Friday, May 27, 2011

Joy with Kids Yoga

When you love Yoga as much as I do, you cannot help but feel a tremendous amount of gratitude for every experience both teaching and taking classes. Yoga is an amazing practice with incredible power to change lives by harmonizing the Mind-Body & Spirit. While I am so grateful to teach adults both private and group, kids Yoga, and Pre/Post Natal classes, teaching Children with special needs brings joy to my heart like nothing else.

I always say that these children are truly God's Angels. The past few weeks for me have been incredibly challenging, and it is the special angels that I work with that brought joy to my heart.

This year has brought so many blessings, and learning lessons, and amidst a challenging week, I had the opportunity to teach my regular amazing Kids Yoga classes for Kids with Special Needs at the Rebecca School in Manhattan through Yogi Beans. I am so thankful to have been part of Yogi Beans from the start with the amazing Lauren. Lauren had a vision to bring Yoga to kids, and she has done and incredible job. In my opinion Yogi Beans provides the Best Kids Yoga Program because Lauren is a Yogi herself, and a big kid at heart, and took the time to craft a program that inspires confidence, creativity, concentration, sense of calm, and increased strength & flexibility in kids, all while having fun!!! Lauren also welcomes Instructors to bring their own creativity to classes also, which I love.

The amazing Kids I am fortunate to work with at the Rebecca School amazed me this week! I am still getting to know these amazing kids, and like with any child, every day is a different experience. First off giving me the most loving hugs, with smiles that could light up the darkest room, and saying "hello Ambria" with excitement that was filled with heavens loving energy made my entire week. To top it off, these incredible kids sang along with my songs, did yoga poses and inspired me with their energy and enthusiasm!!! WOW! What a breakthrough, and what an amazing way to share energy! So thankful for Yogi Beans, and so thankful for all the amazing opportunities to teach Yoga.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Acu Ball Workshop for Yoga

A few weeks ago I took a wonderful Acuball workshop alongside fellow Yoga Instructor Denise, and soon to be certified Zoga Yoga Instructor, Nicole. The acuball is an incredible invention by fellow Canadian, Dr. Michael Cohen. There are two balls in the system so far, a small and a large. The balls are covered with bumps to provide a beautiful massage and fascia relief. The large ball has water inside and can be heated up for extra goodness, it also has a line in the center that allows for alignment to the spine. It is used to provide therapeutic relief for the receiver. For someone who teaches Yoga it is a brilliant restorative tool. For a Shiatsu Practitioner or Masseuse it is a lovely addition to the tool box. For someone who is an athlete or a person who has muscular tension, this is the WOW tool you would be grateful to come home to. For a musician or an avid computer user who is leaning towards carpal tunnel, the little ball is a god send. For people with pantar fasciitis, relief is as simple as rolling the ball under the foot. Ironically when we roll the ball under our foot, we can identify various other areas in the body that may be experiencing pain or in need of attention. Even just laying on the ball provides so much stimulation and relief to muscles that sometimes go unnoticed. The best part about it is that your body decides how you want to use the tool. With only 60 seconds maximum heat up time in the microwave or boiling the ball as a rule, you have the freedom to roll through tight muscles as your body needs. Amazing! Thank you Dr. Cohen and your amazing wife for introducing this amazing tool to myself and the other Yoga Instructors who gathered at the Bikram Studio to learn more about your invention.

Teaching Yoga to Girl Scouts

A few weeks ago I had the chance to Teach Yoga to an amazing troop of Girl Scouts. With the assistance of the amazing Yogi Denise, we both instructed a huge group of Girl Scouts in a yoga class. We did Pranayama, Sun Salutations, Warrior Poses, Flying Warriors in Formation, Tree Pose, Downward Dog Tunnels and more. I had the chance to squeeze my but under the ladies in the last round of the Dog Tunnels, and WOW was that a challenge!! We had tons of fun with this lovely group of Young Ladies. The energy of a child is inspiration to everyone who is embarking on a Yoga practice, because Kids know how to have fun and be joyful. Doing the most challenging asana pose with an angry expression on your face tells a lot about how you approach your life beyond the mat. Next time you take a Yoga class, laugh at yourself, smile while in your asana, and fill your heart with the humble gratitude you had when you were a child. Thank you Girl Scouts for sharing your afternoon with me, for teaching me so much, and thank you Denise for helping teach these incredible young ladies! What a fun Yoga Class!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Partner Warriors In Yoga

Most times when I teach group Yoga classes, I enjoy letting the energy of the room guide me. The energy of the room inspires the opening meditation, the sequence of the class, the configuration of the mats, and the over all class. Too often people come into class with the weight of the world on their shoulders, this always translates to "I'm alone". This is when I like to adjust the mats and have them partner up a little bit. When we do Warrior Poses solo, we breathe and dig deep, but when we do it together, the stretch becomes fun and often times deeper. Especially when we extend our arms to the person in front for Warrior Two and give a little tug, it is awesome! Life is all about relationships, we coexist on this planet. While there is collective consciousness with synchronized movement and breath in yoga classes, how beautiful when we use our bodies together with touch to adjust deeper and support each other in the journey. Even if it is just a smile at the person across from you when face to face in Yoga, we take for granted how much you may have made their entire day!!! These precious moments remind people that "we're in this together", so when we hold a pose for a long time and I repeat the sequence while saying "second time is the best", it really is the best! For Instructors, it is important to be able to remain grounded so to still guide the energy of the room, especially when it is with partner work, so that the harmony maintains consistent. Thank you to the Teacher Trainees and the members of Bamboomoves who continue to enjoy the spontaneous, sweaty yoga classes that I like to teach. Love you all!

