Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Highlights of my Adventures in India

New Bike Rickshaw job in Delhi and shopping in Paharganj.

Exploring Handicrafts in Delhi with my favorite Thai Yoga Massage teacher, Ram.
Enjoying some Hot Chocolate and the Magical views of Dharmshala with Catherine.
Picking Gorgeous Green Tea Leaves.
My visit with the most incredible Tibetan Doctor.  One check of the pulse and he knew all my bodily troubles.

So much gratitude for another magical adventure in India.  A chance to explore, share yoga, practice, teach, visit my family and friends.  Here are a few snaps from the adventure so far.  I also had the special blessing of attending a Dharma Talk by his Holliness the 14th Dalai Lama, on 11/11.  What a beautiful experience!!!  The room was filled with devoted Tibetan Buddhist Monks. Let go of hatred and anger was a special theme of his talk.  So grateful to be here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Exploring Philosphy, Vedas and Sitar with Ram Vakkalanka

Deep within every soul is a passion that is so deep it is elevated by others who share the same.  For me Music and Yoga are my two biggest passions.  I love to learn, to share, and also share with others the teachers who inspire me.  I was so grateful to meet this incredible teacher early this year, Ram Vakkalanka.  Ram teaches Philosophy (Sutras, Vedas), Sanskrit, Nada Yoga, Kirtan, Mantra, and Sitar.  He is a wealth of authentic knowledge, and expert who imparts the original meaning of ancient texts in his classes. 
Ram Vakkalanka

This morning after my yoga practice, I decided to pick up the Sitar again, and play.  While the sounds I created were most likely only enchanting for my ears, the music reminded me how grateful I am to have met this brilliant teacher.  Ram teaches for numerous Yoga Centers and Teacher trainings worldwide.  He is a brilliant addition to any Yoga TTC, or Yoga Center, for those who are eager to grow deeper in their knowledge of yoga in its most purest form.  While his talent in music is incredible, and his awareness of Yoga Sutras, Sanskrit, Vedas is vast, his method of teaching is so simple that everyone is eager to learn more. 

 For those interested in studying Yoga Sutras, Sansrkit, Vedas, Kirtan, Mantra, Mudras, Sitar...etc.  please visit Ram's website (http://www.aksharayoga.com/) to arrange for this brilliant teacher to teach at your center, in your teacher training or private classes.  He is truly a gem to the global yoga community.  Thanks so much Ram, hopefully we can coordinate schedules and resume some lessons.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Yoga of Graphic Art in Ireland

Since I am highlighting the incredible talents of some artists lately, and how they can enhance the path of yogis, yoga studios, and any creative soul looking to have an artistic impact with their product or packaging etc., I have to include the incredibly talented Liam Anderson.  When I was in Ireland, I was blessed to meet some of the most kind souls.  While there, Riya Yoga was offering the Kids Yoga Teacher Training for which students receive my original Kids Yoga music & my children's book (The Yoga Adventures of Priya and Pooch - Indian Treasure). 
Course Manual, Kids Book and Cd

Riya Yoga Kids CD Cover - Art Work by Liam Anderson
Riya Yoga Kids CD Inside - Art Work by Liam Anderson
I like to have Teacher Trainees incorporate music because I have witnessed how powerful a tool it is for all kids, plus being a musician it is wonderful to create some music that can be woven into yoga.  Since many teachers utilize Ipods, i figured I could just burn the songs to CD or have them bring a USB Flash Drive.  Since I did not have CD's or a CD burner, I was lucky enough to meet Liam.  Liam said he could help me out.  While I thought he would just be burning the songs to disc, Liam actually took a liking to the catchy tunes and decided the CD's should have some album art work.  Liam is another person who is incredibly talented in graphic design and came up with a beautiful Album cover.  Special thanks to Liam for taking the time to provide this beautiful art work for me and the trainees to enjoy.  For anyone interested in having Liam provide graphic art work or web design, you can email him at: liamaanderson@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yoga Teacher Training in Dharmshala, INDIA

This November 14th will be the start of Diwali Festivities, the grand opening of Ram Yoga Ayurveda Center, and the Riya Yoga 200Hr Teacher Training Course.  Along with an incredibly transformational experience with exposure to the 8 Limbs of Yoga, Reiki Level 1, students will enjoy a magical experience with breathtaking views of the Himalaya mountains, excursions to Kangra Fort, Sacred Temples, Bagsu Water Fall, special guest teachers and vedic scholars, and possibly Dharma Talks with his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

This promises to be a magical transformational experience.  For those interested in the course, feel free to find me on Facebook, or perhaps visit http://www.riyayoga.com/

The Yoga of Graphic Art

Before teaching at the Tathaasu Wellness expo, I realized I did not have any sort of business cards to exchange with others attending.  I set the intention that I would get into the swing of things and create some business cards for Yoga.  Literally the next day I was gifted with a sample of beautiful Yoga Business Cards from a talented graphic Artist, Daniel.  The Universe answered my silent prayer, and I never even had contact with Daniel prior to this.

