Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

On Etiquette

Inspiration: To have respect for myself and others in all situations.

When you here the word etiquette, you may think of manners at the table. The etiquette I am referring to here is about being timely, in situations. If you are going to meet a friend for dinner, it is best to be punctual. This shows respect for both parties.

Most recently, I took a yoga class in Tribeca at a prominent studio.The beginning of class is an opportunity to create the space, set an intention and create stillness. About 10 minutes in, a couple of students entered. This was disruptive and disrespectful, to both teacher and students. The teacher was accommodating but asked them to wait in the back until the initial devotion was set. A couple of us (me) were then asked to make room to accommodate the new additions.

For lack of a better word I was annoyed. What happened to yoga etiquette? I travel from the Upper West Side to this studio and usually arrive a good 15 minutes early. Most of the students live nearby. What is their excuse? Just because you practice, does not mean you LIVE the practice. Their are eight limbs in Yoga. One is asana. or movement. This is just one very small expression of this practice...... Always remember be kind, conscious and respectful in all ways to yourself and others.

Have a very "peaceful" day.

Warmly, Denise

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Weight Management, Diet and Lifestyle

Inspiration: To emphasize the importance of balanced living; daily.

Springtime is upon us. A realization for many that a few pounds may have been added over the Winter. We strive to get back into shape and shred those unwanted pounds, at times, in desperation. The latest fad, diet or book can become our inspiration. A quick fix is just that, a quick fix. Anything worthwhile is achieved with consistency and balance.

It is not rocket science to lose weight by severly restricting our caloric intake. While in the short run, you may reach a point that makes you smile on the scale, this is not permanent. Safe effective weight loss or anything for that matter, is accomplish steadily over time. We can exercise until we drop, but if we take in (food) more than we expend (movement) then there will be a surplus.

This morning a client asked me about skinny women who live on the Upper East Side. (We live on the West Side of NYC). Basically, it is none of my business, but I scurried for a quick answer. My response is that they move a lot and do not eat enough. Hence, the ultra thin, lacking muscular physique.

We all have a tendency to eat when we are bored, lonely and anxious. Somehow the bag of chips disappears as we sit fixated at our computers. What is required is presence. Am I really hungry? What is really going on? There is always food to be had. No need to stuff it all down at once.

So I invite you all to lovingly accept where you are. Take a deep
breath. Check in. Am I really hungry or is it something else.

Have a very "peaceful" day.

Warmly, Denise

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Exercise and the Emotional Body

Inspirations: To continue to move and inspire others through my own journey to health and wholeness.

Moving the body in a way that is resonate, is an essential component of our health and well-being. It provides us with the energy to move through our lives with ease. There are times when it is best to exercise vigorously and a time for more contemplative and restorative movement.

When the emotional body is under high stress, fatigue and anxiety, going to the gym for a hard core kickboxing or spin class is not the best idea. Initially you will feel a surge of energy flowing through your veins, but by the end of the day, you will be exhausted and depleted. Not just physically but emotionally.

When we exercise from a place of ungroundedness, our bodies respond accordingly. This is something I continue to learn in my own life. For many years, when under stress I would go to the gym, expend an inordinate amount of energy and feel great for about an hour or so. Then the feelings underneath would surface in some way; anger, frustration or sadness.

When we are feeling a bit fragmented, this is an opportune time to go inside. To sit quietly for a few moments and be honest with ourselves. What is really going on? How do I feel? Mind-body movement such as Yoga will put you in touch with your core: emotions and body. What you are feeling verses what you are pushing further within.

What it really comes down to is listening; fully and completely to what you need in each moment. If you surrender your ego to this process, you will feel more relaxed and at peace. This takes practice. As I am a holistic fitness teacher, I am first and foremost a student.

I invite you all lovingly take a breathe before you head out to your busy days and see what you need. The answer may be to go to the park, take off your shoes and walk barefoot ( as Julia Roberts taught Richard Gere in Pretty Woman).

May you all have a very "peaceful" day.

With Love, Denise

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Softening the Process

Inspiration: To continue to be a student and teacher of moving the body authentically.

As a teacher of fitness and health, I teach from my own experience. As this week began, I softly said to myself, "Listen to what brings your body joy." The answer was immediately yoga. For many years, there has been rigidity around my workouts. How often, how long and how much. Although this is still present, it is softening. My ego says go to the gym, do cardio and lift weights so you look ripped. My soul says, move authentically.

It is my deep intention to integrate and teach others the importance of balanced movement.For example, this am I worked with a client who just started running last year for the first time. He is in his 50's and this is a new feat for him. Along the way, he has endured a few set backs that have caused him to stop running for a time. This morning was the beginning of his body telling him to slow down as his hamstrings hurt (not in a good way)and his knees and hips were speaking rather loudly.

While it is healthy to exercise consistently, when the body speaks, if we do not listen, ultimately the body will speak even louder. The result usually being an injury of some kind. So I lovingly invite you all to please listen to the body's messages. Surrender the ego's desire to want gratification physically. The body will let you know what it wants. Many times the answer is rest, a good book or a nice meal. Oh Yes, and desert. Sweetness is important.

