Create. Take Risks. Live Your Passion.

Happy Friday!! Most of you are probably jumping for joy that it is the end of the “work week” and have been looking forward to it since Monday.

I remember feeling the same way towards the end of my career in the car business. Waking up every morning repeatedly saying “ugh, I don’t want to go, I wish I could work for myself”. “I wish I could just start my own business”. “I wish I was my own boss”. “I wish I had flexibility”. “I wish I could pick my kids up from school”.” I wish they would take my suggestions”. “ I wish I didn’t feel like a caged animal”. TRAPPED!!! For life.

I wish. I wish. I wish.

My wish came true with hard work, dedication, motivation and not giving up.

I did it. I did it. I did it.

And I f’in love it. Being a small business owner and a Wellness Advocate is the most gratifying career I have ever had. I truly love helping others. I love to use my creative mind and putting the ideas into place without approval. If it works, it works. If not, oh well. I will try again.

The best part is I am able to do what I want to do. Pick my kids up from school, attend games, cook dinner calmly, not relying on others to help and making my own schedule.

Most of you know that know me are fully aware that I do not sugar coat anything.

Being a small business owner is not easy. Being a small yoga studio owner is not all bare feet, pretty leggings and peace love and happiness. That’s for f’in sure.

But one thing is for certain, when people leave the studio smiling, laughing or crying with tears of joy, that is what makes me keep going everyday. That is what motivates me. It’s obviously and definitely not the money because in this business, it is very tough to make a profit. (at least at my very reasonable prices) But guess what? I am HAPPY.

I took a chance to do what I love. I broke free from the cage and put my creative mind, passion and heart to work and jumped in. I am no longer trapped and that feeling of being stuck is gone.

A few people this past week sent me messages or told me personally that they finally broke free from their cage!!! I am so proud of you ladies for following your heart. Congratulations!!

How many of you have that fear? Not the money fear but the fear of being stuck. TRAPPED. If you are feeling this way you need to think about that maybe feeling this way is a sign that your current job is a very TOXIC environment.

Ask yourself these questions, write them down in your journal:

  1. Do you get anxiety and sad every night thinking about going to work?

  2. Do you suffer from stress?

  3. Are you taking your stress and anger on others at home?

  4. Do you feel unappreciated?

  5. Are you lacking motivation?

  6. Do you dislike being told what to do?

  7. Are you mentally and physically exhausted?

  8. How long is your commute?

  9. Are you using all of your talents and creative abilities?

One of my main goals in this lifetime is to help others through yoga, learning, practicing, sharing and teaching how to live a natural, healthy, authentic lifestyle.

If you are feeling “stuck” in any way; practice yoga. If you are feeling stuck and looking to break free; send me a message either way.

Two years ago, I became a wholesale customer with doterra Essential Oils. I began using essential oils daily in many different ways. Then one day about 9 months ago, it dawned on me. How selfish can you be not sharing these life changing oils with people. So, I began to learn more, practice more, share more and teach more. And now I am building a team of people who are looking to do the same. Authentically. On their terms.

I am looking for two enthusiastic and motivated people to join my team to help share these gifts from nature so we can heal everyday. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. One drop at a time.

Are you passionate about healing and living a natural lifestyle? Are you motivated and driven? Do you love to help others and want to see others succeed?

I love being my own boss and so will you!!

Baby steps. Crawl. Walk. Run. Learn. Practice. Share. Teach.

Xoxoxox

Email: maribethwoodford@gmail.com


The Golden State Warriors are YOGIS

Thursday night my 12 year old son Patrick and his friends decided to take the Teen Yoga class at SUKHA. They loved it!! They are athletes. Full blown, non-stop, basketball, baseball, lacrosse players and surfers. Although, even if you don't play sports; we are all athletes. These boys are on their way to improving their game both physically and mentally.

Patrick has practiced before many times. With a group and of course, at home with me. Core work, flying into crow and just lying on his back relaxing. 

Have Woody and I noticed a difference? Absolutely. No more pouting, sulking, getting angry or crying! I am not saying it is all from yoga. Good parenting definitely has a big part. Talks, print outs on "how to be coach-able", contracts drawn up on loving the game, being a team player, respecting coaches, umpires and teammates and how to have fun.

Meditations, relaxation and breathing is key!!

YOGA IS NOT JUST FOR GIRLS!! 

I can not stress enough the importance of yoga for athletes. So many professional sports teams are practicing yoga daily. #everydamnday

Here is a great article that was posted on one of my sons favorite basketball teams. The Golden State Warriors!!

Kerr keeps Warriors winning with yoga, creative approach

Updated: JANUARY 20, 2017 — 11:12 AM EST

by JANIE McCAULEY, The Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Anderson Varejao lowered his 6-foot-11 frame into a runner's lunge and raised one arm high into the air to add a twist, demonstrating after a recent shootaround the new yoga pose he just learned

Kerr keeps Warriors winning with yoga, creative approach

Then, he took it up a notch and attempted an airplane balancing pose on one leg with his arms spread wide.

