Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Once upon a time I lived in a gorgeous apartment in Inwood across from the water, had lush trees all around, and a lovely roomate. My current living situation is maybe not as amazing, however I love it. For me all I am currently lacking is a view of the water to practice Yoga at and a funny, handy, interior design driven roommate who sings and raps in Spanish. A friend of mine who is experiencing the obvious challenges of the NYC cost of living asked me where I think is the best place to live? While the best place on earth to live is also a matter of opinion. Some wealthy people may say Cook Islands, Caymans, or various regions of Europe. I am aware that to raise a family there are many benefits to live in Canada and also for an amazing tropical peaceful place my obvious choice would be India. Tax wise Texas, Florida and Nevada are always good choices. In the NYC area Rye, Pelham, areas of Scarsdale (if it is in your budget are all nice) and some parts of Connecticut. However, in the end the Happiest and Best place to live is wherever you are. Within your own heart you need to find contentment, within your own situation, your own skin, work environment etc. This is ultimately our journey to enjoy it to the fullest. While there are many challenges from external sources like government, personal, work, financial, health, and more, it is up to us to find happiness and seek the peace that lives within. My final answer to my friend, the happiest place is in your heart. That being said, I am off to Canada for a week of fun with the family!
Posted by Ambria of riya yoga at 3:37 AM
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
While I love to teach yoga, teaching kids yoga is super duper fun! There are so many different approaches to asana (postures) and pranayama (breathing). Kids have an amazing imagination and since I am a kid at heart, I always feel like kids are on my wave length. Often times I will incorporate a story, or allow them to make a story that together we re-enact with yoga poses. Most stories are made in the moment with their suggestions. Since it is the season to plant gardens, a popular story involves planting trees, flowers, beans etc. One of my favorite yoga garden experiences was when we planted seeds that grew into magic trees that have candy blooms, and tweety birds that sing on the branches. Too fun!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Recently, I taught a small group Yoga class where one regular student brought a friend, and another heard about my class and decided to join. After class we shared in tea and they all mentioned how they are currently looking for work. They all admitted that money spent on yoga was worth every penny.
I just wanted to take a minute to send a note of thanks out in the universe. I consider myself blessed and privileged to have instructed and practiced Yoga with every person I have worked with, both in group and private sessions. To the many students who are dedicated to taking my group classes and private classes during this tough economic time, I thank you. I have grown in my Yoga practice by sharing in yours. Your participation, referrals, and dedication to yoga with me, continue to amaze me. I hold each of you dear in my heart, in my prayers, and in my daily meditation. May rivers of peace, opportunities and abundance flow our way. Om Shanti! You are all appreciated! Peace & Hugs ~Ambria (www.zogayoga.com)
After a full day of teaching Yoga classes, last night I had the chance to play at The People's Lounge. This event was a Jam Session, put on by the talented Ms. Shelita Vaughns. The line up included 4 R&B/Soul artists (including myself) and one rapper. The venue had many patrons, and fans of the various performers. It was an amazing night of music.
The first artist Zuwadi, performed with a full band and did an improv song where he encouraged the audience to provide three words so he can create a new song. One of the words was Jelly Beans and all I can say is there should be more Jelly Bean songs. Act two was a rapper, Last Offense. He was a gay rapper and introduced the crowd to a very new style and approach to lyrics. Next was myself, and I played keys, singing a small set of original, sensual, slow jams. Shelita followed with an acoustic set, complete with a guitar and trumpet. Finally we were entertained by C.Devon. This girl had a full band and brought Caribbean flavour and R&B Soul to an Alternative Edge. Her background dancers swished their hips and sang lovely harmonies while the band brought the funk! It was a great night of live music. Thank you to all who came out to enjoy the show and thanks Shelita for inviting me to play again. I am excited to belly dance for your show in August!
I have enjoyed working with an inspirational young girl named Lena. This young lady was introduced to Yoga with some DVD's and came to me in a Yogi Beans class for further instruction. While I was told that she is ASD (autistic spectrum disorder), I knew that each individual child is unique and approached the situation without any judgement. Our first class was a private session. This young lady knew the poses like a pro! We played games like Yoga Adventure, Toga, and more. Her energy was absolutely fantastic. After class her mom mentioned that she loved the pace of the class but will be going away for the remainder of the summer. I was sad to not work with her again till the fall.
