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~ Favorite Links, Music and More ~ 

 

Marianne Wells Yoga  - Marianne is my teacher, I completed her 200 RYT in August of 2008 in Costa Rica

Jimmy's Way  - Organization set up in memory of Marianne's son James Wells, to help educate about suicide and suicide prevention. This years summer solstice class was a donation based class, with all money raised going to Jimmy's Way. 

Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Yoga on the Steps  - a cause very near to my heart, this grass roots organization helps the women and their families currently dealing with breast cancer. Yoga on the steps is the annual fundraising event on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

The Writing Blueprint - Great help for all your writing needs, The Writing Blueprint has helped with press releases for all my events along with help editing  blog entries. 

Salem County Chamber of Commerce - Vote for Best of Salem County until September 24, 2014

 

Spotify - current class playlists 

 

Can committing to a regular yoga practice change your life?

Posted 10/28/2015

Can committing to a regular yoga practice change your life? 

 

YOU KNOW HOW GOOD IT FEELS AFTER A YOGA PRACTICE. WHETHER YOU HAVE PRACTICED IN THE PAST OR YOU ROLL OUT YOUR MAT ON A REGULAR BASIS, YOU ARE MOST LIKELY FAMILIAR WITH THAT YOGA GLOW THAT STAYS WITH US AFTER WE LEAVE OUR MAT. YOGA OFFERS US A CHANCE TO FEEL AS GOOD AS WE POSSIBLY CAN 

 

For most of us we try to fit i a practice one a week or maybe a couple of times a month. While this is beneficial, committing to a more regular practice can bring a sense of balance and harmony to your life 

 

But what is a ‘regular’ practice? That answer can be different depending on who you are, but a  regular practice can be considered one that is committed to a few times a week. Three days a week  can offer tremendous benefits to mind, body, and soul
while leaving you renewed and rejuvenated.

No doubt yoga is a discipline and one that can take time to cultivate. Whether you’re practicing ten minutes a day or an hour, the most important thing is that you’re making time for a regular practice.

 

The physical benefits of a regular yoga practice is well known here some other benefits of a  
Regular Yoga Practice:

Enhanced Sense of Well being
If you’ve practiced yoga before, you know just how awesome this practice is at enhancing overall well being. A little yoga can go a long way, and practicing regularly can bring significant changes to your life. 
Through a consistent practice you’ll find a greater sense of balance in all areas of your life.

Greater Stress Relief
The many demands of daily life can leave us feeling stressed and and make it difficult to deal with the responsibilities we have on our plate. Stress is so common, for so many, that we simply end up accepting it as a part of reality. When we find a way to make yoga a regular part of our routine, we find that stress seems to melt away, leaving us much more capable of handling 
everything life throws at us.

Increased Energy
Finding time for a regular yoga practice can help you gain more energy and build stamina to keep going. Waking up tired every morning is common for lots of people. Many of us lead busy lifestyles, which can leave us drained and suffering from a lack of the energy that we need to make it through each day. 

Better Focus
In those moments when you really need to it can be hard to focus. When all the demands we face become overwhelming, we tend to lose focus on the more mundane, everyday tasks. Whether it's decreased work performance, or are finding it difficult to maintain a sense of balance – a lack of focus can prove to be seriously problematic. Practicing yoga regularly can help increase focus and bring a greater sense of clarity and mental sharpness.

Practicing yoga regularly is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It isn’t at all difficult to do and, once you begin to do so, you’ll find it hugely satisfying and easier to maintain. See you on your mat!

 

 

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6 Easy Steps to Commit to Your Practice

Posted 9/10/2015

 by: Laurie McGuire

 

Whether you are a beginner just getting started with your yoga practice or if you have an existing practice that you would like to make more consistent. Here are 6 steps to help you commit (or recommit) to your practice.

 

1.    Plan It Out

 

Think about the number of days each week that you will be able to dedicate to your practice. Think about what time of day will be best for you and check studio schedules. Decide whether you would like to always practice at a studio or if you will supplement with a home practice. Schedule your yoga dates on a calendar for the next 3-4 weeks.

 

 2. Share It

 

Telling family and friends what you plan to do will help you stick to it. You could even find someone with similar interested in yoga practice to be your yoga buddy. If you are accountable to your buddy, it may be easier to follow through with your plan.

3. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

 

Be sure to have items ready well before the class is scheduled. If you plan to practice right after work, pack a bag the night before. Consider how the schedule fits into your meal times. If you think you might need it before class, pack a light snack. By being prepared, you prevent yourself from using most (if not all) of the possible excuses for not practicing.

 

4. Notice How You Feel

 

Take note of how you feel before and after practice. You may notice that when you have the least motivation, energy, or strength to show up for yoga, those are often the days you need it the most. As you make a point to observe the lightness, the flexibility, and the calm you feel at the end of class, it will remind you why it is important to be committed.

 

5.    Stay Motivated

 

Find little ways to keep yourself motivated. Whether it is with some new yoga gear or journaling about your practice. You may want to record how often you practice or track your progress. When you write about your improvements, record the big milestones (“I could touch my toes for the first time”) and also record those really small things (“I felt like I could breathe in child’s pose.”) Those big milestones take time, so celebrating the little things is important to your success.

 

6.    Connect

 

Begin to become part of the yoga community by taking a couple minutes before and after class to get to know those who share your interest in practicing yoga. As you try out different class styles and teachers, you will have additional opportunities to connect with others. Since everyone (including the instructor) is a student of the practice, it is often through those connections that you find ways to deepen your practice.

 

 

 

Now you are ready to ignite your practice and commit to a better you!

 

 

 

 

 

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January healthy eating tips ~ Day 6

Posted 1/6/2015

Day 6~ baked spinach chips, much like kale chips these are a super yummy healthy snack

Ingredients
Spinach leaves 2 Cup (32 tbs) (big, healthy looking leaves)
Extra virgin olive oil 1 Tablespoon (as reqired)
Italian seasoning blend To Taste
Salt To Taste

Directions
GETTING READY
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set aside.

MAKING
3. In a bowl, put the spinach leaves. Put olive oil and mix it well without breaking or tearing the leaves.
4. Sprinkle salt and Italian blend and mix well till all leaves are coated.
5. Take the foil lined baking sheet and arrange the leaves in a single layer without any overlaps.
6. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it sit on the baking sheet for another 2 minutes.
7. Using a spatula, transfer them into a bowl or plate.

TIPS
Make them in batches. Do not overcrowd the baking sheet. Every leaf should be exposed to the heat.

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January healthy eating tips ~ Day 5

Posted 1/5/2015

Day 5 ~ sautéed kale and carrots 

Yummy way to eat kale...it's so good for you 

Ingredients
(Yield: About 10 servings)

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch wide matchsticks
4 bunches kale, washed and chopped into bite sized pieces
2 pinches of sea salt
3-4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. In a medium to large stock pot bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt.

2. Blanch carrots in water for about 30 to 40 seconds; shock in ice water and drain. Set aside.

3. In the same pot, (bring water back to a rolling boil) blanch kale for 3 to 4 minutes until tender but not mushy. Shock in ice water, drain and set aside.

4. In a large sauté pan, heat oil, add garlic slices and sauté until garlic slices are just golden - do not burn. Add kale and carrots. Cook until heated through.

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January Healthy eating tips ~ Day 4

Posted 1/4/2015

Day 4 ~ drink water!! 

We are told to consume at least 8 glasses of water everyday. Some experts and traditional medicine, like Ayurveda, suggested more.

drinking a glass of water every hour will insure you are getting enough and keep you from feeling hungry. 

How can we achieve our daily water intake requirement? The answer is a DIY water bottle marked with time! 

HOW DOES IT WORK?
> Mark the bottle at one hour interval
> Every hour, you should drink about a glass of water (200 ml)
> At the time marked on the bottle, your water should be at that level
(e.g by 2 pm the water should be at the 2 pm level)
>You should finish 1 litre of water at noon. Refill it.
> If you follow the system, you should consume the recommended 8 glasses of water by dinner time
> The marking serves as a visual reminder encourage you to drink water and allow you to see your progress

> Water bottle (1 litre and ideally see-through) 
> Permanent marker or pretty tape

 

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January Healthy Eating tips ~ Day 3

Posted 1/3/2015

Day 3 ~ eat breakfast 

Breakfast skippers tend to turn to unhealthy snacks through out the day or binge on lunch or dinner

Whatever it is that you like
Cereal, oatmeal or a smoothie

A really basic mixed berry and banana smoothie 
Again keeping it simple and using things you have around will help with better eating choices

Ingredients ( makes 2 cups) 
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 frozen ripe banana
1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt (any kind) 
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon honey (optional)
Directions
Combine all ingredients together in a blender and puree until smooth.