The Golden State Warriors have become yogis.

Coach Steve Kerr is committed to changing things up, and he gave Golden State a day off from the practice floor one day last week so the players could practice yoga instead. In the middle of a prolonged stretch at home with a more regular routine, the schedule allowed for some improvising.

"I really liked it," Varejao said. "I'm going to do more."

Doubt you'll see Draymond Green or Klay Thompson doing downward-facing dog again soon - though Green might be talked into another try eventually.

"I'm bad," Green said. "Yoga isn't for everybody. I think it's a great thing, I just don't think my body is made for all of those different positions. I did well at a few of them. It's hard, it's tough. My body really isn't cut out for yoga."

The very next night after the group class, during warmups for a home game with the Pistons, player development coach Bruce Fraser pulled his foot to his opposite inner thigh for an impromptu tree pose. He laughed as an amused Shaun Livingston watched from the baseline.

Andre Iguodala is an experienced yogi who can really cat-cow and is considered top on the team, often taking classes. Center Zaza Pachulia also can forward fold with the best of them. They took prominent positions in the class led by Lisa Goodwin, Golden State's director of corporate communications and also a yoga teacher, at a Berkeley studio - a first for Kerr taking the team away from team headquarters for a yoga session.

No surprise, two-time reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry can bring it on the mat, too.

"We've had some optional yoga sessions at our facility. This is the first time we took everybody and made it mandatory," Kerr said. "It was good."

The temperature was about 92 degrees for the hour-long power vinyasa class, so it was steamy.

Everybody was drenched in sweat by the end for final resting pose, or savasana.

"My muscles felt good," forward James Michael McAdoo said, rubbing his stomach where his core got a workout. "It was fun. It was hot in there, like working in a sauna. I told our strength and conditioning coach, 'You got to step up your game. Lisa embarrassed us.'"

"It's awful, it's pitiful," Thompson said of his own yoga ability. "It's something I worked on and it's something I actually enjoy. More than just being physically challenging, it's an incredible mental workout. It tests your pain tolerance and your ability to push yourself mentally. That's why I like it. It was really good. I think it helped a lot of us - everybody, even the coaches."

Along with the experienced yoga veterans, there were some first-timers.

A few found it extremely tough.

"I'm not the most flexible," acknowledged player development coach Chris DeMarco.

Assistant coach Mike Brown described his debut as "terrible."

"For me, it was really hard, but it was fun," he said, later adding, "I nearly passed out."

Ron Adams, another assistant who focuses on preparing Golden State's defense, happened to work out in the hottest corner of the room for his first time practicing in that high temperature.

"It's such a cleansing exercise," he said.

The Warriors aren't the only ones doing it.

Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy has scheduled yoga time for the Pistons, saying: "It's got its value, no question about it. Would I consider doing it with them? Probably not."

Kerr goes whenever he can fit it in, typically taking an hour-long class during the lunch hour on game days when the schedule - and his body - allows.

It's a time he can focus on taking some deep breaths, literally, away from the pressure-packed NBA workload and just be just another yoga student for 60 minutes out of his day.

This weekend marks one year since Kerr formally returned to the bench last Jan. 22 against Indiana after a lengthy leave of absence to deal with complications from a pair of back surgeries. Current Lakers coach Luke Walton led the way during a record 24-0 start and went 39-4 before Kerr's comeback on the way to winning Coach of the Year after an NBA record 73-9 finish.

While the 51-year-old Kerr still has some discouraging, physically challenging moments dealing with pain and headaches, he considers himself fortunate to be on the sideline doing what he loves.

"I guess normal is a good way to say it. He seems like his old self," Curry said. "You know he's been through a lot just physically trying to recover from the surgeries he's had. I can't imagine the frustration, how long it took and things he had to do and all the doctors he's met with. His whole story is crazy. We're obviously happy to have him back but not only that, you see him with energy and his presence like he wants. It's been good to see."

Whether Kerr will take his team back to yoga any time soon, time will tell. The Warriors are at the season's midway point and the "dog days" of January as Kerr has put it. Golden State was home for all but a night from Dec. 26 until leaving for Houston on Thursday for Friday's game against the Rockets, with just a quick bus ride to Sacramento as the lone road trip in a 10-game stretch during that span.

Because there was so much time to practice, the yoga day was a nice change of scenery.

 

Published: January 20, 2017 — 11:12 AM EST

Get your boys and girls to YOGA

 

 

Release, Detox and Letting Go

What a week!!! 

Emotions, cord cutting, detoxing, flowing, and releasing. Even though it's November, it has been a great time to let it go. "Out with the old, in with the new". We have been releasing early.

