A Relationship with my Yoga Mat

In almost every class, I encourage my students to write. Just like yoga, writing is healing. After Thursday's class I received a message. A well written message. "A relationship with my yoga mat"-Michelle Amy.

 

"Thanks for checking on me today and thank you for an amazing class, summer back on my mat. I followed your advice and went back to what helped when I was young. I started writing away. I haven't written since before motherhood. Thank you!

"My mat knows me, the true me. The real-as-shit-can-get me. It has seen me at my best, worst, strongest, weakest, sweatiest, sanest and in the moments when I felt like I was completely losing my ever-loving mind. It pulls at my heart strings, grounds me, shakes me to my core, absorbs my fears, doubts, and at times, tears. It is where I push myself to face myself. My safe place that always catches me then catapults me right back up again. My mat does not take no for an answer and always sees through my bullshit. It is the place that is my space and mine alone. Its loyalty lies with me and only me, no ulterior motive. While its color or pattern or thickness may change, its commitment to me does not. My mat has supported me through failed relationships, stupid decisions, loss and gut-wrenching, how-will-I-ever-survive-this grief. It has guided me through new beginnings, major life changes, challenges and successes. For ten years it has been my mirror, my anchor, my refuge. Even when neglected, it always welcomes me back without judgment. Yes, my mat knows me, the real-as-shit-can-get me. And I am forever grateful."-Michelle Amy

Thank you Michelle for sharing. xoxoxox

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You are Always Stronger than You Think

I have been feeling the need to re-introduce the teachers of SUKHA. 

So many students at SUKHA that have been practicing for over a year now still have few doubts in minds about their yoga practice. I will start out by saying this....you are all amazing and have the ability to do whatever you want whether it's a career, relationship, a home, or a new lifestyle. You are never too old, too fat, too skinny or don't have the money. If you continue to wire your brain with negative thoughts, you will be stuck for a long time.

Today I would like to share this blog by Amy. Amy has been with me since day 1. When I first started teaching. Amy was my only student. We learned together, practiced together and shared a lot together on this yoga road. Amy doubted herself for a long time about going to teacher training. I pushed her and she did with the confidence and determination to do it. And she did. Almost three years later, here she is....

Amy Sowul is a Brielle resident and mother to two boys.

She has been an instructor at Sukha for almost three years. Her classes are a mix of strength and grace, as she creatively takes you from pose to pose. She is always looking for mindful and challenging ways to improve upon the basics, paying close attention to the transitions.

Amy is a writer, poet and nature lover. She is an employee at Barlow Flower Farm where she connects to the beauty all around her. Check out her amazing photos of her passions on her Instagram page @asowul

Class description: Mindful Power Flow

This class is not about being intermediate or advanced. It is about taking the next step, and piecing together what you already know with the things you never tried. Most importantly this class is about faith in your body and it's ability to learn new things - despite your shape or size or age. You are always stronger than you think. 

Your Future is Influenced by the Past

Yes, it certainly is...

Do you know that your current feelings, your personality traits and your behavior were shaped by the past events you have been through? Your past is currently affecting your present. You have to be tuned in, willing to identify and think. And that is what I did during this snow fall we had and to be honest, I am blown away. Most of you may fully understand what I have written below, some may not; but you will. Read carefully and you will understand and read the proof that the past has shaped me for where I am right now. Enjoy!!

What the diamond and car business taught me about life and how it has incorporated in my life now.
Two of my most important careers was in the diamond district in 1995 until 2001 and the car business from 2006-2015

The two are so very different with many hidden things in common. Both dealing with metal, high priced items, both luxuries (depending on the car obviously), one is a necessity (depending on the woman). Ha

Did you know that platinum, palladium and rhodium are used for catalyst converters in automobiles as well as in the jewelry business? Just a bit of useless knowledge. But it all makes sense now.

Read carefully on this journey and what it has brought into my life years later.
Amazing.