Kindness and love.....Always.

Warmly, Denise

Monday, March 22, 2010

Blooming Where You are Planted

Inspiration: To know that in this moment, seeds planted are blooming.

On Sunday nights, I tend to watch Joel Osteen lectures on television. For those unfamiliar with this man, he is a famous, published pastor from Texas. Each week there is a message. This week's message was to bloom where you are planted. As I am not a religious being, I enjoy watching his talks for his positivity and the ability to inspire.

Last night was no exception. It is amazing we always get what we need. His message of embracing our current situation, whether it be of a personal or professional nature was exactly what I needed to hear. We all tend to project what is missing from our lives. When I get this, or when I achieve that, all will be perfect. According to Joel, everything is exactly as it is supposed to be now. The more we resist what is, the more we stay in the same place.

Many of us lose patience with the process, wanting to push things to happen before it is the right time. Maybe we are not ready? Maybe there is something more to learn before we step into living our deepest dreams.

They say patience is a virtue. As the wonderful inspirational teacher Wayne Dyer states "infinite patience produces immediate results." Be the best you can be in each moment, coming from your truth and integrity. When the season is ripe, your wishes will become a physical reality.

Have a very "peaceful" day.

With Love,

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nurturing the Soul

Inspiration: To continue to lovingly honor the body and its messages.


As I tend to write inspirations of a more "holistic" nature, I myself am a very physical person. For years, I have trained vigorously, not listening to the fatigue and exhaustion I was feeling. Yesterday was no exception.

On Saturdays, my ego says I have to go to the gym and perform an elongated workout of cardio, weight training and yoga. MY body did not want to get out of bed, but my mind talked me into it. I usually sit quietly in the morning before I enter the world at large, but on this particular morning I just wanted to "Get it over with". That I did and for the rest of the day I was irritable, hungry and a bit disconnected.

The guidance that morning was to stay in bed, possibly take a yoga class and enjoy nature. Instead, I worked out, probably a bit too long, took a nap and missed most of the beautiful day until about 4PM.

We all want to look and feel good. Especially as we mature, it is paramount to lovingly listen to what the body needs. As I am human, and always learning, I have again become humbled to what my body can endure. As I am now entering my 44th year, the desire to be kinder to myself in all ways is what is being asked.

Are you all being kind to yourself. Listening to what the body needs
in each moment? Especially in the world of fitness, we are encouraged to push beyond what is necessary for health, wellness and shape. We don't get a gold star for our physical accomplishments. Listen, learn and trust. :)

Have a very "peaceful" day.

Warmly, Denise

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Vernal Equinox

Inspiration: To step forward fearlessly now.

Today is the Vernal Equinox. This is when there is equal/day and night throughout most of the world. A time of new beginnings. For us all to step into our deepest dreams with faith and fortitude.

Springtime is when we feel abundant with new possibilities.
Just as the grass begins to grow, so does our spirit. Our desire to embrace the beauty that is all around us.

Winter is a more reclusive or introspective time. Just as the bears gather in their caves, so do many of us.We go inside to uncover our deepest yearnings. We emerge stronger, more enlightened and wiser.

So I invite you all to open to the possibilities that exist all around us now.

May you all have a very "peaceful" day.

With Love, Denise

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is a Trainer All-Knowing???

Inspiration: To see another where they are in each moment.

Yesterday, I was working out at Equinox on the Upper West Side. There is a trainer there who I have admired for many years. For her ability to be creative, strong and push people physically. However, on this particular day, I was a bit disturbed.

She was working out with a man, who I know casually; pushing him to the breaking point. He is not one to give up. She proceeded to move him from one exercise to another with minimal to no rest in between. He kept on saying "I am going to puke" and "I cannot breathe." Some fitness professionals might enjoy satisfaction for this but it was really upsetting.

He was disturbing the entire gym with his presence. The famed actor Michael Douglas was in attendance. I wonder what he was thinking.:) All I know is that it is not healthy in any regard to push an individual when they are clearly expressing they cannot breathe.....

The message: Because someone is a "professional" in their field, does not mean you have to go along with their suggestions or recommendations. Question it. Just because you are paying for a type of service does not mean you do not have a say in its unfoldment. Honor yourself by expressing how you feel and sticking by it no matter who is in charge. We control our own destiny (and maybe we do get a little angelic help too).

Have a very "peaceful" day.

With Love, Denise

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Exercise and Balanced Living

Inspiration: To continue to listen with clarity and compassion to the body's messages.

Exercise can be accomplished in a myriad of different ways. We are consistently bombarded with the next best thing, craze and diet in print and on TV. Youth, vitality and a rock hardy body....Or maybe not. As we mature, our bodies require more love and kindness.

Each year, as my birthday approaches (April 9), I reflect on the wisdom and maturity I have received for the year. Back in the day, I was COMPETITIVE. A "competitive" runner (with others) and fitness professional. Through both injury, experience and the body speaking rather LOUDLY, I have learned that as we honor the body's messages, we also honor our hearts and mind.

