Friday, May 29, 2009
Recently, I was met by an acquaintance of mine on his Vespa. Being that I had fallen off a motorcycle in India as a child, I had the baggage of fear to ride the Vespa. However, I was eager to face my fear. The next hurdle was that I was wearing a lovely, short summer dress. He guided me to sit on my dress and wrap my arms around him. We proceeded to ride in midtown on a busy, gorgeous, 80 degree day. While approaching Columbus Circle fear starts to settle in as my fingers begin to clench. The kicker of the entire experience is that my buddy guides me to "breathe" and relax my hands. The irony of the event made me laugh. Here I am on a Vespa, a yoga instructor, being guided to relax and breathe by someone who has never practiced yoga ever. I allowed myself to focus on my breath, forget the memory of flying off a motorcycle when I was a kid (which was a challenge), and cultivate a sense of inner peace. It was an amazing experience to practice Yoga on a Vespa! Since that day, I had a second ride which was on the highway, and I am proud to say my fear has been conquered!!! Thank you to my buddy and thank you to Yoga!
Monday, May 25, 2009
While Yoga is beneficial to all people, in the stressful environment of the corporate office, yoga has an enormous impact. Recently, I was asked to introduce a Yoga program to group of business Yoga enthusiasts. Some people wanted the physical benefits of Yoga, but everyone in the group wanted the mental benefits. We went through guided meditation, and gentle asana flow (postures) and connected it all with pranayama (breath work). The group noticed how stress levels decreased and overall department morale increased. Often times people feel like a hectic schedule will not allow for time to escape to a Yoga studio, but the bliss of Yoga can be experienced in the confines and solitude of our own mind. While it may not be professional to place your yoga mat on your desk, mid day, and proceed to do a series of 8 sun salutations, anyone can do a few minutes of meditation and pranyama to find mental clarity and send oxygen to the brain. For more information and or to book a yoga session for your corporate office visit: www.zogayoga.com
Thursday, May 21, 2009
While having a lovely dinner with a friend in the glorious center of the world, Manhattan, I was enchanted by the discussion of charity and philanthropy. While the two go hand in hand, I was reminded of one of my favorite charities the Missionaries of Charity. The Missionaries of Charity was founded by the late Mother Teresa (now succeeded by Sister Nirmala) to offer love and compassion to the poorest of the world. Originally starting in India, Mother Teresa took her mission all over the world. Here in New York the mission offers Shelter for Shut Ins, Daily Meals for the less fortunate, and an Aids Hospice. The sisters and brothers of this charity take an incredible vow of poverty, and dedicate their lives to helping those less fortunate. They bring joy to people and always appreciate the love, and help of volunteers. I like to volunteer in the Bronx, where they offer meals to the less fortunate.
When I volunteered last Thanksgiving, the sisters made me the Star of their "Play". The sisters have a tendency for offering a variety of entertainment to the people who come for meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and they pull volunteers out from the food line to the stage to participate in an almost 100% improvised play. Since I am a familiar face, they pulled me! It was a lot of fun, and the crowd enjoyed it while they had a beautiful hot meal. For more information about donating or volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity visit: http://www.motherteresa.org/layout.html
One of my best experiences thus far teaching Yoga has been with Yogi Beans, teaching The Special Needs Friendship Circle. This was a Sunday morning class of 25 kids with Special Needs. The class was jam packed with enthusiasm, and excitement. We did Sun Salutations, Warrior Sequences, Ring Around the Yogi, Tree Pose/Group Forrest, Pranayama (Breathing exercises), Yoga Adventure (where we went to the Beach), Songs (which looked to be the favorite) and so much more. The genuine love I felt from every child and their assistants was so profound. While I have always had a special love for children with Special Needs, to be able to lead a 1 hour Yoga class with them was an amazing experience, second to none.
For more information about this or other classes offered with YOGI BEANS visit:
My school, the Ohashi Institute offers a wide variety of Ohashiatsu classes. The classes offer an in depth look at the Meridian system, Shiatsu style body work, and reading the body. Recently, I participated in a Diabetes workshop with Ohashi himself. Being that I have loved ones who have diabetes or show symptoms of this growing epidemic, it was with personal interest that I participated in the class. The workshop taught practitioners various methods to use with people who may suffer from common discomforts of Diabetes. While it does not provide a cure it does alleviate discomfort and the build up of toxins.
It is not a secret that Type 2 diabetes is a rapidly growing epidemic in America and worldwide. That being said it is also highly preventable. Eat less, exercise more is a simplified way of prevention.