I started working for a large diamond wholesale company doing billing and data entry, I worked hard. Arriving early and staying late. Driven and interested in learning more. And that I did. I then became assistant account executive, then account executive then Manager of loose diamonds.

Then hard work paid off. I was approached by an Indian company to do merchandising for the jewelry line. No brainer. I accepted.

I traveled to India monthly for quality control on the jewelry I designed before it shipped to NYC and before the inspectors of the large retail chains inspected it.

Going to Bombay was one of the best experiences I have had. I traveled alone. Every month staying for 12 days at a time.
Learning so much about the business, the culture and myself. I met amazing people and learned in my early 20’s how lucky we are here in America and how much we take for granted. I lost 10 pounds every trip, I made friends, I was invited to their homes, to night clubs, and to birthday parties. No judgments. They welcomed me with open arms. They walk a lot. Some who were lucky enough to have automobiles that is; drove far distances without complaining. To see their friends, to the market, to meditate, to the clubs and obviously to work.

Living in NYC during this time, I worked hard. I didn’t socialize too much. Once in a while happy hour with co workers or meeting Maria in the Village. To get our belly button pierced or dinner and a beer. She was my only friend from home living in NYC. She was in the Village and I was on the upper east side. She had her own business and I was working for a big company traveling. We both worked our asses off.

Fast forward to 2006.
Divorced. Needed a career after staying home with the kids. Couldn’t go back to New York with a 4 year old and two year old. Needed a job. And that I found.
Answering leads part time for a Saturn Dealership. I learned, I grew.
Motivated, determined.
I bought a fixer upper in Brielle. It needed lots of work and money. I did it. Alone. Working hard.

“Moving Forward” to Toyota. Internet Manager. Managing people and leads. As the internet grew, so did I. Marketing, traveling, managing. 

A “boys club” and pretty intimidating at first. I wasn’t as mentally strong as I am now, but boy did that change in the car business. You definitely need thick skin, stand your ground and not be intimidated by anyone. 

Why did this snow bring me to write?
Big storm in 96. I walked 40 blocks to work. I had work to do. No excuses, no hoping the office would be closed. I had work to do. Worked that I loved. I walked. In the snow.

In the car business, well; they don’t close. Even the biggest storms. And here’s a news flash for everyone that doesn’t know much about the business. There is no machine or service that cleans off the cars after a snow storm. It’s the employees. Men and women!!! Every car and truck.
I remember driving in a huge storm, knowing I had to be there to help. I did.

Get it??

Putting the pieces together years later. Getting closer.....

People have flaws. Just like diamonds. You need to sort through the ones that are dull and have negative energy.

Move to a big city, even if it’s all by yourself. You never know who’s there and will be by your side in years to come.

Travel. As much as you can, wherever it may be. Go alone at least once.

Welcome new friends. In your home, out for coffee or to a yoga class. Make everyone feel comfortable no matter what skin color, shape, size or gender.

“ Suck it up and press on”. Never let anyone intimidate you.
Work hard even if you don’t want to do something.
Be mentally strong. In any business. You never know if you will travel to another country alone or work in a environment where it’s necessary. Keep going. Keep Moving Forward.

Luxury items are not important. It doesn’t make you happier. Traveling to India made me realize, less is more. They were the happiest people I have ever met. Some with no shoes on their feet, children with no clothes. One room homes. But smiling. Welcoming. No judging. They practice yoga in cotton, loose fitting clothes. “Materials that are tight fitting and compress the body are not right for a practice that is centered around breath”. Many wear Saris. (I have a few)

Work hard.
Walk if needed to get you were you need to be.
Have thick skin.
Be a team player.
Keep moving forward.
Shine.

Choose the people that sparkle with love and light, guide and inspire the ones who need a shine, and remove the “Bad Cut Diamonds”- “a bad diamond cut result has to do with the choices the diamond cutter made. He may have had the bad luck of being saddles with big carbon inclusions that were naturally occurring in all the wrong places in the rough diamond crystal. The cutter took the hand he was dealt and made his choices and they didn’t include what would clear the most light”.

