect our personal journeys as we work through problems, ideas, dreams, fears. And finally, it asked the person entering to stop, reflect and prepare for their journey before passing through the gate. It wasn’t a “skip right around and find what you’re looking for” statement. It made me realize I was responsible for the depth I found this morning and in any meditation activities I partake in.

At the gate, I stopped and found another stack of laminated cards. They each listed a mindful statement. I read through each until I came to one that reflected what I needed this morning. I realized there was no need to read forward. I took the time. I thought about each word. Then, I stepped inside. Slowly, I concentrated on the thought. I let the thought move with me, with each step, with each breath. I let it evolve and change as it seemed to have its own process. I took each step carefully, as slow or as quick as it naturally came. I didn’t try to control it. I tried to live within it. I enjoyed the trees with their falling leaves. I noticed the darkness of the gravel below my feet. I gazed at the sunlight and the clouds beyond. I felt the cold of the morning air. I lived each moment as deeply as I could and I concentrated on the journey I was on. Yes, I let things enter which broke my meditation. But I “forgave” myself and moved forward. When I reached the center, there was a peace pole inscribed in many different languages. There were two benches to sit on but they were covered in the morning dew. All the same, I felt the desire to stand. To feel connected to the ground, the earth, this space. I paused and began my journey outward. Different thoughts entered and left; Different feelings on my way out. No desire to escape the moment, yet a desire to begin my day… my week… begin from here. It was a lightened feeling. Not so much joyous or excited or energized, but present. I left the labyrinth excited to be able to come back to this space and to do this again. Not to do it better, just to do it again however that day dictates.

I had no idea how long I spent in the labyrinth. I don’t think I want to know nor do I need to know. All I needed was to walk on. To stay centered. To take steps whether they are in a labyrinth or on the street, but to live present in those steps. I can’t guarantee the same experience if you walk a labyrinth. I can’t even guarantee the same experience when I should go back. I know my mediation efforts haven’t always prospered but this helped me focus. It set me in a direction I hope I can find again.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Five Tibetan Rites




Shortly after I finished my Yoga teacher training I stumbled onto this book

Guiding Yoga’s Light; Yoga Lessons for Yoga Teachers by Nancy Gerstein. This is where I discovered the Five Tibetan Rites.


The Five Tibetans
are a series of exercises that are said to hold the key to lasting youth, health and vitality because they keep the chakras spinning and balanced. Chakras are energy centers located along the spinal column. They are said to regulate prana or life force.

The Five Tibetans Include:

Spinning
Leg Lifts
Camel
Tabletop
Updog/Downdog

I like to finish in Child’s Pose or Savasana.

It is suggested to begin with 5 repetitions of each posture a day for the first week and to increase by 2 every week until your each the full 21 repetitions. It takes about 20 minutes to perform the full 21 repetitions of each of these postures

I am usually drawn to the Five Tibetans in February when I’m beginning to get the winter blues. I begin with 5 repetitions and work my way up. I do the Tibetans in the morning before my kids are up. It only takes 5 minutes initially and by the time I get up to the higher repetitions my body doesn’t need it and I move on. I usually stop before 21.

I ordered a new Yoga DVD this week with Anna Brett. A small part of her video is on my local On Demand channel and I’ve been able to experience a portion of the Kundalini Beginners and Beyond Series. To my surprise she has a segment on the Matrix (menu) for the Five Tibetans. She starts with 21 repetitions and does a different sequence. I enjoyed her version and feel energized today.

Check out the video and the print version and integrated the Five Tibetans as part of your home yoga practice.

Namaste”

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Metta Meditation




I begin each yoga class with everyone lying on the floor breathing, centering and grounding. Most days we breathe and occasionally I read a poem, passage or a guided meditation. Today I was drawn to the following Metta Meditation. There are many variations to the practice. This is the one I read. After class a student asked me to post the meditation on my blog because it touched her.


May I be happy.
May I be peaceful.
May I be safe from harm.
May I enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.
May I experience ease and well-being in body, mind and spirit.
May I be free from suffering.
May I hold myself with softness and care.


The practice of Metta Meditation translates to ‘loving kindness meditation’ It opens the heart to oneself, to others and to all of life. It develops tranquility and concentration and provides a way to work with anger and fear. Metta is practiced silently repeating the passage above; sending thoughts of loving-kindness to self. The meditation goes on to send thoughts to a loved one, then on to an acquaintance, a stranger, someone you are in conflict with and to all beings. Today we began with self and it is a powerful message. I came across this poem by Rumi and I think it defines the meaning of Metta.

A pearl goes up for auction
No one has enough,
so the pearl buys itself
-- Rumi

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The North Coventry Food Pantry Needs Your Help!




I volunteer at the North Coventry Food Pantry and received this heart breaking e-mail. Their shelves are bare and they need to feed 70 local families. If you live locally please consider donating food, money or your time. Also please consider donating for the Make a Difference Day. You can drop off any donations at the yoga studio or contact me and we can meet. If you don’t live in Pa check out your local food pantry and see if you can make a difference there.

