Your Heart

I hope you all had a great weekend or still enjoying the long weekend. Please check the schedule for class times.

A few of you asked for the blog that I read Sunday morning in class about "Our Hearts". The playlist can be found in the Sukha South Private Community page.

For anyone looking to learn more about the chakras, and how they contribute to our overall well-being across the body, mind and spirit; join Editor of Elephant Journal and Author of Hug Your Chaos, Lindsay and Chris Jones.

Lindsay and Chris are certified coaches and healers who specialize in guiding others to smash through their self-limiting blocks in order to start living the life they are meant to be living.

The workshop will consist of an introduction to the 7 chakras (lecture with Q & A), a diagnosis of your chakra quiz, guided meditation and The Three Pillars of Happiness.

Catch them before they leave to go home to CA!! January 20th at 11:00 am. $30 pay at door, sign in on SUKHA app.

"Your Heart Is Not Made Of Glass"-Ari Eastman

Your heart is not made of glass. It doesn’t shatter when dropped. It doesn’t splinter, doesn’t ricochet off the kitchen counter when someone accidentally bumps it. It doesn’t crack down the middle just because someone was clumsy with their hands.

Your heart is not made of glass. It isn’t fragile or cold or even something to be handled timidly, to worry how it should be touched. It doesn’t need a CAUTION sticker slapped across its front. It’s not as delicate as you’ve been made to believe.

Your heart is not made of glass. It doesn’t break just because it hurts. It’s not beyond repair just because it feels a little bruised.

Your heart is your powerhouse. It’s your white noise when everything else is too much. It’s the steady drum reminding you you’re alive. It’s your life’s accompaniment. Beating. Thumping. It’s not weak. Listen to its resiliency. Listen to the consistency.

Your heart is not made of glass.

It’s an incredible organ, full of strength. It’s tough, you know?

Your heart is not made of glass.

 

Yoga, Aging and Knee Pain

We all know that yoga is a great form of exercise, both physically and mentally. It is a life changing experience.

Yoga makes us look good and feel good. 

Yoga has us glowing from the inside out.

The majority of the SUKHA family is in the 40's-50"s. But if you come to SUKHA for the first time, you would think you were in a room of 30 year old's!! You are all doing a great job!! Kudos my friends. Keep it up! 

In yoga, age is not measured in chronological years, but with the saying " You're only as young as your spine". And the amazing part of that is, you are never too old to start.

Let's face it, we are not getting any younger. We practice yoga, go the gym and eat well, but we still get aches and pains. 

The knees are most common that us old folks complain about. Including myself. Years of spin class at the gym, and running took a toll on my knees. Yoga has helped with the aches and pains. From time to time, I may have a few that I bitch to myself about, but that comes with being a 46 year old. 

Below is a great article on strengthening knees and avoiding knee pain,

Avoid Knee Pain and Injury with Yoga

BY CATHERINE GUTHRIE

There’s no doubt that yoga asks much of the knees. Done properly, asana practice can shore them up to prevent injuries and slow the progression of some musculoskeletal diseases, but practiced without mindfulness, it spells disaster for these joints. Clearly, there are just as many people who credit yoga with rehabilitating weak knees as there are determined yogis like Ray, who will themselves into complex poses and pay a big price for overdoing it. But in poses like hero pose , in which the knees can feel pushed to the edge, it’s sometimes hard to know if you’re helping or hurting them. So what’s a yoga practitioner who’s concerned about protecting the knees to do? Nothing can replace the guidance of an experienced teacher, but certain principles can guide you into a safe, beneficial practice.

Weak in the Knees

The knee marks the meeting place of three bones: the shinbone (tibia), the thighbone (femur), and the kneecap (patella). Two crescent-shaped pads of cartilage, each called a meniscus, sit between the shinbone and the thighbone and act as cushions between the bones and shock absorbers during movement. Two sets of ligaments—the cruciates and the collaterals—strap all three bones in place. The cruciates crisscross below the kneecap; the collaterals run alongside the outside of the kneecap. The leg’s substantial muscles help these ligaments keep the bones properly aligned.

Unfortunately, the knee’s mechanics are better suited to chasing animals for dinner than to sliding into second base, says Stephen Messier, professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “We weren’t designed to do the things we do with our bodies nowadays,” he explains. “The knee’s engineering isn’t the greatest.”

And it shows: Every year, nearly 11 million Americans complain to doctors about knee pain. Orthopedic surgeons operate more often on the knees than on any other body part; they performed more than 1.2 million such surgeries in 1996 alone (the latest year for which figures were kept).

Roughly 21 million Americans have osteoarthritis of the knee—a degenerative disease in which the cartilage gradually decays and fails to provide the shock-absorbent padding that cushions the bones. Many older people suffer from this painful arthritic condition; age is considered a risk factor, as are obesity and knee injuries.

For years, experts have touted leg strength as one of the best ways to ward off knee problems, including osteoarthritis. This is because the knee’s key muscular supports are the hamstrings—which run from the base of the pelvis down the back of the leg to just below the knee—and the quadriceps, the four muscles on the front of the thigh that (among other things) extend a bent leg. At the first sign of the disease, doctors often instruct their patients to build muscle tone and develop flexibility in the legs so as to delay cartilage deterioration and subdue pain.

But the findings of a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in April 2003 indicate that in some cases, building leg strength doesn’t slow the disease’s progression—in fact, it hastens it. Researchers tested 230 volunteers with osteoarthritis of the knee for quadriceps strength and knee alignment, and then retested them 18 months later. The results surprised the medical community: Many volunteers with strong quads also showed rapid cartilage deterioration. But there was a catch—many of those who had strong quads and experienced a rapid progression of the disease also had misaligned kneecaps, a small but significant impairment that intensifies pressure on the cartilage.

You don’t even have to suffer from osteoarthritis for misalignment to cause problems in your knees. In fact, Messier says, “misalignment can cause injury and osteoarthritis over long periods of time, especially if you have stronger muscles that are directing the forces improperly.” If the muscular contraction between the two sides of the knee isn’t balanced, the knee rotates as it bends, which makes the joint pull toward the stronger muscle. Over time, this wears down one meniscus faster than the other and eventually damages the bone the cartilage protects.

While the study points to the problems created by building uneven leg strength, Messier is concerned that its findings will be misinterpreted. “The last thing we want to do is discourage people from getting stronger,” he says. What the study actually highlights is the importance of evenly building the leg muscles to keep the joint properly aligned—a task for which yoga is perfect.

One of the Best Antidotes

Whether you’re out to guard against injury and disease or regain strength and flexibility after an injury, yoga can be a superb antidote to knee trouble. “Yoga is fantastic for the knees, especially for people recovering from damaged ligaments,” says Michael Salveson, who has worked on dozens of yoga students during his 33-year tenure as a Rolfer in Berkeley, California. “Yoga increases the stabilizing action of the leg’s big muscles.” When the inner and outer quadriceps are equally strong, he adds, they exert an equal pull on the ligaments, which keeps the kneecap in alignment.

Sandy Blaine is a good example. As a teenager, she enjoyed dance and gymnastics. By her early 20s, she’d dislocated both knees on several occasions. Searching for a low-impact way to stabilize her joints, Blaine tried Iyengar Yoga when she was 26. She was initially surprised by the discipline’s difficulty, yet what impressed her more was how remarkably good she felt afterward. Within six months of attending two to three Iyengar classes a week, Blaine found that her knee pain had vanished. Today, at 42, she still sounds as if she can’t believe her knees are pain-free, calling the result “an absolute miracle.”

“I was looking at a lifetime of being very constrained,” says Blaine, who is now an instructor at the Yoga Room in Berkeley and regularly conducts workshops on yoga and knee health. Regaining healthy knees “was an incredible relief,” she adds.

To evenly engage the leg muscles, Blaine does chair pose with her back against a wall. She focuses on lifting her toes and pressing down evenly through all four corners of her feet. Otherwise, the outer quadriceps do all the work and old patterns are reinforced, she explains. Another way Blaine works on equalizing muscle use is by balancing on one foot with her eyes closed. “Without the orientation of the eyes, your feet and ankles have to find a true alignment to come into balance,” she says.

Robust ligaments are also essential for healthy knees. Less elastic than muscles and tendons, ligaments can give a little and bounce back to their original shape. But trouble brews when they stretch too far: Like a rubber band that’s lost its snap, they lose their shape, leaving the joint loose. Salveson, who is also an instructor at the Rolf Institute in Boulder, Colorado, compares the microtears a ligament sustains in an injury to frays in a rope; when a few strands snap, the rope lengthens. After a torn ligament heals, one side may always be a little longer and, therefore, more susceptible to reinjury. “You can make it stronger,” he says, “but you can’t make it shorter.”