Because of Lena's enthusiasm about Yoga, her mom decided to sign her up in a group class I teach on Saturdays before they left for vacation. This young lady again impressed me. She introduced me to a new pranayama (breathing) technique and worked so great with the rest of the kids. At the end of class I gave the kids little word cards. The kids read the word on the card, and tell the group what that word means to them, and how it relates to Yoga. One sweet little girl had the word treasure, and with ear to ear grins she said she loved this word. She began to list jewels, crowns, coins and all the most beautiful items of treasure that she would love to have. My lovely student Lena said (and I quote) "it can also mean a special memory that you will treasure forever in your heart". She then said how she will always treasure her yoga class. WOW!!! Teaching this wise little girl is a memory I will treasure forever.
As the summer is proving to redeem herself with beautiful sunny days, many of us want to head to the beach. Bikini season is still upon us. For ladies looking for a fun way to strengthen that core and still maintain the bliss of a meditative Yoga practice, try Yoga-Laties. I have taught this class in studios and private sessions.
This is a fun class! A typical way that I sequence the class is to begin with Yoga Breath work, cat cow stretching, Surya Namaskar A, and progress into the Pilates 100, Roll Up, Roll Over, Leg Circles, Leg Stretches, Saw, Bicycle, Crunches, Navasana, and if you dare Cherry Pickers. The class tapers off with Surya Namaskar B, Trikonasana, Goddess, Pigeon, Bridge/Wheel, Happy Baby and Savasana. The results are fantastic and is guaranteed to turn heads at the beach. While I mentioned that this is a fun way to strengthen the core for ladies, men will also see amazing results with this class. Enjoy the rest of Summer!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
While in Montauk I came across the most adorable bunnies. I watched how they were selective with their diet. These cute bunnies munched quickly on grass, dandelion and clovers. These greens provide vitamins, fibre, and nutrients. Bunnies are known to be quick, have soft coats, and healthy muscles. This outer and inner health and beauty could be related to a healthy diet. While we don't want to copy every diet habit of bunnies or other animals, observing these cute bunnies reminded me that chewing your food is so important to help digestion, eating a diet rich in greens can improve hair and muscles, eating dandelions have natural detoxification properties when ingested. These bunnies sat quietly staring at me in close proximity for a long time, it was too cute.
Posted by Ambria of riya yoga at 5:32 AM
For many weeks I have been teaching a wonderful little girl yoga. She is very excited to roll out her mat and tell me all the new events in her life. We would do various pranayama techniques like feather breathing, and balloon breathing. She loved doing Sun Salutations, Warriors, Yoga Adventures and Yoga Obstacle courses. At first her grandma, who would watch on the side was surprised that she was able to focus during our classes. I thought it was normal since most kids like yoga.
Soon I came to find out that she has ADHD. Slowly, I started to notice her attention fleeting. She quickly wanted to just spend our sessions blowing balloons, or doing nothing related to asana or meditation. I became concerned and was unsure what to do. Every suggestion was rejected. I felt I needed to somehow engage her in yoga so she would get the full benefits of the class.
So one day I gave her a Mandala to color and meditate. She colored a little bit and was quickly bored. So I asked her to turn the page over. I explained that the blank page is her place to draw all the Yoga poses she remembers. She amazed me!!! I called out poses and she drew the asanas with such detail. I had no idea she remembered so many yoga poses, since we spent many classes without asana work. She told me I could keep it, but I showed it to Grandma and saw how proud she was. Grandma took the picture home to show everyone and share her amazement with this brilliant little girls ability to recall and draw all the yoga poses.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
So I am back from my lovely weekend getaway and decided to pamper myself. It is no secret that I am a label detective. I read all the labels of foods, vitamins and especially beauty products. Beyond reading the labels, I further investigate the chemical components of the ingredients and contraindications they may have. After realizing that many popular brands have harsh chemicals and cancer causing preservatives, for some time I was making my own concoctions for personal beauty products.
After leaving the Yoga studio where I teach in BK, I came across CeleBritAy. This beautiful store tucked away on Grand Street houses one of NY's rare gems, Elizabeth Santiago and her amazing products. Liz makes natural, vegan beauty products. These products have ingredients that nourish the skin and provide a radiant glow. She took the time to have a consultation with me, educate me better on skin care and walk me through the proper use of each product. Since I have already researched herbs and ayurveda, I was impressed with her knowledge, her product ingredients and honest labeling.