More Oneness Bliss

The ultimate experience of bliss is fully discovered at the Oneness Awakening Course. While I can share with words how amazing the weekend was, the phrase a picture speaks a thousand words comes to full truth in the pictures we took. The entire group is glowing and it is actually captured in these amazing photos. Thank you again Michael Baez for introducing us to Oneness, thank you Catherine for facilitating the wonderful experience, thank you Adam, Kenneth, Aditi and Vishal for volunteering your time to make the weekend even more incredible, thank you teacher trainees, members of bamboomoves and my dear friend Joseph for bringing such incredible energy to the room and being vulnerable and receptive to the process, and of course Bhagavan and Amma for beginning such amazing program that transforms lives and allows people to come to full self-realization.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Amazing Oneness Awakening Course

I am so grateful for an amazing weekend where I had the chance to participate in the Oneness Awakening Course. Oneness is a movement started in India, it is a non denominational movement intended to restore humanity to higher levels of consciousness. It is amazing. In my life I have been blessed with the most magnificent parents who instilled me faith, love, humility and so much more, which is the reason why I have been able to accept and be grateful for any circumstances in my life both good and bad.

However, this weekend I learned there is so much more to life, and their are things in my life that I just tolerated rather than accepted. Like everyone, I have been through my share of pain, but unlike some, I was forced to keep my pain to myself, Give it to God, and deal with it. I was isolated and dealt with my pain on my own, and never realized how much I resented this as my reality, and made this into a pattern. Dealing with things, is tolerance, and in no way acceptance. Despite the fact that I am joyful, cheerful and grateful, as years progressed the layers of the onion grew around my pain. I found myself irritated with people who wore their pain on their sleeve, creating drama and drawing attention to themselves. I found myself having these dramatic people brought to my life personally and professionally. I learned now that I needed to sit with my irritation, rather than pointing the finger, I needed to look at the three fingers that pointed back at me. I needed to see what was it in me that was irritated, not why but what. I discovered the girl who was unable to voice her pain, who felt isolated, who felt scared, and who felt hurt was resentful of the people who were able to bring their woes to the forefront. AMAZING! As I type this I have tears in my eyes of gratitude for full self realization, and while I could keep it to myself, I know that it is possible someone may read it, relate and find healing.

The entire weekend was epiphany after epiphany. With tremendous work on healing, with oneness blessings (which is transference of energy similar to reiki or laying of hands), and initiation into becoming a oneness facilitator.

Some of the phrases that stuck with me this weekend include:
  • Suffering is not in the fact, rather it is in the perception of the fact.
  • The root cause of suffering is when we feel separate, when we feel isolated.
  • All learning is unlearning
  • Our relationships create our reality (relationships with our self, our parents, our friends, with our past, with money, with God and with Nature)
  • If something in your world "triggers you" irritates you, it is not in that other person, but rather it is something deep within you, we must sit with our irritation and discover what it is.
  • Do we really accept our past, or do we push it aside and lose ourselves in the process with behavior that only masks what is really going on.
  • When it comes to relationships, are we always trying to change the other person, holding in our frustrations or are we accepting the other persons moment to be themselves, and accepting them fully?
  • When we accept the people we are in relationships with, LOVE REMAINS CONSTANT, instead of feeling like strangers or roommates later on down the road.
  • Tolerance is not love, it is not acceptance.
  • Do we really listen to the people in our lives, do we breathe deep & call God to help us, or do we dance in an argument and lash out?
Since I decided I will be teaching Yoga professionally, I made the conscious decision I wanted to be a vessel for God to help people heal their mind, body and Spirit. I have read many self help books which are fantastic, and participated in Tony Robbins which was outstanding, and maintained my personal faith from childhood that has been the essence of my joy. But this weekend transformed my entire life, my heart, my vision, my reality and my awareness. I am so grateful to have participated in this weekend, and grateful to have done it with my teacher trainees, my future teacher trainees, and friends.

Along with the magnificent energy of the weekend, I had the chance to teach a Yoga class to the group, did some vogue moves across the room floor when we had a chance to dance (Stephanie you owe me ten bucks still for that) and sing some chants & play guitar during the blessing time. The Teacher Trainees joined in when I was singing the chant they had been given during their teacher training, which was amazing.

If you know you have a painful relationship with your parents, if you find that you get irritated with others quickly or often, if you have little love for yourself, and even if you think you are perfect, especially if you think you are perfect, you will benefit from the Oneness Blessing and Oneness Awakening Course. It truly is life transforming. For people who practice Yoga, this is the way to calm the "monkey mind" to fully experience "Chittra Vritti Nirodaha", to lose the ego, to lose the judgements and become aware of ourselves, to become conscious, to just be.

