Sunday, December 13, 2009

Raw Soul Yummies!

As I have been educating myself more and more in the area of nutrition, food etc, I have come across many books about Raw Food. After meeting with a client, I was drawn to a lovely restaurant in Washington Heights called Raw Soul. This restaurant offers an amazing array of Vegan Raw Foods that will amaze your palate. I met a lovely young lady in their named Dawn, and she shared how she is a Raw Food Vegan for years as well as a Bikram Yogi. Meeting a strong woman with a vibrant spirit like Dawn, who is truly dedicated to her health was so inspirational. She was kind enough to snap a photo, while I was eating the most delicious Squash Cabbage soup, capturing my pleasantly surprised expression. The mouth watering soup was followed by a spouted crust personal pizza which was also crazy delicious. Every cell in your body feels good after eating this food. After realizing that the food tastes so wonderful, I decided to take the Strawberry Shortcake to go...WOW WOW WOW!!! The desert was practically sinful, it was so delicious that it was hard to believe it was healthy! Raw Soul has a wonderful menu, an array of juices, offers catering, and on-going classes which I hope to take in the new year to further learn about this yummy approach to healthy eating. Thanks Dawn for the lovely conversation, it was a pleasure to have met you! ~ Peace & hugs, Ambria

P.S if you are someone you know want to go to a delicious healthy restaurant, check out Raw Soul, you will wind up going back for's that Yummy! It's at 348 West 145th Street.

OM for the Holidays

As the year is wrapping up, we are enjoying the festive Holiday season. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and whatever may be the celebration of choice, we all are enjoying the lovely lights, wreaths on doors, snowmen, etc. Early before my Yoga classes at Bamboomoves, I decided to draw a picture for the kids to color during meditation. The picture is a wreath (the letter "O") and two people in downward dog (the letter "m"), with a caption "for the Holidays" basically it is OM for the Holidays. The kids enjoyed my illustration, and did an amazing job of coloring it. Happy Holidays!!! May the holiday season bring you joy ~ peace & hugs, Ambria

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Yoga for Kids with Aspergers

Aspergers Syndrome is an autistic spectrum disorder. Often times kids have difficulty with social interaction, and can be a little clumsy with body mechanics. Emotional empathy is hardly displayed. As I love to work with Kids with Special Needs of any kind, I jumped on board when asked to sub a special needs Yogi Beans class. There were four vibrant young girls in the class. All were on various levels of the spectrum, and enthusiastic to do Yoga. We did sun salutations, balance, action songs, and a dog tunnel where one girl had her moving toy hamster crawl through our tunnel. Throughout the practice all the girls support each by cheering each other on. They each made up a Yoga pose and taught it to their friends. The most touching point of class was when we came to a close, and all 4 girls dedicated their yoga practice to something they hold dear to their hearts (family, friends, school etc). One of the young ladies dedicated her practice to all the teachers, specialists, and especially Yoga teachers who have helped her come far and join into mainstream activities. At the end she told me she loved the class, and that my class helped her to relax and find the calmness that she needed for a good night. Her eloquence and sincerity were so touching. Yoga helps kids with confidence, motor skills, social skills and so much more. I am so thankful that I had the experience to work with this lovely group of brilliant young girls.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Yogini Kitchen: Compassionate Apple Crumble

With all this talk of having more compassion for animals and better awareness of the food industry, I am willing to acknowledge that healthy eating can seem more costly at times, but the long term health gains are worth it! Along with that, many people have asked about taste. Once you ween yourself, and your tastes buds off the chemical laced food that we in America have become used to, you will enjoy the benefits, tastes and energy packed goodness of healthier options. As for tastes, I have tried this recipe, it's yummy, easy and great for your health. To satisfy a sweet tooth try an Apple Crisp:

Serves 4 to 6
  • 5 or 6 apples
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Chop the apples and place them in a lightly oiled 8- × 8-inch baking pan. Cover the chopped apples with the maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon.

In a bowl, mix the flour and oatmeal. Then add the applesauce and brown sugar. Mix until the flour is just moistened.

Spread the oatmeal mixture onto the apples. (Don’t worry if all of the chopped apples aren’t covered.) Bake for 30 to 35 minutes and serve warm.

Recipe from:

Feel free to substitute agave nectar or stevia for the brown sugar

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Quote of the Day - Mahatama Gandhi

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated"
~Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Know Your Food - Food Inc.

If we have a brand new Mercedes Benz, we would be sure to put premium fuel in it, and the best oil because we know that diesel fuel would do damage to our lovely car. In the same manner we should know what the food is that we put into our bodies. For many people who practice yoga in the West we come across the debate to be Vegan, Vegetarian, Eat Meat, Eat Fish etc. In India many people practice a Vegetarian diet because Yoga originally was a Hindu practice, and in the Hindu faith they abstain from eating meat. Many yogis also avoid the consumption of meat for the principal of Ahimsa or non harming.

While most of my life I ate a primarily vegetarian diet, I have also eaten meat. Growing up, I was used to fresh, farm meat (we actually had our own chickens) at the dinner table. Along with that, on my many trips to India, all the meat served was fresh, never from a grocery store refrigerated package, rather from the backyard. The meat was small or I should say normal size, compared to the turkey size chickens that are filling the grocery store meat sections today. While the meat may have been healthier when from a non GMO farm, my love for animals was the reason why I gravitated to the vegetarian dishes.