Daniel once did the website for a resort where I taught in Kerala, India.  He does websites, business cards and promotional material.  For anyone interested in creating a professional website, or promotional material for their events, Yoga Designs is a great option.  Thanks Daniel for being so kind and creating such beautiful cards for me.

The Zen of Jungle Eye, when art and yoga unite

While teaching in NYC, I came across a beautiful artist rendition of a fellow Yogi (Bibi McGill) online.  I thought the work was luminous and spiritual.  Somehow synchronicity happened, and I made the connection with the incredibly talented artist who creates such consciously creative pieces of art.  His name is Ashley Christudasan and his art work receives growing acclaim under the name "Jungle Eye".

Unified Dimensions of consciousness are woven into this artist work in a way that makes each piece yoga for the eyes.  With detailed graphic layering, a rainbow of colors, black and whites, beautiful soul portraits, paintings, a depiction of yogis, or depiction of deities, their is a beautiful spiritual  richness that captures the infinite in each piece.
Grateful for a new piece of art _ Kaivalya

To my surprise Ashley "Jungle Eye" sometimes invites his fans on Facebook to compete for a chance to win a print of his work by giving a name for the piece.  Somehow a dark and mysterious piece caught my eye, and I felt it resonated with the word Kaivalya (Sansrkit for liberation).  To my great fortune, I won the contest, and Ashley felt this name was the right match for his work!  What an awesome day. I was so thrilled to receive my print of Kaivalya, which is now framed. 

For Yogis who are interested in making their photos luminous, multidimensional, and captivating, perhaps getting a soul portrait or promotional photo done with Jungle Eye, it is the best way to go.  Many well known yogis are adding the conscious flare to their photos with Jungle Eye!
After Jungle Eye recreated photo of me in Crescent Lunge pose, it soon became an internet meme with Zen 2 Zany on Facebook.  What an awesome surprise!!!  Thank you Ashley for sharing your talent!  For those who want their promotional photos, yoga photos, any precious photos immortalized into a "soul portrait", or to purchase prints of some of the conscious elevating prints of his vast collection of art, you can find more information at http://www.jungle-eye.com.  or perhaps connect with him on Facebook.

We are one - z2z

Friday, September 20, 2013

Exploring Yoga and Pranayama at Tathaasu Magazine Wellness Expo

Last weekend, I had the honor to share in the international Tathaasu Wellness Magazine's Expo.  The expo was held in International Center in Missisauga, Ontario.  With some Amazing teachers, exhibitors, vendors, and delicious food, the weekend was a beautiful success!  The expo had 3 or 4 main rooms with invited speakers including myself giving their respective workshops throughout the day, and a host of vendors with booths that shared healthy teas, crystals, crystal healing, shiatsu, vaastu, ayurveda, astrology, and much more! 

On Saturday a brave group of yogis pulled out their mats to engage in a gentle yoga flow, and some fun partner yoga.  It was my first time having to teach with a hand held mic, with some yogis on mats, and with some yogis seated in chairs, which meant I had the chance to give some chair yoga cues for those seated while keeping the flow for the yogis on their mats.  It was lots of fun.  Some beautiful beads of sweat were shed, some new found joy was experienced, and laughter was exchanged during the partner yoga. 

The Sunday I had the chance to teach an intimate group of yogis some Pranayama (regulation of breath).  Pranayama is one of the 8 Limbs of this beautiful practice of yoga, and a vital part to our existence.  The group worked through a guided healing meditation, and pranyama techniques including ujjayi, bramhari, alternate nostril, kapalabhatti and sitali. 

We closed class feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.  It was beautiful. 

Special thanks to Tathaasu Magazine for this amazing opportunity to share Yoga & Pranayama with the participants.  The weekend also had an amazing Fashion show, great prizes, and Kirtan!

For those who have not picked up Tathaasu Magazine, it is a wonderful periodical that  highlights yoga, ayurveda, astrology and much more with relation to Holistic Health and Wellness.

