Thursday, December 29, 2011

Healthy Yogi Friendly Products for your Body & Home

While many people are waking up, breaking free from the hypnosis of marketing, embracing healthy eating, yoga and even adjusting their home & beauty products to a less toxic chemical selection....there are still some people who think it is conspiracy. Actually, part of becoming aware is enlightenment, not to be afraid, but rather to be aware.

Whether you want to believe that giant beauty companies, food companies, and government run factory farms are creating products with cancer causing/toxic chemicals as part of a conspiracy or not, the reality is, those chemicals have no benefit for us.

So educate yourself on the ingredient list of things that you use. Our skin is our largest organ, and absorbs everything from products to the water we drink. So if the ingredients are similar to ones that can cause rust removal (like the ever famous Coco Cola), perhaps we should make adjustments to what we put in our bodies and outside.

For a beautiful list of popular products that have cancer causing chemicals as ingredients visit the link here: (Below are two)
  • Johnson and Johnson Talcum Powder: TALC = carcinogenic and risk for ovarian cancer and lung irritation.
  • Crest Toothpaste: FD&C Blue #1=carcinogenic, Saccharin=carcinogenic
If you are looking for options, you can create your own products yourself or some products that are natural and safe include:
Things that you can use or make yourself:
  • Use Coconut Oil with Peppermint Oil/Clove Oil & a little Baking Soda for a homemade toothpaste
  • Use Coconut oil/Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil for a body Moisturizer or Hair Oil
  • Use tea tree oil to help prevent blemishes and keep skin clear
  • MAKE REGULAR VEGETABLE JUICE for clear skin, healthy intestines and a healthy body

Choose wisely, choose consciously......

Friday, December 16, 2011

Welcoming New Reiki Healers

A week ago, myself and my dear friend Joseph welcomed 5 new Reiki Healers into the world of Reiki. These 5 individuals enjoyed as they sat in a beautiful sunlight, crystal grid, Yoga Healing Room at Reebok Sports Club and learned about all things for Reiki Level 1. This Zoga Yoga program introduced them to the History of Reiki, Dr. Usui, Uses, Benefits, Chakras, Energy Bodies, Grounding Techniques, Hand Positions and much more. To top it all off, they each received 4 attunements. The energy for this Training was so beautiful, and I know these 5 amazing individuals are going to go on to share radiant love & light with various aspects of this Universe. I am so grateful to have been part of their journey and I look forward to receiving Reiki from each of them.

For those who are unaware of Reiki, it is an ancient technique that was rediscovered by Dr. Usui. I say rediscovered because it was Dr. Usui that believed Reiki to be a Healing Technique that always existed. It is not connected to any Religion in any way, but rather meant to share Universal Life Force Energy. It brings peace and tranquility to both the giver and receiver. Many Hospitals and Medical Schools are now recommending Reiki as an addition to their patients regular treatment. This transfer of positive energy can be done on people, animals, things, situations etc....but when done on people you are supposed to have the permission of the receiver.

Since I have had the honor to give many Reiki Sessions, many people have asked me to train them in Reiki, and since becoming a Reiki Master myself, I provide a list of Teachers who have inspired me, and teachers who have had may years of reputable experience in the field of Reiki. With this list, I ask the students to meditate and allow themselves to be open to who resonates best with them. Much like Yoga it is important to experience Reiki & practice for sometimes before giving attunements.

For those interested in learning about Reiki, there are many amazing Reiki Masters and Teachers to choose from. Like with any search for an Instructor, it is important to learn from the teacher that resonates with your heart. For myself, I learned Reiki 1, years ago, and practiced for years before ever embarking on Reiki Level 2, and actually, I repeated both Reiki 1 & 2 just so I could experience it with a different teacher, and to learn more. Tremendous love & respect to all my Teachers! Reiki attunements open peoples energy up to something very amazing, and in my view, it is important to practice for some time before ever embarking on actually Teaching others, because this makes us a better conduit for the transfer of energy.

Finally, many years later, I had a brilliant Yoga Student in a morning Yoga class that I taught, by the name of Mary ( She explained how she was learning Reiki, and I casually mentioned that perhaps one day she would be my Reiki Teacher for Master level training. This turned out to be a prophetic statement, as a year later, Mary trained both myself and Joseph to be Reiki Masters and Crystal Healers. Thank you Mary for an amazing experience that I will forever cherish.

After my Reiki Master training, I went through what is called a Healing Crisis, and also after attuning these 5 amazing new Reiki Healers, again, I went through a Healing Crisis. The reality is, Reiki is very much like detoxification to the body (emotional, physical, spiritual) and like with any detox, the body goes through symptoms of sickness first before the plateau of Purity. A Healing Crisis is also called "Herxheimer Reaction", which happens when the body is trying to eliminate toxins at a Rapid Rate. My amazing teacher Mary had gone through the same thing. Using grounding crystals like Arragonite Star Cluster, and drinking lots of water can help. I think for now I will only be conducting smaller groups for Reiki Training, since the energy is very intense.

Once again, thank you to the 5 amazing new Reiki Healers: Alexander, Carissa, David, Jackie & Jamie! And thank you Joseph for sharing giving the attunements, it was so awesome to work with you, and I foresee many more experiences ahead.

For anyone interested in having a Special Reading done from Joseph, and also Setting your New Year off Right, please consider attending "THE NEW YEAR MEDITATION WORKSHOP" hosted by the incredible Rock Whisperer herself, Krista N. Mitchell. The line up of healers looks amazing!!! ~ Om Shanti

Photo: Joseph & Ambria at Reebok Sports Club

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Burning Sage - Clearing Energy