Getting back to the topic of knowing your food...whether you eat meat, or not, it is important to know where your food comes from. Educate yourself on the reality of factory farming in the West. If it doesn't bother you that animals are manufactured in the way that they are, at least you can make an informed choice. You should know your food before you put it in your body. People may not want to admit publicly that there could be a link with our genetically modified meat products and the rapid rise in various diseases, because this is a billion dollar industry that has a lot of government support. However, it is every individuals right to investigate, educate and then come up with the best decision that meets their health goals. Here are some excellent resources that can better highlight the Western food industry:
  • Food Inc. (a brilliant documentary)
  • Eating Animals, By Jonathan Safran Foer (a novel style account of the food industry)
  • The Omnivores Dilema, By Michael Pollan
  • In Defense of Food, By Michael Pollan
When we do things with a purpose, our lives are better, and our world is better. In the same manner, when we eat with a purpose, our bodies are better and our world is better. Perhaps I could tell everyone to drop the fast food burgers, fried chicken, decrease salt and sugar intake, and replace it with fresh veggies, fruits, legumes, and advise people read the labels avoiding the excessive soy, soy lecithin, high fructose corn syrup products...but I think it is better for people to make the choice on their own, but it should be an educated choice. Treat your body, like you would your Benz, and use only the best! ~ Peace & hugs

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Although giving thanks should be done everyday, in America we commemorate the day that the first Thanksgiving meal was shared today. We are very fortunate and have much to be thankful for. The aftermath of my recent cold has been my new sultry/congestion voice, and since that was all, I woke up and headed to The Missionaries of Charity in the Bronx. Every year, I like to help out at this wonderful soup kitchen in NYC, because since I was a little girl I have had a fondness to the actual Mission. The Missionaries of Charity was founded by Mother Teresa, and here in NYC they provide food, shelter and hospices to the needy people of the community. The Sisters that run the mission are familiar with me as a volunteer, and remembered that I was in the impromptu play last year, so this year again, I was quickly cast in the new play. Alongside the hidden talent of the people who come to the shelter, myself and two sisters from the Mission put on a new original Thanksgiving play, which echoed the biblical theme of "The Stone that the builders rejected, has become the corner stone". I was cast as a builder, and arranged the stones, which were actually the people who come to the shelter dressed in cardboard boxes. This year, I was amazed to see the new volunteers that came and shared there kindness of heart. The continued generosity of spirit of the Sisters and the Volunteers was enough to find a reasons to give thanks.

I have mentioned this volunteer opportunity to many people, and this year was the first year that another person came along. Special Thanks to Hank, who faithfully attends my 6:30 am yoga class at Bamboomoves! I had mentioned casually what my plans were for Thanksgiving after our Monday morning class, and told Hank to google the Missionaries of Charity, since I didn't have the address on me at the time. When I got off the train this morning, and walked in the direction of the Mission, there was Hank in his car honking and waving. Initially, I waved backed, thinking it was another random person in NYC that likes to honk and wave at female pedestrians, until he rolled down the window and called my name. I was so happy! Often times the men who volunteer wind up lifting the big cooking containers with food, and I was so impressed with how Hank immersed himself into the volunteer experience. While I had fun in the play and doing the clean up. It was so great to have another person I know come along to experience a different type of Thanksgiving! It is great to give thanks, and sometimes when we give, we find more reasons to give thanks! Thanks Hank for sharing your time with the needy people of NYC.

Later, I was able to feast on some yummy vegetarian Indian food with my friends here in NYC. Personally, I have so many things to be thankful, family, good friends, shelter, music, yoga, food, and as I am typing I realize I could probably go on for hours.....Giving Thanks is awesome! Happy Thanksgiving! ~ Peace & hugs, Ambria

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Finding Balance in Flight - Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana III)

Like any yoga teacher, adjusting themes for classes, and introducing a yoga flow that establishes a reoccurring theme is a common goal. It keeps the classes new, fresh and fun. It also allows students to challenge there bodies in new ways.

Today in both my morning Yoga class at Bamboo and my private sessions, students worked on finding balance with Warrior Three. The entire flow was built around this pose to encourage students to focus, breathe, and find balance. In this pose, the core is engaged the toes are relaxed, and the gaze is fixed. Personally, I have noticed that all students find balance best when they have established a focus point (dristi) before actually lifting into the balance pose.

*dristi - something to stare/gaze/focus on

To do this pose:
  1. Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) Inhale
  2. Exhale - step the left foot back into a high lunge, with the right knee bent around 90 degrees.
  3. Find a focus point (dristi) on the floor in front of you.
  4. Send the arms forward, parallel to the floor.
  5. Simultaneously press the heel of the right foot into the floor, as you energize and lift the left leg behind you.
  6. Keep hips parallel to the floor & breathe.
  7. Release into a forward fold and repeat on the other side.
For more advanced students the flow can be:
  1. Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), Inhale and reach the arms up
  2. Find a dristi
  3. Press into the right foot, send the arms forward and left leg back
This pose can be incorporated with a Warrior Sequence. Warrior 3 increases stamina, and strengthens ankles. It also helps to find a sense of grounding and balance, especially for those in a chaotic daily schedule. Like any balance posture, it may be challenging for people with flat feet or weak arches, so focus on lifting the arch of the foot on the floor.
Enjoy your Yoga Practice!
~ Peace & Hugs, Ambria

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving @ Bamboomoves

Thanksgiving came early at Bamboomoves. This past Sunday, Bamboo had an amazing Thanksgiving party. The menu was pot luck Vegan Yumminess!!! There was so much food that we had left over. While I was suffering with the sniffles, I came for a short while to introduce my friend and talented Indian Flute (Bansuri) player, Eric Fraser. A few people noticed how I had been standing at a distance, and this was unusual, so I signaled to them and whispered with my new found sultry phlegm voice that I have a little cold. The evening began with a packed studio, and the certificates being awarded to the Brave new group of ladies that completed the 21 day health & wellness challenge. These ladies lost weight, look amazing and most importantly feel amazing! We progressed the night with a lovely meditation, and spontaneous sharing of thankfullness, followed by the yummy food, the brilliant bansuri sounds of Eric Fraser and finally a rockin Kirtan. Eric wound up joining the Kirtan to jam. It was a great night, and wonderful to see a family friendly vibe in a growing yoga community! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Pictured on Bottom (Eric Fraser )
Pictured on Top (Kirtan and Eric Fraser)

