Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Yogic Challenge

Inspiration: To continue to push, but listen lovingly to the postures my body can entertain in each moment.

On Sundays, I enjoy taking an afternoon yoga class. This gives me enough chill time afterward to unwind into the evening and detox for the coming week. These last couple of weeks, I have ventured down to eclectic Kula Yoga Project in Tribeca. While I am definitely an intermediate plus practitioner, these students put me to shame. Maybe if I practiced five to six days a week I could do a standing side split into a handstand. Then again, maybe not.

It is so important to listen to your body. To really be aware of how much is too much. Many yoga postures can present a challenge to those of us with injuries. It is best to really tune-in to what is appropriate in each moment. Does this make my body feel good, or am I compromising some part of myself; both literally and figuratively.

On a very positive note, I really do enjoy the creativity and flow of their classes. It is more like a dance, with self and spirit while pushing the body to its edge. Thank heavens for the strength I have attained through my gym workouts. For the past three years, I have fine-tuned a regime to assist myself and others to be more centered, grounded and stronger, in class and in daily life.

Just as in Yoga, life is a challenge. Do we move through our days with ease? The stronger our bodies become, the more empowered we are. The more empowered we are, the easier it is to flow.

With Love, Denise

I Am A Voodoo Doll

Inspiration: To continue to learn through pleasure rather than pain.

The body. It speaks to us, always. But do we listen? Right now,I feel as there is some external source pushing me. At the present moment, I have been experiencing excessive bruxism, coupled with a rash over my heart center and abdomen. Could this rash be because I had a dream about my ex-husband? Or is it something else.

While I am serious and joking at the same time, the body is an indication of where we are out of balance. The traditional western view focuses on the problem. We deal with the physical reason for the pain or discomfort. While this is helpful, it does not get to the route cause for what is happening. Our bodies are indicators of what is going on beneath the surface.

WE teach best what we experience. Through my own journey towards health and healing, I have experienced many injuries and imbalances. No need for going into story. This present state is the culmination of my emotional body being angry and indecisive. How can you be both? You can get angry at yourself for not knowing what to do. That is what I believe is going on. That is why it is so important to get in touch with your feelings. We tend to let things go or boil at the surface instead of really delving into what is going on. This would save us a lot of frustration.

So for now, I invite you all to take a closer look. Do you feel out of balance? Have you suddenly come down with something; a headache or injury? There is a reason for everything, whether we are aware of it or not. Even when we trip, it is because we are not paying attention. Our mind is elsewhere. Are you listening??? Right now it appears that I am not. Guess I am only human.....

Have a very "peaceful" evening.

With Love, Denise

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Ego and Yoga

Inspiration: To continue to be more present, grounded and focused in Yoga and in daily life.

As the weather becomes warmer, I am feeling a deeper connection to the body and its need for authentic, flowing movement. In other words, more YOGA. Most days, I am extremely picky; a perfectionist at times, about the right class to take with the right teacher.

Yesterday, I was in a pinch and really desired to practice. So I found myself taking class at my local Equinox with a fellow teacher and trainer I know from the 1990's. This was the same instructor I took back in 1996; my first ever yoga class. At that time, I was 29 and thought I knew everything. What a surprise. That is what are 20's are for right? Not really. It all depends on who were are and how we have been supported.

So here I am in a 4:15 Vinyasa class. One thing about gym yoga. I despise the mirrors. Yoga is an opportunity to go inside and I don't like to see myself (no matter how hard I try)and others postures, or lack of; in the mirror. I was finding myself critiquing others. Yoga is about presence. Just you and your mat. No distractions. (In a perfect world anyway).

I have a theory, or feeling, that it is the energy of the instructor or "vibe", that provides the tone. I found myself being too technical in my head and not in my heart. The good thing about this practice, is no matter what, by the end of class you still reap the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits. The point I am trying to make is that I was slightly distracted. A bit judgmental. So with this information I can see where I have to surrender the ego more deeply.