We cut cords this week with people, places, situations, and emotions so we can move on from them and let them go energetically. It does not mean we do not love or care about them anymore. Cord Cutting is a process that severs that negative attachement between you and another person so that the shadow of that relationship does not hang over you or affect you in the present.

Who do we form cords with? There are major and minor cords. Major cords are formed with:

Lovers, spouses (exes and present), children, parents, siblings, close friends, abusers, or any sexual partners.

Minor cords are formed with: clients, teachers, bosses, co-workers, and friends.

You definitely know who you have the most toxic cords with. There is a certain negativity attached to the relationship, no matter how much you love or respect that person.

Tuesday night, we each wrote a list of the people, places, emotions and situations we needed cut. My 1/4 sheet of paper was full. From my x-husband to my family members. My home, that I have so many emotional attachments with, fears of romantic relationships (which I am happy to say that I am almost there) and the list went on. 

This was a week of detoxing.

I am proud to say that I did my first ever three-day cleanse!! Many have looked at me and said "Why"?

This cleanse has NOTHING to do with weight loss. In fact, I don't own a scale. Scales drive people CRA CRA!! STOP weighing yourself my friends.

 I have been experiencing horrible headaches on my right side for weeks now along with exhaustion. And, it does not have anything to do with getting up early and teaching. I have always been an early bird. 

After the Inversion Workshop, I spoke to Maria who is also a Holistic Health Counselor and she told me about a juice cleanse. 

I decided to try it thinking that maybe I needed to detox and flush out my system. There are five fresh juices a day for three days. They are YUMMY!! Day 1, EASY. Day 2, hard, Day 3; BRUTAL for me!!!! I felt weak, dizzy, and hallucinating. Thank goodness for a friend that pushed me through and encouraged me not to give up. I didn't. I finished. I am proud and thankful.

Before I spoke to Maria telling her about my experience on day 3, I was saying to myself "How the fuck do people do this"? This is crazy. What a horrible feeling!!! I NEED FOOD!!

Maria told me this was how my body was detoxing. Everyone is different and reacts a different way. It has nothing to do with how much I weigh or how active I am. It was the toxins releasing!!

Most of you know my eating habits. I love food. I eat. All in moderation. I don not deprive myself of anything. But it was time. Time to clean. Time to release.

This cleanse was much needed. Just like the cord cutting meditation.

Today was the first day of food. I ate. I taught three classes, slept for two hours, cooked a healthy dinner and I feel like a million bucks. I have not had a headache since last night.

Don't wait until the New Year to cut cords, detox and release.

"I do not know anyone who doesn't get a good feeling when they hear the following words, LIGHT, CLEAN, BRIGHT, HAPPY, ENERGIZED". You have just begun a journey towards feeling all of these." It is the way to go"-Maria Preuster

 

 

The People, The Music, The Energy, The Flow

As most of you know music is a big part of my classes. Every playlist reflects the dharma talk of the class. Creating the playlist is so much fun, and rewarding. Time consuming? Yes. Worth every minute? Absolutely.  Honestly, I could not imagine it any other way. Some are harder than others. Some days, not every song reflects the dharma.

Thank you to those who have participated in the past. Thank you to those who randomly shoot me a message with song requests. Keep them coming. Some love country, others; not so much. Every playlist is carefully chosen to be certain that the SUKHA Family leaves happy!! Happy with the flow, the music and most of all the message. 

This mornings 6:00 am class inspired me to write about the music, the dharma, the dancing, and the singing! A full class of 25 amazing people, the SUKHA room was filled with positive energy. From new students to the people who have been on this journey with me since day one.

The dharma was about AURAS! The electromagnetic energy that surrounds people.

I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many people with strong, positive auras. To have a strong, powerful aura means you have a strong, healthy body, well-balanced psychological and emotional health and a spiritual maturity and strength. 

Having each of you walk in that room between 5:20 am and 5:55 am, smiling, laughing, and talking to one another (so much that I must ring the bell) is rare. SUKHA is special. It is uncommon. ALL OF YOU created this "REAL STUDIO" that has positive energy and a good aura! Thank you. I can honestly say, I don't think I have EVER seen anyone walk in  those doors unhappy. 

Here are a few songs from today's class:

Silver Springs

Snake Eyes

Lights

Blinded by the Light

What's the Frequency, Kenneth?

