Thursday, April 23, 2009

Getting "Fingered" @ ISTHA YOGA

While I have my own personal meditation practice, I recently ventured out to participate in a lovely meditation class at Ishta Yoga.  The class was led by the renowned NYC yoga guru, Alan Finger.  Alan has an amazing approach to meditation class.  He led us in pranayama with deep breathing and guided us to send our inhalation breath from the root chakra all the way up to the top of the head (bindu point), hold the breath, and exhale the breath all the way back down the sushumna (center line) to the perineum (root Chakra region).   After instructing the pranayama (breath work), Alan guided us through a series of postures incorporating this style of pranyama.  The class was charming and left all participants with a sense of peace and harmony.  Alan is well versed in the Ayurveda system and Marma points but along with his obvious wisdom he has rare gift to create an enchanting classroom environment.  Ishta is known for providing classes that incorporate meditation, energetic pranayama and mindfulness when approaching asana.  I recommend this studio to any and all.  For more information about Ishta visit:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Enlighten Up!

While I love to watch films, I was particularly excited to watch the film "Enlighten Up".  A documentary by Kate Churchill (devoted yoga enthusiast/film maker) following her subject Nick Rosen (non yoga enthusiast/journalist).  The film followed Nick on his quest through various yoga studios of NYC and led him to India.  His willingness to immerse himself in the fabric of the NYC yoga scene was thrilling.  The quirky interviews with well known teachers, and the essence of overall harmony in Yoga classes was well accounted for.  My favorite parts were when he ventured to India to find a deeper understanding of this ancient tradition.  
  • Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga Guru in Mysore who led him deep into practice and shared with him that overtime, naturally the practice of Yoga unites body and spirit.  
  • Laughing Yoga Guru, Dr. Madan Kataria said that many people practice Yoga to gain a sense of spiritual uplifting while "Laughing Yoga" is practiced to lift spirits.
  • B.K.S. Iyengar was excited to share that Yoga is what you make of it and for everyone it is different and unique.
While all the experiences, classes and gurus both in NYC and in India brought such a beautiful light on the path of someone devoted to Yoga, it was the experience Nick had with Guru Saran Ananda that captured my attention.  While Nick experienced chanting, meditation, asana, and plunged into a host of yoga styles while observing various other people's Yoga practice, he still struggled with understanding the importance of it, and it was Guru Saran Ananda that said "Just Be Yourself" that is Yoga.  

"Enlighten Up" was a wonderful film that brings to light the joy, history, and growing worldwide popularity of a beautiful ancient tradition that is YOGA.


Monday, April 6, 2009

WALL STREET YOGA: Anjaneyasana (Crescent Lunge)

It was my pleasure to sub for a my friends Yoga class monday morning.  It is so great that here in NYC, there are some hardworking people who commit to a monday morning Yoga practice.  The setting was an office board room in the Wall Street Area.  The rain was drizzling, and I had the honor to share and lead a peaceful, candle lit, Yoga practice with some beginner "business" Yogis.  Finding a peaceful state in a serene Yoga Studio or foreign country like India, Bali, Costa Rica etc. can be easy, but to find inner peace with the hum of NYC traffic, the gray slate walls of a Wall Street Board Room on a MONDAY RAINY MORNING, knowing that soon you will be facing deadlines and business meetings within an hour??!!! That is YOGA at its BEST!  They left class energized, damp from the detox of perspiration and quoting my phrase of "every inhale is our chance to inhale positive energy and every exhale is the release of negative energy so make both Deep, Long and with a smile". BRAVO BUSINESS YOGIS!!!! 

This lunge pose was a pose we played with!
Anjaneya = praise (from root anj meaning honor) 
This pose will help to lengthen your spine, strengthen your arms & legs and increase your stability and balance. 
1) Start from Downward Dog, inhale as you step your right foot forward between your hands, Keep your front knee stacked above the ankle
2) Keeping your back heel elevated, exhale as you gently press down and backwards into the earth, keep your leg straight, quads push into the hammies.
3) Keep Abs engaged, lengthen through the torso, inhale and gently lift arms to the sky, palms face in, pinky's turn slightly in, relax your shoulders down the back, and smile.
4) Drop the tailbone down, while pelvis remains neutral, gaze can be toward your hands or the sky. For the sake of balance and harmony switch sides.

YUMMY YOGINI - Eating Fruits

Eating a diet high in fruits also will provide a good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, amino acids, and fatty acids. Fruits also have the highest water content of any food.  They are also the easiest for your body to digest. According to the Yogic philosophy they provide the highest source of prana.  Prana rich foods like fruits and vegetables are believed to be more pure which can help the mind become pure and allow for deeper concentration . Organically and locally grown fruits are sometimes a better choice due to the fertilizers and pesticides that are used to enhance growth and often times decrease the prana energy.  Fruits are yummy and will give a radiant glow to people who enjoy them.  Next time you want to make a big breakfast for yourself, your family and friends, cut up some yummy fruits into a big bowl and serve buffet style.  This is a healthy, economical and yummy way to start your day!

YUMMY YOGINI - Eating Veggies

Vegetables are low in calories and fat and loaded with fiber.  It is no secret that many people who practice Yoga are vegetarian/vegan.  I myself practice a vegetarian lifestyle. Growing up, my mom used to prepare a lot of vegetarian dishes since she also preferred the veggies, and her and my daddy grew their own in our garden.  Taste and veggies go hand in hand in Indian culture.  With the right spices to give yummy flavor, not necessarily "heat" but flavor and a whole lotta LOVE....anyone can create some yummy veggie dishes.  With any recipe, LOVE, should always be the key ingredient, only then will you and your guests want more.