No matter what, it is in our best interest to always be OPEN to whatever is in our trajectory. To find the peace within what may appear to be chaos. This is just another opportunity for me to see where I need to expand my view.

With Love,

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Gym vs. Yoga

Inspiration: To continue to "listen" and move the body in an authentic way.

As many of you know, I LOVE Yoga. It provides me with the physical, emotional and spiritual balance I yearn for. After many, many years of beating my body into the ground, I am really listening. There was so much rigidity to what my workouts would look like. On a purely physical, ego level, when I was training "hardcore" 5-6 days a week, I was shredded. Linda Hamilton, Terminator 2. Problem was, I never felt so unhappy and alone in my entire life.

Fast forward some years. While I still continue to train in the gym environment, my yoga practice has taken over my heart and soul. It provides me with ease, openness and compassion; for myself and others. While, I am still in really good shape, I have surrendered the need and desire to look like a hard-body. It was a necessary phase for me to go through so I can understand both the gym fanatic and the yogi.

So, which modality is best? Gym or Yoga. To be quiet honest, the gym provides the necessary conditioning to be strong enough to be present and centered in yoga. As much as I would like to say no to the gym (fight with this one), I still find myself visiting many times a week. Then, when I enter yoga practice, it is like an ecstatic dance between myself and something bigger. It is all about being prepared; just as an athlete trains for their sport.

I invite you all to lovingly take a close look at how you feel. Intense gym workouts create more stress. Stress further debilitates the body on many levels. Yoga provides a sense of stability and calm serene. A combination of the two is AWESOME !!! ... Be present, take deep breaths and listen.:)

Have a very "peaceful" day.

With Love,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On Feeling Stuck

Inspiration: To continue to find the inspiration to persevere towards my deepest dreams.

We all need inspiration. That which excites us.....Lately, I have been feeling stuck. Maybe it was the last Mercury Retrograde which seemed to go on forever. Or maybe it is I am caught up in the hows. As my intention is to move and inspire, I share this with you because this is natural and part of the human condition.

We all have moments, or even days (or longer),where we can feel that our world is not showing us the fruits of our labors. We tend to struggle, cling or complain which really never accomplishes anything productive. While these feelings are real and valid, we do need to honor them. But not for too long.

When we repeat the same behaviors, thoughts and feelings repeatedly, our outer world becomes a constant and consistent mirror. While it may be necessary for a time, there comes a point when you may say " I have had enough.". The tricky part is what steps to take to shift this trajectory.

Just as exercise and healthy eating are a consistent and conscious choice, so is how we maneuver and handle our feelings and emotions. There are many books out there on this topic. While they can be extremely helpful, being "attached" to the process is what will keep us exactly where we are.

So what is the remedy? I continually ask myself this question. A generic answer is faith, prayer, and ACTION. For me, the first two are easier. The action step is my challenge. The "monkey mind" can go around in circles saying how, how, how. This is when sitting quietly, yoga or even going to a movie, can shift our attention to a more neutral place where the answers will come forth at the right moment.

For today, I will continue to stay faith-filled, pray and take action. Even if the action step is a shift in my perceptions....How about you?

Have a very "peaceful" day.

With Love,

Monday, May 10, 2010

Is It Really Happening NOW?

Inspiration: To allow the present moment to move and expand in all directions.

It is said that time is an illusion. That all things are happening now. When you are in a state of present moment awareness, you can feel this. Time does not exist. Without going into too much story, there are various dimensional planes of reality. As us humans know time, we are in the third dimension. We use the clock!

The other morning I was working with a client in a large gym. The music had shifted from one of annoyance to one of excitement. Classic rock was playing. One song in particular took me back to 1983, when I was at Nassau Coliseum to see Journey. At that time, this was my favorite band. Steve Perry"s voice was impeccable and he could reach such high notes that were beyond comprehension.It was as if I was 17 again (Not the movie).

