Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mussels and Chopsticks

Inspiration: To play and explore in authentic ways.

I reside in a humble abode on beautiful West 78th Street in NYC. This is a half block away from the Museum of Natural History and Cynthia Nixon's(Miranda; Sex and the City)place. Usually, I sit hunched over my computer either doing research or writing to eat my meals.

On this particular evening, I decided to go directly to Zabars after yoga class on the UPW; journal and towel in tow. After picking up marinated mussels and brussel sprouts (two separate pre-made items), I venture to my favorite spot in Riverside park. Initially, I go to sit on the bench but something deep inside tells me to "ground", literally to sit on the ground.

So the beach towel gets unraveled and I sit with my dinner. For utensils I picked up the standard plastic set along with a set of chopsticks. Happily, I ended up eating with the latter. This brought me much joy. Not the typical way of eating mussels. When I was down to my last seafood, I closed my eyes and really went inside; savoring the texture and quality of each bite. This is what is called conscious eating. Something I fear I and many others do not normally do.

It was as if I was transported to another place. A gentle reminder to make the mundane extraordinary. A simple gift I will continue to recall when life feels stagnant. Eating American food with chopsticks is fun! I felt like a big kid exploring. Can you imagine if we just let ourselves go a bit what we can do !!!

In closing, I invite you all to lovingly connect with what brings you joy. Throw in a bit of the whimsical and playful elements and let go. Breathe deeply, be present, be free.:)

With Love, Denise

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Our Unique Talents

Inspiration: To honor my own individuality and refine it's gifts and blessings.

We all have a uniqueness. Something that sets us apart from others. Some of us may have great minds; some big hearts. Some follow the rules, others break them. A quality that differentiates us from one another.

As many of you may guess by now, I have found my heart in Yoga. It provides me with a sense of peace, grounding and okayness (is that a word), in the midst of ever going change. I continuously surround myself with others writings and inspirations for empowerment. There are so many wonderful teachers. Each one different, sharing their love and passion for this great practice. It is my deep dream and intention to one day walk among them. Not just in the physical practice, but in the deep esoteric meaning of our existence.

In the world of fitness, my ability to execute exercises come easily. In the world of yoga, there are postures I am unable to execute for a myriad of reasons. Does this mean I am not a good teacher? Absolutely not. My uniqueness lies in the fact that I am not this pliable ex-ballerina/gymnastics queen that can bend and contort their body. I am an avid gym rat for over 20 years. This makes it accessible for others who are not the most flexible (in body and mind).

Where am I headed with all of this? I am discovering my gift is to bring this wonderful practice to others who may be intimated and possibly "turned off" by the idea of yoga. Since I have been an avid runner, group fitness teacher and personal trainer, there is an audience open and receptive to exploring this wonderful practice and how it can enhance their current lifestyles.

What makes you different? Unique. Do you share this with others? If not, maybe you should. It does not have to necessarily be in a vocational sense. It can be sharing your gift in the daily adventures of life. When you give from your whole heart, it not only heals others, it heals you.

Have a very "peaceful" day.

With Love,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Yoga Class at Pure Vs. The Gym

Inspiration: To continue to explore new ways and places for moving authentically.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of being a guest of one of my clients at Pure Yoga. Pure began in Hong Kong and has spread its wings into Asia and the U.S. It is a yoga sanctuary, offering various schools of yoga from the early am to late in the evening. Presently, there are two locations in NYC, one on the Upper East and the other on the Upper West.

The class I took was on the Westside. The instructor was Scott Harig, whose class I tend to take on Sundays at Equinox. There were a few differences between taking his class here and at the gym. First of all, there were no men. All women, except for the teacher. Second, no mirrors, as in all yoga studios. And last but not least, there was a closing call and response chant that he does not perform at Equinox.

There tend to be perceptions about yoga in a studio verse yoga at the gym. One is that students at a studio anticipate a more spiritual or possibly "spirited" experience. Or maybe now at all. Students at a yoga studio appear to practice much more often and maybe not even go to a gym at all. Everyone is different.....In any event, I personally feel there is a clear delineation that exists between the two.

Yoga is yoga. Yes, it is nice to be in a sacred space with an altar with candles burning(Pure did not have this). But again, this may tend to scare some people. At it's essence, yoga is about bringing the mind and body into union to achieve a state of oneness where we feel a deeper connection to all that is. So we can all live a more peaceful existence and have greater compassion for ourselves and others.

It does not matter how you get there; whether it be your own practice, a studio or the gym. I invite those of you who have not explored this wonderful system to let go and surrender your expectations. There is something for everyone. Try it, you may be hooked. I am.

Have a very "peaceful" day.

With Love, Denise

Friday, June 18, 2010

Over 40 Females

Inspiration: To continued to be moved and inspired by others who are pursuing their deepest dreams.

It has been said that 40 is the new 30. Or is it 20? Either way, fabulous women in their forties are emerging. Watch out world. Over 40 Females is the creation of Judy Goss, a former model and beauty editor. Her vision is to unite women through networking events,throughout the country; and ultimately the world.