Two of my favorite dishes - "CAULIFLOWER POWER" & "EGG VEG"
CAULIFLOWER POWER (my personal knock-off version of mommy's aloo gobi)
3 cups organic vegetable broth
1 Cauliflower (made into mini flowerets)
1 potato (cubed)
1 onion (small/diced)
4 garlic cloves (diced)
1 tsp curry powder
4 tsp tumeric
4 tbs sour cream or vegan substitute
Add Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
Add Love
GARNISH: 1 leafy stem of cilantro & a few narrow pieces of ginger cut julianne style

Sautee garlic, onions.  Add Spices and potato.  Add Broth till potatos are soft then add flowerets.  Cook till soft.  Add sour cream at the end or Vegan substitute.  Add love & remove from stove top.  Finally, share with people you love and ENJOY the YUMMINESS!!!!

EGG VEG is also in the picture but it is a family secret, that I am sworn to secrecy for....all I can say is.....YUMMINESSSSS!!!!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

In the Studio With Ambria

In between Yoga & Body Work Sessions, Shiatsu class, Gigs & Session Singing, and time spent in my personal Yoga Practice, I make time to hit the studio for my personal music projects. Many of my songs find inspiration from relationships, daily events and experiences from both my life and those close to me. I am busy recording my latest album for my solo project, Ambria. I am also working hard at the final stages of production of my ZOGA YOGA music collection which will include music for Vinyasa/Hatha classes, Pre Natal/Post Natal, Kids Yoga and Guided Meditation/Pranayama. This is an exciting time, and I am loving the journey.

Music is a universal language that has the power to inspire, heal, celebrate, and capture the Love that lives inside every heart around the world. I am so grateful for the gift of music and I can't wait to share my new material with everyone.
Please visit my links for samples of music:

Yogi Beans in NYC

While it is no secret that Yoga and Music are my primary passions in life.  My zest for maintaining a joyful spirit and positive outlook is the reason why children have always been magnetized to me and vice versa.  My years spent as a teacher in grade 1, 4 and pre-K age classes in NYC was part of my personal journey.  While I believe that the Universe brings people and situations in your life as part of growth, discovery and most importantly opportunity, I am so thankful that the Universe brought me to the delightful Yogi Beans Team.

Yogi Beans is an amazing Yoga program for kids Ages 3-10, created by the lovely Lauren Rosenfeld.  Kids explore the spirit of Yoga, with poses (physical activity), songs (music), meditation (relaxation), and SO MUCH MORE, in a non competitive environment.  Lauren has worked hard to create a wonderful program that cultivates self confidence, body awareness, and appreciation for the special mind-body connection.  Most importantly, this Yogi Beans program is TONS OF FUN!!!!

I am so excited to be part of this amazing team of talented Yogis & Yoginis.  This is a chance for me to use my yoga, music and teaching experience with the amazing Kids Yoga program, YOGI BEANS, here in NYC.  Through teaching experience I have learned that time spent with a child, is precious, humbling, fun and always a new experience.  I am excited to share future posts that will highlight more details about Yogi Beans, Lauren and even the Kids reactions.

For parents, schools, kids and anyone who wants more information about the wonderful YOGI BEANS program please visit :

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Aerial Yoga in NYC

As a child I used to spend hours on my backyard swing set on the rings, and hanging upside down on the bar, which led to gymnastics and to the horror of my daddy no "Olympic Gold"  Not even more than 2 cherished 2nd place ribbons, which made me dive deeper into my music and ignore the gymnastic life except as a memory.  Tonight was my time to shine and revisit that lost childhood love with Aerial Yoga in NYC.

I enter into a lovely studio in Bedford, Brooklyn.  Lovely trapeze swings in vibrant colors cascade from the ceiling.  The lush fabric is attached by a giant hook and attached to another giant hook in the ceiling.  Two friendly girls are swinging and chatting away, sharing the same excitement that I have for this new experience.  

Our lovely instructor Michelle, greets me, has me fill out my waiver, and I quickly rest my mat beneath a gorgeous blue swing that reminds me of the beach.  I look up and question "Is this going to hold me?".  I remind myself that this is still a Yoga experience and I need to surrender my fears and just breathe.

Three other veteran aerial Yoga chicks enter the room and we are a class of 6 ladies swinging from the ceiling.  Like most Yoga classes we begin with Om.  Michelle reminds us of the need to breathe throughout the practice.  We proceed into amazing warm ups with the swing that rip my biceps and remind me of the work I need to do on my upper body strength.

Now, WE SWING!  We are taught headstand, handstand, pigeon, and more.  For those with a minimal inversion practice (upside down postures) well....let's just say the swing helps a ton, however eating before an Aerial Yoga class.....NOT THE BEST IDEA.  I did feel a little dizzy and was told my third time doing upside down pigeon may have been a little over ambitious, but it was soooooo fun and Michelle managed to turn me mid pose while my neighbor captured a picture.  On occasion I bumped into my neighbor (A fellow Aerial Yoga Newbie), like Trapeze bumper cars.

We gravitate to our Yoga Mats and flow through some amazing twists.  Class ends with savasana done hanging in the trapeze swings.  This savasana takes me to thoughts of how it must have felt swinging in the typical baby swing when I went to India as an infant.  Every Indian baby usually swings in a hammock-style swing made of fabric and akin to the Aerial Yoga swing.  So I guess this may not have been my first time at Aerial Yoga!!!

This experience was tons of fun, definitely physically challenging, and again tons of fun!!!!  For more information about participating in Aerial Yoga visit: