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

Yoga for Stilettos

If you ask any other Yoga Instructor what the common benefits and success results are for their students, often times you will hear peace of mind, increased flexibility, weight loss, increased strength, and much more. Today after my morning yoga class at Bamboo, one of the ladies shared that yoga classes has helped her ankles so much that she can wear high heels again. It was too cute! Ironically, another one of my private clients had mentioned to me that she shared the same experience. Since she has been practicing with me, her strength in her legs allowed her to wear heels for the first time in years. So add that to your list of reasons to take up Yoga. If you love your stilettos, you will love Yoga. ~Peace & hugs, Ambria

Elephant Riding in India

It is not common in India to come across an elephant. On my last trip, I told my daddy that I want to ride an elephant and a camel. His response was the usual look of confusion, followed by a few comments that were meant to spark a doubt in the actuality of me being his child. While these reactions are not new to either of us, I maintained that I would not leave India without my "rides". One day while I was driving with my daddy when we saw an elephant approaching. I enthusiastically asked our driver to pull over in my foreigner version of Malayalam (common language of Kerala, India) that I speak so well. He also gave me the look of confusion but quickly pulled over.

I walked up to the people who were walking the elephant and asked if I could go for a ride on it. They were absolutely amused by me, an obviously foreign Indian FEMALE requesting a random elephant ride. Their reaction led me to believe that I was the highlight of their day. I could sense my daddy behind me with the "here she goes again" energy vibe that I have grown accustom too. The Elephant literally pulled over for me, sat down, and I was instructed how to climb aboard. I had to place my foot near his ear, hold on to a tiny collar, and pull myself up without accidentally kicking him. Once aboard, I was instructed to "Hold On"! Great, now the elephant is slowly standing, my head is in the trees, and he begins to rock side to side. I begin to feel a little unsure about being so high off the ground, on top of a wild animal. After that initial 5 second unsure feeling fades away, I enjoy my new view of the gorgeous Kerala roadside, and leave feeling thrilled that I did what I set out to do. The two reasons why I am sharing this random blog, is because my last two kids yoga classes, we did elephant pose and it reminded me of my experience. The second reason for this post is because when you set out to do something, and an opportunity presents itself, run for it, regardless of how silly others think you are, or how risky it seems because you may leave with an experience of a lifetime, and you only live once.
If you get the chance to visit India, go to Kerala and at least see an elephant. ~ Peace & hugs, Ambria

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yogini Kitchen - Cold Home Remedy

Often times people label this time of year as cold & flu season. With the change in weather, it is common for people to catch a germ or two. As my personal preference is to avoid pills and potions that are found in the pharmaceutical avenue, I tend to lean towards natural home remedies.

Since I have experience teaching grade 1, 4 and PreK in the classroom and I currently teach Yoga both kids and adults, you can say I have had my fair share of exposure to germs. So my suggestions are as follows:
  • Drink lots of water to flush your system out
  • Have fruits high in vitamin C like Kiwi, Strawberry, Orange, etc
  • Keep active, have a daily fitness routine to get the blood flowing and toxins released.
  • Garlic: Eat more garlic when you feel the germy bugs entering, the garlic will help zap out the germs (and also give you the kind of breath that will be sure to keep people at a distance.)
My Family Home remedy that heals the body and soothes the soul:
  • Tumeric Milk: Warm your Milk on the stove (veggie folks can substitute rice/almond/hemp milk) stir and add a tsp of tumeric, add a little honey, stevia or agave nectar for sweetness, stir, and cheers to your health.
Finally, stay positive! Our mind has so much power over our bodies and lives! With healthy meals, daily exercise, and a positive mindset we will maintain a healthy body.
~Peace & hugs, Ambria

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Joyous Approach to Tree Pose

Yesterday was one of my longest days teaching yoga. With back to back sessions beginning with my amazing group class at Bamboo, 6:30 am and my last class with Yogi Beans ending at 5:30. I am so grateful to do the things I love and help people in the process. That being said my body was physically in need of a nap, a luxurious bath, an amazing massage etc. (things of that nature). The joy from this day was in the Tree pose. Tree pose is a challenging pose for me due to my low arches on my feet, so I love the chance to focus my mind in stillness. Most adults who do Yoga are fixated on balance and finding that perfect stillness. The joyous tree came at the end of the day when my Yogi Bean kids were eager to do Tree Pose for the purpose of: who can stay up the longest and who falls out the funniest! Kids have the most joyous approach to life and yoga! What a wonderful way to cap a day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yogini Kitchen - Simple Kitchari Recipe

After introducing a Dosha Workshop at Bamboomoves a few of the participants approached me, requesting a "Kitchari Recipe" I had given them. Kitchari (pronounced Kitc-a-ree)is a nourishing meal that is essentially made of 50% basmati rice and 50% split yellow mung dal, with some spices for flavor. The meal is commonly used in Ayurveda to heal and cleanse the system. This high protein meal is suitable for all three Dosha types: Vata, Pita and Kapha. While there are a variety of recipes available, my simple Kitchari Recipe is as follows:

1 cup basmati rice
1 cup yellow split mung dal
1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
6 cups water
1 cup of LOVE

Directions: With plenty of water wash the rice and mung dal at least twice. If you have time, soak the mung dal for a few hours prior to cooking, to soften and help with digestion. Add rice, dal, cilantro, and LOVE to the water in a pot. Bring pot to a boil, boil for 6 minutes uncovered, and stir. Once the water is not covering the rice & mung dal, lower the heat, and cover the pot. Cook until tender and water is absorbed.