Each month, there are a myriad of diverse gatherings, inviting women to meet and connect in fun and unique venues. Last night, an event was held at Lancome Boutique on Columbus Avenue. These events always pose a dilemma for me, what does a girl wear? I seem to possess the unique ability to either over or under dress at these functions. Last night was no exception. Since it was on the West Side, I donned a funky, flowing, low-cut black dress, flat metallic sandals and my best accessory; my long hair.:) We have to be ourselves right?

This event was focused on fashion and beauty. Becky Wenner, a blond, sexy, vibrant, fitness trainer, shared the stage with Judy. She gave those present a positive talk about exercise and commitment. I really admire her enthusiasm and zest for life. She is very passionate. Those with passion have the innate ability to draw others in. It was a very inspiring and uplifting evening on many levels.

Judy, and Becky, are both hosts on a new women's cable network called Newsbutterfly, launching next month. This network displays various segments on women's empowerment. The other anchors and executive producer, were on hand, mingling and filming. At one point I was conversing with two other lovely women when Newsbutterfly Tracey came over. The three of us were asked if we wanted to be filmed. I was nervous and excited as this is something I have never done, but felt a strong desire. It was such a "delightful" experience. A new level deep within me emerged. My spontaneous, in the moment, funny side. It is still there beneath all my zen-like demeanor.:)

Good people, divine connections and empowerment. What a wonderful evening it was. For all of us women over forty, remember, WE ROCK ! We are sexy, smart and sassy ( the three S's) Live with heart. Know that you are "awesome" and that anything is possible.

Have a very "peaceful" day.

With Love, Denise

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Divine Experience at Sephora

Inspiration: To remain open to the possibilities that exist in all situations.

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Something that flows from the inside out. This is not to say that a little help every now and then can't boost a woman's sense of confidence. I am intrigued watching make-up artist's display their craft. At home, I have a guilty pleasure of watching some of these individuals on QVC. They can turn an ordinary woman into a glamour queen.

This past weekend, I found myself at Sephora in Columbus Circle. A quick stop before venturing downstairs to Whole Foods to see if any product sparked my interest. In particular, I was looking for shadows to make my eyes seem bigger and brighter. A couple of the beauty staff approached, asking if I needed assistance. When the third person came over, I succumbed. She didn't seem to get what I was after and suggested looking at the beauty line TARTE (never looked at this one).

So here we are at the TARTE SPACE within Sephora. I notice a very talented male artist, of African decent, working his magic on a young woman. Something inside told me to "wait" until he was finished and to sit in his chair. Something I would never do voluntarily......

At first glance, I was a bit intimidated. New experiences tend to do that. Without going into story, he made me look and feel radiant. Even younger than my years. As it turns out, this brand of make-up is "natural." He totally got my vibe, down to the core. While having the pleasure of his skilled hands beautifying me.

I shortly discovered he was also an alternative practitioner of reiki and shamanism. This was the strong draw I felt. I have asked the universe to lead me towards more like-minded individuals, while surrendering the how. In every profession, exists the possibility of connecting with people of like mind and heart. Tony at Tarte was one of these people.

Upon leaving, I felt "incredible" !!! Too bad I didn't have a hot date. I left with great products and a divine experience. When you least expect it, surprises are all around.

Have a very "peaceful" day.

With Love,

Friday, June 11, 2010

Inflexibility of a Runner and Yoga

Inspiration: To continue to let the body speak in an authentic way.

Our physique. We work so hard to maintain a level of fitness, at times pushing our bodies too far. Over time there is a cumulative effect on just how much we can endure. Truth be told, we can endure much, but what I am referring to here is what the body requires. Flexibility is an essential component of any well-rounded regimen.

It is always an experience for me in yoga class. Yesterday, I ventured downtown after a day of parading around NYC training various clients. I was in search of some me time, with a class that nurtured my body and soul. There is a lovely teacher named Stephanie who teaches at Kula Yoga in Tribeca. She is quite intuitive and reads the energy of the students in the room. On a purely physical level, this was not a challenging practice. But on a soul level, I was breathing, stretching and connecting, which is really what yoga is all about.

Before class, I started a conversation with a woman sitting near me. We spoke about yoga, teachers and fitness. She was an avid runner, usually "pounding out" six miles daily. She appeared to look in great shape and was just beginning her yoga practice. I asked her how often she practices and her reply was 5-6 times a week. So here she is running almost daily and practicing often. Problem is, she will probably never really make any significant gains. Why? Because running is such a debilitating activity. I know. I was one of these people. (But not everyday; at least I knew that).

Running creates added stress to the body. It creates poor posture and structural imbalances. It closes off the heart chakra, our feeling center; located in the center of the chest. I shared with this woman, my own journey of how yoga helped me to release the compulsion to run. While she took this in and was curious, one could see she was unable to release the power of this sport. During class, I happened to look over (supposed to be present, but I am human). Her lack of spinal mobility, tight hamstrings and closed heart, reinforced what I know to be true.