Sage is an herb known for its healing and medicinal properties. The botanical name for sage is "Salvia Apiana" which comes from the Latin root Salvare, which means "to heal or to save". Since ancient times people have used Sage to clear negative energy, and bring purification to homes, objects, etc. Sometimes sage is bundled up into smudge sticks, white dried sage or even dessert sage is burned to give off a smoke & aroma said to clear out any negative energy. Some people say it improves their Spiritual practices, and some say say that it creates happiness and abundance to their lives and homes. You can also use loose leaves and burn them in an Abalone Shell or some sort of bowl so that the ash does not get everywhere. Many people who do healing work, use Sage as part of their ritual practice. It really creates a lovely energy and has a sweet fragrance. It is a wonderful addition to cleanse the energy of a Yoga Studio, or Reiki Healing Space. Also, burning of sage is great to use for your Crystals. Sage will make your crystals sing, and your homes ring with abundance of Joy and Bliss. Recently, my fellow Yogi and dear friend Joseph shared some Fresh Sage that was grown by his friend. A huge box of Lavendar Sage and other wonderful! I like to think of Sage as a Spiritual Shower. If you are looking for something to set the energy of your home, cleanse for your crystals or yourself, look into burning some sage and embrace the energy. ~ Om Shanti

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rebounding with Carissa

As I am now in transit, and blessed to spread my wings in the global Yoga community, I returned to NYC on a brief trip. Of course I wanted to take classes with some of my beloved friends & fellow Yogis, and most importantly embrace the concept of stillness. This particular post is about a class that is the opposite of stillness. The class is called Rebounding, taught by my Yoga Sister, Carissa. If you have read my posts before, you may have read about my incredible respect and admiration for this awesome lady, Carissa, who I am blessed to call friend. We met teaching at a lovely studio together, where we left maintaining our friendship. In many ways, Carissa and I have agreed that we consider ourselves equals, in that we are both artists, yoga teachers and if we need to, we will kick your butt in a sweaty class that will leave your muscles shaking, all with a loving/encouraging smile on our face, and a namaste as you leave. For two years she has mentioned this class Rebounding, and I was always teaching at the time she gave the class in Manhattan. Finally, my monday night was free, so I decided to get to this class.

The class was packed, with people eagerly waiting to get on their individual trampolines. So this is what the class is Yoga, Dance Mania, Cardio KickBox, Sculpt and more Dance mania, all done on a trampoline!!! Yes, I said trampoline. A lotta jumping. The music playlist was an incredible compilation by an awesomely talented NYC DJ Dax, that was enough to have anyone motivated. I gave Carissa my hair elastic, as I knew she being the Instructor, needed it more than me. She taught the class with the enthusiasm of a ROCK STAR, because she basically is. While she is cueing the class, counting us in and taking us through this routine of mayhem and sweat, she has a giant "Carissa" smile, and she is head bopping to the music. Making her routine look effortless and amazing. I LOVED EVERY SECOND. Being that I have an irregular heart beat, intense cardio is usually a challenge but if you know me, once I get in a zone and the music is playing I just go for it. Carissa is the awesome teacher that makes you wanna go for it! I still kept it yogic and went at my own pace, not always trying to mimic her Janet Jackson Dance moves on a trampoline, as much as I wanted to...perhaps with practice.

The cutest part was, Carissa had her phone/ipod on silent, and it rang twice. The only person who seems to be able to call her when her phone is on silent, is her mom....I could have swore that her mom called so I could catch my breath. This is the class that will make you sweat, shed those extra layers of fat, get your heart beating, and bring a smile ear to ear, because it is so much fun!! The jumping is also amazing for our lymphatic system too. Carissa gives the new students perfect alignment cues, and is attentive to their safety while making them eager to keep up with the pace of the class....which is probably why the class is so packed. If you are looking for a class to get in shape with, try out Carissa's Rebounding class....she will get you trim & slim. At the end of class after all the sweating, and jumping, I love that Carissa had us sit on our trampolines and center ourselves......what a Yogini. Thank you Lovely Carissa for an awesome Class!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Frozen (Grapes) bites of heaven

Recently after teaching an awesome Yoga class downtown to three families on their amazing rooftop, the ever popular topic of healthy eating came up. We were discussing juicing, and healthy foods, when one of the ladies eyes lit up at the mention of fruits. They were insistent that I try frozen grapes, the kids specifically insisted on frozen red grapes. While I have had frozen fruits before, especially for smoothies, I had to admit I never froze my grapes. I was told they are like little bites of sorbet, another person insisted to call them Popsicle bites of heaven. The reality is, organic grapes can be expensive, and sometimes can go bad quick, so putting them in the freezer is also economical.

I tried, and WOW!!! My new favorite snack, that can last for long time. Since the frozen grape has a longer shelf life, their is no excuse to avoid purchasing an organic grape. For the calorie counters out there, grapes are not so high in calories, roughly a little over 60 calories for one serving/1 cup. For parents who are itching to ween your kids to a healthier lifestyle, 4 kids gave their seal of enthusiastic approval when I was informed of this awesome, healthy snack.

Grapes also happen to be an excellent source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium and vitamin A. Grapes are rich in antioxidants like flavones, tannins, anthocyanins, which scientists claim to have anti cancer benefits. Red Grapes are also a great source of Resveratol, which promotes a healthy heart.

Thanks Roof top Yogis for sharing the wonderful snack idea.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Yoga with Mary

After my time at the Zendo, my very first Yoga class was with Mary Krensavage, 10 am-ish at the Reebok Sports Club. Mary is an amazing Dharma Yoga Instructor who teaches wonderful Yoga Classes. Her classes are creative, challenging and incredibly balancing to the mind-body & spirit. She was actually subbing the class this particular morning. I had taken class with Mary before, when she had played her "Rock" playlist. Like many yoga teachers she has a few "playlists" to pick from for her yoga classes. The "Rock" - playlist yoga class had us flowing through sweaty vinyasa flows where we did push-ups after every chuturanga, it was awesome!

I knew I was in for an awesome challenge at 10 am with Mary, on a Monday morning, after coming from a week of sitting hours and hours.....oh WOW!

This particular class was packed, and she played her "Zen" playlist. An amazing play list of soft music that echoes in the heart and soul. I was joined by my friends/Sensei's, Joseph & David. The playlist couldn't have been more fitting for me personally, since I was fresh from the Zendo. Amazing, peaceful music that guided us through a class of mega hip-openers. She started class with a lovely meditation, integrating a story of the new timers set on the walk/don't walk street signals. She was telling us to embrace our own time, and avoid pushing or rushing to nail a pose and rather just be present to where our body needs to be. Mary had us flowing through a wildly creative, and challenging vinyasa, with her harmonious voice to lead us in the occasional breath cue. Mary gives breath cues almost like a song, you can't help but extend your inhalation as she swoops the word into a magnificent crescendo. During the beginning of class, a crystal that I had kept in my sports bra popped right out and onto my yoga mat, Joseph noticed it, and we both shared a little laugh.