Yogi Beans New Tunes

Yogi Beans is another Kids Yoga experience that I am happy to be apart of. Kids get to stretch, learn yoga poses, work on breathing exercises, sing, do meditation, relax and most importantly HAVE FUN!!! I am so happy that Yogi Beans has got some New Tunes!!!! While I think music is so wonderful to add to a Yoga class for any age, I am so thrilled to be using the new Yogi Beans music. For a few weeks I had been using my own original Kids Yoga Music in YB classes which the kids loved, but now I am so happy to share the new Yogi Beans music in the classes too! So far all age groups have been digging the tunes. Hip Hip Horray for Yoga & Music!!! If you are interested in learning more about the Kids Yoga Experience with Yogi Beans visit

Kids Yoga/Meditation @ Bamboomoves

At Bamboomoves our kids yoga class is quickly gaining popularity, which is the reason for the newly added monday night class. The kids at Bamboomoves inspire my yoga practice with their enthusiasm, kindness, and energy. Their positive reaction to the Yoga practice is so wonderful. With weeks spent doing yoga stretches, original songs, and yoga games we took a deeper dive into meditation. We raise our voices high beginning with an original Mandala song, then we slowly begin to do a seated meditation, and close with a mandala/yoga pose coloring page. Kids are asked to write what they love about yoga, what they are thankful for etc. It is a creative way for them to enter into a meditative experience. Being that this is Thanksgiving week, I am so thankful to be able to combine my love for yoga/music, with my love for working with kids, because kids really are amazing! If you or someone you know is interested in trying out a kids yoga class at Bamboomoves we offer them Saturdays 11:15am and Mondays 5:30pm. ~Peace & hugs.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Chakras - "How's Your Manipura?"

Often times during both private & group sessions, I introduce people to the Chakras. These subtle body connections help deepen the yoga practice. The Manipura Chakra (the city of jewels, 3rd chakra) also called the solar plexus is related to will power, sense of sensual self, and sense of intuition related to self. This chakra is located around the navel.

Early on with one of my private clients, I introduced the chakra system with specific attention on Manipura. After a break from chakra work, ironically, I suggested we work on the chakras again and said "How do you feel about your Manipura?". She somehow translated it into "How do you feel about your money or poorer?" and responded, "Oh I'm doing good thanks" for a minute we both had a puzzled expression, carefully figured out the miscommunication, laughed hysterically, and to this day whenever we work on the Chakras, our little joke about Manipura comes up.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yogini Joke of the Day!

After Yoga class it is very common for students to ask questions to the instructor for better living, and holistic health. Today the question of vitamins was brought up...

Q: What is the best vitamins to take to be a happy person?
A: B1

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dosha Workshop @ Bamboomoves

Tonight I had the pleasure of working with the new group of health enthusiasts, who are participating in the 21 Day Challenge at Bamboomoves, under the expert guidance of the lovely Carissa. I introduced the group to elements of Ayurveda, and guided them in discovering their Dosha (Ayuredic constitution). This new group of gorgeous gals have immersed themselves into a regular fitness routine, a clean vegan diet, and various workshops/information sessions that are part of the 21 Days to Health and Wellness Challenge, all while supporting and encouraging each other along the journey. Tonight they learned ways to eat for a well balanced Dosha, and ways to monitor their wellness with better understanding of their Dosha. Some of these ladies have attended my Yoga classes regularly, and have made an amazing commitment to the challenge. It is truly inspiring when you see people eager to improve their health, and be committed to making the necessary changes. Good job ladies! Thank you for letting me participate on your journey. Our session was only an hour, so we did not get to take a group picture, but most importantly, If you ever have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me or talk to me after yoga classes. Wish you the best of Holistic Health and Wellness!!!!
~ Peace and hugs,

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Yogini Joke of the Day!

Q: Why did it take so long for the Buddhist Yogini to vacuum?
A: Because she didn't have any attachments!

Yoga for Smokers

It is my belief that yoga is beneficial to all people, regardless of age, gender, race etc. It is a mind, body, spirit connection. Often times this world offers many tempting things that create a disconnect within us, which may come in the form of toxic bad habits, toxic addictions, toxic relationships etc. Why yoga is beneficial for smokers is easy, it is because of the breath. The primary aspect of yoga is the breath/pranayama, and smokers get into the habit of inhaling long breaths, which calms their nervous system. Most smokers when they begin smoking it is because that deep breathing pattern relaxes them, it is not because the smell of a burning cigarette down the throat is relaxing. I have never been a smoker myself, but one of my clients is a testament to yoga being an amazing substitute to kick the habit of smoking. So if you want to encourage your friends to kick the toxic habit of smoking, introduce them to Yoga, but leave the cigarette pack outside of the classroom. It is a great way to replace a negative, toxic habit with a positive healthy habit. Deep breathing does a body good!
~ Peace & hugs,

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tree Pose - Vrikshahsana

While in the gorgeous Philadelphia, I noticed the amazing trees in lush fall colors. I decided to be a "Tree on a Rock". With a sign "No Rock Climbing" very close by, my rebel yogini side came out, and I decided to find balance and execute tree pose, on a rock! With one gush of wind, it would have been an interesting drop, but I still maintained my desire to be a tree on a rock. While the challenge of the pose is finding balance, the rock beneath my feet added a deeper challenge. To do tree pose successfully:
  1. Begin in Tadasana/Mountain Pose, with feet together, firmly planted, and arms at your sides.
  2. Inhale, and bend the left knee, and bring the sole of the foot to the inner right thigh. Exhale.
  3. Inhale, bring the hands to the heart or over head and breathe.
  4. Maintain balance with right toes pointed forward, inner arch lifted, squared hips, and focus on a focal point/dristi.
  5. It also helps to imagine yourself as a strong tree with roots into the ground.