On Oct. 23rd the OJR School district is hosting a “Make a Difference Day” event at the middle school to collect food to benefit the North Coventry Food Pantry. Please check the school district website for additional information. Each school will be hosting a collection during the month. There is also an unofficial kickoff to the event this Friday at the OJR football game. They will be accepting donations at the door.

I have just finished packing our food for distribution for the month of October. I have to tell you that in my 5 + years of volunteering for the food pantry I have never seen the shelves so bare. I have attached some pictures for everyone to see just how low we are on food. We are really relying on this food drive In Oct. to help us thru the winter months. We are currently serving approx. 70 families. We continue to have 2 or 3 new families each month. The food we receive each month from the department of agriculture (what we call our State food) has decreased in the past couple of months. It is supposed to be considered a 3 day supply of food for our clients. Last month we only received peanut butter, apple sauce, cheddar cheese soup, juice, and a frozen meat. For the month of Oct. we received apple sauce, egg noodles, dried milk and peaches, orange juice and 1 meat. We are relying more than ever on the donated food to supplement what the state is giving us.

As you can see in the pictures the shelves are empty. If we had to pack for our Nov. distribution with what I have on the shelves the boxes would be very light. I would say we have about 2 months of vegetables and soups left. We try to give 4 cans of each out. We have a 1 month supply (each client only receiving 1 can or box) of the following: fruit, pasta, canned pasta, tuna, peanut butter, mac and cheese, beans, and Ramen noodles. We are completely out of breakfast items, jelly, desserts, and sides dishes. We have not had enough "luxury" items to hand out lately like toothpaste and soap. We have been purchasing our toilet paper and paper towels products for the last few months. We were fortunate to have a monterary donation from Grainger to help us with those items.

Thank you to those individuals, businesses and organizations that continue to support us each month with donations and time volunteering. Please help if possible in making this "Make a Difference Day" event a success for our community.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Other Yoga Blog





A few months ago I ran across something in my local news paper, the Pottstown Mercury. It was a 'call to all local bloggers.' They created a link to their on line paper linking local bloggers, called The Town square Bloggers. I submitted my High Street Yoga blog and heard back from the editor. She indicated that she enjoyed the blog and that there were no other yoga or yoga related bloggers. The only 'problem' was that my blog clearly represents my business. It lists schedules, prices, contact info etc. The purpose of the community blog program isn't advertising. This I understood. So the plan was for me to create a new blog site; one with a new name, a new look and none of the business stuff. I was excited about the opportunity and brainstormed titles with friends and came up with Yoga Wisdom for Everyday. I try to write about how yoga can carry over off the mat and that was the inspiration behind the name. Now, I double post. Anything I post to the High Street Yoga blog, I post to Yoga Wisdom. I didn't want to get rid of my High Street page because it is still a nice resource for individuals looking for yoga in the community.

Check out my other page. It has a new look. I decided to use Wordpress instead of blogger. It took some time for me to figure out the details but I like the layout and the look. You can also sign up to receive e-mails of the blogs when I post.

Namaste'

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yoga Kids








I teach Yoga Kids once a month for 45 minutes to a local Mom’s Club. The kids range in age from 1- 5. I am a former teacher and spent most of my time teaching in a resource classroom. That means I had kids in my class that needed small group instruction. Ideally kids are grouped by similar age, ability and subject. Since most of my teaching career was inner city or rural that didn’t always happen. Often I had to teach math to an older group and reading to a younger group at the same time. Needless to say I was good at multi tasking.

I began teaching Yoga Kids to the Mom’s Club about a year ago. The age range and interest level of the group are varied. The prospect of this did not daunt me. (I was a former resource teacher I reassured myself!) I made up my own curriculum, ABC Yoga. For each letter of the alphabet I created poses in the shape of an animal, plant or something in nature. I imagined talking about the alphabet, colors and numbers and various preschool skills while moving and stretching. I had fun finding yoga books, making flash cards with animal pictures on them, learning fun animal facts that I planned to weave into the class. I gathered an array of lively music, from kid’s reggae to Hawaiian music. I planned and had a back up plan. Preparing for class was fun and reminded me of my old teaching days.

I’ll never forget the first class I taught with the Mom’s Club. I began our first class with stories and stretches, ‘tight rope’ walking for balance, and some fun breathing techniques that included arm movement with breath and then we began the alphabet. We started with A alligator, B Butterfly etc. etc. The older kids liked it but the younger ones lost interest. I tried to move from pose to pose quickly and change things when necessary. I’m not even sure we made it through the alphabet and by the time we got to the end where the lights go out and everyone (even the moms) lay on the floor and listen to a story about an animal, I was EXHAUSTED. Those 45 minutes wiped me out! I thought I was prepared, but I didn’t feel like it! It was a humbling experience and made me realize that I still had a lot to learn about teaching yoga to kids!