The class had a deja-vu moment for me.....So here we go, flash back years ago, when Dharma East was the main Dharma Center in NYC, it was packed with the regulars, amazing bendy, flying yogis, and I was in class with my ankle bandaged up. I was in a little bit of pain, but wanted to take Dharma's class so badly, that I had taken a cab from my Upper West Side yoga class, just to attend. I was so grateful to be there, even if I knew physically it would be a challenge. We went through a literal "race" of Surya Namaskar. Sri Dharma challenged the entire room to "beat him", of course none of us did, and a specific song played when I rose my head up to the last Tadasna, simultaneously, Mary Krensavage, who I didn't know personally, except as a familiar friendly face at Dharma's, with her hair in adorable pig tails, was directly across from me in this Massive Ocean of yogis packed into Dharma East, smiled at me. Her smile made me feel so amazing. Energetically she was sending me love & positive energy. I had a moment of feeling like I didn't belong in the Master Level class, since I knew my ankle was a little sore, but her comforting smiles made me feel reassured to stay with my breath and my heart filled with gratitude. As we progressed through class, Dharma came and adjusted me into a deeper variation of Pigeon, it felt heavenly.

So Fast Forward to this DE-JA-VU moment....Well, in this "Zen" class, I am in a forward fold, hands wrapped around my calves, and the same song comes on, I slowly stand up and see Mary smiling. A flood of grateful tears began to fill my eyes, as the moment couldn't have been more perfect.

I thanked Mary after class for another brilliant experience, and told her about my Deja-vu experience. We hugged, laughed and her eyes started to tear, as she actually remembered that specific moment.

Regardless of if you have an injury that forces you to modify your practice, or apprehension due to a break from your regular Yoga practice....Embrace the moment, embrace each breath, surrender to that Portion of God within your heart, and cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Yoga has an amazing way to connect your mind-body-spirit and remind you of the beauties of life.

Thank you so much Mary for amazing classes! I love to practice with you! ~ Om Shanti

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cheers to Amazing Health - Thankful Detox Juice

So while many people are coming down from their food comas (post thanksgiving) there is more incentive to detox and get healthy. While it is important to be mindful of how we exercise our body, and it's obvious Yoga is one of my favorite methods to exercise the Mind-Body-Spirit, what we eat is also very important to be mindful of. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetable provides our body with phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, water, and oxygenation to our blood and organs.

In the tail end of summer I did a 4 week complete Raw Vegan Cleanse. With daily juicing and smoothies that left my body with more energy than I ever imagined. You can actually witness the transformation in my skin and hair in the videos on my youtube channel

In the past I have been blessed with amazing opportunities of doing detox challenges with Yoga Students, only to witness incredible transformations, and while I am no stranger to doing a juice cleanse or even multiple month long fasts myself, the inspiration behind this summers juicing detox, was to inspire my family to get healthier. Since the summer, family juice extravaganza my daddy who is already a healthy person, has kept my juicer, and joyfully makes juice 4-5 times a week (Yeaaa Daddy).

While the superficial benefits of doing a detox are amazing like a leaner body, glowing skin, healthier hair, the Spiritual benefits are amazing as well. Challenge yourself to cleanse your dietary habits and notice the shift in all areas of your life. Your meditation and yoga practice will be stronger, and you will feel a deeper sense of joy. Just a note, when embarking on any type of detox you may get initial hurdles like fatigue, and or headaches ...that is just the toxins leaving your body, it's very temporary, be patient and embrace the detox. Also, if your diet is not so clean/pure or "Sattvic" as they would say in Ayurveda, be mindful that the alkalinity of the fruits and veggies may be a taste that your acidic blood initially has to get used to.

"We must be the change we wish to see in the world" ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Today, I decided to try a new juice combo suggested by a friend.

The Thankful Detox Juice
4 Grapefruits
2 Gala Apples
4 Organic Carrots
1 bunch of Parsley


Thursday, November 24, 2011

New Moon - 11/25/11

While everyone is ripe with thankful thoughts and energy from the Thanksgiving Holiday, get ready and excited for the New Moon. What is a new moon? Well, when the sun and moon are aligned in the same sign, we have what is called a new moon. This is a time for transformation, to set intentions, create, cultivate, manifest, and make things happen. Waves are guided by the changes of the moon, as are the most intimate aspects of women, so we all have the opportunity to connect to the energies of this Universe.

The phases of the moon have an obvious affect on our energy. For instance the Full moon is related to the end of an inhalation, when prana is tremendous, which tends to increase energy and affect our sense of grounding. However, New Moon energy is related to the end of an exhalation, when apana is tremendous, which tends to make us feel grounded and calm.

Like the Farmer's Almanac encourages planting seeds on New Moon days, as it is supposed to be a time when rooting is strong, it is wonderful to set your intentions, plant our seeds. reflect and establish a heart of gratitude, it is a time to cultivate as well. Perhaps cultivate a personality or quality like forgiveness, courage, gratitude. For Yogis, we can do a Chandra Bheda Pranayama or practice a Lunar Yoga Flow, if you are a reiki practitioner you can do a Reiki ritual, or perhaps set up your Crystals on your altar, where you may want to have your intentions written. If you are an Ashatanga Yogi you observe Full moon and New moon days as Holidays. Set your intentions, solidify your visions, and embrace the energy of the new moon. ~ Namaste

Happy Thanksgiving...

While every day, and every breath is an opportunity to give thanks, today is a national day to give thanks for many Americans. Originally intended to be a chance to celebrate Harvest, it has been adopted as a wonderful opportunity for family & friends to get together and eat. Every year, my tradition has been to volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity, a place where I used to volunteer weekly. It is an organization started by Mother Teresa, continued on by the Brothers, Sisters and Lay people to house and feed the homeless. Since this is the week of my beloved Mother's Birthday, I have spent years volunteering with the Missionaries to celebrate her love, as she was the person who introduced me to the organization. Whatever is your venue to give back, remember each day is a chance to be grateful. The food banks run throughout the year. The words thank you can bring so much joy to another persons life.