Tree pose helps to strengthen thighs, calves, back, and increases flexibility in groin and hips. This pose improves focus, balance and concentration. It also is helpful for people with flat feet.

My Brilliant Lena - Kids Yoga

Last Sunday was a tearful goodbye to my lovely Lena. Lena has been working on Yoga with me through Yogi Beans for quite a while now. Her warm spirit, enthusiasm, genuine kindness to fellow classmates and love for yoga has inspired my personal practice. From the time I met Lena, she has always had a way of saying the most profound wise statements. Even her observations of her surroundings have always been wise beyond her years. Every week, I watched as she would dive into yoga poses with ease and joy. While I have enjoyed working with this wonder kid, due to scheduling, she is now in another class. I know that she will be awe inspiring to her new group, and I can only hope that we will practice yoga together again in the future. It is amazing how we build bonds within a yoga class. At the end of class, Lena wiped away tears and said she wished she could stay in my class, I was moved deeply and wish the same, but understand that sometimes we have to make adjustments for scheduling purposes. In the words of Lena, "I will treasure my yoga classes with her forever". ~ Peace & hugs, Ambria

Tour of Philadelphia with Karma Road Director

When most of NYC was celebrating the World Series win for the Yankees, I was in Philadelphia meeting with the Director of Karma Road. Karma Road is a brilliant film by up & coming Director, Mihir Pathak. I have been given the honor to not only have a small role in the film but also to do the musical score. Unfortunately, when I arrived in Philadelphia, there was a minor set back, so instead I enjoyed a mini tour of the city. Since my days have been full with yoga sessions, shiatsu, music and commuting, I loved enjoyed having the day off. I saw the famous Philadelphia Museum where the film Rocky was shot, and I ran up the steps like the Universal Tourist that I am. It was lots of fun. Thanks Mihir for the tour of your lovely city!
(Pictured: myself & Mihir, The Rocky Run, The Rocky Win)

Prenatal Belly dance/Yoga Session

When working in my private sessions, clients always have the luxury of creating a session geared at their individual needs. Recently, I was doing a private prenatal yoga session, and the lovely lady requested that we do some belly dance too. So after beginning with some yogic breathing, stretching and vocal toning, we put on some belly dance music, coin hip scarves and shimmied the rest of the session. Many people are unaware the belly dance originally was a birthing dance. It allows women to loosen up the wrist joints, shoulders, back, strengthen the hips, legs, and most importantly have fun! Along with that, it is a great form of cardiovascular exercise, and allows a pregnant woman to feel sexy again, since the dance itself is very enticing and sensual. We wound up ending our session with some Reiki. Private sessions are always fun because it gives both the instructor and student the chance to dive deep into the practice. Thanks Carolina! ~ Peace & hugs, Ambria

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kids Halloween Yoga @ Bamboomoves, BX

Happy Halloween! Today at Bamboomoves the kids came dressed in Halloween costumes and ready for Yoga. I dressed up as the Tin Girl from The Wizard of Oz (homemade costume, spray paint is the best!!!). To make it extra spooky we had the room dimly lit with candles. We began with some spooky breathing exercises. Then, we did some stretches, sun salutations, scary tree poses, we became yoga bats, and did our down dog/wolf tunnel. Kids lined up in a row in Downward Dog pose, only since it was Halloween, we were Downward Wolves instead. They howled to the moon, while one by one, they took turns to slide through the tunnel. Every week we have a new adventure and stretch in Yoga poses. It is such a treat to teach these Kids every week. Tonight, Bamboomoves, BX is having the Halloween Party, from 9-12 pm, so come dance, enjoy, and dress in your costume. The staff will all be a character from the Wizard of Oz. Have a Happy Peaceful Halloween! ~ Peace & Hugs, Ambria

Belly dance @ Bamboomoves, BX

Every week at Bamboomoves I have the pleasure to teach a bunch of classes. After teaching the Kids Yoga, and Adult Yoga classes, I usually get a bite to eat before I teach Pre Natal class, but this week I joined in the Bellydance class. Yael Becker is the instructor and she gives a brilliant class. For some time, I have taken belly dance classes at various places in NYC, and I always hear the ladies coming out of Bamboomoves raving about Yael's class. The ladies are absolutely right, Yael gives such an amazing Belly dance class. We spent an hour with hip drops/lifts, hip circles, shimmies, side steps, shoulder shimmies, and much more. Yael plays great music and truly allows the ladies to embrace femininity. This week Yael was dressed in a lovely Belly dance costume, I am not sure if it was because it is Halloween, but it was great! Every Saturday Yael teaches a popular Belly dance class at Bamboomoves, and she also can be seen performing at various places in NYC. Thanks for a wonderful class Yael! ~ Peace & Hugs, Ambria

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Intermediate 1 @ Ohashi Institute

Tuesday was a long day at the Ohashi Institute. I had my Intermediate 1 (3 hour) tutorial, followed by a (3 hour) class. While the hours were long, the experience was as always bliss. We all learn and explore the Meridian lines and the relation to the elements while practicing on each other. It is amazing to learn how similar the subtle body is from the Indian Ayurveda & Chinese Shiatsu styles. So far The energy at the Ohashi School is so relaxing, and then to spend hours giving and receiving more positive energy with this style of Body work is so wonderful. Our class has explored the Large Intestine, Lung, Spleen, Stomach, Heart, Triple Heater, Small Intestine, Heart Constrictor, Bladder and Kidney. Millie explains and demonstrates with compassion and wisdom that inspires us all to be better in our own practice. After a day of relaxing body work and in depth study of the Kidney Meridian we all leave feeling peace.
In Picture: Millie, Maya, Sue, Mamoko, & Me, (Missing is Yuko)

