Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Swadhisthana Chakra Workshop Pics

Here are some more pictures from the Sensual Swadhisthana Chakra Workshop. The lovely pictures were all captured by the talented photographer Jody Concepcion of

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Swadhisthana Chakra Workshop

The second chakra workshop at Bamboomoves was a sensual success! Together we explored the Swadhisthana Chakra, sometimes referred to as the Spleen or Sacral Chakra. This chakra is the most sensual of them all, inviting people to embrace their sexuality, sensual side, emotions, and heal their reproductive organs. While sometimes considered to the be taboo or shameful region of the body, in the Tantra yoga practice this chakra is said to allow people to have heightened sexual experiences, and better control over their sensual side. Other than through a brief introduction, and a handout, we did not explore the tantric elements of this chakra. For those people interested in exploring the tantra side of this chakra, venture to the Phoenix Temple (Naked Yoga Studio) in the city, and Yogini Isis will be the best guide. With emphasis various elements that relate to this chakra like the evocative orange color, sweet taste, water, and yoga poses that help to restore balance to this area of the body we entered into a blissful experience. As the strings are the related instrument to this chakra, we had the special treat of a brilliant Sitar player, Gian Diana who played hypnotic ragas to set the mood. Since taste is the sensation that governs this chakra, we began by eating sumptuous strawberries, bringing awareness to our salivating mouth as the sweet taste slowly rolls around on our tongue. Each chakra workshop is getting more powerful each month. Most participants experienced some sort of healing or deeper awareness of the chakra in the form of warmth, moisture, extra salivating, vision, and more. Everyone left with a better understanding of the subtle body, and some left excited for upcoming date nights with their special somebody. We all left the studio floating. The Vegan Carrot cake was a unanimous hit! When deciding to do monthly chakra workshops, because I am kinda of shy, this was the chakra I myself was timid to introduce this tantalizing chakra, so, thank you to everyone for participating, your energy inspired me throughout the workshop! Special thank to Gian for your tremendous gift of music that you graciously shared. Hope to see you all at the next Chakra Workshop where we will explore the Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)

Spring Fever - Magnolia Blooms

Despite the allergy season, the beauty of Mother Nature is all around us. With walks that allow me to enjoy the beauty of various parts of NYC, the blooms are truly a gorgeous treat! Magnolia trees, terrific tulip bulbs, lilacs, and I am actually loving the bright yellow dandelions. While most people consider the dandelion a pesky weed, the dandelion leaf is actually one of Mother Natures best detox treatments. It is known to cleanse the liver. But before you go dig up the weeds in your neighbors yards, head to the super market where you can purchase dandelion in bunches for use in yummy salads, soups and teas.

The Magnolia blooms while fragrant and gorgeous to look at, in Chinese herbalism the bark (hou po) is associated with the stomach, lungs, spleen, and large intestine. Sometimes, it is used to treat menstrual cramps, abdominal pain, and for cough/asthma. The bark is said to descend the qi energy in order for symptoms to move upward. Again, before you scrape the bark of a beautiful magnolia tree, contact a good acupuncturist/herbalist to get the best remedy for your symptoms. For now, just enjoy the beauty of the Spring Season, and be aware of the healing powers behind Mother Nature.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! So many days to celebrate all year round, but this one is beautiful! Why not celebrate the earth! We can recycle, ride a bike, shop at farmers markets, plant a tree, use less electricity, carry grocery tote bags, and reuse. These are things we can do more often than just on Earth Day, but it is good to bring awareness to our precious earth. We spend time making sure our clothes look right, our home is Zen, well the earth is our make it look right and Zen. Hope you had a lovely Earth Day. Let's make every day a chance to be aware of our environment!

Back in the Swing of Things

So back to NYC, getting into the groove of Yoga sessions. Thank you to everyone for welcoming me back, I missed you all. Yoga-laties was a packed full house, and especially sweating last night @ Bamboomoves, good work guys! The spring blooms are gorgeous, and pollen is around. My trick to this season is lots of vitamin C and Oregano Max (high dosage of wild oregano). Personally, I like to avoid the commercial allergy remedies, as they have ingredients that affect our hormones. Natural remedies are my personal preference.