Knee experts are actually divided about whether ligaments can be strengthened. “We know that you can increase muscle and bone strength,” says Angela Smith, M.D., a clinical associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “Intuitively, we think that the other structures of the knee—ligaments and tendons—get stronger as well.”

Blane, for one, is convinced that years of Iyengar Yoga have toned her knee ligaments. “At first, my feet, ankles, and knees were so weak that the standing poses were sheer torture,” she says. “My ligaments and muscles were strong on the outer leg and weak on the inner leg, which pulled the knee joint to the side. Yoga helped me strengthen those weak areas. It taught me how not to go with the path of least resistance.” Her ligaments used to be so weak that she once dislocated her kneecap tripping on a curb. But since committing herself to a regular yoga practice, she hasn’t suffered a knee injury in years.

You also can’t overlook the role of the joint’s supple cartilage in supporting the knee. Without regular use, the cartilage protecting the knee joint becomes dry and brittle, making it vulnerable to decay. “Cartilage is like a sponge,” says William Roberts, M.D., president-elect of the American College of Sports Medicine and associate professor of family medicine at the University of Minnesota. “When you exercise, you squeeze the sponge, which allows it to soak up nutrients.”

If you’ve ever struggled to sit between your heels in Virasana or cross your legs into Padmasana, you’ve probably felt a twinge in your knee joint. While most yoga instructors agree that sharp pain is a one-way ticket out of any pose, the answer to the bigger question of how much (if any) sensation is OK is less obvious. Roberts recommends stretching muscles, not ligaments. “Tension in the muscle is fine. Sensation directly above the kneecap is not a problem,” he says. “But if the tension is on the sides of the knees, I’d back off.”

Some yoga teachers, however, consider Robert’s warning too conservative. “It’s a controversial issue,” Blaine admits. “At some point, you’re going to have some sensation.” She advises her students to breathe through the mild sensation of stretching but to immediately come out of any posture that becomes painful.

Joni Yecalsik, a yoga practitioner since 1970, discovered Iyengar Yoga in 1988 while recovering from a torn meniscus. She now teaches Iyengar classes in Hoboken, New Jersey, and encourages her students to tune in to the subtle differences between a sensation in the joint itself and one in the muscle and to avoid anything that irritates the knee joint. “You should feel an opening sensation in the belly of the muscle,” she says, “but you don’t want to strain the tendons or ligaments.”

A focus on body awareness and allowing slow, deep openings make certain forms of yoga ideal for students recovering from knee injuries. These include Iyengar and Anusara (which focus on attention to detail) and Kripalu and Viniyoga (which focus on gentle compassion and healing). If you’re recovering from a knee injury or surgery, you might want to steer clear of practices that involve a lot of athleticism and quick transitions between asanas until your recovery is complete.

Regardless of the style you choose, make sure the teacher is knowledgeable about knees and willing to see you through the recovery process. Try to move toward a tough pose with patience and compassion for yourself and with the attitude that getting into the final pose is only the icing on the cake. Then, when you get there, your knees will be as happy as you are.

7 Ways to Protect Your Knees in Yoga

1. Avoid Hyperextending: When joints are overly mobile and flex too far back, they’re hyperextended. In the knees, hyperextension often occurs in poses in which the legs are straightened, such as Triangle Pose and seated foward bend, putting an unhealthy tension on the ligaments. If you’re prone to hyperextension, keep a slight bend in the knees during standing poses and keep your weight evenly distributed among the four corners of your feet. In seated forward bends, place a rolled-up sticky mat or towel under the knee of the extended leg or legs.

2. Start With Your Feet: Proper alignment through the feet is the key to building strength evenly in the ligaments on both sides of the knee; when all the ligaments are equally strong, the kneecap glides effortlessly up and down and the cartilage doesn’t get worn down. Separate your toes and press actively through the four corners of your feet in every pose, even inversions. If your feet are out of alignment, your knees are going to suffer.

3. Keep Your Knees in Line: When moving into deep knee bends, such as Warrior 2 and side angle pose, first align your bent knee over your ankle, then draw your kneecap in line with your second toe. Maintain awareness in your back foot, pressing down evenly, while lifting up from the arch of your front foot. “If you let the arch drop, the knee falls inside the big toe, and you’re set up to suffer a number of different kinds of overuse and acute knee injuries,” says Angela Smith, a professor of orthopedic surgery.

4. Tune in to Subtle Signals: “Oftentimes, the knees don’t give immediate feedback,” explains Iyengar teacher Joni Yecalsik. “Only later do you realize you’ve gone too far. When it comes to the knees, the sensation that would normally proceed the red flag is the red flag.” If you feel achiness when you come out of a bent-knee pose, you may have worked too hard.