Mandalas with Yogi Beans

It is no secret that kids love to color. It is a chance for them to express their creativity. The vivid pictures, the lines to stay in, and that waxy smell of a new box of crayons is familiar to us all. Sometimes, in a yogi beans kids class, the kids color mandalas. While they color the mandalas they meditate on a happy place, time or thought which is later shared. Recently, I watched as two young ladies colored their mandalas. One little girl paying attention to creating a pattern with speed, and the other paying attention to detail and more abstract. It is amazing what the human eye can create when given a blank page. A blank artists page is very much like our lives, we have the opportunity to use and appreciate all the colors in the box, create patterns, be abstract, be detailed, and feel however we choose. After coloring her mandala, Lena told me that she Loves Yoga and decided to write that on her Mandala. Make the most of your lives, color with joy and love the process! ~ Peace & Hugs, Ambria

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yogini Jewelry & Beautiful Chicks

Every Yogini loves to wear some jewelry once in a while. Whether it's Mala beads, silver earrings, bracelets, with yoga inspired themes (lotus, Om, elephants, Buddha etc) Jill Scholsohn is an artist to be looked into. Jill's artistic jewelry can be found at various craft shows, street fairs, Kripalu, and online. I am a fan of her designs and her lovely spirit. Her designs have lovely energy, peaceful themes, fashionable styles and functionality. I came across Jill when walking from one Yoga Session to the next, on the Upper West Side and purchased some silver lotus earrings. A week later, I was wearing my recently purchased earrings, ran into Jill between sessions again, and was asked to pose for a picture which was to be used on her website (under beautiful chicks). If you like simple elegant jewelry that has peaceful themes, check out

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kids Yoga - Spontaneous Kindness

Over the weekend,
I was scheduled to teach two kids yoga classes.
Like many adult yoga classes,
kids yoga classes offer a variety of special benefits for the individual (fitness, relaxation, focus, etc). Both classes had young girls that have their own particular special needs which yoga helps them with. Somehow, because of scheduling both girls came at the same time, so I improvised and did the class together. The girls were a true delight. We did breathing exercises, sun salutations, ball passing, some yoga music inspired yogic movement (my tree song, mandala etc), a yoga adventure and finally they colored a mandala for relaxation. Both girls were encouraging to each other and added their own unique creativity. The younger of the two decided to bring a picnic basket on the "yoga adventure" to share imaginary snacks. Which was well appreciated. The other little girl decided to share how thankful she was for the snacks. It was truly lovely to see how spontaneous they both were with their kindness. While they were coloring there mandalas, I asked them what they were thankful for, and one of them said she was thankful that her new friend brought snacks on the adventure. Both said they were thankful for yoga and slowly rested their crayons aside to drift into a well deserved "SAVASANA". Kids have such a lovely perspective on life and yoga. ~ Namaste

Friday, October 23, 2009

Autumn in New York - More Pictures

Fall Foliage in Scarsdale, New York
Fall Foliage in Mt Vernon, New York

Gorgeous Autumn in New York - Fall Foliage

Autumn in New York is gorgeous. Natures splendor puts on a colorful show with bright reds, yellows, and oranges in vivid hues all over New York. Watching Seasons change, with leaves turning shades, leaves falling, and the crisp fall breeze has it's beauty while we bundle up. Growing up in Canada, one of my favorite things to do in the fall, was gathering the fallen leaves into a pile and diving in it. Today, while on my way back from teaching a Yoga class in Scarsdale, I decided to walk back to the Metro North because the brilliant colored tree lined street was magnificent. Don't forget to take a minute to appreciate the beauty of nature.
~ Peace & hugs, Ambria

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mind, Body Spirit Harmony for the Special Child

From my experience teaching as a public school teacher and a Kids Yoga teacher, I am amazed at the common reaction kids have to music and yogic movement. Music inspires learning, it is the way we all learned our alphabet. Yogic movement improves motor skills, focus, and brings relaxation. I wish more teachers would incorporate music and yogic movement into the classroom, but the curriculum standards have been set. Many times before a standardized test, I would guide my 4th grade students in meditation which would relax them. At one time I had my 4th grade students analyze the song lyrics to two famous pop songs, so they could learn how to write a comparative essay. After singing the songs together, and to themselves, it was the first time they were able to understand and utilize the tools to write a proper comparative essay. Since I had previously worked at a major record label, my former boss at Def Jam was kind enough to reward my students with posters & pencils (of the particular artist) which made them even more excited. Once upon a time, these kids were looked at as the group that would never write a paragraph. I knew one day, I would have to do something to help inspire better habits, and inspire learning with music and yogic movement.

My biggest inspiration for my latest project of "music for movement" has been from the reaction of kids with Special Needs. I have had the privilege to work with some kids who have Down Syndrome, ASD, Autism, ADHD, Sensory Integration, Williams Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and various other fine/gross motor & speech delays, both through Yogi Beans and on my own. The results are amazing! One example is when I sing my "Tree" song, kids not only come into yoga tree pose with focus and balance, they also learn the song and most importantly have fun. Most of the things that we learn in life stay with us when it was fun, and often times we link a song to an experience. While my catchy "music for movement" songs inspire the same reaction in all kids (both with and without special needs) and even most parents, it is important for us to use this as a supplementary tool for learning, and not forget that it is the way many of us learned the alphabet and general communication skills. So between yoga sessions, my goal has been to complete the recordings for the kiddies so they can enjoy them whenever they like. When you teach a kid a concept in an enjoyable way, learning is the result. Between my yoga sessions, I am busy in the studio recording Mind, Body, Spirit Harmony, the Latest Zoga Yoga Project. ~ Peace & hugs, Ambria

