A Better Boat

It’s that time of year again but this year I decided not to count the minutes, the days or the months that I have been here on this earth. (But I may do a cute post with a sign that says how many months old I am) ha

Counting just makes it seem that much longer and make the hand on the clock move that much faster. I am learning to try and slow the fuck down. I breathe in, I breathe out.

I started writing this blog a few days before my 47th birthday. For the simple reason of time. It flies by, there is not enough of it, time is precious, of the essence, an illusion, on my side, it heals wounds, time is not wasted if you enjoy doing what you are doing. And that is EXACTLY it. I am enjoying everything that I am doing.

This past year I have learned so much personally and professionally. I have dug deep and looked on the inside on what I needed to work on, what my triggers are and the things I need to fix to continue to evolve. And I have done the same with others. I have felt their energy, sadness and fear, happiness and relief, bitterness and resentment. Authenticity and fake. It was a year of digging, learning and clearing. I have increased awareness to interpret myself and others much deeper than before on so many different levels. And I wanted to share what I have learned during year 46.

Lately, it has been the onion and the mask. Reading, thinking and trying to figure it all out. Let’s remove the first layer of the onion my friends. Take off the mask. Behave and appear the same everyday and everywhere. Stop hiding your authentic self. Although I have seen many “true colors shining through” this last year. Do the inner work!! Once you dig you will realize what a great person you are. Lose the ego. Peel back the layers and be yourself. Stop following the crowds, and show up where you want, when you want and most importantly walk in without a mask. Throw it in the trash. Because guess what? That is exactly where it belongs.. And I don’t give a shit what town or county you live in or what car you drive or how big your house is. You are all amazing, beautiful beings. Show the real you. Thinka bout this...After the mask comes off, begin peeling off all of the layers. What's left?

" I ain't lonely, but I spend a lot of time alone. More than I'd like too. But I'm okay with staying home. My how the last few months have changed. I'm smiling more despite the pain"

Yes!! I am not sure what happened. From extrovert to introvert!! I am actually proud to have this come out of mouth. Most treat introverts as weird  or a personality trait. Some just get physically exhausted by spending a lot of time with other people. I have found that I need alone time to rest and recharge so I can continue to do what I do everyday. I sit and enjoy life without being in constant motion with others. Maybe it's because I am now 100% aware and tapped into those who are authentic and those who are not and I prefer to be around authenticity. I choose wisely.

Happy Hump Day, July 18th. I am back continuing the blog for what I have learned during year 46.There is so much I want to write and it may just be a mish mosh of crap so bare with me.

Let’s go back to 1973. I was two years old and I specifically remember watching The Wizard of Oz belly down with my hands under my chin, close to the big, old school, hand channel changer tv with 2, 4,5, 7, 11 and 13. I buried my head everytime that scary, green faced, screechy wicked witch with those cheesy long ass nails would come on the screen. It didn't take so long for me to stare at the screen and look her straight in the eyes. After 45 years of watching this movie over and over again I always found a new meaning. A deeper meaning. But nothing as deep as this amazing book I discovered just a few months ago. I have shared it in class but feel the need to share it today, on my 47th Birthday. This movie is a part of me. It always was and always will be.

“It is a story we remember, believe, and cherish in our hearts. To each generation, the story rises and blooms anew in the psyche. It is a story invested with all of our potentials and highest ideals, as well as our shadows and terrors.  It speaks to the basic human need for companionship. It is innocent and sincere. As it remembers a golden age in our past, it simultaneously portrays a technological golden age in the immediate future. We find the security of place, the assurance that we have in us a sufficiently of capacities to confront evil and survive, and the ability to trust in our own enormous untapped potentials.  Then, like Dorothy, we can come back and re-green the wasteland, the Kansas of our lives. We are OZ. In any mythic structure we may identify with the hero, but in truth we contain all of the characters. Dorothy might be any one of us. Or we might be the Tin Man in our longing to feel loving connections, the Scarecrow seeking our true intelligence, or the Cowardly Lion seeking courage. We contain the Great and Powerful Wizard. What would happen if we dared to dip into this high and holy magic within ourselves??”-The Wizard of Us.