5. Build Strength by Balancing: Balancing poses, especially those that require moving through a bent standing leg, such as Eagle Pose, are especially beneficial. “Very dynamic balancing protects the knee against future injury by training the functional alignment, not just working the muscle,” Smith says.

6. Be Prop-Friendly: When it comes to seated asanas, nothing makes a tight knee happier than a bounty of props. In Virasana (Hero Pose), try raising your seat with blankets or a block. Anytime the knees are deeply bent, such as in Childs Pose, pressure can be relieved by placing a rolled-up washcloth as far into the knee pit as possible before bending the joint.

7. Warm Up With Hip Openers: “If your big joints aren’t open, your small joints will always take the stress,” yoga instructor Sandy Blaine says. “Many people hurt their knees doing Lotus when their hips aren’t ready.” She recommends warming up with hip stretches like Bound Angle Pose.

Keep those knees safe!!

xoxo

MB

 

How the Grinch Found Yoga

This is GENIUS!!! For everyone. Instructors and students

Please read this AMAZING poem by Via Lyn Gerfin Kehoe

Elephant Journal 11/20/16

When last we left off in the Yogaville district,
The Grinch had Found Yoga, his heart optimistic.
Dedicated yogi he was, trekking to town every day.
Heading straight to the studio, never going astray.
One day in particular as he walked in with his mat,
A new flyer was posted, he stopped in his tracks.
With eyes growing wider, he lost his Grinch cool.
In bold letters, he read: Yoga Teacher School!

Then the teacher strolled in; the breathing started.
The practice began, his effort half-hearted.
His mind so distracted, excitement barely contained.
He remained calm on the outside. The inside he strained.
And the more the Grinch thought of this whole teaching thing,
The more the Grinch knew he must do this training!
And the longer he pondered, with wheels endlessly turning,
His head grew bigger, his ego mindlessly yearning.
“Why, for two years now I’ve come to this space!
I know I can do it, I can take over this place!
I will be the best teacher this town’s ever known.
From miles they’ll come, they will build me a throne!”

So with focus and agenda, his journey began.
He studied and practiced, fine-tuned his Grinch plan.
Bought all the books, memorized all the right words.
Practiced the sequence, his goal never deferred.
And the day finally came, his certificate arrived.
He gave his dog a sly smile, and then a high five.
Of course, first on his list, doing what all legit teachers do,
He opened a Twitter account and a Facebook page too.
He took a few selfies; upside down in the snow.
Posted on Instagram with requisite yogic style prose.
He filmed YouTube videos, with his dog Max as his pupil.
It took only one day, and his followers quadrupled!

This was still not enough for his yogi star scheme,
The final touch was added, a completion of his dream.
A new studio he began building on top of Mount Crumpit.
He called it Grinch Yoga. Well, that pretty much summed it.

As he stood on his mountain, looking down at the town.
His shifty eyes landed on his final takedown.
Watching the yogis, the tall and the small,
Bustling to class, this would not do at all!
So just for good measure in the middle of the night,
The Grinch snuck into his old studio and stole everything in sight!
He took all of the mats! The candles for lighting!
The sign on the outside! His emotions delighting!
All the pictures on the wall! All the cubbies in the hall!
All the lights that were hanging! He left nothing installed!
He stole all of the schedules and workshop brochures.
Then he snatched his teacher’s notes, just to be sure!
And then, just in case all that wasn’t sufficient,
He tweeted cruel words. A clearly Grinchish decision.

And before you could say #yogaeverydamnday,
His new home was completed; Grinch Yoga here to stay.
He bounded through the door, new clothes on display.
Prepared to teach his first class, without any delay.
His teacher’s words mastered, his yoga jam cued.
Exuberant and giddy to the utmost magnitude.
With great confidence and ease he patiently waited.
His ego, of course, 10 sizes inflated!

He waited, and waited and waited all day.
But not one yoga student came, not one,
Through the doorway!
And there the Grinch remained, puzzling for hours.
No sense to be made. Why, he had even planted fake flowers!

As he sat on his mat in deep contemplation,
He heard a soft noise, a humming vibration.
He looked out of his window; eyes followed the sound.
He shook in surprise as he gazed down at the crowd.
And he shook, and he shuddered at this most disturbing of views!
In the yoga studio he had emptied, the yoga class grew!
They twisted and turned and chanted away.
Nothing the Grinch did had ruined their day!