I must have done ok because each month the Yoga Kids come back. Some months there are new kids but it’s usually the ‘regulars’ I enjoy watching the kids grow and change. I notice their language develop, personalities develop, get taller, have haircuts and turn into amazing little people. Today I had the pleasure of seeing them become little yogi’s. Several of the girls walked in, set up their mats and began doing downward dog, and down ward dog splits. Another little one was doing her version of Bridge Pose. When we got to U for upside down they all went to the wall for handstands and remembered exactly how to get into them. No one needed Mommy support today! I was so proud of the littlest High Street Yogi’s. The littlest yogi has been coming along with his sisters since he was 1. Even as a 1 year old he loved down dog. Today he discovered ‘upside down’ and for the rest of the class he made his way back to the wall for more handstands!

Today we enjoyed ‘om’ing for as long was we could. Everyone had a turn ringing the gong/chime and during the final relaxation period I played the Namaste’ Song 3 times! There were NO wiggles and the room was quiet! At the end of each class we sit in a circle, bend our knees and stamp one foot and then the other and chant ‘yo’ ‘ga’ I love the ritual of it.

After class I felt so proud of the little yogi’s. I felt energized and not exhausted! They’ve grown and I’ve grown along with them. I look forward to many more months and years of Yoga Kids.

Namaste’

Monday, September 13, 2010

Yoga For A Cure: Part Two



"Yoga for the Cure 2," the second fund-raiser to benefit a High Street Yogi’s participation in the three-day Breast Cancer Walk For The Cure, is being held on October 1, 2010 (Friday) from 7-9 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Pottstown, 750 North Evans Street, Pottstown PA.


The event will be a relaxing evening of gentle yoga followed by tea, coffee, desserts, henna tattoos, chair massage, and giveaways. The money to be raised will be part of a $2,000 goal for participants walking 20 miles daily for three consecutive days to combat breast cancer.


A similar yoga fund-raiser conducted during June raised $640.


A suggested donation for the event is $20.00, and advance reservations are requested. Organizers are also looking for people who are willing to donate products, gift certificates, or services for the giveaway raffles. For more information or to make a reservation, call Barbara at 484-525-5204

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sound Meditation Every Sunday at St. Peters Bakery




After being evacuated from our family vacation because of Hurricane Earle I returned to PA and decided to make the most of the rest of our ‘stay-cation’ Saturday morning I attended an intense (and completely out of my element) vinyasa Yoga class at a local studio.

Since we weren’t playing in the sand and surf I was determined to enjoy the time off with family and time for myself and found the perfect way to relax on Sunday morning at a sound mediation class taught by Dave Antonio.

I met Dave Antonio about a year ago when he came to High Street Yoga and did a Yoga Class with Live Music. Dave plays the didgeridoo, gong, sitar, world flutes and guitar. Recently he began a Sound Meditation Class at a St. Peters Bakery. The bakery is in a small village that sits along French Creek. The mediation class was held on the lower level deck with the back drop of the rocks and the sound of the creek. Sunday morning was cool and clear with low humidity. It was a perfect September day and a perfect morning. Participants brought lawn chairs, yoga mats or blankets to sit on or lay on. We all settled in to our spot and Dave began to play. He played continuously and flowed from one instrument to the next. He walked around with his didgeridoo so participants could feel the sound vibration. The music was healing and meditative and the setting perfect. Patrons of the bakery sat on the upper deck listening and families walked by on their way to the creek. I hope to get to many more of Dave’s sound meditation events at the bakery while the weather is warm and enjoy the healing benefits of sound and meditation.

Namaste’

Sunday Morning Sound Mediation 11am at St. Peter's Bakery

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Soooo Cute! Yoga Pose Cookies and Cookie Cutters




I stumbled on this website for gingerbread yoga pose people that is so cute!

After searching to find cookie cutters to buy for myself I found the Kitchen Yogi. They sell 3, boat, tree and easy pose. I can't wait to order my own set!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Eat Pray Love ~ The Movie and My Thoughts…





I read the book Eat Pray Love over two years, ago and I loved it and was so excited when it became a movie. I’d planned to re-read the book before the movie to refresh my memory, but I’d borrowed the book from a friend, passed it onto someone or checked it out of the library. Since it wasn’t in my stash I didn’t try that hard to find another copy.

I knew several groups of friends that were planning on going but decided to go with my husband for my birthday. I wasn’t too concerned that he maybe the only male in the theatre, because as my 8 year old boasts “Our dad likes’ chick flicks” Its true and I knew he wouldn’t have any problem going with me. After sitting down next to each other we realized that we hadn’t been to an adult movie together without kids in over 10 years!!!!!!! That’s not to say neither of us have seen an adult movie in 10 years. He sees more movies then I do on his international flights and I have a few girlfriends that I get out with occasionally. After settling in we scanned the audience and Paul said “There could be whole book clubs here” And he was probably right. I liked the diversity of the crowd, from couples to large groups of women to a group of elderly men and women.