This movie has so many lessons that so many of us can learn from and The Wizard of Us is one book that I am learning from everyday. It just makes sense to me. I can relate 100%.

For many years on this earth, I cared so much of what others thought of me. The last few, specifically this last I have finally removed that completely out of my head. It no longer exists. Theo Roosevelt said it best “I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do” That is character!”

I have taken the time to really figure out who I would like in my life. Those who I value, respect and trust and those who respect and value me just the same. Those who are real, who lead and don’t follow. The people who can understand and accept decisions I have made or need to make and some were harder than others that’s for sure. Each decision has been a true lesson and wake up call that goes back to wearing masks and living a truly authentic life. I have made a commitment to myself to send only love, kindness and sympathy to those who portrayed themselves to be something they are not. I have let go of the situations that have occured. From phony emails and phone calls to cards and letters blowing smoke up my ass saying how much I changed their lives and then once things didn’t go their way; the real people under those masks appeared.

“A balanced individual is free to make the choice to change something if they’re comfortable with feedback that may be unflattering”-Wayne Dyer

Oh boy, did I get feedback. Ha ha.

I will continue to go on a rampage of appreciation rather than discussing the evils of the world and take every opportunity to continue to radiate joy whether you are on my side or not. Today, as I am approaching my 47th birthday I am sending nothing but hug and kisses to the evils of my world and everyday hope that halos are given and pitchforks are thrown in the trash along with the masks. Thank you for the lessons.

Boundaries.

Now this has taken a long time for sure and I am still working on it and the first step has been to practice self-awareness personally and professionally. SUKHA is a place of business and not a free for all. I will no longer allow a student or teacher to dictate or demand how I operate. I am always open to suggestions and there is now a suggestion box in the studio. In the beginning of my journey I have let too much get by. I have had past students drive to my house and threaten me if I raised prices, I have had negative comments thrown at me if I did not come around with oils, etc...Of course we all know people such as these have so much inner work to do. They just don’t seem to get the true meaning of yoga. With that being said, in November of 2017, I had felt like I failed as a teacher. With the number one thing coming to mind-”Did they not listen to ANY of my dharma talks? Holy shit, all the time and preparation and they still don’t get it but that’s okay. I get it now. I now fully understand that not everyone thinks they have healing to do and that many only think of yoga for the physical benefit or a social hour. Some people make situations so easy to walk away from. (Especially when you have a bird chirping in your ear front and center that likes to stir the pot)

I will continue to share even if some don’t fully understand the real reason why I am here

and what I am teaching and sharing. I congratulate everyone of my students who are on their authentic journey and practice yoga for the work-in.

As far as the personal boundaries go, well; I believe I am almost there with certain people that will unfortunately be in my life for a long time.

"I breathe in. I breathe out. What ain't working, what's still hurting. All the things I feel like cussing out."

Always remember, no person, no place, and no thing has any power over you, for you are the only thinker in the situations you create. When you create peace, harmony and balance in your mind you will find it in your life.
 

Competition.

It is only a word. Something I do not want to participate in. When I first opened SUKHA I was expecting peace, love and happiness from all and that was not the case. But again. That’s okay.  When it comes to the “C” word the best thing for me to do is mind my own business and that is exactly how I operate. I still struggle with others stealing Intellectual Property. Everyday I try to now to send peace to those who can’t seem to think for themselves, it’s been challenging, but I’m getting there. I am always flattered, but it still gets me heated. The hours and time brainstorming for someone else to steal? Ugh.

From the bottom of my heart, all yogis are welcome to SUKHA to practice. Not to spy,or have any alternative motive but to practice. And keep in the back of your mind that SUKHA is not only for beginners and we leave egos at the door and continue to keep it real. On the mat and off. On the screen and off. My wish is for yoga instructors all over the world to share this beautiful practice with as many people as possible and from the  heart, I wish you all nothing but the best on this magical, yet challenging venture. Always remember to be yourself. Teach how you want to teach and what feels right to you. Be your authentic self and teach that way. Let go of the script and teach from your heart. Your book and your lessons. Make people smile.