Electric Avenue

She's so High

The Way You Make Me Feel (SUE ANN ROCKED IT)

Unbelievable

Black Magic Woman

Bette Davis Eyes

Creep

Young, Wild, and Free

Cleansing Aura

Be happy

Be healthy

Be strong

MB

 

What Makes this Family Smile

First let me begin by saying how much I love this family of four. I met Shana a few years ago. We connected instantly. Her strength, both physically and mentally, her beauty and her amazing family. Her trust and honesty. Her friendship. Shana is a business owner for B3 Fitness; where you can get one on one personal training.
Her husband Anthony is a hard worker, great dad and amazing husband. Oh and very sarcastic!! We crack on each other every time we meet. They have two amazing children. Anthony and Alessandra. Respectful, kind, funny, smart and loving.
We come together on Sunday mornings after they attend church for a one hour of "family yoga". Bonding, laughing and a few tears sometimes. Between school, working and day to day activities families can seem disconnected. Each family member may be going in different directions. Shana creates time for her family to come to SUKHA to reconnect and bond with her husband and kids.
Here is what Shana has to say about yoga and how it makes her smile:
 

Sitting here trying to put into words why Yoga makes me smile and what part about it specifically makes me happy is so difficult for me. It always has been a physical aspect for me. But it has also helped me be a little more patient. Yoga has helped my family reconnect. Both of my children absolutely love and adore Maribeth. She has introduced yoga to my family in such a positive way that now they no longer are afraid to practice with me in the living room. 
Setting an intention in the beginning of class is very important to me. It reminds me during practice that I don't have to be perfect but just try my hardest for whatever my intention is that day. 
Yoga will always have a special place in my heart. Yoga makes me think of my family. Practicing together is so beautiful for me. I will recommend everyone practice with their entire family. 

What makes Kristine Smile?

This amazing, beautiful, Manasquan Resident made her way to SUKHA a few months ago after being told by Alison Crowley. Nervous about trying yoga for the first time, Kristine made her way onto her yoga mat and can't seem to get off of it!! She practices with me 3-4 times a week at SUKHA and at Manasquan River Golf Club. Krsitine practices with her daughter at SUKHA. The mother/daughter bond is awesome. They have a beautiful yoga practice along with their beautiful smiles and personalities. It is a pleasure to have them both in my class.

I am so happy that Kristine loves yoga and found a place to practice where she feels comfortable. Thank you Kristine for practicing at SUKHA and MRGC. You are positive and motivated. Keep up the good work. 

This is what makes Kristine Smile:

What makes me smile?

My wonderful husband, children, mother, sisters and friends

Unconditional love and support

SUKHA!

Finding a blessing in everything that comes my way

The Beach!!!

Sunrises and sunsets

My puppy

Inverting (who would’ve thought it possible without a trip to the emergency

room!!!)

YOGA

Thank you Maribeth for opening your studio, (yes, it’s a real yoga studio people!!)

your heart and your wonderful practice to a newbie like me, and for giving me the

confidence to keep reaching higher. Thanks also to all the people I practice with for

making this place so inviting, welcoming and supportive. Thanks also to Alison who

encouraged me to try it…. I will be forever grateful to all of you!

How Matt takes yoga off the Mat

I've known this yogi since high school!!!

Both SJV graduates, both proud to be from Matawan and two people that will NEVER forget where they came from.

Moving 17 miles south to Manasquan, this police officer of 22 years found his way on his yoga mat almost one year ago. 

Matt is a very close friend. On the mat and off. 

Kind, genuine, outgoing, friendly and sincere. And extremely good looking.

I have been very fortunate to have such a great friend in my life. Talking, walking, practicing yoga and throwing back a few Guinness from time to time.

Matt has been on this yoga journey since the first day I started teaching. Growing, learning and experiencing such a great practice. He incorporates yoga on and off the mat. In his personal life and on the job. I encourage all to do the same. 

I am so happy he found yoga. With that being said; this is what makes Matt smile:

 

I'm happy to be a part of the "What about Yoga makes me smile" campaign.  It's been almost a year since I've started yoga and its been a great ride….   Its hard for me to pinpoint, in one short blog, what specifically makes me smile.  But, I'll try.

First, the fitness aspect:  Everyday presents new personal challenges;  this makes me SMILE!

Next, the Dharmas absolutely make me smile!!!!  I like to learn something from everyone I meet and through each of life's short, or lengthy, interactions.  The daily dharma's are always thought provoking and make me look at life just a little bit differently.  I have learned a lot about myself within the past year.  This makes me SMILE!!

What really makes me smile about Yoga?  The people!!!!  I feel blessed to surround myself with a truly great group of people:  Fun, funny, and positive!!!   We are all there with the same goal:  to improve one or more aspects of our lives.  We laugh so much, with or at each other.  We support each other in our individual challenges, on and off the mat.  This makes me SMILE!!!

I don’t remember my expectations when I started this ride, but where it has brought me today certainly makes me SMILE!!!!

 

Drum Roll PLEASE........

"Here it is....as Alan Funt used to say,"Smile, you're on Candid Camera". This is how Sue Ann Biello opened her #whatmakesmesmile note.

Before you read what Sueann has to say, I want to say how much fun it is to have this beautiful, funny, lady in class.