My expectations for the movie were high and I was slightly disappointed. I liked the movie. But I wanted to love it and that wasn’t the case. From the beginning I was concerned about Julia Roberts as Liz Gilbert. Julia is just Julia. She’s a strong presence and it’s hard to think of her as someone other then Julia Roberts.

From what I remember about the book, what I enjoyed was the description of each country. During the Eat portion in Italy I remember specifically the Pizza Scene. The description of the pizza made me so hungry and made me want to eat Pizza. Watching Julia Roberts scarf down a whole pizza just isn’t the same.

The movie didn’t go as deep as the book. I would have liked more narration on her spiritual journey. A few scenes did touch me. I liked Texas Richard. I was touched by his story and did get a little teary eyed.

Most of the wisdom in the movie came from Texas Richard. When Julia/Liz was lamenting about missing her Ex-boyfriend Yogi from Brooklyn (her rebound after her failed marriage) Texas Richard said to her “When you miss him send him love and light” That simple statement spoke volumes to me. During the last two years I lost both of my parents, in a span of 16 months, my dad to a sudden massive heart attack and my mom after battling cancer for 2 and ½ years. Texas Richards advice was so basic and so simple, but it connected with me. Now when I miss my parents I think of them and send them love and light. It’s been tremendously healing for me.

Last week I saw a piece on the news about the merchandise available for the movie. It seems that it is quite controversial. (which could be another whole blog in itself) I’m not surprised by merchandising in movies, but it is generally with kid’s movies, Shrek, Toy Story etc. Apparently there are t-shirts, mala beads, necklaces with Ganesh all for sale in the Eat Pray Love franchise. I’m not sure I will be buying any of those.

I really wanted to like this movie more. I still want to reread the book so I can remember what I liked about it so much. I was in a different place when I read it and may have a different opinion the second time around. I would still suggest seeing it, but maybe wait until you can get it on Netflix, Blockbuster or On Demand.

Namaste’

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Me, doing yoga? By Guest Blogger Rosemary Keane



I met Rosie a few months ago when she started coming to yoga with several friends. As I got to know her I found that we shared a common interest in blogging. She wrote this beautiful blog about her experience with yoga. I have to say I got a little teary when I read it. Be sure to check out Rosie’s amazing blog, 3 rosebuds about life and family.

Me, doing Yoga?

Before I began the practice of yoga myself, I wasn’t sure if I could actually “do it.” I mean, I have had a love/hate relationship with my body for years (often more hate than love) and don’t fit anywhere near the image of a yogi that I would have pictured. I drag myself to the gym, count calories to lose weight and just generally obsess about what is wrong when I look in the mirror. I thought that yoga would help with my flexibility and maybe even contribute to some pounds disappearing from the scale.

What I didn’t realize was that yoga would be something completely different than any other type of exercise I have done. In fact, now that I have been practicing yoga for several months, I don’t even think of it as exercise. It’s not running on the treadmill watching the speed and distance and it’s nothing like trying to keep up with the complicated choreography of a kick boxing class; it truly is a practice that deepens as you continue it.

I am constantly amazed at what my body, which is quickly entering middle age, can do. I often find myself feeling really empowered by one pose (balance and back bends seem to come easily to me) and the next minute humbled by another (eagle comes to mind). But the body-hate doesn’t come to yoga with me the way it follows me other places. This practice is discovery, acceptance and peace. It’s not about beating the body into submission; it is about seeing the potential in each pose and embracing it for what it is and what I can do.

Of course, there are still times when Barbara will demonstrate a pose and I am automatically looking for the alternate, but the practice of yoga is about stretching and reaching and enjoying the process, not reaching some artificial goal or getting it “right.”

Yoga has become a sanctuary in my life-a place of safety, peace and joy.
Namaste.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Uttanasana Standing Forward Bend



One of my favorite classes of the week is chair yoga at the Pottstown Senior Center. I enjoy finding modifications of yoga poses on the chair making it accessible to those with limited mobility. The feedback from the group is how happy they are that they don’t have to get up and down off of the floor. Most of the class is seated but we do get up and stand behind the chair using the chair for support and balance.

While standing in uttanasana, standing forward bend, with the chair for support one of the regulars shared a story about doing a forward bend while in the Navy in 1949. He said he was trying to touch his toes and his officer came up behind him, smacked him on the back and pushed him down so he touched the floor. He shared that story with a smile and told it like it was yesterday. This is not the way I would encourage deepening in the pose, but it gives me a smile to think of John so many years ago as a young man in the Navy trying to touch his toes.

Uttanasana is one of my favorite poses. Forward bends teach patience, surrender and stillness, something I can use in my life everyday. Forward bends are both soothing and challenging. The challenge comes because hamstrings and back muscles are often tight. Forward bends should be done slowly and sensitively while using the breath to soften, surrender and lengthen. This is not exactly how John experienced his first forward bend in the Navy all those years ago!