A well cut cut diamond shines and sparkles and shows fire.

Be “DRIVEN”
“Shine Bright”
Be Reliable

Here I am in 2018, putting pieces together from the past that have impacted where I am today. 

Walking in storms, shoveling after the storm, and now opening for classes in a storm.

A hard worker, owner of The "Non-Intimidating" Yoga Studio. A studio that welcomes everyone with open arms and no fancy attire necessary. A few drive long distances; others may complain.

I have removed people from my life that were wearing me down, bringing me down. and speaking down. Working hard with a friend from the past. She lives north now and I live south, but we found our way to meet once again, years later. Teaching yoga.

(maybe tattoo next?)


The impact your past has on your present is so powerful. You need to learn how to connect with it in a positive way. Be open to it. You will be amazed at what comes up.


 

And The Winner Is.......

Most of you see it all on social media.

Ambassador of this, Ambassador of that. Mostly big brands. I love the idea. 

"Ambassador- a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity."

I have decided on "SUKHA Supporter".

"Supporter"-a person who is actively interested in and wishes success". Well-wisher. Advocate. Helper. Enthusiast.  Strong/enthusiastic/active. On the mat and off the mat. 

Sunday I announced that I will be choosing one person a month to be the "SUKHA on the mat/off the mat Supporter".

This is not a competition in any way. You do not have to purchase SUKHA Wear. It is not a requirement that you promote SUKHA. (you all do that anyway)

You just have to be you. It is recognition. 

The Sukha Supporter is a yogi at SUKHA that practices yoga 3-4 times a week in ALL teachers classes,looking to learn and grow, practices yoga off the mat, someone who shares the Sukha philosophy, making new Sukha friends feel at home and shows community love and support. A male or female that has shown they are practicing yoga for more than the "workout" and for doing the "work/in". 

I was going to wait, but why?

So, my friends the first Sukha Supporter is Tara Schroeder!!!

Tara is a Brick resident but started with SUKHA in Manasquan. Stopping there on her way home from work to make the 4:15 pm classes, driving from Brick to Squan on the weekends, attending the Pub Crawl not really knowing anyone, attending workshops and has taken over 120 classes in Brick alone and that does not include workshops. Tara is ALWAYS making new clients feel at home and doing so much for the community. Tara is a Speech-Language Pathologist and works with children with disabilities. Tara is responsible for introducing me to Toms River Field of Dreams and always thinking of ways to help in the community.

Tara, my friend, you are a yogi through and through. It is a pleasure having you at SUKHA. I look forward to many more years to come. On the Mat and Off. Thank you for your continued love, support, loyalty and friendship.

Stay tuned for more on Tara in the next few weeks.

 

 

Hot or Not

Hot or Not???

Hot or Not is a rating dating site that allows users to rate the attractiveness  of photos submitted voluntarily by others. Yes, it's a dating site. Luckily, I am not writing about such a disgusting dating site. Let's create a site called "Beauty Within" having men and women search for qualities such as loyalty, honesty, compassion, independence, confidence, joy, loving, and all the imperfections that may come with a truly beautiful person. Maybe no photos? Just a nice "get to know you" PHONE CONVERSATION! No swiping. No scrolling. Just a bio.

Luckily, I have no need for that crap anymore. 

Now that I have your attention; this blog is a re-post that I would like to share with all of you that have called and asked about the safe temperature to practice yoga.

Everyone has their personal preference of course. Many people love to sweat to ensure they are getting a great workout. But let's also remember the true meaning of yoga and why we come on our mats in the first place. Again, everyone practices for different reasons. It doesn't matter where you practice, with who, how cold, how hot, what outfit you wear. As long as you practice. On the mat and off. I speak of practicing yoga off the mat often; almost every day. I will recap it briefly before I share the article with you.

Do you rock your crow pose or handstand? Awesome. You are strong. You have amazing upper body strength. Are you mentally and emotionally strong? How do you deal with the roadblocks in life? Being mentally strong is not about acting like a tough ass. It is about being aware of your emotions and learning from painful experiences. We have all been through crap it's about how we deal and how we turn it into a life lesson.