The only disagreement I have with this Holiday is of course the massive murdering of the Turkeys. Just wanted to post a note to say thanks. I am filled with tremendous gratitude for all the abundance of love I have received from everyone & everything. Thank you. ~ Om Shanti

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chakra Workshop - The Three Granthis

After a week of silence and transformation at the Magical Zendo, I was so happy to teach a Chakra Workshop the next day. The irony was after returning from silence and serenity, I made my way through literally the chaos of the NYC Marathon FINISH line crowd, to make my way downtown to The Lovely OM Factory, it was so fun. This workshop was particularly special as the "teaching" was energetically shared it with my Sensei/Friend/Student, Joseph. Actually, while I was away at the Zendo (away from internet and phone) Joseph took the lead to arrange and invite all the people to participate for the workshop, thank you so much Joseph!!! It was lovely to see some familiar faces at the workshop. Joseph being an amazing Yoga Instructor & Reiki Master, provided Reiki Hands On Adjustments, did a remarkable Crystal Grid of the Room, and brought his magical energy to the room. Some people were lucky enough to get some impromptu Psychic Readings from Joseph after the Workshop.

The energy in the room was absolutely magnificent. With Candles light in front of the Yoga mats arranged in a Circle (Chakra/Wheel). Our workshop worked its way through the Granthis (Knots), highlighting the power chakras: The Root, The Heart, and the Third Eye. With Yoga Asana work, Chanting, Meditation and even a Stomping where we transformed our bodies into drums to awaken the Kundalini at our Muladhara Chakra (Root Chakra). The reality is, our subtle body is so deeply connected to our development of our Yoga Asana Practice. The Subtle body connection illuminates a deeper understanding of our emotional, mental and spiritual connection to our physical bodies. We are limitless, and once we experience this reality in our body, we can soar.

While we had two amazing live musicians who were eager to play, they had prior gigs so were unable to play. Since we had promised Live Music, I played guitar with an original take on a chant "Om Namo Narayana", Narayana being a common name for Vishnu, the 8th avatar of Krishna, who is the Lord of the Heart Chakra. The chant led people into a candle lit Savasana.

It was a magical evening, and it was so lovely to be in the room with the Yantra for the Heart Chakra painted on the wall of the amazing Om Factory. Thank you to all who participated, sharing in the collective consciousness of the room, thank you to Joseph for sharing the incredible energy. For those of you who signed up and missed the magical energy, there will be more to come!!! ~ Om Shanti

Monday, November 14, 2011

All that we are is a result of all that we have thought ~ The Buddha

Recently, I was invited to spend a week at the Zendo to teach daily yoga, and immerse myself in the Harvest Session Zazen practice. The Zen Buddhist Practice is Zazen (sitting in meditation with the focus on the outbreath/exhalation). The days begin at 4am and go till 10pm with daily Samu (Cleaning assignments), up to 6 hours of daily Zazen Sitting, Teshio/Dharma talks by Shinge Roshi or Shokan Osho, Three amazing Vegetarian meals in Silence served in three bowls. Everything is systematic and organized. The only time we speak is while in Dokusan with the Roshi, Shinge Roshi. We literally sit in silence for more than half the day, and I had never even taken an intro course, totally dived in the deep end.

While the Catskill surroundings of the Zendo, with a magnificent lake, and the amazing architecture are magical, I learned the actual magic happens in the practice of Zazen sitting. Ironically, we who practice yoga, practice for the purpose of “Sitting” in meditation with God (Samadhi).

The first day was a snowstorm, and the Zendo was illuminated by Candle light and freezing cold. After two days my knees were burning during our marathon hour long sitting periods, the 51-degree temperature room was giving me chills, and random memories of recent extremely negative experiences that I had to endure would silently creep into my mind. I played with propping myself up on Zafu cushions, and adjusting my sitting position when we were aloud to move. I was disappointed that these thoughts were creeping in my mind, as I thought I had accepted the situations as lessons learned.

I sat counting my breath as I was told to do, and when I told Shinge Roshi during Dokusan that I lost count, she laughed and explained to come back to #1, the purpose is to count the exhalation till we become one with the breath. I later gravitated to unconsciously counting my blessings, allowing every breath to celebrate all the good stuff, in effort to alleviate the physical pain on my knees, and it worked. When I shared this with Shinge Roshi, she actually shared it in her Teshio Talk. Her Teshio talks were absolutely brilliant, weaving Buddhist Koan's with her own words of wisdom to inspire us all. The next Day, Shokan Osho spoke of the most powerful prayer being “Thank You”.

Back for more endless hours of sitting, and I realize the subtle body connection of Bladder, Kidney, Liver Meridians running through the legs, all related to letting go. And Louise Hay’s Book “ You Can Heal Your Life,” stating that issues with the legs is our reluctance to move forward. Also, our exhalation is “letting go”.

As I sat in silence with my breath, I realized these “recent” negative situations and past experiences with people who every so often invading my meditation time, are representations of patterns that stem from an experience that I suppressed. I prayed and begged to JC (Jesus, my personal Savior) to help me to forgive, sending them love & light. Sometimes, these patterns are ones we unconsciously repeat from watching our parents. I decided to break the cycle and dive right in.

In my hours of silence I realized, I enabled a pattern, allowing people to take advantage because unconsciously I did not believe I was worth more, and all this stemmed back from experiences long ago that I suppressed. Making excuses for behavior done to me that was egregious and actually unlawful. WOW! No wonder I felt like certain aspects of my life and health were like a revolving door. Once my forgiveness went to a place of compassion, understanding and love for those who clearly disrespected me, and most importantly for myself for enabling this…my heart chakra finally felt liberated. My legs felt illuminated, strong, like a kid on the carpet in Kindergarten, and I thought I could sit forever, all pain ceased.