I had a wonderful time visiting my daddy in Canada. Got to help at our family business, AJ Rubber & Sponge Ltd. While operating one of the machines, I was overwhelmed with gratitude, God has blessed my family to maintain a successful business for more than a decade despite the state of the economy, and unfortunate heavy competition from China. Every little blessing is one to say thanks for. While I did not get to take a yoga class in Canada, I had an amazing time with my Dad, God Mother, and family members & friends. I just missed my brother, sister in law and gorgeous niece and nephew, Katarina & Michael, as they were on their way back from India. Love you guys! I did some light yoga on my own in my home. Just a post to give thanks for Faith, Family, Friends, Health, Wealth, and Joy in every breath!
Picture: Me running one of our machines at AJ Rubber & Sponge.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Eat Your Greens Workshop @ Bamboomoves

An update on the successful "Eat Your Greens" Workshop....Thank you ladies for coming out to learn more about a better diet, and also your Dosha as it relates to Ayurveda. Regardless of what we choose to eat, it is important to be aware and informed. These brave ladies learned about the Food Industry with the film Food Inc, some insightful handouts that I distributed to them, and a wonderful discussion after. We also had a preview movie called "Chew On This" from the people at Peta, provided by Carissa. We ate some yummy Kale, mixed veggies, green smoothies and healthy snacks. Thanks Ladies for sharing your time, your insight and being receptive. When we make a commitment to learn, we grow and shine, and that light that shines is an example for all who we come into contact with. You are all shinning stars! Since I am typing this on my brothers laptop in Canada, pictures will be posted when I get back to NYC ~ Namaste

Bienvenue Canada Eh!

Welcome to Canada eh! I am home spending time with my daddy, and taking care of him as he mends his knee back to better health. The energy in the air is amazing here. Early morning silence with the sweet chirping of the spring birds is what you wake up to. Special thanks to the lovely yogis covering my classes, Charles, Carissa, Wendy, and Monica...You guys Rock! To my private yogis, I will see you soon, breathe, do a sun salutation and breathe some more. I noticed that the yoga community here in Canada is rapidly growing, which is why my family is constantly asking me to return to Canada. It is so good to see how the positive energy of Yoga spreads and affects change in people worldwide. If I get a chance I will check out a studio up here to get a feel for the vibe. Namast-EH~
Picture: Me doing Yoga @ my Daddy's house

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hanumanasana @ Dharma Mittra Center NYC

Hanumanasana is the pose named after the Chief Monkey Hanuman. This pose celebrates Hanumun's giant leap from the Southern tip of India to the Island of Sri Lanka. In America we also call this pose the splits. This past Monday, I was invited to join Andrew (Bamboomoves Yogi) to attend a Master Level Class at the Dharma Mittra Center. Admittedly, I was intimidated as I do not have a very advanced yoga practice. Aside from the fact that I was tremendously sore/tired from teaching 13 classes since Sunday that same week, and taking a few classes, I decided to go anyways. The class was as advanced as you can get. We came into Handstand in the second pose, I shouldn't say we because I kept one toe on the wall and prayed I wouldn't land on my face every time we went up. I say every time because we revisited the pose many times. We flipped from Side Plank to Wheel, and more. To be in the presence of this group of yogis was absolutely inspirational. Sri Dharma Mittra kindly adjusted me into poses, teased me when my attempts were comedic and demonstrated humble brilliance with his yoga practice. All the other students who were in class are truly inspirational to watch, and on occasion I found myself in Watch-asana. One of the poses we did in class was Hanumanasana. Sri Dharma and his advanced yogis demonstrated switching legs in the pose without moving from the position. WOW! I must say I loved every minute of the class, which has been my experience thus far at the Dharma Yoga Center. At the end of class, Andrew told me that the class was actually more challenging than usual, and I was feeling so elated like I was floating, it didn't register to me till later that it was a challenging two hours of advanced asana practice. Special thanks to Andrew for inviting me and to Sri Dharma Mittra for yet again providing an amazing yoga experience. Hanumanasana is an advanced pose and it is important to stretch out the legs and warm up before. Ultimately we want to be all the way down to the floor with arms over head, but since Yoga is a practice not a perfect, I am still working on it.

Image by David Blottner

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Camel Pose - Ustrasana

Recently, I had the pleasure to do a Yoga Photo Shoot arranged by Andrew Tanner (Bamboomoves Yogi). The studio was fantastic, and the experience was a challenge. I had just come from teaching a couple sessions, enter the amazing space to see Andrew (Bamboomoves Yogi) and his photographer friend David Blotner. My wardrobe of white clothes wouldn't go with the all white background so I had to wear what I had on. C'est La Vie. Under hot lights, on a slippery white paper floor, with fun music playing, I did various Yoga poses. It was tons of Fun! David is an incredible photographer. From Camel Pose, Tree Pose, Wheel, Splits, Lunges, Bow and was a workout! If you or someone you know are interested in taking professional photos for fitness, acting, modeling etc....Dave Blotner (Blotner Imagery) is the guy to go to! And he plays great music!