Do you sit quietly in easy seat during meditation with a clear mind? It is hard for many. This may be the toughest. Are you present at home? At work? Are you a good listener? Or you scrolling through Instagram at dinner? Or when someone is talking to you, you are hardly paying attention because you are thinking of something else. Be present. Off the mat.

Do you leave yoga class feeling so thankful for the space, your teacher and your body for rocking a new bind? Leave class and make a call to your boyfriend, mom, sister, friend,teacher, children for how thankful you are to have them in your life. Write a note. Whatever it is, just do it.

During your time  in class, you are so kind to your body. You are doing the body and mind amazing good. You gently get into new poses to prevent injury, you focus on your breathe through every pose, inhaling and exhaling.. You are (hopefully) kind to the teacher, and your fellow yogis. How do you treat others and yourself when you leave class? Do you go home and drink a bottle of wine and eat a pint of ice cream? Do you call a friend and start talking trash and gossiping? Be kind to others and to yourself off the mat.

You are so disciplined in your practice. You use straps or blocks, you go at your own pace and you listen to the teacher who is guiding you and your body. Off the mat; are you working in a disciplined matter at home and work? Are you working towards what you want in life? Your goals and dreams? Or do you procrastinate? 

I think you get it. That was the scaled down version in English. For more on taking yoga off the mat read The Yoga Sutras. The Yamas and Niyamas. How we show up on our mats and off. 

Turns out, hot yoga isn’t more effective than yoga at room temperature

By: Allasandra Milato

Why put yourself through an hour-long session in 90 degrees for this?

There may be no need to put yourself in a stifling 100 degrees for a hot yoga session.

Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, involves 26 positions usually done in a room of 90 or 100 degrees. Part of the allure is that the heat opens up the muscles faster than room temperature and can release toxins from the body, but new research from Texas State University and the University of Texas at Austin found it’s no more effective than the latter.

Yoga at room temperature does exactly the same thing as hot yoga, the researchers found. It reduces the risk of heart disease and can delay atherosclerosis, a disease where plaque builds up in arteries and can result in a heart attack or stroke. Half of the Bikram yoga class was spent in standing positions, which requires balancing on one leg and can be more taxing than floor positions, the research said.

They looked at 80 participants enrolled and randomly assigned to three study groups — heated room, room at regular temperature and a control group — and asked the participants to attend three Bikram yoga classes a week for three months.

Why avoid hot yoga in favor of regular yoga? There are additional risks associated with hot yoga. People can suffer from heat-related illnesses, according to a separate study from 2015 sponsored by the American Council on Exercise. A group of 20 healthy men and women practiced Bikram yoga in a 105-degree room for 90 minutes after swallowing a temperature sensor and wearing a heart rate monitor.

The researchers found the participants’ body temperatures rose to 103 degrees, one degree away from potentially suffering from heat stroke. The average heart rate for the men was 80% and the women’s was 72%. Sweating during hot yoga doesn’t do enough to cool the body down, the researchers said.

But there may be some benefits to hot yoga. It can improve “vascular endothelial function” or thinning blood vessels in middle-aged and older adults in a relatively short time period, according to a 2016 study from the University of Texas and published in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise. “Bikram yoga may be effective as a secondary preventative measure in reversing endothelial dysfunction in middle-aged and older adults who are at risk of developing vascular disease.”

If you’re set on participating in a hot yoga class, there are ways to help mitigate any health risks. Drink 80 ounces of water the day before, and 16 ounces of water two hours before a class. After class, refresh by drinking water with lemon or having dark leafy green vegetables or water-heavy fruits like watermelons and cucumbers. Stretch before and after sessions and use a towel during the class, not just to pat down sweat but also to dry off your mat and prevent falling.

 

Again, practice, practice, practice. Hot or Not! It's your practice. Just do it. On the mat and off.

Have a great weekend!

xoxoxox