"Give Yourself Two Kisses"

Every yoga teacher has their own unique style when approaching the sequencing of the class. We all have our own music, cues, guided meditation, adjustments, metaphors and overall energy. Overtime, I have been developing my own signature "zoga yoga" style, that aims to increase vibration in people by incorporating music and metaphors related to nature and love, which are energies that resonate within us all. Often times at the end of a class, I have people hug their knees into their chest, and I say "give yourself two kisses". One reason is that it is important to love ourselves, and after an hour of sweating in my class everyone deserves a hug and a kiss. But the main reason is that it becomes a benchmark. By doing this stretch you will see how much your flexibility has improved. One of my private clients witnessed how she began with "flying kisses" to her knees and now she actually kiss her knees, and another student in my group class noticed the same improvement too. It seems so silly when you are laying on your back after an hour of yoga, meditation, and deep focus to all of a sudden kiss your knees, but like everything it has a purpose, and it's good to be silly sometimes. Finally, the universe is abundant, if you want to experience love, love yourself and love others, in turn you will experience go ahead and give yourself two kisses. ~ Peace & hugs, Ambria

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Belly Dance @ Shamballah Gathering in NYC

Saturday and Sunday are my busiest days of Yoga Instruction, so my weekend has actually become Thursday & Friday. However, on Sunday after my last Yoga class I had the pleasure to Belly Dance for the Shamballah Gathering in NYC. This was my first ever experience at Shamballah, and the first gathering in NYC. It is a gathering of people to join in peace, love and harmony. It is a non judgemental gathering designed to increase the vibration of the group through music, dance, art, meditation, fun and love for all living beings. I made my first origami crane. We all shared in yummy food, and contributed to an art mural. The room was decorated with lovely, vivid pastel colored fabrics. Myself and my friend Shinji gave some Shiatsu Body Work sessions, another girl was offering a reiki type awakening session, and lovely relaxing music echoed in the air. After I did my belly dance, I asked the group to form a circle and taught them some shimmy's, hip lifts/drops, side steps, shoulder shimmy's and more. We had fun and everyone danced and enjoyed. The event concluded with a peaceful guided meditation, where myself and Maria (Yoko) did some light dancing to increase the vibration of the group. Belly dance definitely awakens the root chakra and increases the vibrational flow in the body. Many of the people in attendance are Reiki practitioners, Body Workers, and people in the healing arts. Thanks for having me, and hope to enjoy with you again. ~ Peace & hugs, Ambria

Floating on a Cloud - Integrated Body Work

Last week, I had the pleasure of receiving an amazing Body Work Session from Z, at The Cloud. I had met Z earlier this year and enjoyed her energy. Since I have been a yoga instructor and body worker, I make a conscious effort to take classes and have body work treatments for myself. It is important for those of us who are in "giver" type professions to "receive", and it also helps us to learn by experiencing. Z was amazed at how many kinks and knots I had in my back and neck area, and said "It's nice to know that yoga teachers are human too". Based on my knots, yoga instructors are human too. With tranquil music playing, Z worked out my muscle kinks. Just like my last visit, Z and I enjoyed with some wonderful conversation, catching up, and laughter. Sometimes in life we get so caught up in the day to day whirlwind, we miss out on the chance to engage in a little conversation to share and spread joy. It is up to us to uplift each other, to make our short journeys enjoyable. The Cloud provides a relaxing atmosphere, with wonderful body work. It is important to release the fascia with daily body work, especially for trainers, yoga instructors, and really anyone who can accumulate tightness in the body, so I recommend the Cloud. I look forward to joining the team there soon to provide some signature Zoga Yoga Integrated Body Work, that is designed to release the fascia, undo the knots, and rejuvenate the soul: with deep tranquil strokes, ayurvedic chakra awakening, shiatsu pressure points and gentle reiki. Thanks Z for helping restore my body. ~ Peace & Hugs, Ambria

Diwali - Happy Diwali

To all those who celebrate Diwali - Hope you had a wonderful Diwali. Diwali is the Festival of Lights. From October 17th to October 21, people who practice Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and even Buddhism celebrate the victory of good over evil with this lovely festival of Lights. This is a big festival in India, and people light oil lamps (diyas dipped oil filled clay pots), light fireworks, hang paper lanterns, make puja (prayer), and enjoy in an array of sweets. Even those who may not practice the religious part of Diwali: puja (prayer), prasad (offering), most everyone enjoys the lovely decorations, delicious sweets, the Melas (street fairs) and joyous celebration. I myself enjoyed some delicious sweets from a local store in the Little India area of NYC. May the light reign victorious over darkness for everyone! Happy Diwali ~ Peace & Hugs, Ambria

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Night with Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra has inspired many evenings, and subway rides for me. So many evenings I have spent reading my books, listening to my books on my IPod, and it is no secret one of my favorite authors is Deepak Chopra. Like millions of other fans, I enjoy Deepak's mind body connections. Tonight, I had the pleasure to hear him speak about his newest book "Reinventing The Body, Resurrecting the Soul". The event was an Open Center event, with at least over 1000 people, including myself in attendance. While waiting in my pew for Deepak to begin his talk, I happily engaged in conversation with the person next to me and began to read Deepak's book 17 pages in. I took the Quiz "are you ready for change"? , and I responded yes to every question, which when evaluated, painted me to be the person who embraces personal transformation, holistic medicine, hands on healing, viewing the body spirit connection as a serious aspect of our journey, and someone who identifies with other seekers of higher consciousness. This did not surprise me. Enter Deepak Chopra...applause! He spoke about how we are all "consciousness" or spirit, molecular energy that vibrates and manifests aspects of our lives from our own minds. Personally, I agree that we do create our path, we attract situations, and are connected to nature, so as usual I was loving this new book already. While the evening was full of insight, humour and an interesting Power Point Slide Show, I enjoyed learning that we share 60 % of our genes with a banana. We also share 90% of genes with a mouse, and 99% with a Chimpanzee! Therefore, all the other things that make us human are dependant upon an evolutionary process that is more non-physical than physical. We are connected to nature in more ways than we care to admit. We invent ourselves. Personally, the many miracles I have experienced and witnessed in my life, along with my personal journey as a musician, yogi, reiki practitioner and lover of life, all make me feel deeply connected to the topics in this latest book by the lovely, Deepak Chopra.