Having my back cracked by Ohashi was the highlight of the class for me. He truly has a gift for body work. For more information about this or other workshops at Ohashi Institute visit: www.ohashi.com
At the age of 93, Guruji Sri K Pattabhi Jois, beloved and famous Ashtanga teacher passed away May 18 2009. He was known fondly all over the world as one of Sri T Krishnamacharya's early students in Mysore. He is certainly one of the most influential teachers of our time. Sri K Pattabhi Jois was instrumental in popularizing Sri Krishnamacharya's methods which is known today as Astanga Vinyasa Yoga.
While he will be missed by his family and many all over the world, his tender soul and dedication to Yoga will forever be honored and remembered worldwide.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
The benefits of prenatal yoga are worth participating in a class or a private session. Prenatal yoga allows the mom-to-be to exercise the body and alleviate common discomforts of pregnancy while preparing the body for childbirth. Most classes include pranayama (breath work) which help the mom send oxygen to the entire body, and learn to regulate the breath while building a closer relationship with her unborn baby. Another aspect of Prenatal yoga is asana (postures). The best asanas to introduce to a pregnant mom-to-be include squats, hip openers, balance postures, goddess and more. These asanas should be tailored to her comfort and ability with props for additional support. Kegel exercises help pregnant ladies strengthen the pelvic floor and prepare the perineum area for childbirth. When prenatal is taken in a classroom atmosphere many ladies enjoy the sense of community and support from the other ladies. Most of all the best aspect of Prenatal Yoga is the emphasis on focus. Recently one of my lovely prenatal clients welcomed in a beautiful baby girl. Yeaaaah!!!! She is here!!!! Only one week before childbirth (as seen in the photo), this brave mom-to-be went through a full 1 hour session and squatted deep in a supported squat! WOW! I just want to say congratulations to the Lucans and I am so thrilled that the Yoga sessions helped you focus during labor.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Happy Mothers Day to all mothers around the world. To my beloved mommy, my every breath has been for you since the day you left me on August the 10th, 6 years ago. No one can take the place of my best friend, my teacher, my goddess, my world, as you continue to possess and guide my heart from the heavens above. My every song captures my love for you, my every tear is but a drop in the ocean of loss I have held since you left. My only joy is to be the woman you raised, inspired and molded me to be. A woman of grace, elegance, kindness, compassion, and love. A woman of courage, fire, mystery, value, spirit and truth. A woman like you. A woman who honors the light in every creation of Gods hands. May you continue to guide my every step, continue to shine in my every smile, continue to inspire my every song, and continue to live in my heart. Happy Mothers Day to you Mommy. Till we meet again, I will forever shower you with endless hugs and kisses from afar!
While this world can offer many challenges, the gift and passion of music along with a Yoga practice can offer so much relief. I have and always will consider myself a musician. Till my last breath my pen will honor a page with poetry and lyrics, my voice will sing and echo the colors of love, and my fingers will tickle the ivories, strum my sorrows and elaborate on my emotional diary that I open up to every audience member with my music. Music is the ultimate therapy, the heavenly expression, and universal language that connects us all. Every song can inspire, delight, and relate to everyone around the world. One of the venues I love to play at in NYC, is Cafe Vivaldi. This venue has a gorgeous, buttery, grand piano, and an amazing crowd. The club has an eclectic open mike every Monday night, bringing together a variety of talent from all over. It was my pleasure to share some new songs at Vivaldi recently, and hear some of the local talent.