I am blessed to have met Sue years ago. Moving to Brielle almost 10 years ago, not knowing anyone. I will say that it was not easy meeting people, being a divorced mom of two. What I remember and I will never forget is a handful of married couples welcoming me not caring what my martial status was. Maybe not a handful, actually three. One of them being Sue and Jim Biello. Our children are the same age and we live around the corner from each other. From Brookside to Baseball, this family is welcoming, helpful, kind and thoughtful. Did I mention the sense of humor?? And I will continue to do so.

Sue and I became friends instantly. She is one of the happiest people I know. Her sense of humor is incredible. One of the funniest human beings I have ever met. Jokes and comebacks just roll off of her tongue. 

I am so happy that she has found her way onto her yoga mat and practices at SUKHA a few times a week. The tears of laughter are priceless. She will randomly "coo" in Pigeon Pose, And stick her tongue out in Lizard Pose. Oh, and the cucumber jokes!! Well, I can only discuss that in class. So, you may have to find your way to SUKHA to find out. (Yes, Sukha is a real Yoga Studio.) Unconventional? Absolutely. 

Thank you Sueann for making me smile every class you attend. I am so happy you enjoy class. You make the entire room smile!! 

So here it is......

What about yoga makes Sueann Biello smile?

Drum roll please….here it is…as Alan Funt used to say,” Smile, you’re on Candid Camera”

There are so many things that make me smile.…there are the obvious things: My fabulous, hardworking husband Jim, my boys Patrick and Ryan who continue to challenge me and keep me on my toes, my extended family, my friends, my two fur babies Fred and Coco and last but not least my new-found love of yoga, for which I thank Maribeth.

Here’s a short list of things that make me smile

Summer nights on the beach, having dinner and watching the sun set

Maribeth’s accessible, easy going approach to yoga

Imbibing in a cold rose

Laughing, no one laughs harder at their own jokes than me

Equilibrium both physically and organizationally, when I can find it.

Next stop Hollywood!

What makes this yoga teacher in training smile?

Happy May!!

I am loving the #whatmakesyousmile "campaign"!! It has been so much fun taking photos of my students/friends and hearing what about yoga makes them smile. Again, thank you Bridget for launching this fun experience and Chris and Bob for the first "couples yoga" photos and blog post. After every post, the photos are displayed in the SUKHA studio/"classroom"/"imaginary studio". Ha ha. JK. (had to throw in a dig). I always will. 

So, this week I am so happy to introduce Amy for the #whatmakesmesmile blog!!

I had the privilege of meeting Amy on September 28, 2015. The first day SUKHA opened the doors. A shy, beauty who I can call one of my good friends.

Amy practices with me at SUKHA 3-4 times a week. Our 6 am classes now start around 5:15 am!! For conversation, coffee, discussing poses, alignment and LIFE! Amy is a mom of two awesome boys, a employee of Barlow's, a true yogi, an amazing, talented artist, writer and a poet. She inspires me daily. From her beautiful yoga practice, to the art you can find on the walls at SUKHA and on the tank tops.  Amy is going to be graduating from yoga teacher training this month and will be teaching at SUKHA!!! You will be seeing Amy more and more. Thursday and Sunday morning Amy will be in class doing adjustments and giving essential oil head massages. 

Here is Amy's list of what about yoga makes her smile!! Thank you Amy!!

What about yoga makes me smile?

Everything. It's that simple. Trying to pinpoint a few bullet points would limit the scope and lessen the practice.
However...if I were talking to someone who has never taken a yoga class or maybe just started I would say this...
It's a journey that begins in a few basic postures, but one that never ends. The postures evolve as you do. Beginning to find even a few stolen moments of self awareness is that first asana (posture). It might be the hardest one.
You realize that you have to practice releasing in order to become stronger- both physically and mentally.
In a yoga class, especially someplace as close knit and kind as Sukha, you don't do it alone. We fall and laugh and build back up together- no matter what your level is.
But the "yoga" of it all, the "yoking together" of all these things is what makes me smile. We are the moving meditation. Each of us brings something to yoga and helps evolve it into that never ending posture on and off the mat.
Mostly yoga gives me hope- for more health, more peace, more strength, more confidence, more me.

 

What makes this amazing couple smile?

Yoga allows us to be more aware of ourselves and feel connected. The past nine months I have connected with such amazing people. We have become a family. A family that laughs, cries, dances and sings. A family that I can open up to about pretty much almost anything. And this week has definitely proven that.

This weeks dharma talks emotional and fun. From "Stay Gold" on Tuesday morning and  "Spring Cleaning" on Thursday morning( that we all should do. And I don't mean the house or the yard.) Thursdays dharma was intense and hard for me. I would have never been able to talk about that with anyone. I thank you!! And of course, during class, I always mess up one thing or have one blooper. And this blooper may be on top of the list for the best. Instead of "lower your hips", I said "lower your tits"!! It was the ice breaker. Tears of laughter after the tears from the dharma. So, I thank you all for dealing with my forgetfulness and my slip ups!! 