Uttanasana calms the brain, stretches the hamstrings, calves, hips and relieves the symptoms of menopause. A mantra I often repeat while in Standing Forward Bend “I am free to let go at this moment” With the head hanging forward I try to allow all thoughts to flow through the crown and release. Find some time each day to give in and listen and enjoy the quieting and settling of Uttanasana.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chakra Earring Giveaway

You can win a pair of amazing Chakra Earrings by simply signing up to follow Carrie's blog. Carrie is a talented artist and fellow yogi. I follow her blog and enjoy how she describes her jewlery but also weaves in stuff about life. She always has fun music playing in the background of her blog! Take a minute to check out her blog and sign up to follow it and you could be the winner of these amazing chakra earrings. I've seen them and they are cute! You'll have to click on her blog to see the pic, my computer is acting up and I can't upload the picture!

Namaste'

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yoga for Stress Reduction



A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well." ~Unknown

Are you constantly overworked, checking text messages and e-mails, always connected to work? Do you take care of your kids and spend all day giving and not taking care of you? Is it difficult to find time to relax with friends or family? Do you wish for a simpler life, more time with family and more time for you? Constant overwork and lack of rest can affect your physical, emotional and spiritual health.

Maybe you’ve heard that yoga is good for you. Maybe you’ve even tried yoga in a class or on a video and it helped you feel good. There are specific health and stress reducing benefits that you can expect from practicing yoga regularly.

Yoga is a natural way to deal with stress. Yoga asana (poses), pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation effect mind, body and spirit.
Beyond the physical benefits of stretching and strengthening the body, yoga poses can help reduce stress. Yoga asana help stimulate and energize the body. The poses work on the energy centers of the body, also known as the chakras. As energy is released, it flows easily and readily through the body; so you have more energy and vitality to cope with demanding tasks. That means more energy to face stressful times and more energy to enjoy life.

Yogic breathing exercises (pranayama) help calm the nervous system and increase oxygen levels and blood supply to the internal organs, all of which lead to a deeper sense of calm, inner peace and balance. Learning how to breathe correctly is a skill you can use anytime during the day when you feel overwhelmed, anxious or stressed. It is something you can do at home, work or even while sitting in traffic. Next time you find yourself in a stressful situation take a deep full breath in through the nose and out through the nose. Repeat this for 5 breathes keeping your attention on the breath and nothing else. Chances are the angry thought, stressful moment, fear or worry will have passed during those five breaths.

To understand more about stress, some facts and myths check out the article in Counseling Corner by Michelle Herrigel licensed psychologist titled Stressed Out; Some Myths and Facts about Stress

Stress is part of our life. Today, if you feel stressed, take a deep breath and remember: the way you handle it shapes both today and tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

There's Always time for Yoga




A mantra I need to repeat to myself often….. Getting ready for a weekend camping with friends I waited until the last minute to pack. In between clients and trying to have fun with my kids I spent a good part of the day rushing. My husband is out of town for the week and won’t be home until late tonight. That leaves most of the organizing to me. Exhausted, I rushed out the door to my Thursday night yoga class. Within 5 minutes of the class I was at peace. I felt completely at ease and knew I was exactly where I needed to be. What would I do with out yoga in my life? It grounds me, slows me down and puts things into perspective. Driving home from class I was completely relaxed. (So relaxed I forgot to stop at CVS for the last minute items like sunscreen and bug spray) I began to wonder “what would the world be like if everyone practiced yoga everyday?” Why don’t more people do yoga? If only they understood the benefits……

If I didn’t have to teach a class tonight I can guarantee that I wouldn’t have taken the time to do yoga. I would have continued rushing; felt stressed and not finished most of what needed to be done. Instead I spent an hour and a half breathing and stretching and walked in the door with calm and perspective. The boys helped me make pumpkin bread, (from a box not homemade) but even so we’ll have a delicious treat for our trip. I’ve finished most of the stuff on the list and even have time to blog about it.

I’ve heard it, and said it over and over, the times in life when we don’t think there is time for yoga is when we need it the most. I experienced that with clarity tonight.

At the end of every class while students transition from Savasana I like to read a passage, proverb, quote or poem. Coincidently (or not) tonight I read the following

Hence, there is a time to go ahead and a time to stay behind.
There is a time to breathe easy and a time to breathe hard.
There is a time to be vigorous and a time to be gentle.
There is a time to gather and a time to release.
Can you see things as they are
And let them be all on their own?
~ Lao~Tzu

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kids and Yoga

Children intuitively get yoga. Most kids don’t multi task. Most kids are completely focused on whatever they are doing. Have you ever tried to interrupt a child when they are watching TV, building Lego’s or reading a book? They are completed and totally absorbed and present in everything they do.

Next time life feels too intense or you’ve forgotten the playful side of yoga, remember yoga can be as fun as child’s play! The following pictures are of my son, playing but in poses that distinctly resemble yoga! Namaste’

Bound Angle Pose or Reading a Book?





Tree Pose or Playing on the Computer?




Thread the Needle or Watching TV?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo ~ A Book Review




Otto Ringling is a typical middle aged American. He has two kids, is a senior editor at a Manhattan publishing house specializing in food books, vacations at the shore every year, and lives a comfortable life.