Contrary to "popular" belief, there is no one way to accomplish your physical goals. After nearly 14 years of as a fitness trainer, I have discovered the best combination is integrating some kind of resistance activity, cardiovascular training and of course, my favorite, YOGA.

As we continue to listen will our hearts and not our mind, we grow, not only stronger physically, but more empowered, loving and grateful for this marvelous body temple we have been given to move with in this life.

So I invite you all to take a closer look at how you move. Not just physically. How you move and manage the emotional body as well. A balanced exercise prescription will help with our emotions. Too much high intensity training can ultimately cause more stress, anger and aggression; externally directed.

Be kind, loving and gentle with yourself. Have a very "peaceful" day.

Warmly, Denise

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Heart Beat

Inspiration: To continue to open my heart to love in all ways.

For the last few years, my desire to live a more "balanced" way of living, has led me into a place of isolation. What I mean by this, is I have made a conscious choice to change the trajectory of my life 180 degrees. As my wonderful mentor and friend Elana says " I turned my life on it's head."

Historically, As many people do, I have had an "all or nothing" mentality. Either I immerse myself completely in whatever the task or situation, or not at all. In becoming "clearer", about my life's path, I have tended to withdraw; hence my all or nothing mentality. Most recently, I decided that if I practice and teach balance to my clients, why not integrate it completely into my world.

Here I am referring to the cocoon I have created, until everything in the physical is "PERFECT". This is an illusion. Nothing is perfect except in my opinion the sunrise and sunset.:)

We all need one another. We heal ourselves and the world by connecting. This past week I have a furry visitor staying with me. A sweet little cat. This is not the first time I have invited cats into my home for clients while they are away. But this dear one has cuddled up to me in a way no cat has before. She licks my face and sleeps on my chest. To feel the heartbeat of this little one, without expectation and pure openness brought me to a realization. To open oneself, to give completely. A lovely message brought by an innocent soul.

So too, I invite you all to open to doorways you may have closed for some time. Invite in the fear. Surrender and breathe. From this space the light will shine in.

Have a very "peaceful" weekend.

With Love, Denise

Running and Stress

Inspiration: To continue to honor the body temple.

There is so much hype and media on the benefits of consistent and sometimes ballistic exercise. What I mean by ballistic is an activity that requires a lot of energy and stresses the body. Running is a prime example. Depending upon your speed and gait pattern, the prolonged repetitive stresses can way on the body. The amount of good-feeling hormones that are released during activity, tend to leave the runner thinking and feeling this is a "awesome"!!

If you are a high-octane, stressed out individual, this is definitely not a good thing. Over time, your adrenal glands (responsible for handling our response to stress will burn out). Individuals have a tendency to combat this with more stress, caffeine, alcohol, unhealthy relationships. What needs to be taken into consideration is "How do you feel?". Not "What is the best way for me to burn off stress and calories". The body is a fine tuned machine. Although I cannot prove this fact, when we are happy, I feel our bodies metabolism is in a "FLOW". We eat what we need and we move how we need to.

What I scribe is through my own experiences. Having been a runner for many years, pushing beyond my comfort levels only to years later find the damage that my body has endured. Through cross training, yoga, proper nutrition and rest, I am finding my way back to equilibrium. This past weekend I ran for the first time in years and could really see and feel everything I tell my clients; running exhausts the body and creates inflexibility. So this needs to be taken into account.

As always, I continue to preach the healing benefits of yoga. Especially if you run, this is not only important, it is a necessity. After one day of running, I felt as if my hamstrings had two big tennis balls in the back of my legs. After a couple of classes since then, I am feeling much better.

So dear runners, although it may feel great, please honor your body by resting, stretching and playing.

Have a very "peaceful" day.

Warmly, Denise

Friday, March 5, 2010

March Madness

Inspiration: To remain loyal and loving in the midst of every going change.

Happy March. Here in NYC there are certain traditions that occur year after year. One of these is having the Allman Brothers play a run of shows at the Beacon Theatre. However, when I went to see the dates this year, I noticed they would not be playing at this venue. I then realized that their stint this time around would be at the Palace Theatre up in the Bronx.

Yesterday, while working with my dear client Phil, I mentioned this to him. He explained to me why. The Beacon Theatre had decided to book Cirque De Soliel instead because they could commit to a longer amount of time(many months). What ever happened to loyalty and commitment?

As long as I have lived on the Upper West Side (on and off since 1993), the Allmans have religiously played a string of shows at the Beacon Theatre. This saddened me because it showed that no matter how many years this band played here, when another longer financial gain presented itself, the Allmans were out.

Are there repercussions from this decision of the Beacon Management? Who knows, it is really none of my business. The message I would like to steer home is one of loyalty. To be true and consistent in all your choices, no matter what. Herein lies, integrity, truth and humility. Nothing is more priceless.:)

Have a very "peaceful" day.

Love, Denise