For those who missed the event, be sure to check in with Rogers TV, Access Weekend, as they interviewed me and a few guest speakers at the expo.  It should be on today, and throughout the weekend. 

Thanks again to all who participated in this incredible weekend.  Special thanks to my Daddy for driving me and snapping some beautiful pictures.  Many people who met my dad were amazed by his calm peaceful nature, and some were quick to tell me how he has the essence of a Yogi.  He does indeed.  To all the yogis who shared in this magnificent weekend, keep enjoying your yoga practice, keep a heart of gratitude, and keep sharing smiles everywhere you go.  ~ Namaste

Recap of Yoga & Reiki from Ireland to New York

The past few months have been a glorious adventure of Yoga, Kids Yoga and Reiki.  From Ireland with three beautiful Goddess (Mia, Mielle, and Donna) as they immersed themselves into the transformative 200Hr Yoga Teacher Training, to New York City where Sandi took the same journey, then Joseph, David, and Anthony embarked on the incredibly fun and exciting Kids Yoga, and Stephanie, Mike, Dana and Doris all found healing and light in Reiki Level 1.  I am so grateful to have been invited to share and inspire new Reiki Healers & Yoga Teachers, and Kids Yoga Teachers.  Congratulations to these amazing individuals!  Keep shinning and spreading this beautiful holistic practice, inspiring more people to love & light.  Thank you all for being receptive to the practice of Yoga.  Special thanks To Sun Moon Yoga Healing Center in Limerick, Ireland and Yoga Nidra Studio in Brooklyn, New York.
Kids Yoga TT & 200 Hr Adult Yoga TT in New York
Reiki Level 1 @ Yoga Nidra Studio in Brooklyn, New York

200Hr Yoga TT in Limerick, Ireland @ Sun Moon Yoga Healing Center

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kids Yoga Teacher Training in Ireland

Though I left Ireland last month, I realized I never posted about the incredible Kids Yoga Teacher Training.  For me Kids Yoga is one of my most favorite things to teach.  Kids are the most pure teachers of the 8 Limbs (Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samdhi).  I generally teach kids yoga with story, play and of course music.  While I have so much respect and gratitude to the amazing Kids Yoga Schools/Yoga Schools that I have had the honor to teach and share with like (Yogi Beans, Karma Kids, Little Flower, Bent on Learning, Bamboomoves, HMS, HBK, and the few youth shelters that I have taught at in Canada and India), I was so grateful to share this new RIYA YOGA KIDS program to inspire people different ways to bring Harmony to Kids through Yoga.

This incredible group of 7 yogis explored Partner Yoga, Yoga sequencing, Behavior Modification, Yoga Music, Yoga Stories, Yoga Adventures, Pranayama, Meditation, Yoga Games, and much more all geared to teaching kids yoga.  It was so fun to watch and share, and witness all their unique gifts and talents.  When we teach kids we truly should be able to be a kids too.  Have fun, smile, and consider everyone.  The group had so much amazing energy, and shared such beautiful ideas and insight when we discussed methods to work with kids.  Some of the group already works with kids, and this just provided different tools whether it was original music, my Kids book, or the manual that offered a variety of different ways to create a discipline that is both structured and fun.
Caravan of Camels (Partner Camel Pose/Ustrasana)

Bee Breathing - Pranayama

While I have had extensive experience with Children with Special needs, and this program works with all kids regardless of special need.  Kids do yoga naturally, and if you teach a child anything with a song they will remember it for their whole life, hence why we all remember our "ABC's.

That being said, I always recommend students to study further with other trainings and keep on learning.  Sonia Sumar is the lady I always refer students to, who want to specialize in Kids with Special Needs, as her experience and course are an incredible asset to the Kids Yoga Teachers tool box.  Radiant Child offers more brilliant music and tools, Yogi Beans, Karma Kids, Little Flower are all based in NYC, but provide awesome resources for those who want to share yoga to kids.

Special thanks to the incredible group of yogis who joined in the fun and adventures of Riya Yoga Kids Training.  It was such a delight to work with all of you.  More photos are on my facebook page.  Namaste ~
Back Pack Pose

Building Bridges (Golden Gate Bridge in Limerick) - Bridge Pose

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mandalas with Jean Ryan in Ireland

So while the trainees are starting to show signs of excitement and exhaustion as we are in the last leg of 200Hr Riya Yoga Teacher Training, as a special treat I invited a local artists Jean Ryan to come and share his love for painting and art with these amazing ladies.  I met Jean with Mia at a local networking event for local artists, and venues in Limerick.  Jean Ryan is a highly respected artist and art teacher, who had a gallery very close to Sun and Moon Yoga & Healing Center.  I had the idea to invite him to share the concept of creating Mandalas with the Trainees.  I have used Mandalas with kids Yoga, and find it to be an incredible meditation tool.  Before I had a chance to ask Jean, he was gone.  However, since this universe is so incredible and we manifest what we put our mind on, Jean had come back to the studio to see Mia.  She knew that I had wanted to ask him. 
My Mandala...it was relaxing to create.