A trip from Jersey to his hometown in North Dakota with his free spirit sister is changed at the last minute as she tricks him into taking her guru Volya Rinpoche with him instead of her.

On the drive Otto complains throughout the trip and challenges the guru and questions his “Zen stuff” with a stubbornness and resistance. Otto does not believe his life needs to be fixed in any way. Rinpoche dressed in a maroon robe, quietly listens to Otto and answers his questions with questions. The unlikely pair falls into a travel routine of mutual respect, fun and learning.

The book was interesting, light and entertaining. For me, it falls into the category of fun summer read. If you have any interest in philosophy, yoga, Religion, Buddhism, travel or food this is book for you.

I won’t give away all of the fun, but a few of my favorite scenes include the drive through Pennsylvania and a Yoga Class.

The first night the pair stays in a historic Inn in Lititz Pa, a small town not far from my own hometown. The next morning they continue on to Hershey Pa. As a ‘local’ I appreciated the description of Pa, and recognized the landmarks. I loved imagining Rinpoche in chocolate world. The description of Chocolate World was perfect and allowed me to think of my own fun times there with family, but in the eyes of Rinpohce.

In a Midwestern town Otto’s sister arranged for Rinpohce to teach a yoga class. Begrudgingly Otto joins the class. Wearing chinos and a jersey Otto struggles through, pain, and embarrassment, and finally makes it to Savasana He is pleased and surprised to find a few breaths of no thought, and in the space of eight to ten seconds he found his old thought patterns suspended and he felt he understood something greater. I appreciated his mispronunciation of the Sanskrit words and his effort to master the physical practice.

This is a story about a physical and spiritual journey full of self discovery and reflection. I enjoyed the side trips visiting small town America through the eyes of a monk, and the fine cuisine sought after by Otto a die hard ‘foodie’ The story lined flowed seamlessly with the teachings of Rinpoche. I enjoyed watching Otto evolve and become open to some of Rinpoche’s teachings while he reflected on his own life.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Intro to Massage Class in Pottstown




High Street Yoga is located above and partnered with The Academy of Massage Therapy and Bodyworks in Pottstown PA This Sunday they are offering an Intro to Massage Therapy class for anyone considering Massage as a career. I attended the class and the school and LOVED it. The program and instructors are talented and dedicated to the profession. Instruction is individualized to meet the unique needs of each student. If you've ever thought about working as a massage therapist as a full or part time job, consider the class on Sunday July 11th. Below are all the details. Contact Angela to register 610-705-4401


LEARN ABOUT A CAREER IN MASSAGE THERAPY THIS SUNDAY! The Academy of Massage Therapy & Bodyworks is hosting an "Introduction to Massage Class" Have you thought about becoming a massage therapist? Do you have family and friends who have "the touch" but would like to get hands on experience from professionals? Join us on Sunday July 11th 9am -3 pm 141 East High St. Best Part? Free Knowledge, Free Lunch, and Free air-conditioning. Can’t beat it and it may change your life!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Beat the Heat with Yoga




Does the intense heat and humidity leave you feeling lethargic and weak? Is your temper short? With the heat wave hitting east coast consider how yoga can help you stay cool!


The following yoga poses are designed to cool the body and quiet the mind.



Inversions

Legs up the wall

Supported Shoulder Stand

Reclined Bound Angle Pose

Savasana

Enhance the cooling effect of these poses by soaking a rag in water, diluted with grapefruit or mint essential oil. Cool the rag in the refrigerator for 20 minutes and place along the neck or on the forehead.

Cooling off with Shi-tali Pranayama The cooling breath

The practice of Shitali Pranayama, before sunrise, increases memory and intelligence. This Pranayama refreshes the body, mind, and purifies the blood. It removes excess heat in the body and cools the system, thus reducing anger, anxiety, and stress. This is best done in the heat of the summer.

As always, drink plenty of water and be aware of the body .If you feel uncomfortable, stop. Yoga should be steady and joyful and never forced. Enjoy the cooling practice and remember February when we had 40 inches of snow!!!

Namaste’

Monday, July 5, 2010

Yoga, running, making excuses and life



I’m not sure if this is a post about yoga or running or making excuses in life but since this is a blog about learning to use the philosophy and teachings of yoga in daily life I’ve decided to post it.

I have an avid yoga practice. I teach 5 times a week and practice on my own in my living room, or in the yurt. (I have a yurt for a massage therapy studio) I love the physical practice of yoga but always feel like there is something missing. That something is running. I’ve been a runner most of my life but lately my running has been very inconsistent. I have a million excuses about why I can’t find time to fit in running. Honestly, I haven’t run consistently since I lived in Houston and with the heat and humidity and a full time job as a special education teacher and three small children I still squeezed it in despite the road blocks. In NJ I had the excuse of the bears. We lived in rural NJ with a large bear population. The first time I ran and rounded the corner and saw one, it set me back. I bought an air horn and put a bell on my shoe, but still never recovered from the first encounter. Every squirrel, bird or rustle in a bush left me jumpy. We moved to PA 4 and ½ years ago and I picked up running whenever it fit into life. My husband travels A LOT for work and so that became my next excuse. My kids were young, and I couldn’t leave them for a run. I’d get into a consistent schedule and Paul would leave for 2-3 weeks, sometimes up to a month to Thailand, Korea, China or Saudi Arabia, again my excuse for not running consistently.