While we live in a world where the best selling beauty products are endorsed by famous celebrities who don't really use the products, filled with 75% harsh chemicals that overtime hurt our skin, and often times falsely label the product ingredients, it is refreshing to come across someone like Liz and an amazing product line like CeleBritAy. The best endorsement for her product is her glowing skin. If you are curious about a better skin care routine for yourself or a loved one, venture out to CeleBritAy and just look at Liz's skin. She has a radiant, clear, youthful look and has been using her natural products for over a decade. For more information on this amazing lady and her products visit: www.celebritayny.com
While a good product is important for skin care, please be advised that we also should keep healthy food choices, and maintain a positive mental state. So eat your veggies & fruits and do some Yoga. Peace & hugs ~ Ambria
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Happy Fourth of July to all my American friends and family. It is the fourth of July 2009, and I am overlooking the glorious waters that surround Montauk, NY. I am accompanied by my lovely, American friends Annmarie and George. We have taken the motor home on an amazing expedition. Together we are discovering the wonderful vibrancy of the Hamptons, the surf friendly shores of Montauk and the we are now relaxing at the gorgeous overlook at Hither Hills west.
While in the South Hampton's we took in the friendly local culture on Main Street, did some window shopping, and looked at the brilliant local homes. We went to a lovely vineyard and listened to some great live jazz while viewing acres of perfectly lined grape vines. Our evening was spent on Jagger Lane in the luxury motor home with the glistening evening lights of the local Waulbaums. My favorite part was watching a cute swan drift in the water with her little babies trailing close behind in a little line.
We quickly move to Montauk, the tip of Long Island. We stayed at Montauk State Park. I saw the cutest bunnies. We went for a spooky night walk to the rocky beach through a wooded trail. I thought I saw a huge butterfly only to be informed that most likely it was in fact a bat!!! While on the beach the only light was from a close by Lighthouse and the nearly half moon that shone pearls on the waves. The smell from the citronella candle made Annmarie feel a little sickly, so I bravely led the way on the unlit trails leading back to the motor home. In the morning, I ventured out solo to another beach. I did some meditation, listened to the sound of the waves, made some art sculptures with the stones on the beach, and made friends with the growing crowd of vacationers. Meditation on the beach is the best way to meditate. Finally, before heading back to my friends in the motor home I sat on a giant wooden swing and listened to my IPod.
We continue our journey on to Hither Hills West, overlooking the splendor of God's hands. The amazing blue ocean, the clear blue skies, the miles of forests and all the while sitting on cushion seats while watching a suspense movie "The Edge". We will soon venture to the close by beach to have a spectacular view of the Fireworks. The biggest challenge on this journey thus far is my lack of cell phone reception (NO SIGNAL), so I miss my daily conversations with my daddy and the rest of the family. Aside from the wonderful company of my lovely friends, the breathtaking views are enough to leave lasting, lifelong memories of the beauty of America. May God Bless America.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians! I mentioned to my American friend that today was Canada Day and he responded "Is that like the Fourth of July" and I said "Yea, only Better" Which reminded me of the many things to love about Canada. I thought I would list a few cool Canadian things:
- Tim Hortons: the finest brew of Coffee you will sip and the yummiest donuts, served with a smile.
- Terry Fox: A true Canadian hero (google him).
- Four Season: the glorious beauty of vivid seasonal change.
- Musicians : To name a few Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Jann Arden, Chantal Kreviazuk, Sarah Mclaughlin, Nelly Furtado, Oscar Peterson, Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot, Barenaked Ladies, Shania Twain, Dianna Krall, Nickleback, Avril Lavigne, Great Big Sea, Kardinal Official, Lee Aaron, Paul Anka, Michael Buble, Sebastian Bach, Leonard Cohen, Deborah Cox, Stompin Tom Connors, David Foster, Cory Heart, Collin James, Sass Jordon, Rita MacNeil, KD Lang, Michie Mee, Alannis Morrisette, Kim Mitchell, Alannah Myles, Raffi, Paul Shaffer, Tamia, and myself Ambria (just to name a few off the top of my head)
- HOCKEY! We rule! Team Canada dominates the game! Don Cherry is the best!
- Mr. Dressup: knocks Mr Rogers out of the neighborhood.
- Niagra Falls: Gorgeous Natural Wonder and Casinos!!!
- Comedians: Mike Myers, Jim Carey, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short, Dan Akroyd, John Candy, Rich Little, Phil Hartman, Howie Mandel, Loren Michaels, Rick Mercer, Rick Moranis, Leslie Nielson, Russell Peters, Catherine O'Hara, and myself Ambria (I can be funny sometimes, just not famous for it internationally)
- We say Eh! At the end of phrases, which inevitably invites for friendly conversation.
- "Keep it Beautiful": the tag line on the Ontario License plate because we love to keep our nation clean.
Happy Canada Day once again! If you have not gone up to Canada, make the trip. Visit Niagara Falls, gamble at the Casino, have breakfast with Canadian Maple Syrup, sip a Tim Hortons Coffee and finally head to Toronto to watch a Leafs game eh!