Was this easy? Of course not, we all spend a lifetime with our unconscious thoughts, repeating patterns, justifying our patterns, and revisiting injuries/illness etc. Just because we go through the motions of “moving on” our subconscious mind carries the scars of pain we endured, which later manifests in illness, injury, scattered thoughts, apathy, anger, repeated patterns in relationships, and many other ways that are far from liberation and peace, with deep roots in our childhood experiences. If you ever catch yourself saying to yourself, this always happens to me....I challenge you to sit, till you are so united with your breath only peace remains.

Up until the 3rd day, a family of deer would frolic outside my window, and after that day I did not see them. The deer is the animal related to the heart chakra. I was healed. The next day I sat in silence and a stream of tears poured from my eyes, purification tears, no sounds, sniffles just and hour of Liberation.

We live in a society with distractions all around, excuses all around, and fingers to point as to why we cannot be at peace. Mainstream media uses all forms of entertainment to hypnotize us to mask our real issues. We create ways to be busy to avoid stillness, even people who do yoga. Trust me, I spent 2 years teaching every day, taking Master level classes, so I know how easy it is to stay busy instead of being still.

For me, I had no choice but to sit in stillness for the entire week, nothing to do but face my own “issues”, and I wanted to. I even had quartz and rose quartz crystals all over me (Amplifying stones) to fully surrender to the healing process.

Call it Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, Shiva, Love…whatever you want to call it, it is a Source of Unconditional love, where no memory lives, no pain exists, only understanding, and love. Challenge yourself to sit in SILENCE, focusing on your breath and observe where your mind wanders. We are our thoughts.

Like the lotus that silently blooms, growing through the murkiest waters, striving for the light, we too are meant to bloom without a drop of dirt that reminds us of the murky waters from where we came. Only beauty.

Finally, when I said that the memory would surface about negative situations & I forgave them....does this mean that if a person stalks/harasses you, or an establishment refrains from paying you for nearly 70 hours of services rendered, or plagiarizes your work (hypothetically speaking)...that that behavior is ok? NOT AT ALL. When someone wrongs us, they have a Karmic Debt to pay, and while we cannot control the actions of others, we have the ability to control our reactions which is POWER. Peace is Power.

This was the most Yogic experience I could have ever experienced, and I am profoundly grateful. Thank you Shinge Roshi, Shokan, Jodo, Joshi, Jo Kei (the most amazing chef EVER), Yu Sen, Andrew, Matthew, Cynthia, E Kyo, Yoko, Yuko, Bill, Gen No, Carlos, Kimpu, Kaity, Larry, and Dai Bo Satsu Zendo for sharing in one of the most profund experiences of my life. While doing yoga with you daily was awesome, the Buddhist chants was amazing, the daily Vegetarian Meals were the best I have ever had, it was actually the practice of Sitting that changed my life!!! Thank you to my friend and fellow Ohashiatsu Alumni, Mark, for driving me to and from the Zendo, and for making this new relationship with Zendo possible! I now sit everyday with so much peace.

I returned to NYC, to teach yoga the next morning and a Chakra Workshop the night. Since I was in a week of silence, thank you Joseph for handling the organizing and inviting for that amazing event in my absence and helping make the workshop magical!

For those interested in experiencing Zen Buddhist Practice of Zazen please visit the link below:

For those interested in Zoga Yoga Retreats and 200 Hr Teacher Trainings that incorporate the experiences of Zazen and the breathtaking location of the Zendo please visit:

Photos: Shinge Roshi & I, Myself in my monks Robe & the Lovely Deer that played outside my window.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rockin the Bindi

So recently I decided to rock a Bindi. Rock a Bindi? Huh? A Bindi is a traditional decorative addition to the forehead for Indian women. Often times it is recognized as fashion, also it is connected to the third eye chakra (Ajna). While people assume that it is a Hindu symbol for marital status, actually it is commonly seen among all Indians regardless of religious creed. As it is worn at the third eye, people believe it to ward off dark spirits, to deepen intuition, and also to bring beauty to a woman.

Two reasons I have been wearing the Bindi.

1) Reason #1 This past weekend, my amazing Daddy and some other amazing Indian Men (Uncles as I call them) were honored for being the past presidents for the South Indian Malayalam Samajam (Association) in Southern Ontario. The beauty of this honor is that my Daddy, was one of the first Presidents to Unite Hindu's, Christians, and Muslims in Canada to celebrate traditions and festivals that would inspire the second generation South Indians, such as myself. We would have Talent Shows, Summer Picnics, Celebrate Festivals like Onam and Christmas in order to recognize and unite in a venue that brought the community together. For many youth in the community the Samajam provided a stage for the arts, a place to make friends, and a platform for group sports.

Since I was missing the festivities, I snapped a picture of my Bindi and texted it to my Big Brother saying that I am wearing the Bindi in honor of our Daddy, and he said jokingly...."Geez, wish that was all I had to do". Apparently, the best part of the evening was that my 4 year old nephew came onto the stage with my dad, and one of the past Presidents jokingly asked my dad "when was he President?" LOL. Congratulations to all the amazing Presidents who have united South Indians to celebrate culture, tradition and inspire future generations of Maloo's in peace & harmony.

2) Reason #2 This Wednesday marks Diwali!!! Diwali is the amazing Festival of Light, to remember how Good conquers evil, Light outshines the darkness. Light your lamps, lanterns and eat your sweets!!! Happy Diwali Folks!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Story Time with Karma Kids

Today was Story Time with Karma Kids....The Yoga Adventures of Priya & Pooch was introduced to an amazing group of adorable little Yogis. I am so grateful to Shari from Karma Kids for inviting me to share my book, some of my music and Yoga with the lovely kids. Despite the Rain we had an amazing turn out of little kiddies!!! They spread out all over the room, slowly crawled towards me, and at the end crowded around for photos! As we progressed more Kids entered into the Karma Kids Studio and joined us for the fun adventure!!!

We began with the Karma Kids Om Song, and as The book is filled with many yoga poses we did the poses from each page, occasionally did a musical number to coincide with the Story, and at the end I played my guitar and led them in a few more of my Yoga Tunes. With Elephants, Monkeys, Butterflies, Tigers, Camels, Trees and many more poses to explore, these kids maintained the most inspirational level of energy!!! Kids have the most sincere way to inspire people to Yoga. When we were on the floor rolling like Caterpillars, one gorgeous little yogini pointed out how her Caterpillar was growing! When asking the kids to count or name the animals, the enthusiasm & excited responses were awesome. Many of the kids come to Karma Kids, and are familiar with the practice of Yoga from the incredible guidance of Karma Kids Yogis.