The kids are older and I can leave them for a ½ an hour to run, but I’ve come up with more excuses, the main one being my inconsistent work schedule. Today, I’m done making excuses and am ready to commit to running regularly and longer. I’m putting it out there on my blog for friends and strangers to read. I am committing to a regular running schedule. It makes such a difference in my life, both physically and emotionally. I love the sound of my feet on the pavement. I run by corn and soy bean farms. I see turkey vultures soar, they really are beautiful in flight, and occasionally spot a red tailed hawk.

How does this all fit into yoga? Yoga teaches about being kind to ourselves and the body. It’s about learning to acknowledge where you are in life with out judgment. Yoga teaches that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. It teaches us to meet life’s challenges with calm and confidence. Yoga teaches us about mindfulness and mindfulness like all things of merit can be accomplished one step at a time. I will approach my commitment to running one step at a time which reminds me of a quote by Dr. Wayne Dyer “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.”

I will enjoy each run, each effort and each step along the way.

Namaste’

Monday, June 28, 2010

Yoga for the Cure; An evening of pink in Pottstown






In May I attended a Yoga event on the steps of the art museum in Philadelphia. The event was a fundraiser for Living beyond Breast Cancer. It was a powerful event with over 1,000 yoga enthusiasts participating. The event moved me and I felt inspired to do something similar. Still feeling the energy from the event, I received an e-mail form Kathi, a yoga student asking if I would consider doing a yoga event as a fundraiser for her participation in the 3 day walk for the cure. Each participant is required to fund raise over $2,000. I was thrilled and of course more then happy to be involved.

This is the 2nd year that Kathi will walk in the event and her passion and enthusiasm is contagious! Her gift for organizing and her connections within the community turned the evening into something very special.

The Yoga for the Cure Event was held in the fellowship hall of the First Presbyterian Church of Pottstown. The large open space, with a stage, full kitchen and high tech sound system was the perfect space to house a large group of yogis. The hall was decorated with inspiring quotes from the 3 day walk about strength and survival, pink breast cancer cards, beads, flowers and candles.

At the registration table participants received one free ticket for attending and one additional ticket for wearing pink. Extra tickets were available for purchase to win amazing door prizes donated by members of the community.

In a sea of pink, first time yogis, mixed in with experienced yogis joined together to support Kathi and her journey. The evening began with Kathi sharing her story about last year and her first 3 day walk. The weather in Philadelphia was so bad that the first two days, walkers walked inside the KOP mall.

After introductions, the yoga class began and was dedicated to all of the women affected by breast cancer. The gentle class was accompanied by live harp music. Betsy Chapman, local harpist volunteered her time and talents to make the evening a very special and relaxing night.

After stretching and relaxing participants were treated to iced coffee, punch, pink ribbon sugar cookies, pink Oreo truffles, pink cupcakes, muffins and pink iced brownies and a delicious pink strawberry cake donated by Bause and Landry, catering in Pottstown.

I was honored to be involved with such and amazing event. The support and sisterhood of women joining together for one cause was inspiring. I admire the courage, strength and determination of all of the participants in the 3 day walk, 20 miles for 3 days all to support breast cancer.

Thank you to all of the local business for donating their products and services for the special event. Your generosity added to the night and to the cause.

Ann Lee – for the Belly Dancing ladies night in class annpavlislee@yahoo.com

Avon representative Marjorie Way for the breast cancer bracelet and watch

Barnes & Noble for the Cookbook

Bause Landry Catering for the pink strawberry cake

Christmas Tree Shop

Carrie Grabowicz of Hammi Jammi Jewlery for the custom made pink breast cancer bracelet and matching earrings

Exhale Retreat for a one hour massage

Hildegaurd from A Relaxing Massage Therapy for a 30 minute massage

Lowes for the breast cancer gardening supplies

Monique Marks-Longaberger baskets for the basket, chocolates and coffee gift cert.

Picasso Salon and Day Spa

Salon Twentytwo for the basket of Salon Products

Susan Smith for the custom pink yoga mat bag secretarybird@comcast.net

The grand total raised was $640!!! Look for more details to come for another evening of Yoga for the Cure coming in September.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Symmetry, Determination, Balance






What is it indeed that gives us the feeling of elegance in a solution, in a demonstration? It is the harmony of the diverse parts, their symmetry, their happy balance; in a word it is all that introduces order, all that gives unity, that permits us to see clearly and to comprehend at once both the ensemble and the details.






When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
~Author Unknown






Let the wave of memory, the storm of desire, the fire of emotion pass through without affecting your equanimity.