Table of Mandalas

Donna enjoying the relaxation with her beautiful mandala.

Mia creating a breathtaking Mandala

Mielle enjoying her lovely Mandala.

Exploring Mandalas with Jean Ryan
As Jean Ryan was admiring the Yoga Studio for the first time, he casually mentioned to Mia that she should have some Mandalas painted on the walls, and Mia immediately looked at me and smiled.  I stepped up and asked Jean, and like a true artist he was happy to return to share some Mandala painting with the ladies.  We spent the later end of the afternoon with meditation music on, exploring the power of shapes, chakra colors, and concentration while creating our mandalas.  All of us found it to be a relaxing afternoon, and perfect way to spend the later part of our Teacher Training!  Thank you Jean Ryan for your time and talent, we are so grateful for your contribution to our Training experience.  Jean Ryan may return to Sun and Moon Yoga Centre for art workshops and mandala painting, so for those in Limerick please keep your eyes and ears open for this relaxing and creative way to meditate.

Mia and Jean Ryan

Anatomy with Sara in Ireland.

While I love teaching, I am a student to the practice of yoga and love to take classes with other teachers.  I had the special honor to take class with a beautiful young lady named Sara Cory.  Sara teaches Vinyasa style yoga, and learned with a wonderful teacher from Cork Ireland, who I forgot the name, and Sadie Nardini, and Cameron (founder of Budokon).  I always encourage Teacher Trainees and my own students to try different teachers, it allows us to remain humble and receptive to the power of Yoga, without attachment to teacher.  Sara agreed to share her passion for anatomy, and we had a brilliant afternoon.  We were happy to pose with pictures of the periformis and facia after learning so much.  Thank you Sara, so happy and grateful to have connected with you.
Sara and Myself holding a photo of facia.
My first class with Sara was in this beautiful place in Killaloe overlooking the water, the place was normally used for weddings and banquets.  The class was workshop style, alignment based with emphasis on safety of the spine.  I loved every second, and I knew it would be a valuable treat to have Sara share her love for anatomy with the teacher trainees. 
Sara and the lovely trainees so excited about anatomy!

Exploring Rotation.
While I have taught anatomy, and the section is clear in the Manual, Sara is a self proclaimed anatomy geek, with a passion for the periformis that I don't share, so I was so grateful to have her share her wisdom and knowledge with the group.  Thank you Sara for coming to Sun and Moon Yoga Center and sharing your time and incredible awareness of the spine, periformis, psoas, and all other brilliant things related to anatomy and Yoga.

Amazing Angel Workshop with Mary

One of the highlights for me being in Ireland was reuniting with my AMAZING Reiki Teacher, and Crystal healing Teacher, Mary Henry.  Mary was my yoga student in NYC, and one day in class when she spoke about her training in Reiki, I mentioned to her that one day she might be my Reiki Master teacher, and exactly that came true.  I am forever grateful to that life changing experience, and recommend Mary to everyone.  She is a gifted healer, intuitive teacher, and empath.  She has a divine gift to teach and share Reiki, Crystals, and Angel Healing. 
Angel Healing Savasana

We all explored Angel Healing, experienced divine guidance, and raised our vibration with the help of Mary's brilliant Singing Bowls, which she placed all around us, on our navel and played so beautifully.

Angel Healing Exploration

Crystals and Some Angel Healing

Yoga Teacher Training... Jumping to Face Fears

So most times when I teach, I like to offer a special challenge.  This time in Ireland the gals were invited to jump off the local Bridge in Killaloe, Ireland into the Shannon River.  It was not very high, and luckily the river was very deep, but still the fear of the jump was a factor.  The very same day at lunch, a lady decided to warn us about how dangerous it is, and that people split their faces open and not to jump.  Somehow, I thought it was a bit extreme fear based advice, especially since every day the local boys and girls were jumping so happily, repeatedly.  While I was still looking forward to us following through with the goal, the lady certainly planted a mini seed of doubt. The beauty of seeds is that according to the Bible, all you need is faith the size of the mustard seed, therefore the seed of doubt lost to my seed of faith, and childish excitement!