My evening with Deepak concluded with 100's of New Yorkers attempting to cut the line to have him autograph their book, me patiently waiting in my row while reveling in the fact that myself and Deepak are cut from the same banana tree, followed by him signing my book, and me smiling for a picture with the host of the evening. If you have not read a book by Deepak Chopra I recommend it! This one already looks like it will be one of my favorites but I also enjoyed "Ageless Body, Timeless Mind", "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success", "The Spontaneous Fulfilment of Desire", "Quantum Healing", "Buddha",and "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga". I think I may have read other works by him, but those are the titles that come to mind. Have a peaceful journey! Have an attitude of gratitude! Pick up "Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting The Soul" and enjoy the subway ride! ~Peace & hugs, Ambria

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bow Pose @ Bamboomoves

Saturday, I was feeling like my body needed to take a Yoga class. Most of the classes that I instruct, I usually demonstrate, but Saturday I wanted to be on my mat and completely surrender fully, into every pose, and every breath. Without the need to adjust anyone, or give cues being on the mat, fully immersed in the role of student allows every yogi the opportunity to truly surrender to the sound of the breath, and the movement of the asana (pose). Luckily, I was able to attend Andrew's (founder of Bamboomoves) 9:30 am Level 2 class. Andrew gives an amazing class that is both invigorating and fun. At one point in the class, he had us in Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), when he literally lifted me off the ground and had me swinging in the air, in bow pose. WOW! What fun!!! This was my first time flying in bow pose! It was also an adjustment I have yet to have given in a yoga class myself. The experience was brilliant!

Towards the end of class he had us go into Headstand (Sirsasana). Ever since my injury on my wrist early this year, I have been easy with my own personal inversion practice, almost adapting instinctual habits of someone who is healing an injury, and this moment in class was the awakening. Although Andrew was unaware of my personal injury hang-ups, he was aware that I am an instructor at the studio, so he was comfortable to adjust me. While up in headstand Andrew noticed how I was relying on the wall, the beautiful simple adjustment/demonstration of opening my hands out slightly helped me to lift my shoulders and provide better support in my headstand. When you are upside down and face to face with a personal hang up, literally, all you can do is face it "head on". This class helped me to go deeper in my twists, and deeper in myself. I left the class feeling great and ready to teach my Kids, Adult Level 1 & Pre Natal class later that afternoon at the studio. If you are looking for a nice Sweaty Level 2 yoga class, come to Bamboomoves. This comming Saturday, Andrew will be giving a wonderful workshop on level 2 foundations. For more information on the various classes available at the studio that has become like my second home, visit:
Bow Pose Art Sculpture can be found at NOVICA (National Geographic Online Store)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Downward Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana

A fundamental pose in yoga is Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). This pose strengthens and stretches the whole body. Many yogis consider this pose to have anti aging benefits. While it is a mild inversion that is done repeatedly in most yoga classes as a transitional pose during Sun Salutations, it helps the flow of class and the flow of blood in the body. The shape of this rejuvenating pose is similar to an upside down letter V.

To experience the bliss of downward dog:
  • Begin on hands & knees. Keep wrists under the shoulders and knees under the hips.
  • Inhale and curl the toes and lift the knees
  • Exhale lift the tailbone to the sky and let the hips rise up while you push the ground away with the hands. Breathe in & out through the pose with up to 5 breaths.
  • Spread the fingers and ground your energy into your finger tips from your forearms.
  • Rotate the arms out and Broaden through the shoulders. Feel an expansion in the upper back and collarbones.
  • As the head and neck are relaxed guide the shoulder blades away from the ears, down the spine and toward the hips.
  • Reach the heart toward the thighs, reach the navel to the spine.
  • Keep the knees lifted to engage the quadriceps.
  • With an internal rotation of the thighs, straighten the legs (keeping a micro bend in the knees) as you press the heels into the floor.
This pose often will lead into various standing sequences.
Enjoy your Yoga Practice ~ Namaste, Ambria

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Heart Meridian - Ohashi Institute

Tuesday afternoon is my chance to learn and luxuriate at the Ohashiatsu Institute. We spend 3 hours a week learning the various meridians of the body, and practice our Ohashiatsu Body Work techniques. My teacher is Millie, who is fantastic. Millie introduced us to the Heart & Small Intestine Meridians. We learned how to give a session for the two meridians, recognize the Hara diagnosis, stretch the body and the amazing connections to the elements. This week class seemed like it went by in a flash. Millie had us laughing, learning and stretching. It is such a relaxing class! Every week in class I notice how the Chinese Medicine (specifically meridian) system is so similar to the Indian Ayurveda (Nadi Lines and marma points) system. Learning to explore the subtle body is an area that fascinates me. It is amazing how these ancient techniques for analyzing, diagnosing, and treating energetic patterns in the body are so helpful to everyone. Thanks Millie for teaching a great class! ~ Peace & hugs