For more information about myself (Ambria) and Cafe Vivaldi please visit:
I have been teaching evening Yoga classes in Washington Heights on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 8pm. Prior to the class is an amazing Pole Dancing class, which is taught by the talented, Rachel. While many people may judge the Pole Dance as a lead up to the world of stripping, I soon realized how much of an intense workout this class really is. The Pole works your core, allows a woman to embrace her sensual side, improve upper body strength and instills a new respect for the athleticism of the woman who pursues this as a career path. It is a natural progression of the evening to take this fun Pole class and conclude the night with my Yoga class. The stretching, breathing and postures in the Yoga class allow all Pole Dance students the chance to restore their muscles and minds to harmony. It is a brilliant paradox to find these two classes back to back especially when Yoga is associated with Mind Body Spirit connection and Pole Dancing is associated with the opposite. Both classes offer an amazing workout and can be found back to back in the heart of Washington Heights, NYC. After participating in two Pole classes myself, I can say that it is very much like doing Yoga on the Pole, the two classes are like cousins. For more information about these classes and other classes offered at Candela visit:http://www.candelastudionyc.com/
Since I have been dabbling in Indian Classical Flute Lessons otherwise known as Bansuri, I was invited by my instructor (Eric Fraser) to witness brilliance at its finest. A lovely masterful concert with world renowned Pandit Krishna Bhatt (Sitar Legend) & Pandit Anindo Chatterjee (Tabla Maestro). The setting for the event was the gorgeous Atmanada Yoga studio. The evening began with an opening performance by the Neel Murgai Ensemble. The group played wonderful hypnotic eastern sounds with ease and depth. The ensemble quickly ushered in the main act of Pandit Krishna Bhatt & Pandit Anindo Chatterjee. I was thrilled to witness them play the Raga Yaman, which happens to be what I am learning on the Bansuri. This was an inspirational experience. I saw how the sensation of music captured the hearts of each and every person sitting in the room. These gentlemen played completely improvised, with the technical difficulty that would make most musicians feel awe and admiration on a spiritual level. Pandit Krishna Bhatt played the Raga Yaman and left everyone including Pandit Anindo Chatterjee breathless, only to conclude by informing the audience that all of the performance was unrehearsed and played on a borrowed Sitar, since his broke during travel. WOW! Very soon the audience watched as the Tabla Maestro and Sitar Legend communicated with their instruments with emotion, fire and intrigue, very similar to how Jazz artists go about trading fours. This performance was worth the trip to the Atmanada Yoga Studio. Regardless of people's personal taste in music, when you experience true talent and passion at a live show, there is no other experience that can elevate the soul. For more information about these artists and the Atmananda Yoga Studio visit :
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Last year my dear friend and teacher Swami Shivam of the Siddhartha Center in India was invited to conduct a meditation workshop at Namaste Williamsburg. The Energy of this lovely studio tucked away in Brooklyn captivated my heart. The owner Debbie shared such a peaceful radiance with me and all who participated. I am so happy to be part of the family at Namaste Williamsburg.
While this studio offers a variety of Yoga classes, Reiki, Massage, Holistic Beauty and teacher training, the beauty of the studio is the spirit. When you enter you feel as though you are entering a sanctuary where you can dive into a peaceful Yoga experience and restore your mind and body.
Another highlight to Namaste Williamsburg is the donation based system. While we are in a tough economic time, this studio maintains the "requested donation" system for class payment. This has been the way Debbie wanted this studio to maintain since it's beginning. No membership, no set fees, only an amazing space to practice yoga, and experience the natural karma of a studio that has classes on requested donation base.
You & your friends can join a class that I teach at Namaste Williamsburg
Tuesday @ 12 noon (Beginner Level) Wednesday @ 12 noon (Open Level) and Sunday morning @ 9am (Pre Natal)
Please come join a class, bring your friends and deepen your yoga practice without having to deepen your wallet. For more information visit: www.namastewilliamsburg.com
I really enjoy being a Yoga Instructor, Musician and also learning Shiatsu. After juggling a busy schedule, I recently realized that I myself needed a touch of peace with my own Shiatsu Session. It was my pleasure to have Rosalie give me a Shiatsu Session at the Ohashi Institute. It was the most relaxing tranquil experience. The weather outside was cold and rainy. The silent hum of the city and the rain added to the blissful setting as I was lying down while Rosalie restored my body to harmony with her magic touch. The session left me in a deep luxurious sleep.
My favorite style of body work is Shiatsu. The release from the gentle touch on the meridians is an incomparable experience. For more information or to book a session with someone from the Ohashi Institute visit: http://www.ohashi.com/
After giving a Shiatsu session to Kim, I soon came to find out that she is a Laughing Yogi. The yoga that practices uplifting your spirits. The Yoga that looks so hillarious and fun!!! Well to my surprise Kim was at Earth Day and she informed me of the World Laughter Day which is May 3rd. At 11 am the group gathers at Madison Square Park by the fountain near 23rd, and they proceed to march down broadway to Union Square laughing, smiling, and making music. Finally they meet on the lawn and laugh for world peace. The entire event looks like tons of fun. For more information visit: http://yoga.meetup.com/502/calendar/
It looks like it should be a fun event to participate in. So if you and your friends love to laugh...join in the fun this May 3rd!
On April 24th 2009, myself and Sam represented Yogi Beans at Earth Day. The Earth Day festivities were held at Grand Central in NYC. The Green Pavilion had Holistic Health, Yoga, Eco-Fashion, Organic Food, Live Music, and much more. We had a great time introducing parents, kids and other participants to the Yogi Beans program. The weather was a glorious sunny spring day and a few groups of kids participated in some Yogi Beans fun activities. We had small and large groups of kids from various visiting schools participating in warm ups, tree pose/group Forest, sun salutations, feather breathing and many more fun activities. It was so wonderful to see the positive energy in the smiles of all who participated.