There are Oneness Blessing givers all over the world, and now there is an entire brigade in the Bronx. If you are interested in going to India to deepen your awareness at the Oneness University visit

Thank you Catherine for sharing this amazing experience with myself and the current Zoga Yoga Teacher Trainees, the next Trainees, and Members of Bamboomoves Bronx. Thank you Michael Baez for bringing the course to the Yoga Studio. Thank you Trainees for being receptive. Thank you Bhagavan and Amma for beginning this beautiful movement and school in India. I am so grateful for the experience, and look forward to visiting the school myself to become a facilitator.

Photo: Bhagavan and Amma, founders of the Oneness University in Chennai India

Happy Birthday Dharma

Last Thursday I had the chance to take Master Class with Dharma Mittra again. One of my lovely Teacher Trainees was taking class as part of her requirements and I was happy to join her. As always class is magical. I enter into the Temple, and the class is packed. The mats are configured different, rather than Dharma being positioned by the windows, he is near the wall by the entrance, and the carpet area is full. I walk to the back wall, catch a couple waves from fellow students, and situate myself. While my body was sore, and my allergies were activated, I was so grateful to be there. I surrendered my practice at the feet of God as an offering as I always do, and prepared for class. Ironically, my student, Stepanie was right in front of me. This is the second time that happened. We progressed into a class that was not nearly as physically challenging as most classes I had taken. My head was hurting as well as my shoulders due to a recent incident, so when it came to inversion, which if you know Dharma is pretty much the 4th pose in, I stayed in Childs Pose. Dharma came all the way to the back and knew something happened. He said "were you in an accident?" "did you hurt your neck", I tearfully said yes, and he laughed and said just do Shoulder Stand. He watched me go up and put my legs into lotus, and he saw that it was challenging, so kept close watch on me with loving eyes, and care. This was an amazing moment of surrender for me. I did not care that the entire room of yogis were facing me, or that I could not do a pose, I was in the moment and it was so magnificent. Again he came and suggested to kick myself up on the wall for handstand if I did not want to do forearm stand. He is so amazing when he demonstrates poses. I could feel that when he returned to the front he still maintained loving eyes on me, watching to make sure I was safe in my practice. Like with every class, he maintained his witty charm. At the end of class when we sat for psychic development, some beautiful cupcakes with candles were brought out, and the entire room of Yogis chanted Sita Ram, Happy Birthday and Dharma Blew out the candles. Afterwards he announced that he is 60 plus 12. It was such a beautiful class, and I am so thankful to have shared in the experience. Happy Birthday Sri Dharma Mittra.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yoga for Allergies

Yoga for Allergies....What? It is upon us, the season of beautiful blossoms, sunshine, cool days and pollen. NYC has been hit with record high pollen counts, and as I write this post, I myself am working on clearing a stuffed nose and red itchy eyes. Some believe it is the shortage of bees due to cell phone radiation, some believe it is due to our long wet winter, but allergy sufferers just want relief rather than explanations. For myself, I normally do not get allergies. I did 6 years ago, and was advised to take OregnoMax and lots of Vitamin C and it actually worked. This time around, I tried that, and it did not have the instant effect that I had the last time. Since I tend to avoid most western medicine that has fine print that I can investigate, I usually go for natural remedies. I also tried Nettle which was another natural recommended remedy, and some homeopathic allergy drops and sublingual tabs. Every person is different, so each remedy may have a different effect on each individual. It is also possible that the pollen count is so intense that we may just have to be patient for the pollen to leave us. Currently, NYC is affected by Oak and Mullberry Tree Pollen.

From a Yoga perspective I have found relief with the Neti Pot, some Ayurveda Eye drops, Meditation, Shoulder Stand, Bridge Pose and Kapalabhati Breathing. I also discovered a homeopathic tab called Allergy Relief by A. Vogel (found it in Whole Foods), and so far it has been a winner. All the best with your allergies! While my tips and personal remedies have worked for me, be sure to speak to a medical professional if your Allergies are intense, keep a healthy alkalized diet, and Breathe Easy Folks!

Yoga fun with partners

Sometimes Yoga classes can be smaller in size, and in the event that this happens it is always nice to pull things out of your Instructor yoga bag of tricks, like Partner work. Sometimes people call it partner yoga, acro yoga, but I prefer to call it Yoga. While we are all made up of vibrational energy, it is so lovely when we can share our practice beyond our mat together. In this particular class students worked on a variety of partner poses from warriors, to double dogs (handstand/forearm prep), tree pose and more. It is a chance for people to smile, enjoy and see how beneficial life can be when we are open to sharing an experience. Students learn to communicate with each other verbally and energetically. This concept of working together in Yoga also allows students to fine tune alignment, and support each other, and it is also tons of FUN!!! Thank you Doris, Sandi, Martha, Nicole, Dr. Robert & Maria for a fun class.