The SUKHA family is a unimaginable group of people. From teens that practice with their parents, to young adults, to middle-age. The bonding, the connection is amazing. Did I mention the couples that practice at SUKHA?? Well, there are a few. And I think it is amazing! Practicing yoga with your partner, family member or friend is a great way to build a stronger communication and intimacy with any of these relationships. Creating shared memories, improving self-awareness, a sense of balance  and trust. 

The word "yoga" means union in Sanskrit. "A uniting of two people".

One of the "SUKHA Couples" is Chris and Bob of Manasquan. I have been so blessed to have them in my class. Their sense of humor, the patience they have for each other, the way they still look at each other is off the charts. Even after 25 years of marriage, and 3 young adults. Triplets! I was honored to guide two of them through a yoga class. Beautiful, respectful, funny, 22 year old adults that came to a yoga class with their parents on Easter Sunday.  That is what I call a beautiful family.

This week the #whatmakesmesmile blog is about Chris and Bob. A beautiful couple that I respect, and look up to. You both make me smile every time you come to my class.

So, in order to be in this fun campaign, I asked them "What about yoga makes you smile"?

Here is their response:

S – Such a great group of yogis

U – Upside down feels good

K – Karma rhymes with Dharma

H – Headstand (does it count if Rich didn’t see it?)

A – Acceptance

Y- Your Journey

O – Okay (I’m okay, you’re okay)

G – God, is it hot in here?

A - Asses in the air like we just don’t care

Thank you both again for your support on this wonderful journey. I am so glad you love yoga! I love having you both in my class. Keep up the good work. On your mat and OFF!! xoxo

 

 

#whatmakesyousmile

#whatmakesyousmile

A hashtag I have been using for a few years on Instagram. Taking a pictures of things that make me smile. From sunrises to sunsets. My children. Yoga. Nature. My life.

So I decided to use the theme as one of my Dharma Talks during my classes.  Asking my class, my students, my friends, "What makes you smile"? Everyone participated with answers ranging from their children to walking on the beach. I love when the class participates and decided to take it a step further. The wheels were spinning on what I should do to take this a step further. A video testimonial of what makes them smile? Hmmmmmm

That Sunday evening my instant messenger on Facebook beeped. It was a message from one of my students. Bridget Petrulla. A student/friend that started taking my class in January. The message read: 

"I want to speak on your video that goes viral!! I want to say my happiness is now yoga! I want to say thank you for letting me learn to like and trust myself again! Your classes have made me stronger than I ever thought I could be. I came home and was teaching my kids yoga and they loved it! I have you to thank for that. Thank you, thank you for letting me love yoga again, thank you for letting me feel good about myself again, thank you for welcoming me into your class and spirit. I am truly inspired and you make me want to be a better person. You came into my life when I truly needed you.. It's amazing how things like that happen. So again, thank you, thank you."-Bridget

I was so touched by the message. But it wasn't me. It was Bridget. She found the courage to get back on her yoga mat. I was able to provide her with a comfortable place to practice yoga. A room with four walls and a great group of men and women.

Because of my love for taking photos and posting them on social media I have decided to take photos of each student that would like to participate in the "#whatmakesyousmile " SUKHA campaign.

Because Bridget was the first to respond, we met early Sunday morning for a photo shoot. She was nervous, but confident. Her poses were amazing. She has come so far in such a short period of time. After sending them over to her, she messaged me back; "I hate to admit it, but I think I actually look pretty good"!! ADMIT IT!!! You should. You look amazing". Yoga builds confidence, self esteem. We all have our insecurities. I get it. I still do. It is a process. Even this time in our lives. Moms and dads. Focusing mostly on our children. Make time for yourself. You are a reflection of your children. Be happy. Be healthy. Be strong.

Thank you Bridget!! I am so proud of you and I look forward to continue to guide you through your practice.

 

Is SUKHA a "Real Yoga Studio"?

What makes a Yoga Studio Real?? Hmmmmmm....What exactly does that mean?

I am not really sure why anyone who truly practices yoga or even if they don't practice would ever say "It's not a real studio". 

What does that mean? 

SUKHA is located in St.Denis School in Manasquan and run through the Manasquan Recreation Program. The school was closed down last year due to low attendance. The Recreation Program leases the building to run the programs in the gymnasium and two very large classrooms. One of the classrooms has been converted into a "Yoga Studio". The business name is SUKHA. This is my business name; a legal business name, a real name. The size is perfect, it is relaxing, zen, quite, peaceful and no distractions. There are four walls, mats, blocks ,heat, Buddha, candles, music, TWO bathrooms,  and people. Amazing, real, fun, people.  Although to practice yoga,  none of this is required. That's the beauty of yoga. You can do it anywhere. Solo or not. And I encourage that!!