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January Healthy Eating Tips

Posted 1/2/2015

Day 1 

Super basic ~ just added cooked cold quinoa to any salad 
Most of the time a salad just doesn't seem filling enough and then we eat bread or something else to feel full or satisfied. 
Adding a few spoonfuls of quinoa will help make you feel full and give you more energy 

For those that are new to quinoa, it will take on the taste of whatever you add it too, using a balsamic dressing it will taste like balsamic. 

 

 

 

7 Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa dates back three to four thousand years ago when the Incas first realized that the quinoa seed was fit for human consumption. According to WHFoods quinoa “was the gold of the Incas” because the Incas believed it increased t
he stamina of their warriors. The Quinoa Corporation calls quinoa the “Supergrain of the Future. ” 

Who would not want to reap the benefits of this amazing superfood?

Here are seven health benefits of quinoa:

1. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.

2. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber is most widely known to relieve constipation. It also helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes. Fiber lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and may help you to lose weight as it takes a longer time to chew than does other foods because it makes you feel fuller for longer and is less “energy dense” which means it has fewer calories for the same volume of food.

3. Quinoa contains Iron. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Iron also increases brain function because the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen. There are many benefits of iron some more of which include neurotransmitter synthesis, regulation of body temperature, aids enzyme activity and energy metabolism.

4. Quinoa contains lysine. Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair.

5. Quinoa is rich in magnesium.Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control. Other health benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.

6. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2). B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells.

7. Quinoa has a high content of manganese. Manganese is an antioxidant, which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals


~ Enjoy

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January Healthy eating tips ~ Day 2

Posted 1/2/2015

Day 2 ~ having healthier food options prepped and ready to go will make it easier to eat healthier 

Now that you have made your quinoa here is another recipe.

Quinoa Egg White Bites
1 C Cooked Quinoa
2 Egg Whites
1/4 C Shredded Cheese (I used Colby Jack)
Chopped Peppers (pick your favourite color/flavor)
Chopped Fresh Spinach (about a handful)
Salt/Pepper to taste

Preheat Oven to 350F
Grease mini muffin tins with coconut oil (I like to just dip a paper towel in the coconut oil then just wipe each individual muffin hole with the greased paper towel)
Mix it all in a bowl well and add to the tins (feel free to fill them up, they won't grow!)
Put in the oven for 15-18 minutes or until just a little golden on top take out and enjoy! 

Great for on the go and yields about 12-18 mini muffins....depending on how full you make them 

You can also have your peppers cut and packed in the fridge or freezer so you always have them ready to go

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Why 108?

Posted 8/3/2014

I have been asked over and over, what’s with the 108, what’s so special about that number? Usually followed by, “ugh that’s a lot, I don’t think I do that many!!”

So why do we welcome in the summer solstice with
108 Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)?
Here’s the answer in one little email.

First don’t focus on the big number of 108
Who cares if you do them all? It’s about your intention and creating a union between your body and mind and soul. Breathe! The breath will sustain the space. It will be rhythmical engine that will propel each of your fellow participants through. Honor your practice by practicing compassion and loving kindness. It won’t do you any good to hurt yourself and go beyond your edge

That being said
The Summer Solstice offers the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button on your life. It's a time to come together as a yoga community and recommit to our priorities: self-knowledge, service, spiritual development, and gratitude.

Sun salutations open and energize the entire body, and when done with total awareness, bring increased prana (life force) into the system. Not only can you easily complete 108 sun salutations, but it’s such an energizing practice, that at the end of 108, some people actually feel like they want to do more! Remember, yoga is not “exercise”. It doesn’t wear out the body, but energizes the mind, body and soul.

Why 108?
 108 is the number of “Upanishads” comprising Indian philosophy’s “Vedic texts”.
- 108 is the number of names for Shiva (a really important Hindu god).
- 108 is the number of names for Buddha.
- 108 is the Chinese number representing “man”.
- 108 is the number of beads on a Catholic rosary.
- 108 is the number of beads on a Tibetan “mala”
(prayer beads, analogous to a rosary).
- 108 is twice the number 54, which is the number of letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, one set of masculine (shiva) and one set of feminine (shakti).
- 108 is twelve times the number 9, which is the number of vinyasas (movements linked to breath) in a Sun Salutation
- 108 is the number of Sutras in the Yoga Sutras
- 108 connects the sun, moon and earth as the average distance  of the sun and moon to earth is 108 times their respective diameters
- The number 108 has long been a number of significance in India, birthplace of yoga... Renowned mathematicians of Vedic culture view 108 as the number representing the Wholeness of Existence. 1 stands for Higher Truth, 0 stands for Emptiness or Completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 stands for Infinity or Eternity.