After the first jump (Mielle, Mia, Ambria, and Liam).

Donna was unable to join us, so the incredible Liam stepped in and jumped with us.  It was a fun afternoon, and the first jump inspired us to jump a second time.  Unfortunately, Mia's buttocks did a butt slap on the second jump, but as we all know learn through Yoga our injuries are a reflection of something deeper, and our bodies way to help us grow on the path to enlightenment.  Congratulations to the ladies for facing their fears, Donna you were there is spirit, and Mielle, had it not been for you jumping so easily the first time, I may have stayed on the bridge a little longer.  For those who want to view the excitement of the journey, and the jump off the bridge, please visit my youtube channel ambriali or click the link below:


The Beautiful Bridge where we jumped to liberation from fear.

Ayurveda Workshop in Limerick

During this amazing Yoga Teacher Training in Ireland, we held a beautiful Ayurveda Workshop at the hosting Yoga Studio, Sun and Moon Yoga Centre.  Teacher trainees were joined by yogis in the local community to explore the concepts of Ayurveda & Yoga.  Very similar to the workshop I taught in Dublin, we learned some Dosha Analysis, Diet, Meditation, Yoga, Cleansing and really explored how to make Ayurveda applicable in day to day life.  It was a beautiful afternoon, and we ended with some lovely chanting.  Thanks to all who shared in the radiant energy.

Reducing Kapha with some detoxifying twists.

Happy Yogis

Happy Yogis Part 2

Getting warm in Asana with some Downward Facing Dog
Reading through Manuals and Exploring Ayurveda

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Naked Truth of Yoga Teacher Training in Ireland and Crystals

The most beautiful aspect of doing a small group Yoga Teacher Training is to cater to the individual.  I am profoundly grateful that these incredible Goddesses are receptive to the practice of yoga and all that I teach them.  They are embracing the tears, the sore muscles, the self-development with grace and strength.  

I shared with the ladies my experience with Naked Yoga, and recommended that they all experience it. 
I suggested on their own in the morning while doing Sun Salutations they should release inhibitions and practice or meditate au naturel.   While they all thought it was a little shocking, I was so happy to find out they did it the very next day.  They all came away with a beautiful new love for their body.  Women need to celebrate their body, and since these ladies had explored Chakras they had a deeper understanding of why energy may remain in certain areas of the body.  When we celebrate our own unique body, we become one with our feminine energy and sexuality which should be embraced rather than repressed.  

at 2 Mile Gate with the Swans Blessings

While we spent most mornings doing our asana at 2 Mile Gate in County Clare in front of the water, having a family of swans come and bless us each day, we also had the chance to take a trip to the local “milk market” in Limerick.  At the Milk Market we met the amazing Mary Henry who has a Crystal Stand with her wonderful husband Aaron.  Mary happens to be my Reiki master teacher and Crystal Healing Teacher.  It was so great to see her and of course it was amazing to see her crystal stand.

The students were invited to pick a crystal or a few, and like always, the crystals actually picked them.  The metaphysical properties of the crystals they chose had a magical way of finding their way into their hearts.
At Mary's Crystal Stand at the Milk Market in Limerick, Ireland

With Mary & her hubby Aaron at their Crystal Stand in the Milk Market

Later that afternoon we did crystal meditation as we explored Yoga Sutra 1:39 YATHABHIMATA DYHANAD VA (Or by meditating on anything one chooses that is evalevating). 

यथाभिमतध्यानाद्वा ॥३९॥
yathā-abhimata-dhyānād-vā ||39||
- Or through contemplation (dhyana) of love. ||39||  

The meditation was very powerful, revealing and healing.  Tears were shed, awareness was found, healing happened, and transformation.  One student the owner of the beautiful Sun and Moon Yoga and Healing Centre, Mia shared with the group how her experience with the personal meditation of naked yoga and how during the crystal meditation she realized she would like to teach Naked Yoga at the studio.  WOW!  This is the second time after I suggested naked yoga to a teacher trainee, they have gone on to be inspired to share with others.  The first was Joseph, and now Mia!  Mia realized how she had quite a journey with her body, and coming to appreciate her body after many years of not doing that is a full circle healing for her, and she is excited to share.

I am so grateful to be part of all the magnificent transformation happening with these incredible Goddesses.  These ladies are growing to be incredible Yogis with every breath.