So with this, I release any judgment and allow others to be who are. With compassion, I will continue to hold a space for those individuals I meet and work with. The question is: Are you listening and moving authentically? Is there flexibility in your body and mind? Yoga provides us with an opportunity to experience all of this. Be still. Listen. Breathe deeply. Move authentically.

Have a very "peaceful" day.

With Love,

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Delicate Balance

Inspiration: To really tune in to what is going on in each moment.

It's a Saturday afternoon, and I am working out at Equinox Columbus Circle. Nearby is a woman, probably in her mid to upper forties, boxing with a trainer. Upon closer look, I recognize her to also be a trainer at a different Equinox location. She looked amazing !!! Her form and physique, just beautiful.:) Funny thing is, her body did not match her face. Is there a point where we should surrender some of our "hardness" for lack of a better word for some softness?

This is something that goes through my mind quite often. On a purely personal level, I have been known to work out quite intensely; at times producing a similar physique. Since I have really fallen in love with yoga and its internal and external benefits, I have noticed the need to be a "hard body" fade slowly into the distance. It takes a lot of work to keep it up. You have to eat right, train right, train hard...or do you? That is a question I am presently exploring in my own journey.

As I have mentioned numerous times, life is about balance. If we focus too much in one area of our lives, other areas may suffer. About seven years ago, upon returning to NYC from a brief stint in Southern California, this was me. I was obsessed with exercise. All I could think of. My body was a direct representation of this. I was ripped, eight pack and all. Problem was, I felt so angry and alone. I transferred my personal sorrow into exercise. This in and of itself is not a bad thing. But, anything taken to an extreme and takes up all your thoughts, is not healthy. I prayed to let go of this and seven years later, I am much different.

So back to our scenario of the trainer boxing at Equinox. I was able to look on with admiration but at the same time a feeling of softness coming over me. That same day, I happened to train too hard and long and am feeling it right now. The thing is, today, I am respecting my body and its need for rest and comfort. I have come a long way. As we mature, it is in our best interest to surrender our ego and desire for perfection more fully. This creates space and more openness in our world.

Whatever is in your way to achieving a balanced state, please be kind to yourself. Change of any kind takes time and much patience. If an "Aries" (infant sign of the zodiac)like myself can begin to learn this, so can you.

Have a very "peaceful" day.

With Love, Denise

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Secret to a Bikini Bod

Inspiration: Always to LISTEN, lovingly, to the body and it's messages.

Summertime is upon us. A time to dress in more revealing clothing. And yes, a bathing suit. So many women are self-conscious. This becomes most apparent in the warmer weather. We see a lot of young women, parading around in short shorts and skimpy tops.

Is there a magic formula? The answer is in the negative. Depending upon our activity level, metabolism and genetics (only 25% role)this will determine where we are. Just because someone is skinny, does not mean they are in shape. Over the years I have seen many skinny people who are extremely fragile. Paradoxically, I have witnessed many overweight individuals in "amazing" shape.

It all comes down to balance and integration; in the body, mind and heart. The way we nourish ourselves is a direct indication of how we feel. The body is a temple. How are you feeding it? A suggestion I offer is to eat a myriad of different colors everyday; greens, reds, oranges and yellows. Some kind of protein at every meal is essential for regulating mood and blood sugar levels.

Lastly, movement is ESSENTIAL. You choose what modality speaks to you. It can be as simple as taking a walk or as intense as a hardcore run, spin class or weightlifting. And of course, my favorite YOGA. Classes vary in intensity and style. There is something for everyone.

Most importantly, be kind, loving and have a lot of patience. As it is said "Rome was not built in one day." Any program touting results in a short time, is just a quick fix. If that is what resonates for you, that is fine. But for the long haul, it takes consistency, presence and heart. Always remember to breathe; deeply.....

Have a very "peaceful" day.

With Love, Denise

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summertime is in the Air!

Inspiration: To continue to find the joy in the everyday.


Hope you all had a very "peaceful" Memorial Day Weekend. It certainly is summertime, even if it is not yet June 21st. The smells are definitely here. What I mean by this statement is most recently I was walking down Columbus Avenue and there was the aroma of a barbecue.... What it really was, was the corner Frankfurter guy. This is a time for us all to go outside: both literally and metaphorically. Expansion is in the air !!! An opportunity to look at life through new eyes.

Yesterday, I decided to go for a walk down 5th Avenue. Of all days, I chose Memorial Day. Actually, I was walking down to Lord and Taylor for shoes. On my way across Central Park, I noticed a man dressed up as the statue of liberty, painted in green. I took out my blackberry and took a picture. This started a roll, and I found myself taking a picture of the Plaza Hotel, amongst other New York City sites.

My intention for sharing this seemingly mundane experience, was that after residing here for nearly 18 years, I made a choice to walk around as if I were here for the very first time. This created a sense of spaciousness within. A feeling of possibility.

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Read and enjoy.

With Love,