5 YOGI Lessons we can learn from Kids:
1. When the music plays they shake and sing with all their hearts
2. When they fall, they get back up with a Giant Smile
3. When they practice yoga....the approach is with tremendous JOY
4. When someone else knocks them over....they laugh and get back up as well.....and most often go and play with the person who accidentally knock them down without any memory of the fall
5. Tree Pose is really not that serious.

Thanks Shari for inviting me to your amazing Studio, and helping in demonstrating the Yoga Poses during the Story and Songs, YOU ROCK!!! Thank you to all the amazing kids, parents and nannies who particpated....You are all amazing!!!

Experiencing Zen

Upstate NY hides the most magical place on earth....The Zendo. It was an honor and privilege to be invited to share in the Buddhist Monastery informal practices, and also provide Yoga Classes. First let me start by saying, I set the intention a month ago to teach yoga in spiritually enlightened places, and literally two days after I wrote my intention, an amazing friend/Fellow Ohashiatsu Alumni contacted me, and insisted that I visit this Buddhist Zendo....WOW the Universe is quick to respond! I had missed visits to the Zendo in my Ohashiatsu classes, so this was an amazing treat! The setting was absolutely magical..... The magical lake, the Zendo Meditation Room for daily "sits", the Chanting Room, the Gong, the practices of the Monks, the Silent Meals that begin with beautiful Buddhist Chanting, the Beavers, Deers and Bears that play in the surrounded landscape in peace & harmony was just a touch of the magic that I experienced. From the first moment I stepped onto the grounds, I knew I was blessed. To share in the Samu practice, which is similar to Karma Yoga (selfless service) was so amazing.....I have never loved sweeping the floor more in my life! The monks were the most incredible individuals with kindness and purity of heart. The icing on the Vegan Cake was that I got to teach them Yoga....and every resident participated. The collective energy was magical. I look forward to this amazing new relationship, and I am grateful to this magical place, and for the invitation to share Yoga with the Monks. This is a place for transformation, reflection, spiritual evolution and joy! Thank you so much Mark & all the Monks & residents at the Zendo for welcoming me into your family. It was amazing to experience how receptive you all were to the practice of yoga. ~ Om Shanti

" Do not dwell on the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment" ~ Buddah

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

FULL MOON - Manifest your dreams

Tonight is the full moon in Aries. This is a powerful night where we can set intentions for our life and experience the amazing changes this moon can bring into our life. This full moon and season are all about letting go of things that no longer serve you, like fear, grudges, grief, clutter, and anything that is occupying space in your heart without purpose. We are connected to all things in this Universe, therefore it is important what we place our attention on. Let go, Recycle, and Restore your life with loving energy.

For me, I am so grateful for the amazing addition that crystal healing has brought into my life. For those who practice yoga, you can use crystals to meditate or with chakras. It is a lovely tool. Many times I would wear crystal jewelry for specific energy during a yoga session, or place them on the altar of the given yoga studio. A lovely Altar Crystal Layout I enjoy is Apotholyte (upper chakras & Angelic Realm), Rose Quartz (to open the heart chakra and create a sense of love), and Amethyst (for a peaceful energy). A while back I had huge Black Tourmaline Pieces (a stone that absorbs negative energy of others & psychic attacks). The stones broke and powdered, and I was told that it was due to psychic attacks which was actually what I was going through. Crystals, Rocks, Stones do have powers which is why many yogis of old used to wear them to generate specific energetic qualities.

Set your stones out in the moon light to get charged, and notice how they twinkle in a special way. Find an amazing Crystal Healer to help you or a loved one in your specific desires, and see how stones can magnify your happiness.....Get Stoned (LOL)!

Some amazing people who have helped and inspired me on my crystal journey include:
Angel at Union Square NYC
Mary Henry of Mukti Healing
Krista the Rock Whisperer
Heather from Stick Stone and Bones
The Rock Store Toronto

As Autumn relates to the Metal Element, the some pranayama to awaken this energy. The Lung Meridian is located in the arms, so challenge your practice with Arm Balances.

For me, Arm balances ironically come with some remnants of fear from many accidents (dislocated collar bone, wrist injury, spinal injury from a few car accidents which thankfully have healed but the fear of a repeat injury sometimes lingers). Nevertheless, since I am letting go of things that no longer serve me, I decided to jump to the challenge and work on some arm balances to truly highlight the Lung Meridian with Yoga Asana. Feel free to enjoy the yoga video inspired by the Metal Element.

Click on this link to watch the video: Yoga for Metal Element

Namaste & Enjoy the Full Moon!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crystal Healing - Tiger Eye

If you are searching for a crystal to work with that provides a sense of grounding, focus, clarity and cleansing from your past, Tiger Eye is a wonderful choice! Working with Tiger eye is a wonderful stone for this Autumn season. Tiger Eye is an excellent grounding stone. It is part of the quartz family of chalcedonies, and composed of red jasper and hematite. This season is all about letting go, which is a way for cleansing to take place in nature. In our bodies the Lungs and Large Intestine, relate to the Metal Element for this season and both meridians allow the body to let go and cleanse. In order for us to let go, being aware and accepting ourselves, along with being grounded helps.

How Tigers eye come into play are: by placing it on the 3rd eye chakra we are said to become more intuitive, and by placing it on the lower chakras it is said to stimulate the kundalini energy. It is a stone to restore self worth, especially if placed on the Solar Plexus (Manipura Chakra). Since this stone is said to provide balance to both hemispheres of the brain, it is a great stone for clarity, focus, balance and courage. This is the stone to create order out of chaos, so perfect for someone working on balance in their life on and off the yoga mat. Tiger Eye helps for protection and it was once carried to ward off curses and negative energy.

It's healing properties include the eyes, stomach, colon, digestion and broken bones.