Additional spices you can add for yummy taste after the recipe boils: salt, 1/2 tsp tumeric, 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 1 tsp fennel, 1 tsp cumin.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yogini Joke of the day!

Q: What does yoga meditation and an apple peeler have in common?
A: They both take you to the core.

Invigorating Detachment @ The Chopra Center

For many years, like many people, I have been a fan of Deepak Chopra. I enjoy his books, and often times listen to his audio on my ipod. Recently, I ventured to the beautiful Chopra Center in Manhattan to take a yoga class. The energy in the Dream Spa is tranquil and friendly. I was there to take the noon time "invigorating" class. Prior to class I picked up a random meditation card at the desk which was about letting go of the negativity from relationships and growing. On a personal level, that couldn't have been more fitting for me, so I decided it was the Universe behind the card. I entered into the studio, only to find the instructor was Kelly, a yogini friend who I did my PreNatal teacher training with. What a small world! I was so thrilled to take her class. The theme of the class was "Detachment, and surrendering to the Bliss of Peace", WOW what a wonderful theme. I knew I was in the right place, at the right time. Kelly led us into an amazing class. We began with the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, which is a "Chopra Center" approach to the beginning asana series. The initial flow of asana/poses coincide with beautiful chants. I am a big fan of connecting music to yogic movement, as it is part of a side project of mine, so to be part of this in an adult class was just great. The class was brilliant, Kelly was spectacular. I left feeling the Bliss of Peace. While I hope to one day meet Deepak Chopra in person, It was obvious that his positive energy resonates in the space, and in the brilliant energy from the staff. Thanks Kelly for a wonderful class. If anyone is interested in a new yoga experience, venture to the Chopra Center:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jam Sessions @ The Peoples Lounge 09/16/09

So the other night, I was invited back to perform at the People's Lounge "Jam Sessions", hosted by the lovely Shelita Vaughns. The cozy lounge was busy with a chilled out crowd ready to hear smooth, soulful music. I had an entire day of yoga sessions (starting from 5am), so lets just say I was a bit tired. Since music is one of my passions, it was a pleasure to be invited to play with such a talented group of artists. I opened the show with a small set of originals. Somehow, the boom mic was broken, so it required some flexibility on my part to adjust the mic between my legs and play keys around the stand. It was a new approach for me. After my set was the amazing Miss C. Devone, followed by Mr. Zuwadi and another performer who I unfortunately never got to see but heard was pretty amazing also. The audience was wonderful as always. The band musicians brought fire to the live music scene and the performers energized the crowd. Once again it was a lovely night of music. Thanks Shelita for organizing a wonderful event.

Pumkin Seeds & Protein Shakes

Many yogis who are vegans and vegetarians have asked me questions regarding protein shakes. When embarking on a disciplined physical fitness routine, it is important to have adequate amounts of protein. Since vegetarians may not be eating the required amount of daily protein, which is 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight, a shake may be the best choice.

I prefer natural protein shakes that are free of chemicals and sweeteners. The Vitamin shop brand makes an excellent vegetarian shake that is free of whey and soy, which is my preference. Be aware since the majority of the protein for this brand is based from peas, you will feel like you are drinking liquid peas. Like me, you can always add fruits for taste, fiber and added vitamins.

I also like the Nutri Biotic brand of Vegan Rice Protein Shakes because along with being healthy, they are really yummy! Picking a protein shake that uses stevia and or cane sugar for sweeteners are my preference also, as the long term effects of artificial sweeteners have been linked to tumors and cancer cells. I also like to use rice milk mixed with water, but almond and hemp milk are also good choices.

Finally, one of my newest additions to my protein shakes is pumpkin seeds. These seeds are loaded with goodness like: zinc (good for skin and linked to lower chances of osteoporosis), magnesium (1/2 cup has daily requirement which most of us are deficient in), L-tryptophan (which is a compound that naturally fights depression), and these seeds promote a healthy prostate, bladder function, act as a natural anti-inflammatory, lower cholesterol (which can also protect against some cancers), and help prevent kidney stones.

