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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Supermodel Yogic Diet - Coconut Oil

So while many people embrace yoga for various reasons, it is also important to maintain a clean diet. Clean diet can include veggies, fruits and "good fats". A common staple growing up for me was the use of coconut oil. Coconut oil was the oil of choice for every food prepared or cooked, it was like how people use "butter" in the Western part of the world. The irony of this was mostly all of my relatives consumed a healthy amount of food with dietary staples like (Sambar, Dahl, Vegetable Thorin, Rice etc) all made with a coconut oil, and everyone of my relatives and neighbors were slim and healthy. It was not until Western Scientists deemed that Coconut oil contributed to high levels of Cholestorol, that many Indians made a switch to Sunflower or Olive Oil.

The switch altered the taste of the food, and I noticed how my relatives and neighbors were changing their body structure. Coconut oil and coconut water has many medicinal values for the human body. When taken internally it is a healthy fat which our body needs for cellular function. It also provides Vitamin E and K, and high amounts or minerals and high amounts of Iron. While it is an oil that has been extensively used in Ayurveda, it is especially a wonderful oil for those in the Ayurveda Dosha type of Pitta, as it has wonderful cooling properties. This "medium chain triglyceride fat assimilates well in the body. According to research antibacterial, anti fungal, anti microbial, and anti oxidant properties are rich in Coconut Oil which is attributed to the high amounts of lauric acid, and capric acid.

The Ayurveda research concludes that Coconut oil when applied topically sinks into the subcutaneous levels of the skin to break apart fat particles and give a smooth glowing appearance. Coconut oil was also used in our hair, basically in most every Indian girls hair to provide nourishment to the scalp and hair follicles, and perhaps the reasons for strong, shinny, healthy hair. It can be used like conditioner or a leave in treatment.

If you are worried about consuming coconut oil and it's high caloric count, well Mirranda Kerr (Victoria Secrets Supermodel) consumes 4 tbs a day, and she is, ummmm, well she is pretty slender. If anything, try it out, and consult your doctor to discover your cholesterol level before making any switch. The reality is, if you add coconut oil to your diet and you are still consuming McDonalds or various other popular weaponized foods, you may want to blame other dietary sources for your cholesterol levels or weight loss hurdles. Find the foods that give you optimal energy, optimal taste, optimal beauty, and optimal longevity for a healthy life.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Juicing - Cheers to Good Health

Since I have been back in Canada, I have spending time with a relative who is in semi paralysis, enjoying time with my niece and nephew, exploring and enjoying teaching yoga up here, and of course missing my lovely yogis in NYC. Seeing the rapidly growing cancer rate in Canada, and witnessing how many people are sadly oblivious to how their diet affects their body has inspired me to put my juicing into full affect. So with my Cinematic Team My 7yr old niece Katarina (Director) and 4 yr old nephew (Prop Manager) we are making juicing videos to inspire the world to health and wellness.....and in the process these amazing kids are enjoy Drinking Healthy Drinks!

For the past couple years, teaching up to 6 classes a day in NYC (and loving it!), I have maintained my Vegetarian lifestyle (and loving it), and had MAXIMUM energy. Juicing has been a staple in my daily life.

Why does our body need to have more vegetables and fruits?
  • Vegetables provide more alkalinity to the body, and oxygenation to cellular development and our blood
  • Reality check, our body is made up for 75% water, we need to be replenished
  • The body requires the most amount of energy for Digestion, NOT ANY WORKOUT, but digestion....therefore we need to eat and drink things that provide optimal benefit and least taxation for our digestive system.
  • While many yogis abide by AHIMSA (non-harming to all living things, myself included) when embarking on Vegan/Vegetarian dietary habits, we must understand that when we eat meat (especially hormone fed meats of today) our body does not have the enzymes to break down the extremely high amounts of URIC acid in the meats, which is a direct reason for the ever growing colon cancer, liver, pancreatic and Diabetes rates in north America.
  • Vegetables are the richest source of water, vitamins, minerals, calcium, iron, and phytonutrients, that is something we want!
  • YES I SAID CALCIUM! Calcium found in the whole "Milk Does a Body Good Campaign" is untrue.....because while Milk may be high in Calcium, it is not AT ALL absorbed by our HUMAN BODY. We are not COWS. Our body does not have the enzyme, or chemical ability to break down the truly minute amount of calcium found in Milk. Milk is also high in hormones, and other additives. This can be directly linked to our growing population of people with bone density issues and osteoporosis.
  • The vitamins and minerals from juicing instantly absorb into the blood stream.
  • Veggies give you the highest source of energy. What was my before Zogaliaties (a class known for intensity and high energy) snack? A Banana or Kale Salad and I was bursting of energy!
  • Veggies and Fruits are low in calorie, rich in taste and have nutritional value for the body, therefore much better than anything processed or in a package which takes longer for your body to digest.
  • Veggies help to clear skin, detoxify the body, purify the blood, decrease mucous, neutralize free radicals, energize you, stimulate digestion, reduce fat, and provide iron.
  • Spinach - High in Iron and Calcium (Popeye ate it)
  • Kale - Rich in Calcium, and Amino Acids
  • Parsley - High in Vitamin C, Strengthens Adrenals
  • Cilantro - High in Vitamin C, Removes heavy metals
  • Basil - High in Vitamin K, great for Lymphatic system (excellent to reduce Celulite)
  • Cucumber - high in Water, detixifier (put it on your eyes and watch the puffy go away)
  • Watercress - SUPER DUPER High in Calcium!!! Anti Mucous for Asthma sufferers, jump on it!
  • Ginger - Excellent for the stomach and Circulation
  • Celery - Alkalizing and detoxification for the body!
  • Beets - Excellent for Kidneys, Blood purification and helps mens prostate health.
These can be easily juiced for a yummy, delicious, healthy drink! If you want to inspire someone to be healthier, invest in a juicer and drink to your health.

A side story.....growing up, my beloved mommy was embracing a predominantly vegetarian type of diet. Her preference was organic and we had a lovely garden. She was known to add spirulina and eat her greens. When she had cancer in full affect (it was in her family history), anytime I made fresh juice for her, her body would literally reject it, and instead she wanted to eat ribs (Something SHE NEVER ATE BEFORE, EVER!). The disease in her body (which is ACIDIC and made her blood acidic) was craving more acidity, therefore rejecting the Alkalinity found in the juice.

So if you are wondering why you hate the taste of is perhaps because your acidity level of your blood is high....acidity craves more acidity, acidity also eats away at your internal organs and inhibits healthy cellular development. Perhaps you need to monitor what your daily intake of food is. Is your diet consisting of more processed foods? More with white flours, sugars, salts etc? Then your blood may be more on the acidic side.

There are ingredient listings on your daily snacks....with some chemicals we cannot even pronounce....yet when you purchase a head of lettuce, there is no bizarre ingredient list....because it is just plain lettuce.

Remember, being skinny does not mean you are healthy on the inside. So for all those on the fad diets that are super high protein, or starvation-esque....if you are contracting diabetes, or issues with your may want to rethink your approach to health and wellness. You may want to think about your inside body.

Look to inspirations like Paramahansa, Sri Dharma Mittra, Lou Corona etc. Make subtle changes and watch how your energy sky rockets, your skin glows, your pants sizes drop, and you look and feel AMAZING!!!


Please visit my Newest YouTube Channel, Share it with your friends, Subscribe, leave comments, ask questions, share recipes ETC. Let's spread the movement of better health with everyone!!!