“No, it can’t be! I’ve done everything right!
Photos and followers! Hashtags and websites!
New floors and fresh paint, in perfect location.
Thousands I spent on this yoga education!”

And then what the Grinch did, without even thinking,
He packed up old Max, crept to town, his pride shrinking.
He walked into the studio, well, some would say slunk.
But all would agree his high hopes had been sunk.
He looked at his teacher, Yogi Lou Who,
With questioning eyes, heavy heart, feeling blue.
And she tilted her head, raised an eyebrow.
Told him to sit and to get rid of his frown.
And with a slight wink, she proceeded to speak:

You can’t steal yoga, within is what you seek.

It’s not a fancy pose. It’s not rhyming prose.
It’s not a personal platform, for a Cirque de Soleil show.
No matter the location or the color of the walls.
The flowers planted. The track lights installed.

Doesn’t matter the words strategically placed.
What matters are actions executed with grace.
Followers will follow, and likers will like.
But none of this matters if you behave with dislike.

For students to emerge you must teach from your heart.
It’s inside of you too; it just needs a jumpstart.
The only way out is to go through, the only way through is to go in.
You must do the hard work, stop believing your own spin.
Some days will be easy; others will not.
(On those days, two words: tequila shot!)
It’s an ongoing process this self-study thing,
But in the end will be discovered the best kind of bling.
The glow from the inside will be quite distinct,
When your intentions and actions are completely in sync.

And the knowledge you search for, you already possess.
At this moment it is there, it just needs to be accessed.
Your purpose discovered. Clearly defined.
It is here, my Grinch friend, you will find peace of mind.

And this wisdom you have can not be shanghaied.
No matter what happens. Though, some will surely try.
Oh, they will try! Oh yes! They will try, try, try, try!
But when they go low it will teach you instead how to fly!
Keep the focus on you and others won’t matter.
Silence you will find, trumps the meaningless chatter.

And it won’t be about selfies or how many likes.
Your followers on Facebook or a playlist contrived.
It won’t be something learned in two hundred hours.
Your silent voice inside contains all your power.
And it won’t be what’s trendy or Instagram fame.
Or the RYT letters you attach to your name.
Find the teacher inside, and the students will appear.
Not always an easy task. Trust yourself and don’t compare.

So, back to his mat went the Grinch and his Self.
Old Max snoozing soundly in his bed on the shelf.
His playlist deleted, his pride feeling cheated.
But the worst part of it all, his spirit depleted.
He got out of his head and started to work in.
It didn’t take long for the transformation to begin.
He found his way back to where he began.
And slowly let go of his Grinchy yoga plan.
His ego grew weaker, his monkey mind meager.
His compassion expanded, mindfulness was eager.
His goals disappeared, replaced with intention.
And in this still space, he found his connection.

And what happened then? A revelation some say.
The door opened up, students walked in and stayed.
They laid down their mats, spaced barely an inch.
They all stood together, surrounding the Grinch.
And the Grinch looked around, not believing his eyes.
They finally opened up as he slowly realized…
“This teaching it seems doesn’t come from a book,
Not words that are mimicked or how a studio looks.
It’s not perfect alignment or abdominal locks.
Not master playlists or five different props.
It’s not how you speak, or the way that you walk.
It’s in owning your truth and walking the talk.”

Then, the Grinch found his voice, and also his heart.
(A bit shaky at first, but an impressive good start.)
He guided the practice; they breathed and they flowed.
Compassion and honesty always in tow.

In unison, they moved. Together sang the last Om….
And there in his Self, the Grinch finally found home.

~

Author: Lyn Gerfin Kehoyo

Editor: Toby Israel

~

 

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

 

 

Real Men Do Yoga

I have many men that take yoga at SUKHA. But not enough. Yoga is not just for women in leggings. Yoga is for everyone. Especially men.

So many men that I have spoken to keep saying "I am dying to try", or "I can't touch my toes", or "I will be to your class soon, I just have to loose more weight first". 

Here's the deal my friends, yoga is a full body workout. It's not all about chanting, meditating, talking about feelings or other stereo types that most of you think. Yoga builds strength, increases flexibility, improves balance, stability, sleep and relaxation. I am not sure that lifting weights, and running as it tightens up all of your muscles in the process can do all of the above. 