Similar to the qualities of a Tiger, this stone inspires patience, alertness, deliberate action, perfect timing and focus. This lovely stone is a beautiful piece for jewelry, and has the healing energies that can benefit so many people.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Celebrating Yogi's - The Art of Subbing

This post is long overdue... to celebrate the magnificence of fellow Yogi's, and how amazing they are as subs. I once had a very well known teacher refuse to sub my classes at a Yoga Studio, because according to him, he dislikes subbing for a popular instructor because people are never receptive. While this can be true "sometimes", as people do get attached to their favorite Instructor, I actually don't agree with this sentiment, because people who want to practice yoga, just want to practice yoga. That being said, it can be intimidating to sub or take over a class for a popular Instructor, I had to take over the classes for the Amazing Andrew Tanner, and initially I was intimidated, but with his encouragement/vote of confidence, I jumped into the role.

That being said, subbing at a studio is very different than subbing for a Private class. Regardless of where you are, the best advice is to be yourself, sincere, appreciative, and make em' sweat :)

For me, the reason why I continue to enjoy taking classes with a variety of Instructors, and highlighting their efforts, is because learning, is part of the reason why many of us, including myself, embarked on becoming a Yoga Instructor. It is important for us to show appreciation & gratitude for every Instructor, for we are all on the same mission "to inspire to a healthier mind-body & Spirit".

The Art of Subbing is exactly that sometimes, an art. You have to be able to paint a fresh picture, create a landscape, stir up a rhythm, inspire an energy, cultivate a passion that allows people to escape on a magical journey that leaves them yearning for more, or just show up and teach a forgettable class....but no one wants the latter.....therfore, to Sub can be a sense of intimidation for both the Sub Instructor and the student....a chance for us to practice abhyasa-vairagyabhyam (detachment, non expectations)

Since I have been in Canada, I am grateful to have explored teaching up here, embraced the beauty of nature with daily outdoor practice, embraced the beauty of stillness (anything is still compared to NYC LOL), embraced Raw Vegan Lifestyle, and had the honor to receive endless, magnificent feedback from two AMAZING yoga Instructors!!!

While I encouraged all of my Private Yoga Students to embrace the yoga practice with a substitute teacher in my absence, only two of them agreed to this (which I was so happy about, as I wanted them to continue their practice), and Joseph took this task on with such awesome energy. The other class was a group class at a local Temple in the Bronx, Jessica had been covering these classes, and has gone on to inspire people to follow her at other locations where she teaches!!

The feedback for both of these Instructors came as no surprise, since Joseph has experience as an incredible Martial Arts teacher, PreK teacher, Reiki Master Healer & Crystal Healer and overall AWESOME person!!! And Jessica also has experience as a NYS school teacher (which takes a lot of patience since she works with the hormonal age group), she does Crystal Healing and also is an overall AWESOME person!!! Both of them have an awesome presence, compassion, and ability to inspire.

WOW! These two individuals are absolutely remarkable! The feedback on these two individuals has been "Awesome Energy", "Love Yoga with Joseph" "Jessica has an incredible presence, I felt so relaxed" "Loved the class", "I want to take more classes with Joseph", "Jessica Rocks!", "You should be so proud!"....and much more!!!

Both Joseph & Jessica embarked on the Zoga Yoga Teacher Training experience this year, learning with me and various other amazing Instructors. They continue to learn and grow from other AMAZING Instructors, as I always encourage them to do, and have since gone on to be AMAZING YOGA INSTRUCTORS themselves. I have heard tremendous feedback from all the graduates, but these two individuals were gracious enough to cover some of my classes in my absence, and students went out of their way to email me feedback, send pics and RAVE about both of them!!! so I had to share the awesomeness!!!

Thank you Joseph & Jessica for sharing your AMAZING love & light with people. I am honored to have taught you, learned from you, and shared with you. ~ Om Shanti

Photos: -Joseph Instructing a private class which judging from the feedback is now his to teach permanently.
-Jessica & Ambria @ The Zoga Yoga Teacher Training Gradutation

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Yoga and Religion

For quite some time there is the controversy of "Is Yoga Religious?", as there are some religious groups who frown upon the practice of yoga, in fear that it violates a religious code. Yoga is translated as "union" or, connection of the mind-body-spirit. I would think all religious groups would want people to experience this. Yoga is a way of life, yoga is a beautiful practice that allows the individual to improve, discover, and become self aware, regardless of religious beliefs.

Yoga truly does stem from Sacred Vedic Texts, and therefore we should acknowledge/respect this, and that it is meant for the individual to reach "samadhi" or union with God. The actual/specific "God" is not mentioned, and is open to ones on personal experience. Often I tell my students to allow the practice to deepen their own personal faith, or when focusing on the 3rd eye, allow oneself to focus on the faith that inspires them. This allows the individual to make their yoga practice into a beautiful moving prayer. Fortunately for me, I have student who are Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist, and they all agree that YOGA MAKES THEM FEEL AMAZING and they LOVE YOGA!

The sound of Om, is according to Hindu Sacred Texts is the sound of God, but this is also a Hindu Science, as they understood how we are vibration, we are all made up of atoms that vibrate at various frequencies, and sound, or sound wave energy restores us to balance, each sound also coincides with one of our Chakras in our subtle body. Our scientific genetic make up is similar regardless of religion. The reality is much of Western Medicine is inspired by Ayurveda the oldest system of Science of the Body around, does this mean we are violating our religious code?

Some modern medicine Doctors are now discovering how using sound wave energy alters cells in the brain and body. Even Doctor Oz admits to practicing Yoga daily for its unlimited health & wellness benefits.

Therefore is Yoga a religion? It is up to interpretation. In my eyes, I have gratitude and respect for the fact that it is stemming from the beautiful Hindu Scriptures, and it is an Ancient Science that allowed people to strip away layers/habits or vritti as the yogis would call it, only to reach a sense of calm, peace and enlightenment.

For me, it is a chance to deepen my personal faith, and my practice is an offering to God as a moving meditation/prayer. When I teach I like to just allow the practice to unfold naturally so that I become a vessel for an awesome experience for the student. I have no pulpit, and they have no obligations except to be present and receptive to the Grace of God that exists within them as it unfolds in their practice.