Make sure to get the adequate amount of protein to replenish your muscles after you work them out. Just a handful a day, grinds up smooth in a good blender and does a body good. ~ Peace & hugs, Ambria

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sunrise Yoga @ Bamboomoves

One of the best times to practice yoga is at Sunrise. It is a wonderful way to stretch out the body, get the blood flowing, loosen up the fascia, meditate, begin the day with a positive outlook, and truly be connected to the universe. That being said, the dedication it takes to rise out of bed on a Monday morning, to attend a 6:30 am yoga class is truly inspiring. Just wanted to write a note of appreciation to the dedicated group that attend the new morning Sunrise Yoga classes at Bamboomoves. Early morning is a wonderful time to practice yoga. For anyone interested in taking a group morning yoga class that stretches, challenges and rejuvenates the body, come to Bamboomoves (Pelham Bay, BX, NY) Mondays & Wednesdays at 6:30 am. Join us to begin the day with a positive breath. Peace & hugs ~ Ambria
(Painting By: Ambria, Watercolor on Canvas)

Friday, September 11, 2009

La Dolce Vida - Positive Thought

A sweet life comes from a sweet heart. Seeking joy in precious moments, finding wisdom in both triumphs and disappointments, and realizing that all encounters on our journey are meant to help us grow. La Dolce Vida is ours to live. La Dolce Vida is ours to love. This sweetness shines bright through our meditation & Yoga practice, connecting us to the Universe, consciousness, and transcending us to a sweet life.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Forearm Stand with Legs in Bound Angle

Let's do Forearm Stand with Legs in Bound Angle (Pincha Mayurasana with Legs in Baddha Konasana). It is always fun when students want to dive into more advanced postures/asana. While it is important to stretch the body out and build up the strength to do intermediate/advanced poses, the positive outlook to face a challenging asana is always a brave start.

With forearm stand, students want to be sure to have warmed up the body. It is good to stretch toward the wall, extending the hands, and forearms to rest on the wall which will stretch out the back, hamstrings and triceps. So Imagine that you are facing the wall, lean towards it and face the floor so your body is in an L shape.

To begin the pose:
  1. Inhale, Face the wall and bring forearms to the flat to the floor. Exhale.
  2. Inhale, Bring legs into Downward Dog, keeping the arms bent with forearms perpendicular to upper arms.
  3. Walk feet closer to hands.
  4. Inhale, Bend one knee and kick the other leg up. Exhale.
  5. With a steady downward gaze on the floor, find your balance and bring both feet up in the air, use the wall to assist. Breathe.
  6. Keep the head up off the floor. Keep chest open to lift the ribs. Keep elbows in line with shoulders, careful not to splay.
  7. Finally, to be fancy, bring the soles of the feet together in Baddha Konasana/Bound Angle. Smile.
  8. To come out of the pose, release one foot at a time to the floor and rest in childs pose. Breathe.
Remember while doing the more challenging poses/asana it is important to breathe. Yoga is about connecting your mind, body and spirit with the breath. It is important to breathe and relax into each pose. Forearm stand is a strong pose and Bound Angle has many benefits for urinary and menstrual issues. It is best to be honest with yourselves about your own body's current abilities and work up to advanced asana. ~Peace & hugs, Ambria

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Since I have been busy teaching Private Yoga sessions these days, I have been eager to take some Yoga classes myself. Tonight, I had the chance to experience Yoshimo's Yoga class at Bamboomoves. Many of the other people at the studio were surprised to see me there as a participant, rather than in the front teaching. I was so thrilled to be on my mat, and practicing with everybody as a student. There were over 35 people at Bamboomoves, our mats were lined up side by side, and the energy was incredible.

After the class, we had another treat of a Oneness blessing. In India, it is known as Deeksha or Diksha. Oneness is non-denominational, transfer of energy to raise levels of consciousness. As I have been spending more time in my own personal meditation and prayer, I felt as though this was such a timely experience. For me it was very similar to Reiki. I enjoyed the energy of the two oneness practitioners. The final treat of the day was the delicious Vegan Chocolate Cake that Michael bought to celebrate the people who completed the 21 days to health & wellness challenge. The cake was the yummiest!!! Congratulations to all of you who completed the challenge!!! ~Peace & Hugs, Ambria

For more information about Oneness visit :

Monday, September 7, 2009

Shala High - TV PILOT

After many days of shuttling around from teaching yoga sessions, and singing in the studio for my various music projects, today I had the chance to use my passion for Yoga and performance in a different way. Today, I spent my morning with a delightful group of people at the Jivamukti Yoga Center, NYC. The yoga studio was the backdrop for a scene in a TV Pilot called Shala High. The concept is wonderful, so I am very thrilled to be part of this pilot! The cast, including myself gathered together for a Yoga Class, and filmed what would usually be the first intro to Sun Salutations (a minute) of a Yoga class, only for filming sake, the scene took a little over 2 hours. So basically, 2 hours of Down Dog, Plank, Cobra, and a few Warriors here and there. It was too fun! There was a wonderful energy in the whole group! The director is also a Yoga Instructor. At the end of filming, I quickly had a fellow cast mate snap a picture for me. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that such a lovely show gets picked up. With the growing attention to the yogic path to enlightenment, it is a great way to bring this positive energy to the mainstream, and I would love to have more opportunities to be part of the cast! Happy Labour Day! Peace & Hugs ~ Ambria