If you still can't get over that you think it's too girly, take a look at all of the professional athletes that are practicing yoga. Torrey Smith, Evan Longoria, Vernon Davis, Kevin Love, Steven Jackson, Sean Burke, Blake Griffin, Victor Cruz, Dirk Nowitzki, Russell Wilson, Kevin Garnett, Tom Brady, Shaquille O'Neal, Ray Lewis, and Lebron James just to name a few. 

Feeling intimidated?? Don't. Come try at SUKHA. The "Non-Intimidating" Yoga studio. Both men and women practice here. We laugh, dance, sing, flow, learn and grow together. No competition goes on in this studio. EVER!!!

Here is a testimonial from one of my male students:

"My adult fitness life has evolved around lifting weights, biking and boxing.  All great workouts, however shortens the muscle and if you don't stretch properly flexibility is non existent.  18 months ago I tried yoga with MB, thinking it would be easy except for touching my toes.  It was just the opposite. It was hard, intense and the sweat poured out of me like a spin class.  What an incredible workout. 

Today, 18 mos later I am stronger with leaner muscle and can almost touch my toes. 

Practicing yoga is a great compliment to your other workout routines, it strengthens your core, promotes better breathing, and helps with flexibility. 

I highly recommend yoga as a great life-long workout."-S.H.

 Try it. It will change your life by improving your other workouts, prevent injury, increases libido and sexual performance, relieves chronic lower back pain, and reduces stress and helps you sleep better.

So, leave your ego at the door along with your leggings and incense. Wear your oldest basketball shorts and your Bud Light t-shirt from 1992. Because no one inside SUKHA cares what you wear. If you want to wear leggings, of course feel free. As long as you let me take your pic!!!

Be happy

Be healthy

Be strong

Maribeth

 

 

 

Pay it Forward

"Pay It Forward"." It's about caring and sharing. It's about compassion and kindness. It's about generosity. It's about sacrifice....And LOVE. You get what you give. So give GOOD."-M. Anders

Well, where to begin....

I will start here the way I always start my classes, my social posts, my email blasts, and how I close my class..... THANK YOU!!!! Yesterday's article really blew me away.  The call came last week from Night and Day Magazine asking if they can feature me in their publication. How did this happen? Not sure, but all of you made it happen.

Thank you to Manasquan Recreation for giving me this amazing opportunity to teach in a kindergarten classroom, that some have considered "not a real yoga studio". It has been such a great year. And I have to thank you for making your way through the doors and giving it a shot. To those that have practiced in other studios and those who have never made it on a yoga mat and found comfort in SUKHA. Now it is time for me to "Pay it forward"

On August 21 at 9:00 am there will be a donation yoga class in the gym for Evelyn Morrow Mizer. Evelyn is a beautiful and strong one year old that was diagnosed with a very rare metabolic disease called Hurler's Syndrome.  While there is no cure, Evelyn and her family have been down at Duke University to find the best treatments.

A few people asked; "Do you know her"?

No. I do not. But Evelyn's mother Sue is cousins with Marykay Roberts who is one of my dearest friends here in Brielle. Marykay and her family have been amazing to my children and I. AMAZING!!! Her parents, her sister's (and their families), and her x-husband. Kind, loving and generous. I would do anything to help.   

"Pay it Forward"

How can you make a difference in this world? 

  1. Be attentive wherever there are for opportunities to help someone.
  2. Do something nice for someone you don't know (or don't know very well".
  3. Spread the word.

Bring your mats and a towel. Water will be sold at the class. $10 suggested donation.

SAVE THE DATE for Event #2

On 9/17/2016 the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention/Jersey Shore Walk will hold the event at Leggetts. If you are interested in walking with our team, we are walking under team "Camp Cooney". What or who is Camp Cooney"? Camp Cooney was an old Girl Scout camp with hundreds of acres in Montana that Patrick Patterson's friend bought. Patrick spent so much time there. Who is Patrick Patterson?

Patrick Patterson is the brother of my friend, our friend and Brielle resident; Bridget Sawitsky. Patrick passed away on March 22, 2014.

Patrick committed suicide. 

I asked Bridget if she could share some information about her brother. She did. This is what she wrote:

Okay where do I begin to tell you about my brother, Patrick. I think of him daily but still don't really believe he is gone, I especially can't wrap my brain around that he took his own life. This is so weird for me so please deal with my rambling. I pulled up part of his obituary to give you the basic facts of his life.