SUKHA and the Manasquan Recreation Program is making yoga affordable to the community. at a low drop-in rate of $12 per class. Does the affordable price mean it is not an authentic studio? Or is it because it is held in a classroom? I'm not sure. You tell me. So, of course I asked a few of my students, my friends, new friends that have been with me on this amazing journey since July. They practice with me 3-4 times a week. 

So what makes a studio "real"?

"The people make it real. There is comradery instead of competition. " says one yogi friend who has practiced at other studios and feels comfortable in the "non-intimidating setting at SUKHA". 

Comradery: "The spirit of friendship and community in a group who keep each other upbeat despite the difficulty of their circumstances".

"The space that yoga is practiced can be anywhere....outside in nature, a gym, a stage, a bedroom". The space doesn't matter because yoga is a physical and mental practice and a journey. "Real Yoga Studio" is just an aesthetic phrase that confines it to four walls and a sign outside"- says a yogi friend/teacher in training.

"A peace of mind...an ability to quiet my mind. A balance of mind and body. It allows me to learn how to focus.. Separate things in my mind. To figure out if they are even worth worrying about. I can do this at SUKHA. "Your classes and your personality have helped me find that". The other classes I have taken just feel like a "room to do yoga". Your classes have a warm, welcoming, and real feel". You make it personal. -Says another yogi/friend.

"I get so much from your dharma talks. Real, genuine. From your life's experiences and ours". You get your students involved, you print us quotes, you are funny, caring, genuine and you make mistakes. You are human. You fall, you laugh and you get back up. You inspire without even realizing it. You can't do crazy poses and you admit it. You sing, you dance, you cry (trying to hold it in). You let us be real. No judging. No competing. We are all growing together as we laugh our asses off, and that is the beauty of SUKHA and what makes it real". -Yogi/Friend since the beginning

So with all of the responses from my yogi students (that I can honestly call each one my friends) to my simple question "What makes a yoga studio real"? I will say that the comment made "why don't you practice in a "real studio" has baffled me. Who says that? In my opinion, not a true yogi or a very nice person. But I know that SUKHA is a place to practice yoga. A great space, through such a great program, in a great town, with amazing people. Come see for yourself. You won't know for sure what is real until you come check it out. 

You will be very surprised and maybe even put it on your list as a "real yoga studio".

Below are 7 Habits to Actually Practice Off the Mat. I encourage everyone to read these even if you do not practice yoga.

  1. Practice compassion and kindness.-Knock off judgmental ways, put an end to the rumor mill and hush up on gossip. Don't speak if it's going to hurt. Say hello to a stranger. Let go of destructive thoughts.
  2. Practice gratitude-Don't think about things that are missing in your life. Stop comparing yourself to friends or even strangers. You have family and love. You have time and health. You have yoga (in a real studio or not). Don't relish in what you are lacking. Announce what you are grateful for.
  3. Practice contentment-Find joy in any experience no matter how big or small. Appreciate how far you have come in life.
  4. Practice humility-You're no better than anyone who doesn't practice yoga. Be inspired by people who come into your life.
  5. Practice generosity-Treat others as you treat yourself on the yoga mat. Give with your heart and spirit. Be present. No anger. No jealousy. No hate. Jealousy, anger and hate are UGLY.
  6. Practice slowing down-No rush. Your outside world is a reflection of your inner world. Reduce your commitments. Prioritize your life.
  7. Practice smiling-So easy to do. Try it first thing in the morning when you look in the mirror. It helps you feel good and it looks AMAZING!! It can brighten someones day.

Take these habits with you. Practice them daily.

Be happy, Be healthy, Be strong

 

Parts of 7 Habits from Mind/Body/Green Article

 

 

Key to Happiness

This morning in class, the first 23 people to arrive received a "Key to Happiness". 

I only was able to buy 23. That is all the Antique Store had. It worked out perfectly because EVERYONE received a key.

The reason behind this dharma is from the "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali". A book we were required to read in Yoga Teacher Training. And I read it often. This Sutra is one of my favorites and it is one of the reasons I chose SUKHA. Please read the SUTRA below. And use your keys to open the "four locks": 

  1. SUKHA (happy people)
  2. dukha (unhappy people)
  3. punya (the virtuous people)
  4. apunya (the wicked)

Patanjali gives 4 keys to open these locks. He says that if we always keep these 4 keys with us, when we come across any of these four locks, we will have the proper key to open it. The four keys are: maitri (friendliness), karuna (compassion), mudita (delight), and upekshanam (disregard). Patanjali reminds us that there is a Yogic way of approaching all people, no matter what behaviors and attitudes they may be exhibiting at the moment.

When you see a happy person, use the “friendliness” key. This means being able to share in another person’s happiness or good fortune, instead of being jealous or trying to destroy their joy through a bitter attitude or negative verbal comments. Through jealousy, you will not disturb the happy person but you disturb your own serenity. So we should always have the friendliness key when we see happy people.