Healing.

Even at this age I am healing every freakin day. Healing from old wounds, present day bruises and learning to accept things that I can’t change.

I am trying to figure myself out and this is just the emotional healing. What I have learned is that any physical problems are caused from emotional issues that we carry and hold on to and I have many. This year I have found the root cause of a few and have found ways to heal through juice, essential oils, and making a change to my diet and letting go and removing blockages caused by people, places, and food.

To end this mish mosh of a blog, I would like to end with this:

I am proud of my flaws and I have so many and I will continue to work on them everyday.

I breathe in. I breathe out.

“We are each responsible for all of our experiences.

Every thought we think is our future.

The point of power is always in the present moment.

Everyone suffers from self-hatred and guilt.

The bottom line for everyone is, “I’m not good enough”.

It’s only a thought, and a thought can be changed.

We create every so-called illness in our body.

Resentment, criticism, and guilt are the most damaging patterns.

Releasing resentment will dissolve even cancer.

We must release the past and forgive everyone.

We must be willing to begin to learn to love ourselves.

Self-approval and self-acceptance in the now are keys to positive change.

When we really love ourselves, everything in our life works.”-Louise Hay

Thank you for reading, learning, practicing and sharing with me everyday. It’s going to be a great ride and I wouldn’t jump off just yet if I were you. :)

"I think I'm stronger than I was. I breathe in, I breathe out. I got friends to call who let me talk about. What ain't working, what'still hurting. All the things I feel like cussing out. Now and then I let go around the waves I can't control. I'm learning how to build a better boat"-Kenny Chesney

Listen to it here. It's a good one! (Amy may even like it) :)

 

 

Haters Gonna Hate

Many use it as a hashtag for many different reasons. I have used it more than once for sure.

Hate is really a strong word. I always tell my kids never use hate. Use "dislike strongly". But that hashtag is not too popular and unfortunately hate is used way too much in this world.

I found this blog in Entrepreneur Magazine and wanted to share with all of you. You don't have to have a business. This is for everyone. Whatever your role in life. Student, athlete, brain, beauty queen, mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather. boyfriend, girlfriend, business owner. friend. Negative, unhappy people will always find a reason to demonstrate in their behavior the "H" word. Don't let it get to you.

Be proud of you!!! Always!! 

The "haters" are making judgement out of jealousy or their own negativity! LET IT GO!

Upon reaching a certain level of success, there will almost certainly be haters that enter your life. These are people that either fundamentally do not believe in your values or, more likely, are jealous of your accomplishments.

It is easy to let these people get you down. Understandably, we don't like when others are mean to us or don't like us. The reality, though, is that having these haters around us is almost inevitable, especially true upon achieving success. Therefore, the options are to either let them affect you or to take advantage of the situation.

John Rampton

Entrepreneur VIP / Entrepreneur and Connector

Here are 10 ways that you can take advantage by using your haters as fuel for your success:

1. Understand that it means you are doing things right.

The emergence of haters is a signal that you have achieved a certain level of success. If you have not accomplished anything, then, almost certainly, nobody would be paying enough attention to give you criticism.

When there are people hating on you and what you do, then it is a sign that you are on the path toward success. Use this sign as a validation that you have been doing the right types of things.

2. Learn from their attitudes to be more accepting of others.

Seeing the ways in which people negatively treat you can teach you how to be more accepting of others. Instead of mimicking your haters' actions toward other people, do the opposite. You will develop an empathy for what it is like to receive flack.

Then, when you see others in similar boats as you, you can provide support and motivation. This will both help others and allow you to develop meaningful relationships with successful people.

3. Use their criticism as a way to evaluate yourself.

Although a lot of criticism can be rooted in jealousy, there are times when certain criticisms are well-founded. You should not take the hate that you get to heart, but you should listen to what others have to say. At certain times, it can help you become a better person.

If you are working on a project that is environmentally harmful, for example, and you had not realized it, then listening to your haters can give you an important perspective to consider.

Others' opinions can help you find ways in which you are coming across poorly. Recognizing those ways will empower you to be better.