Sri sathya sai baba

Friday, June 11, 2010

Yoga for the Cure



Help a fellow yogi in her journey with the 3 Day Walk for the Cure. Join us for an evening of Yoga accompanied by live harp music with Betsy Chapman followed by tea, coffee, pink desserts and fun giveaways. All proceeds benefit the 3 day walk for the cure. Suggested donation $20 Wear Pink!

When: Friday June 25th 7-9 pm
Where: 750 North Evans Street, Pottstown, PA 19464
RSVP: Barbara 484-524-5204

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Yoga Unites Interview with Jennifer Schelter



Several weeks ago I stumbled on a link to Yoga Unites Living beyond Breast Cancer; a Yoga event in Philadelphia on the steps of the Art Museum. Yogi’s meeting for one cause intrigued me. I posted the link on Facebook and got two brave friends to join me bright and early on a Sunday morning to meet over 1,000 other yoga enthusiasts on the steps of the art gallery, for one cause, one heart and one energy. The event touched me and I posted my reflections immediately after on my blog.

After returning from the event I mulled over and over in my mind how powerful the energy and the experience was for me. I felt strongly about creating a yoga event for a cause in Pottstown but on a smaller scale. I knew I wanted to reach out to Jennifer Schelter, director of Yoga Unites and find out what inspired her to start the first class on the steps of the art museum, how the event evolved and grew and some nuts and bolts questions about organizing and arranging volunteers and time spent preparing for the event.

After Talking to Jennifer it’s easy to see why the event is so successful. Jennifer’s’ belief in the emotional and spiritual component of yoga combined with knowledge of asana and leadership are a perfect combination that’s allowed her to share her passion and help a major fundraising effort for Living beyond Breast Cancer.

The idea of sharing yoga with over 1,000 people came to Jennifer one day when she was in a hard place in her life and practicing yoga on the steps of the art museum. During her practice she felt an overwhelming feeling of positive energy and an affirmation of life. She wondered to herself how it would feel to share the experience with a thousand people. During the same time frame she was enrolled in a course at Landmark Education called “Self-Expression and Leadership Program”. She realized that yoga, her passion and profession, could be used as a way to heal, empower and create community, both as its own non-profit and in partnership with other non-profits.

On Dec. 2, 2001 the first Yoga Unites event was held. Yoga Unites partnered with the Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia. 200 people attended the event and it was a great success.

Two years later a women with breast cancer asked Jennifer to practice yoga at her home. People met together to do yoga and contribute to her health. After healing and surviving the student felt inspired by the healing benefits of yoga and suggested Jennifer take her idea of Yoga Unites to Living beyond Breast Cancer and offer the large scale class on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum as Jennifer had once dreamed.

Living beyond Breast Cancer embraced the idea and promoted the first event with a brochure and flyer. They helped unite the yoga studios in Philadelphia and have a staff that promotes and organizes the event. Rain or Shine for seven years yogis have been meeting to support breast cancer.

Jennifer prepares for the class by planning and being guided by intuition and always dedicates the day to the women she knows with breast cancer. Her initial vision was for 1,000 people. She hit that this year, and in her words “Look what happens when you stick with something….”

I’m planning my first Yoga for the Cure class to be held on Friday June 25th 2010. The class is a fundraiser for a student participating in the 3 day walk for the cure. The evening will begin with gentle Yoga accompanied by live harp music, followed by tea, coffee, pink desserts and giveaways. The evening was inspired by the Yoga Unites event.

The mission of Yoga Unites is

“To inspire individuals and engage communities by nurturing creativity and wellbeing through the transformative power of yoga.”

I’m inspired.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June 2nd one year anniversary of blogging!!!!



A year ago yesterday I posted my first blog!!! WOW! How can that be???? I entered the blogging world a novice and in my own word ‘a dinosaur.’ My technology skills have evolved over the past year, thanks to my 12 year old son. I now text, have an I- pod and can figure out some basics of blogging. I’ve got three blogs and navigate through it all with relative grace.

Re- Reading my first post I set up the blog as another tool to communicate with the current yoga students. Since that time the blog evolved into so much more.

“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.”


I’ve learned some things over the past year about technology and some could argue that I ‘sold out’ but I say not. I quickly learned that the blogging world is vast. I started reading blogs from other yoga enthusiasts and connected with other yoga teachers across the United States and Canada. I interviewed other yoga teachers and have been interviewed. Living In a rural area with a very small yoga community, the world of blogging opened me up to my own on line community. Thinking and writing about yoga has become a hobby. It’s helped me deepen my spiritual practice and connect the philosophy of yoga into my daily life.

I finished my first post indicating that I would soon write about the evolution of High Street Yoga, since I’m not a linear thinker that STILL hasn’t happened. Maybe soon.

The word Yoga means union. The Yoga Sutras teach that connectedness removes the veils of separation so we can be in that place where we are one. One World, One Heart. We are all connected; A lesson to be learned even through blogging.

Namaste’