Anyways, for a moment, I felt as if the present was merging with what happened years ago. It brought a smile to my face....To some, this may sound a bit new-agey. It is only through real experience, that we can taste the sweetness of possibility. Then it really did occur to mean that everything really exists now. We have the ability to connect with an experience as if it were yesterday. Have you ever transported yourself in that way? It is kinda spooky and cool at the same time. A feeling that there is more to our day to day life than we know.

So as you enter your days, stay open to the opportunities and surprises that can happen in the here and now. Breathe deeply. Say thank you, so that more of these wonderful experiences can occur at any time.

Have a "wonderful" day.

With Love,

Thursday, May 6, 2010

On Being Jewish

Inspiration: To continue to honor each individuals belief without my need to push or persuade.

Last night while waiting outside to meet a friend for dinner, I was next to a slightly older woman perusing the menu. This was at Hummus Place on the Upper West Side. She was wondering if the food was Kosher. Right there on the menu it said KOSHER. She then proceeded to ask a nearby hostess (who was busy flirting with a sweet young man) if the bread was made a certain way. She said she had to check. Upon her discovery, she did not have the information this woman was looking for. I replied to her" If it brings you joy, I am sure God will be happy."

We then began a discussion on Judaism. I have been here many times before. I am Jewish, but do not identify with the religion. Whatever assists a person is fine by me. She began to "preach" about the Jews with superiority. I mentioned I was Jewish but did not practice. I was even wearing a funky LUCKY Brand cross necklace which I quickly turned around out of respect. I didn't want her to have a heart attack.:) I allowed a space for her to express herself but at some point, I shared my views on judgment (without using the word) and allowing each person the freedom to explore whatever makes them feel good.

Without going into story, she said "Everything happens for a reason" to which I wholeheartedly agreed. I said possibly the reason for our encounter was for her to open my heart and mind to the possibility of dating a Jewish man ( been there done that), to which I have judgment. Maybe there is a JEWISH, holistic, athletic, grounded, attractive, "AWESOME", spiritual guy. Then again, maybe not for me. Only God knows..... I then offered her the possibility that her meeting me was to expand her vision of what others believe without pushing her belief systems onto them.

Finally, my friend arrived. I politely introduced her, made some eyes as to move inside, and wished the woman well. As i too, am working on releasing my judgment of others. Allowing each person to be who they are in each moment. The wish is for us all to embrace one another, even with our differences. With love.

By the way, the food was very good and healthy.:)

Have a "wonderful" day.

Love, Denise

Monday, May 3, 2010

Power Yoga For Zen

Inspiration: To continue to deepen my sense of self, through Yoga.

Where do I begin...The healing power of yoga. From the inside/out. My own journey into health and wholeness has led me to this wonderful practice. A practice that continues to move and inspire me in so many ways.

Last night, I took Power Yoga Class with popular Pure Yoga Instructor Scott Harig. He happens to teach a class at Equinox on Sundays at 4:00pm right here in my hood on the Upper West Side. I have taken his class many times before. But last night, I experienced my body being challenged on all levels. I respect and admire Scott for his ability to instruct and lead students to an authentic place, without resisting. He led class through an hour and a half of standing, twisting and balancing through unique and grounded asanas.

Truth be told, I am a very physical individual who has trained herself into the ground, literally. It is nice to know that there are a multitude of yoga levels and classes with teachers who really get it. One day, I aspire to be able to move more ease fully, hence quieting the mind even more. Until then, I will continue to be in my body, and lovingly head its messages in each moment.

Yoga is really about the breathe. The posture or asana is secondary. How we move and breathe in each moment, is how we move and breathe in life. This practice offers us the opportunity to slow down and feel; deeply where we are stuck or holding on too tightly.

I invite you all to take a good look at how you move through your day. Is it hurried and frenetic? Or is it calm and peaceful.......Take a moment to really go inside. No judgements, just introspection and awareness.

Have a "wonderful" day.....With Love, Denise