4. Be more humble.

You can use criticism as a lesson to take the high road. There will be situations when you can either fight back with others or you can do the right thing. You might be much more accomplished than those that are giving you a hard time.

That being said, you should be humble in your responses. There is no need to brag or try to validate yourself further. Instead, trust your own instinct and respond in a humble, respectful manner.

5. Use them to learn how to deal with conflict.

Dealing with your haters is also a great opportunity to better handle conflict. You could be put in challenging situations, with someone calling you out in a big way on social media or at an event.

Use these experiences as opportunities to learn to navigate conflict. Sometimes you can just take the high road but, in other situations, the response needs to be more nuanced.

6. Learn to control your anger.

Managing anger is also a great challenge in life. People might say things to you that invoke high levels of anger for a variety of reasons. Instead of lashing back, learn to respond calmly.

Take advantage of all the negative words and actions you might be victim to. If you can stay composed in these high-pressure or anxiety-provoking situations, then you will learn to control your anger. Doing so will pay off countless times throughout life.

7. Use them to learn how to ignore negative influences.

There are going to be many negative people in your life. Worrying about their opinions of you will only make you worse off. We cannot get everyone to like us. Therefore, haters serve as a great group to learn this lesson.

We feel even less of an urge to get them to like us compared to people we might know better. Learning to accept that not everyone is going to like you will enable you to focus your attention on the things that matter more. These include being present, challenges at hand, and working to become a better person.

8. Utilize them to become more independent thinking.

You might receive deeply personal insults that attack your beliefs or character. That said, you do not have to conform to anybody else's beliefs. Instead, you should be proud of what makes you unique.

Learning to love yourself for who you are will enable you to live a more independent-thinking life. That will lead to greater levels of satisfaction and accomplishment.

9. Allow them to motivate you.

Others might tell you that your self employed business will never succeed or that you will never accomplish your goals. You can use these negative responses as motivation to succeed. You do not need to prove anything to anybody.

That said, if it will motivate you to know that upon your achievements, you will be able to quiet the haters, then take advantage of that, and use it as motivation to work harder.

10. Appreciate your victories.

Haters can also be a great way to better appreciate your victories. Accomplishing something after many people told you that you would not be able to is a great feeling.

You should be proud of what you are able to achieve throughout your life. Your haters can serve as a reminder to appreciate these victories and be grateful for all the good you are fortunate to have.

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

Dear Future Yogi

Dear Future Yogi,

I am writing you today to confirm that everything I have said still remains true. Yoga is for everyone. If everyone practiced yoga, what a wonderful world it would be. (As long as they practice all aspects) lol

There is no such thing as a "yoga body". Please do not let social media determine what your preconceived idea or notion of what people that practice yoga look like. 

Is it their clothes? Their body? Their diet?

What is your reason why you have not tried yoga? is it because you can't touch your toes? Or do you think you are too big? Out of shape? Eat meat?

Yoga is not exclusive to just women. Yoga is not only for the flexible or spiritual or plant eaters.

The yoga philosophy encourages being non-judgmental and compassionate to others and ourselves.

So, my BEAUTIFUL friends, remember that you are that. BEAUTIFUL. Inside and out. No matter what. Please do not let anyone or any social media page steer you away.

Yoga is about connecting with your individual self, body and mind. Making room for exactly where you are in that moment. Every day is different on your mat. Just like life. Some days we fall, but we ALWAYS get back up.

 This note is to reassure you that you will be fine. You will feel comfort and joy. You will laugh and sing. You will clear your mind and relax. You may touch your toes. You may not. But who's judging? No one at SUKHA. 

Throw on your pj pants or shorts. Your favorite, old sweats, a pair of leggings from Marshall's or leg warmers and a head band and get on your mat.  You may just hear "Let's Get Physical" or "FAME". 

A yoga mats job is to catch you if you fall. My goal is to make you feel 100% comfortable the second you walk through the door. And it won't stop there. That, I will promise you.

My door is always open and my phone is always on. 1-877-SUKHA-11

Love,

Maribeth 

 

 

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!

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

 

 

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!

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.