Patrick J. Patterson, 37, passed away in his home on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Patrick was born in Neptune, New Jersey and grew up in Manasquan before moving out west and settling in Stevensville, Montana. Patrick attended Manasquan Elementary and High School. He was a graduate of Paul Smith's College in Saranac Lake, NY. He was employed as a carpenter in Missoula, Montana. Patrick was a member of the Manasquan Volunteer Fire Department and later a member of the Stevensville, Montana Fire Department. He was an avid outdoorsman and talented craftsman. He enjoyed hunting, skiing, snowmobiling, and hiking.

Patrick was so much more than these facts just as every person is. Things I miss most is smile, his big fall on the ground laugh, when he laughed you always laughed with him. His big strong hugs. The way he always said "I love you" when saying goodbye even though the rest of my family never does. His sense of adventure and being true to himself. He didn't care what others were doing and never got caught up in impressing others. He loved nature, the quiet outdoors of upstate NY,Montana, Colorado,all over out west to Hawaii. His friends in Montana said Patrick had probably seen more of the Montana than most people who were born and raised in Montana. He was always scouting out new places to hike and camp, it didn't matter the season and the more remote or rugged the better. He was creative and great woodworker. He loved to carve in found wood making walking sticks, and sculptures.

He loved his family, his friends and his dog Sadie who passed a few months before him (if she was still alive I believe he wouldn't have taken his own life) . I believe he felt every emotion good and bad intensely. Below is the email he sent out after Sadie died. It makes me cry. I am including it to you so you can get a better feel for who he was. This happened less than 2 months before he died. 

On Jan 31, 2014, at 6:12 PM, Patrick Patterson <paaattt77@yahoo.com

You all have heard by now that our best friend,our only child, has left this world to be in a place where she will feel no more pain. She lived 15 and a half great years. Always waiting to greet us with a smile and a happy dance. True unconditional unjudgemental love.She has seen more of the Montana high peaks and backcountry wilderness than many Montanans. She will roam in the hills and in our hearts and howl in the cool mountain air forever.Sadie is the toughest girl I ever met, and has had far more than 9 lives, at 6weeks old she was washed down the Big Thompson river in Estes Park,shes been hit by a truck, anaphlactic shock, caught in a wolf trap, the shit kicked out of her by a heard of elk, lost her eye, another few anaphlactic shocks,torn ACL, among many other feet and leg problems, recent hypothermia, and many more that i will remember at some point,and after every time she was knocked down she got back up to fight another day with a smile on her face and a wiggle in her tail. I wish I could be more like my girl. I have alot to learn from the years of joy and happiness she brought to us.We have so many memories of the silly things she did and the long exhausting back pack trips that we went on and she was always their right by my  feet or chasing a squirrel up a tree(she did catch and kill many by having patience to wait them out) We have so many memories. Her bed is still on the floor and her water bowl still full. We will miss you Sadie. We love you. This is not going to be easy. Theres nothing left to do except smile smile smile.

p.s. forward to those who care

As I read it again I look for more understanding of how he was truly feeling. I have such regret that I didn't call more, ask more, I never made the opportunity to visit him in MT. I was waiting for the boys to get older so they could keep up with all the adventures he would take us on. My ex-sister in law told us about at a time he took her on this crazy straight up a mountain hike which seemed like it was in the middle of no where and when they got to the top there was a road there. He never took the easy way. Except in death. I can't say he looked at it that way, but I view it as an easy way out of the tremendous hardshipslife sometimes hands us. 

I feel guilty about the anger and the judgement I sometimes feel. I don't know what was running through his mind that night. There was no note. But even if there was I am not sure it would anything clear for us. The only thing I do know is he was drinking that night. I know he had several severe concussions in his life. I know he couldn't have been thinking clearly.  This wasn't him!!!  I am guessing he must have been so sad, so lost and lonely without his Sadie, with his separation from his wife, with the uncertainty of his future, with the inability to connect with his friends that night, and with his family being across the country not really knowing the whole story. I am not sure of the truth and never will.  I can't imagine his final moments and the thoughts of despair he must have felt. I feel sick and helpless to think how low he must have felt.  I think he was trying to protect my parents. In the couple months prior to that night two members of my immediate family had been diagnosed with cancer and we're going through there surgeries and treatment. Another sibling had been dealing with cancer for the last five years.  Patrick never burdened others with his problems, maybe if he did he would be here today.

It is all still a guess on what, and why it happened? I read somewhere you can't begin to heal from a loss of a loved one by suicide until you get past the suicide part. I think I may have gotten there by denial or by ignoring it. I get through each day on trying not to dwell on it. I still imagine him enjoying the solitude of the mountains watching the sunset. Where he is now part of the mountain. (We spread his ash there)

 


Thank you Bridget for sharing your story.