When you see an unhappy person, use the “compassion” key. When someone is upset, try to help them or comfort them if you can. If they need space, then leave them alone after letting them know you will be there for them when they are ready. Don’t take pleasure in seeing someone else suffer, but remember how it felt when it happened to you and have compassion for them. By doing that, you will retain the peace of your own mind. “Through compassion you find that all human beings are just like you.” – HH The Dalai Lama

When you see a virtuous person, use the “delight” key. If you see a virtuous person, feel delighted. Do not envy the person, but rather appreciate the virtuous qualities and try to cultivate them in your own life. As we rejoice in and appreciate their qualities, we are inspired by knowing such greatness is possible. Observing noble qualities in others is a virtue of the heart.

When you see a wicked (non-virtuous) person, use the “disregard” key. We need to develop equanimity towards those whose actions oppose our values. It would be wonderful if all people always acted with honor and consciousness, but unfortunately this is not always the way. We ourselves, may have acted, spoken, or thought unkindly or hurt another person. So become indifferent to the person who is wicked at the moment.

In daily life we see people around who are happier than we are, people who are less happy. Some may be doing praiseworthy things and others causing problems. Whatever may be our usual attitude toward such people and their actions, if we can be pleased with others who are happier than ourselves, compassionate toward those who are unhappy, joyful with those doing praiseworthy things, and remain undisturbed by the errors of others, our mind will be very tranquil.

Be happy,

Be healthy,

Be strong,

mb

Sources:The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Secret Power of Yoga by Nischala Joy Devi, and The Heart Of Yoga by TKV Desikachar

 

It doesn't matter what's in front of her. As long as she knows who's behind her.

Yesterday was a very interesting day. As I always say "learning and growing never stops no matter how old you are. Learning about yourself and others. The letter below I received last night from a friend; a new friend. Not someone I have known for 30 years. A true breath of fresh air. 

I thank you from the bottom of my heart. For your friendship, your support, the "Lion Leggings", and the motivation. The motivation reminding me that "I CAN DO IT"! 

                                And you can bet your ass that I CERTAINLY WILL!

 

I haven't known you long, but this much I know is true:

               You have re-created yourself more than once. It is both a joy of life and a struggle.

   You can do it!

 

When you are always lifting others it is often hardest to lift yourself up even an inch.

You can do it!

We practice opening up, hips, hearts, eyes and mouths. It is practice and not perfect.

You can do it!

 

Everyday there is a focus to further yourself in this journey and to learn from it. A reason to look up and find light.

You can do it!

 

You are a tiger (or maybe a Lioness)  :) who should not be tamed and can fight back.

You can do it!

 

You also like Guinness and Blueberry vodka! Ha

          Tomorrow is a new day! You can do it!

99 lbs, 110 lbs, 120 lbs, 180, lbs, 160 lbs, 140 lbs..I have hit them all!!

Yep!!! I have been all of the above!!!  

 

My first real weight gain was my freshman year in college, coming home for Thanksgiving with the added 15 lbs from beer, pizza and all of the Ramen Noodles I could possibly eat.  One comment at a party motivated me to run the bleachers at St. John Vianney every day with my brother until it came off. Loosing the weight quickly and headed back to school I stayed motivated and started running. I began to realize that my weight was never going to be consistent and that I had to really work at it and watch what I put in my mouth and exercise daily. 

My second biggest, was pregnancy! Obviously. But I would have never thought that someone with my build could get so big!!! 180 lbs with both kids!!!  After my first, it took 6 months to come off. After my second, it took a long, long time. I was in a size 18 down to a 6 within one year. Still not the size I should be for my height and build.

I have been up and down with my weight since College.  Taking care of myself has always been a priority for me. My mother will still tell me that I started putting Oil of Olay on my skin since I was 2!!

The purpose of this post is to share that I have been all sizes in my adult life and it does not come easy. 

I am focused 

I am motivated

I am vain

I love food.

I do eat bad from time to time. (Did someone say PORK ROLL FRIES??)

I do drink alcohol occasionally.  (LOVE BEER)

I do yoga everyday 

I row for 10 minutes twice a week

I go on the stair climber twice a week for 10-20 depending how I feel. (I hate this machine) JK

I walk weather permitting

I ride my bike weather permitting

I do things I love to do. 

I am active. It is hard for me to sit still.

I don't sit or lay on the couch.

I don't watch TV

I am 105 lbs today and I could be 115 lbs next week. It all depends on what is going on with my body. I am not shy to say that I am going through menopause at the young age of 44. It started 2.5 years ago with the hot flashes and night sweats. It comes and goes. I refuse to let it change me mentally and physically. 

P.S-Obviously I am not a writer, and I am not trying to be something I am not.  Just sharing a few bits and pieces of ME! Big or Small