Saturday, October 31, 2009
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
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
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)
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
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 www.eriverstone.com
Monday, October 26, 2009
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 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
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
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 love.....so go ahead and give yourself two kisses. ~ Peace & hugs, Ambria
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
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
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
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
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
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: www.bamboomovesnyc.com
Bow Pose Art Sculpture can be found at NOVICA (National Geographic Online Store)
Thursday, October 8, 2009
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
Posted by Ambria of riya yoga at 3:42 PM
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
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
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
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
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
Thursday, October 1, 2009
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.