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sunrise Yoga @ Bamboomoves

Waking up on a Monday morning gets better each week. With a 6:30 am morning yoga class at Bamboomoves. As this is the time for my usual personal yoga practice, it is such a treat to share and exchange the positive energy with the group in Bamboomoves. We begin with pranayama (breathing), simple chanting and dhyana (meditation), warm up asanas (postures), surya namaskar (sun salutations) and some fluid asanas that have us holding, flexing, strengthening, breathing, twisting which all leads us to ahhhhhhh.....SAVASANA (relaxation). If you or someone you know is looking for a nice way to get the blood flowing, work up a sweat, and increase the positive energy and peace within.....join the Monday & Wednesday 6:30 am yoga classes at Bamboomoves in Pelham Bay. There is space for more mats and yogis. All are welcome. Have a Happy Monday! ~ Peace & hugs, Ambria

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Brilliant Lena is Back!!! - Kids Yoga

Today, I was reunited with the lovely Lena! This little girl who is technically ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) amazed me in the summer during our Yogi Bean sessions. I walked in to her home, only to hear her enchanting piano practice, playing none other than Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. WOW, that is the piano piece that nearly had me quit piano years ago, and this little angel played with such brilliance. We progressed into our yoga practice complete with sun salutations, my yoga tree song, a yoga adventure, some chanting, meditation, and of course savasana. I was so happy to be reunited with Lena, as her energy and vibrancy are a true delight. The benefits all kids have with yoga and with music is unquestionable. To be part of someones journey and share my yoga practice is more rewarding than I could describe, but since my two primary passions in life are music & yoga, and being that I am a former NYC public school teacher, to witness the progress in a child from yoga and music is my hearts delight. At the end of our sessions Lena shares with me her insight on some meditation topics, and her profound outlook, and vast vocabulary are truly inspirational! The reason I highlight that she is a kid with ASD is only because her ability to dive into a yoga practice is inspirational for everyone. This amazing girl proves that it does not matter what our age, gender, or if we have some form of a disability, everyone can benefit & enjoy life with Yoga and Music. Thank you Lena for making this an amazing weekend! ~Peace & hugs, Ambria

Pre Natal Yoga @ Bamboomoves SATURDAYS!!!

You want a healthy place for your family to get fit and healthy on the weekend, come to Bamboomoves. I'm so happy to share my yoga practice every Saturday at Bamboomoves in Pelham Bay, where we now have Pre Natal Yoga!!! Saturdays at Bamboo moves offer so much fun and fitness for the whole family. Beginning at 9:30, Andrew teaches an amazing Level 2 class, which I am hoping to attend one of these days. After that class bring your kids to join the 11:15 kids yoga class, taught by me, which is jam packed with fun, stretches, music and yoga for the kids of course. And if you missed the 9:30 am adult class, you can always join my 12 noon adult class, which is right after the kids yoga class. The 12 noon adult yoga class is Level 1 (really it's level 1 & 1/2) vinyasa class where you will sweat, stretch, chant, meditate and leave feeling refreshed after a much deserved savasana (relaxation pose). Ironically, a few weeks ago I had mistakenly assumed the 12 noon class was level two and had most of the class up in headstand. So bravo bamboo yogis!!! Level 1 classes always have a hint of a challenge. Saturdays at Bamboo also offer Belly Dance, with Yael at 1:30 where the ladies shimmy, snake, laugh and sweat their bodies to the tune of hypnotic Eastern Rhythms. Finally the newest addition to the Saturday fitness fun is Kickboxing later in the day. While new classes & workshops are always popping up at this amazing studio, I am most excited about the Saturday NEW PRE NATAL YOGA class at 2:45. Tell all your pregnant friends to come stretch, strengthen, chant, and laugh with fellow soon to be moms. Peace & Hugs ~ Ambria

Friday, October 2, 2009

Yogini Joke of the day!

A famous Yoga Guru was asked by his students what gifts to bring for his birthday...The Guru responded, I do not need gifts only presence.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bellydance @ The Peoples Lounge 2

Wednesday night, I had the pleasure to belly dance for the Bourbon Street festivities held at the Peoples Lounge. The show is hosted by the lovely Shelita Vaughns and her amazing band. It was a great night of music, DJ, and belly dance. It was tons of fun to belly dance for the show, and as always a brilliant form of creative expression. I had finished my day of 5 yoga sessions which began at 6:00 am, only to change into my belly dance outfit in the evening. I almost took a nap on one of the Peoples Lounge sofas, when I heard Shelita announce the song Seduction (which I dance for). I got up and snaked my body to the charming seductive sound of the music. Towards the end of the song, Shelita gave me a special shout out, only to be received by friendly screams and cheers! WOW, that was a great way to end an evening! Personally, I think every woman should take a belly dance class, at least once. Embracing our sensual side, and expressing our femininity in the form of dance is always refreshing, and the classes are usually fun.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Yogini beyond the mat

Today many people in NYC observed Yom Kippur, what is considered to be the Holiest Day of the year for the Jewish community. Growing up as a catholic with Indian parents, I was exposed to people from an array of ethnic and faith backgrounds, which helped me to adapt a more Yogic view of life. Embracing oneness, Satya (truthfulness) Ahimsa (Non Harming), and the fundamental principal that is a common thread in all walks of faith, which is LOVE.

Many of my private clients enjoy in guided meditation with me. Today, one of my private yoga clients invited me to participate in a Silent Meditation, that was part of the unlisted activities taking place where their Yom Kippur services were being held. I just want to write a note of thanks and appreciation. It is such a lovely gesture when someone wants to share their faith with another person. Our spirit and our faith is unique to our personal journey, and anytime we want to share and extend that love, it is truly a brilliant representation of unity for the world, and community within our own faith. Since, I spent most of the day in my yoga clothes teaching sessions, I did not get a chance to attend the meditation and did my own personal meditation for all those who were observing the special day. Sharing in community, sharing in positive energy, and extending invitations of kindness are the initial steps to peace in this world. Peace leads to Love. Love leads to Bliss. Thank you to my yogi in training for leading me to Bliss, I hope you had a lovely Yom Kippur. ~ Peace & Hugs, Ambria