Camel Pose also called Ustrasana is an amazing back bend and heart opening pose in Yoga. It is generally done towards the end of a session, so that the body warms up. This pose improves spinal flexibility, strengthens the abdominal core, and the quadriceps. As this pose is a wonderful heart opener, it is a great pose to add, when wanting to activate the heart chakra (anahata). To come into the pose:
  1. Begin with knees on the floor, directly under the hips and if you have sensitive knees take padding by folding your mat in or a blanket. Feet and shins are flat on the floor with pointed toes, but if you are a beginner curl the toes so the balls of the feet are on the mat to start. Take deep luxurious breaths.
  2. Slowly begin to use the hands on the sacral area of the back, fingertips pointing up, to guide the hips forward. Start to open the heart to the sky.
  3. Reach your hands back one at a time to grab your heels
  4. Shine the heart to the sky, send your hips forward and over the knees, and let your head go back to open the throat (throat chakra). Stay for 30 seconds.
  5. To get out of the pose, release the heels, tuck the chin, lead with the chest forward, send the tailbone down to the heels and rest in childs pose.
  6. ADVANCED practitioners can try to grab opposite hand to opposite heel, and SUPER ADVANCED can let the head continue going back to touch the floor, and rest the forearms on the floor too.

Yoga-laties @ Bamboomoves

The Yoga-laties class surprises me each week! So far our record head count has been 24!!! Boogie Down Bronx brings the heat! This class is highly intense yoga with a rapid flow vinyasa, hindi push ups (as the Indian Wrestlers do), Pilate's inspired core exercises, and more. The music play lists adds to the motivation of the sweaty class. I am truly inspired by this lovely group of people. When I had taught this class in BK, they thought it was too intense, and in BX, they welcome the challenge, with no reservations to let me know if class was hard or not hard enough. I LOVE IT!!! I myself find the class challenging, especially after teaching the 3 yoga classes earlier in the day, so the musical play list is what keeps me going. It is a lot of fun, a great sweat, and people are already seeing results. Whenever working a muscle group, it is good to give your body a break to recoup. So Wednesday and Saturday nights leave everyone feeling extra yummy the next two days, and ready for class again! These people encourage each other to push through sets, laugh, and recognize the changes in their bodies. Good job Bamboo Yogis!!!! If you think you or someone you know would want a good sweat, a toned core, a challenge and fun....come to Yoga-laties at Bamboomoves every Wednesday at 6:45pm and Saturday at 4pm. I acknowledge that the class is a challenge, so if you want to do a bit and sit in child's pose, I am cool with that. Yoga is after all a practice. When we spend hours in front of the T.V, getting hypnotized and absorbing negative energies, why not head to a class and absorb some positive energy and inspiration.

Just as a heads up, I will be absent on April 14th & 17th, so in replacement there will be Yoga on those two days.

Happy Easter 2010 - Missionaries of Charity

Easter has arrived! The Day that Christians all around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It is also a day that I was fortunate to find coverage for my yoga classes, and share with the lovely Sisters at the Missionaries of Charity in the BX. The Missionaries of Charity was founded by the beloved Mother Teresa and is now run by Sr. Nirmala. The mission is to help feed the poor around the world. All the sisters take an incredible vow of poverty with two saris, one pair of sandals and that is it....a vow most women would find difficult to take. The part I have always been touched by is the true joy that all the sisters bring to the homeless worldwide. From childhood, my mother had introduced me to the work of Mother Teresa and I have had a strong love for the group ever since. Right here in the Bronx, NY the sisters have a soup kitchen, shelter, house for shut ins, and weekly meals. Any chance I get, I love to help this year I headed down there. While normally I visit family on Easter, the sisters were pleasantly surprised to see me. They quickly assigned me tasks of transporting food to the hall, and the part of Mary Magdalen for the impromptu performance. I have come to realize they get a kick out of putting me in the play each time, and I truly enjoy it. This year, I was fine with letting a new volunteer take the part, as she was super excited.

Ironically, the sisters had me cut the meat (ribs). They know I am vegetarian, and I was fine with the assigned job. My personal choice and nearly lifetime commitment to be Vegetarian is because of my love for animals and the limb of yoga (yamas) which is ahimsa, meaning non harm to all living things. In a perfect world maybe we would have vegetarian food for the shelter, but I knew that the sisters are serving whatever is donated to the shelter for the local homeless people. I also knew that I didn't personally harm the meat on the table. Ironically, I found myself praying as I was cutting, giving thanks that these hungry people at least had something. Often times, we get caught up in our dietary choices, and in a volunteer situation it is better to take the "do it for God" approach. The actual act of cutting the meat made me recognize my preference as a vegetarian, I have to admit, I found it a bit yucky.

All in all, it was a wonderful morning. The people enjoyed the food and the talented performances. When we take time to volunteer for those less fortunate, we understand what gratitude really is. The sisters are always looking for volunteer help, and especially drivers. If you or someone you know would be interested in volunteering your time and love with the Missionaries of Charity, BX contact them (718) 292 0019. Happy Easter. Bunny Hugs to All,
~ Ambria