Let's all walk for Patrick and hopefully save another family from this tragedy.

Check in is at 10:00 am and the walk begins at 11:00.

There will be lunch, Basket Raffle, 50-50 and more. 

For more information on this event please visit: www.outofthedarkness.org

Let's flow for Evelyn and Walk for Patrick. 

 

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!

Leap of Faith

This mornings dharma talk and play list hit me in so many ways. I laughed, the eyes teared up and I felt proud.

I am so grateful to all of my students/friends for practicing yoga with me and really understanding what it is all about.

Thank you Bob for writing this beautiful dharma and sharing it with all of us and putting a smile on our faces bright and early on a Sunday morning!

"Leap of Faith"

When I was “volunteered” to do a dharma my initial thought went to topics like BELIEF and  FAITH…maybe because yoga for me was a leap of faith. I thought of it like tofu or going vegan or becoming a democrat… surely good for you but a little too “out there” for me. Besides, it wasn’t a REAL workout like running or the spinning classes I do at the gym.

So I didn’t go looking for yoga. Instead it came after me! On days between runs or spin classes I would go to the club and use the equipment or workout in the fitness room when there was no class there.   Well one day MariBeth and her yogi’s took over my training room! I almost walked into the room because the lights were off but waited until the class was done so I could get a workout. She was still in the room and twisted my arm to try it, seriously twisted my arm!

So Chris and I gave it a try and the initial experience was clumsy and awkward…. but Maribeth made that seem okay (THANKS!).  Her guidance and encouragement kept me involved and it became a challenge to me as I saw small improvements and started to get it.  

So what I have come to believe is this:

I believe yoga is really good for me physically and spiritually

I believe yoga is a real workout

I believe yoga and I will be together for a long time

I believe MariBeth is a great instructor because she is true and authentic

I believe I will do a good headstand

I’m not ready to go vegan but maybe Hillary? Heck, maybe even Bernie!

So the music for this dharma kept bringing me to the FUN side of yoga. So I hope you enjoy CRASH,   HURT SO GOOD,  FREE FALLING and COLLIDE and that it reminds you that it is JUST YOGA!

The first song is my thank you to Maribeth for bringing this experience to my life.    

 

You’ve Got It-Bruce Springsteen

Adventure of a Lifetime-Coldplay

Crash into Me-Dave Matthews

Hurts So Good-John Mellencamp

Give a Little Bit-The Goo Goo Dolls

Free Fallin’-Tom Petty

Breakdown-Jack Johnson

Land of Hope and Dreams-Bruce Springsteen

Collide-Howie Day

7 Years-Lukas Graham

Gonna Fly Now-Bill Conti

The Scientist-Coldplay

Best Day of My Life-American Authors

 

Dharma Talk from a Dad to his little girl on her birthday.

Knowing for months my daughters 14th birthday would fall on a Thursday and that my dharma would be about daughters. Wednesday I decided to ask Woody (my x husband) to write the dharma for my class. Because if it wasn't for him; Kelsey would not be here. She is my love, my life, my soul, my energy and my best friend. So, here it is.......A dharma talk from a dad to his little girl on her birthday. 

Yesterday I spoke to my daughter Kelsey and she asked me if I was excited about tomorrow?  I asked her what she meant and she said we get to celebrate the best day of my life. She was making a joke of course but she was right.  When I first laid eyes on her I started to cry, she was my baby girl and she was perfect.  Kelsey was instantly a Daddy's girl and I was wrapped around her finger.  I could have not asked for a more incredible daughter, she is still perfect in my eyes.  She is 14 today and it is bittersweet.  I would love for her to still be my baby girl but I am so proud of the young woman she is becoming.   The joy I get from listening to her music in the car, going shopping or just getting ice cream is immeasurable.  We talk about pretty much everything, she is wise beyond her years and constantly makes me laugh.   

As a father to a daughter our instinct is that we have to protect them from the world (mostly boys).   Kelsey has taught me how strong a young girl can be when she is confident in herself and knows her self worth.  I know I can not protect her from the World and this still keeps me up some nights but I am confident Kelsey will handle everything that life throws at her.   

 

Kelsey,

I am not sure if you will read this but if you do remember I will always love you no matter what.  Also remember:

  • Use the gifts you have been given.

  • Treat your body with respect.

  • Spend your life with someone who loves you like I do.