 

 

Here are 108 reasons why you should Do 108 Sun Salutations at least once in your yoga journey 
 
108.  You would’ve breathed at least 1,080 breaths by the time you’re done (doing only Sun As).  Imagine the high.
107.  108 sun salutations = at least 108 push ups!  Can you say toned triceps?
106.  It stretches your hamstrings.
105.  It lengthens your spine.
104.  It flexes your spine.
103.  It focuses your mind.
102.  It increases your breathing capacity.
101.  It’s grounding.
100. It invites stillness.
99.  It strengthens your core.
98.  It strengthens your shoulders and upper body.
97.  It’s the foundation of any vinyasa yoga class.  You’ll be a master of them by the time you’re done because repetition increases competence.
96.  Inversions… downdog brings blood flow back to the head and face which could mean less wrinkles.
95.  Energizes your cardiovascular system.
94.  It’s serves as a mediation in motion.
93.  You’ll get to bask in the energy of the group’s vibration.
92.  It’s builds internal heat… burn baby burn away what ever bogs you down.
91.  Every round is an opportunity to experience devotion.
90.  You stand with attention.
89.  Sun Salutations “bestow upon us the good fortune of having only good thoughts, of hearing and speaking only good words, and of attaining a sound and strong body, so that we may have a long life and, one day, achieve oneness with God.” – Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
88.  The Sun represents the 3rd eye center and sun salutations can stimulate and balance out the 7 chakra centers.
87.  To bow and salute with gratitude to the Sun for giving us a new day filled with life-giving light and sustenance.
86.  It’s like a challenging and karmic marathon.
85.  It’s a personal accomplishment.
84.  It’s a opportunity to devote your practice to something bigger than yourself.
83.  You get to test out the saying “doing the same thing over and over again is the definition of insanity.”  Is it true for this case?
82.  You can verify if feelings are really fleeting.  Believe me, you’ll feel all ranges of emotions during the challenge.
81.  You’ll learn that when you’re not attached to results, the process gets easier and is actually fun.
80.  It’s cleansing.
79.  It’s gratifying.
78.  It’s challenging and who doesn’t like to be challenged.
77.  Some people run to find a cure for cancer and we salute the Sun for all sorts of reasons.  You don’t really need a reason but this time we’re honoring all the moms out there.
76.  It’s a great reason to get a bunch of yogis and like-minded people together to celebrate something.
75.  All of your muscles will be stretched and toned.
74.  You’ll have the best savasana of your whole entire yoga life ever.
73.  108 is a very auspicious number.
72.  Surrender to the process and bow with humility.
71.  It’s a great way to get to know your fellow yogis in your yoga community.
70.  It is said that humans have 108 sins, desires, delusions, and lies. For each sun salute you do, one sin is peeled away. After completion you feel pure and at peace.
69.  Develop discipline.
68.  Some say there are 108 feelings: 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future.
67.  It improves blood circulation throughout the entire body.
66.  It can change your life.  That’s the truth… I’ve met people who swore their life was transformed after doing their first 108 challenge.
65.  It’s an act of commitment and focus.
64.  It’s a lovely way to honor life and the world we live in.
63.  Oh, come on.. if the sun can rise 365 days a year, year after year, you can do 108 rounds.
62.  You get bragging rights.
61.  To say “boo-ya” to those who doubted you and for you to doubt your own doubts.
60.   By aligning many people around  a mission, intention, focus, and breath, it is a great reminder of how we are connected and one.
59.  It truly is one breath at a time, one movement at at time, one round at a time.
58.  At the end of it all, you might just be able to touch your toes.
57.  Enlightenment may be waiting for you at the end.
56.  To tell your mind to shut the F*%$ up.
55.  It can become your personal practice while you’re away from your community studio.
54.  It symbolizes the strength and perseverance that we’ve always had within ourselves to accomplish goals and dreams.
53.  Take the above 54 reasons and multiply by 2 = 108 more reasons.  :)  for this, the "5k of Yoga"! What can be more powerful than that?!

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Week 2 ~ Joy of Yoga beginner class notes Sun Salutations

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