What is this enlightenment? This Connection with God? Can it only be achieved on the Yoga Mat?....NO!!! The yoga practice is meant so that we can carry the lessons of love into our lives off the matt!!! The practice of Pranayama, Asana are all ways to detoxify physically, and theYamas & Niyams, Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana are ways for us to detoxify spiritually and mentally. So that we can achieve Samadhi, or connection with God, which is also achieved when we connect to others.

Therefore, while we are on this planet, we can experience this enlightenment when we allow ourselves to connect to everyone, "LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR AS WE LOVE OURSELVES", look at those who hurt us with compassion, Look at those who suffer with compassion, forgive, have an attitude of gratitude, lose our ego, lose our judgement of ourselves and the world around us, lose our arrogance, lose our greed, lose our jealousy, loose our "vritti's.

For some who are obsessed with how amazing their asana practice is, may find this concept so irrelevant to Yoga, but try it out, and watch how suddenly your asana practice flows effortlessly after. You are no longer grunting, pushing, struggling, or pouring sweat when you approach your asana, because you are connected on a deeper level. You are no longer doing a happy dance after you nail a pose, or looking to see if anyone saw you do the pose, or feeling bad if you didn't do the pose, YOU JUST ARE CONTENT TO BE PRESENT. You will be happier. Often times the tightness we are experiencing in our asana practice stems from something deeper, spiritual or mental or karmic blockages.

So Ultimately, in order to get to this enlightenment, connection with God....It is not mastering any asana, or doing Nauli, it can be easily interpreted as "Love Your Neighbor As You Love Yourself".......and ironically the world religions agree on this.

  • You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ~ Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Leviticus 19.1
  • Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them. ~ Christianity. Bible, Matthew 7.12
  • Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself. ~ Islam. Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 13
  • One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish desire. ~ Hinduism. Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 113.8
  • Comparing oneself to others in such terms as "Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I," he should neither kill nor cause others to kill. ~ Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 705
  • "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah; all the rest of it is commentary; go and learn."~ Judaism. Talmud, Shabbat 31a
  • You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets." ~ Christianity. Bible, Matthew 22.36-40
  • One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts. ~African Traditional Religions. Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria
  • A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated. ~ Jainism. Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
  • Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence. ~ Confucianism. Mencius VII.A.4

Investigation for this post was inspired by a recent conversation after a Yoga class! Thanks to the owner of that studio who has invited me to teach, and for also sparking such interest in this topic in me. ~ Namaste

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Meditation and Prayer for 9/11

For many people the weekend of 9/11 brings a lot of stress and anxiety. It is a reminder of a time that brought tremendous grief to a nation, and loss for many. We can remember our beloved fire fighters, police officers, volunteers and angels who helped many people during this tough time. We can offer prayers, offer our yoga practice (as a moving prayer/meditation), and even offer time for meditation to restore the hearts of many people.

We can remember where we were 10 years ago, I myself was in Boston, studying for my undergrad at Berklee College of Music. Ironically, weeks prior to 9/11, my mom, myself and many other people I knew were having vivid dreams of chaos, dusty rubble and people afraid. I had been feeling uneasy for a week, and I knew it was not jitters for school, as I loved music! Like many I sensed something.

That morning, I saw a huge group of people watching the TV news in the Dorm Lobby, as I was about to leave for school, and quickly realized that something was not right. The year prior I was like many tourist, visiting NYC and saw the Empire State, the Trump Buildings, and the beautiful World Trade Centre, and had wanted to go back before the semester started this year, so watching the live footage was so scary. Like many people I had friends, and family friends who worked close to the Trade Centre, or in them. All were ok, Praise God. My prayers and love still go out to those who lost their lives and the grieving families.

Being that I lived close to the highest building in Boston, and the planes had left from Boston, my friend asked me to leave the area with him, and take the subway to "Cambridge MA". We did, and I bought my very first cell phone (which I had protested for a long time due to the radiation that everyone underplays), and I called my relatives in Canada and India, he called his family in NYC, as we both sensed they must have been worried.

The two things that calmed myself, and the nation after this awful experience was prayer and meditation. Meditation is one of the Limbs of this 8 Limbed practice of Yoga. Samadhi is the ultimate goal of the practice, union with the Divine.

We heal when we pray, when we forgive, when we love. We triumph when we love. If it means setting aside a few minutes a day to spend with your breath, with the faith that inspires you, do so. Sit, communicate with a Divine Energy, and deepen your personal faith. This world is one of energy, and when we unite with LOVE, Peace, and Kindness there is no room for darkness. Allow yourself to shine with light. For a light can shine in the dark, but darkness can never dim the light.

"Peace worldwide, begins Inside" ~ Ambriali

PEACE, is the best detox you can do for yourself. Did someone hurt you? Did someone steal from you? Did someone cheat you? Did someone hurt someone you love? You may never get to change the situation, but you can change how you view the "pain" from it, and invite healing to take place.

Some of my students are amazed and mention how I can be so calm and cool with situations....Perhaps is from amazing guidance from my parents. The truth is, yea sometimes you might lose a loved one, you might work hard and not get compensated, sometimes people may steal from you, you might get hurt in life.....but until it is your last breath, you are still alive.....and if you want to live life to the fullest, let go of whatever does not serve you. Let those who sow negative seeds reap their own rewards, as you be the bigger person and forgive. It is not easy, but well worth it, and truly YOGIC. Grief especially is the hardest, but God is Stronger than we are, so surrender it all to God, and watch as miracles take place. Remember, no judgement, healing happens for each individual in their own time.

Even if you maintain the awareness that the actions done to you, disappoint you.....but never give negative actions power, over your positive outlook and love in your heart. Your happiness is worth much more. Take a couple minutes a day, and pray for people who hurt you, pray for people who lost loved ones, pray for the world....and watch your world change. I pray that you all find love and peace in your heart, it is already there, waiting to be found!

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong".-- Mahatma Gandhi

If you have yet to visit my newest YouTube Channel, please do so & share with your friends. It is a Mind-Body-Spirit Channel. With Healthy Juices, Beautiful Guided Meditation, Yoga (coming soon), and stuff to make you & the people you love smile! The Guided Meditation Videos have special frequencies added to the music to bring the listener to dream states, to further the purpose of the meditation. ~ Om Shanti