Om Sweet Om Yoga
12 Irma Avenue
Port Washington, NY 11050
516.944.9642
www.omsweetomyoga.com

BLOG

yogamom
yogamom

Struggle

The struggle is real. I see it everyday with my own life and the lives of everyone I know. Sometimes it's an emotional turmoil, having to do with relationships (often not just with others, but with ourselves), other times it's physical, dealing with ways in which our bodies let us down (so to speak). This is why I am so grateful for the practice.

Holding a pose; exploring a shape that doesn't come naturally is part of the process of transformation.
Transformation is why we are here. Life would be boring if we didn't have some struggle that helps us grow as a soul. Ultimately it's how we deal with it that makes the difference.

Ego plays a big part in this process. I am reminded of this by a translation of the Bhagavad Gita by Ram Dass. "The process of awakening brings you into a struggle with every habitual way you have of thinking about the universe, even the deepest ones, because every one of them has you locked into being some facet of who you think you are... It requires mental discipline to be in a place without flickering, and that's the kind of discipline Arjuna isn't used to...
That's why the message of the Gita has to begin with this crisis situation. Arjuna has to be shaken to his very roots before he can hear what Krishna has to say to him."

I love stories that humanize the struggles we have in life. They take it to a level that lets everyone who reads and learns from them they are not alone in this experience. When we practice yoga in a community setting, we have the opportunity to be part of other peoples' struggles, and it makes the human experience more meaningful. Whether it be an emotional breakthrough someone just had, or you did headstand for the first time! I am grateful for the community of Om Sweet Om, and all the yoga communities that exist for everyone.

yogamom
yogamom

Strength

Strength can be a weakness. The areas we tend to have issues with can be the ones we over use. The areas that are physically weak are places that actually help us get stronger. We can gain so much insight from the places we use to overcompensate.

It's good to look at the physical aspects, but also emotional. Take ego for example. We need an ego, it helps us to survive, yet a strong ego can be a weakness.

When on the mat, notice where you work too hard, you may be overworking a part of your body because it's strong. You also may be over-stretching because you can. In yoga, a flexible body is probably considered a strong point, but sometimes that can make you weaker. It's always a conversation we need to have with ourselves. It's one of my favorite reasons to practice yoga. It's so much more than just going through the motions.

Add a little inquiry to your life. Look at the aspects of yourself that you think are your strengths, look at it from both sides. The way in which they serve you, and the way in which they might not. Look at your areas of weakness, or at least what you think makes you weak. What have you gained insight into because of this "weakness"? Enjoy this process, it will show you so much about yourself, and you will be wiser for it in the end.

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." ~Albert Einstein

yogamom
yogamom

Energy

So much of our yoga practice is about playing with energy. This time of year is an interesting experiment with energy. It begins with Thanksgiving and goes through New Years. We start celebrating, shopping, and following a schedule that is a break from our usual routine. Money is energy, food is energy, relationships are energy. Yoga can help us to manage our energy so we can make it through this season mostly intact (as in healthy!).

One of the concepts in yoga relating to energy is what we call the gunas. The gunas are Rajas, Tamas and Satva. The gunas are external effects. Rajas is overactivity, Tamas is inactivity, and Satva is balance. We all strive for balance, especially when we feel unbalanced.

We can explore how these energies affect us just by feeling what is going on around us. A Rajasic quality is that of the frenzy of the season. Being bombarded by all the emails for the sales and drawing us into to shop and be online. The experience of shopping alone can be Rajasic, but ultimately it will make us feel Tamasic, we will get sluggish and we will feel tired.

Tamas also occurs when we eat or drink out of usual routine. This can cause sluggish digestion, and sluggish energy overall.

We want to see a nice interplay between Rajas and Tamas. Our yoga practice can help us to experience this balance, and though you might be challenged to get on your mat, it's the best thing you can do for yourself during this season.

yogamom
yogamom

Happy New Year

Here's your hat, what's your hurry?

Happy New Year! I am so glad it's 2017!
Pretty much everyone I speak to, or connect with online feels this way about 2016. The thing is, there is always good with the bad. This week I came across an Instagram picture that reminded me about the yin/yang symbol. It's such a great symbol of life. You have to take the good with the bad, it can't all be good.

That being said, goodbye, and good riddance to 2016! If you follow numerology, 2016 is a "9" year. In numerology you add all the numbers up to create the number you follow for information. 9 is about letting go of the things that have been keeping us back. The hard part is that we sometimes don't know what that is until it keeps bonking us in the head enough times! We also need to understand that we don't have control and that when we let go, we suffer less. The cool part is, that 2017 is a "1" year. This is a year of new beginnings and new opportunities. The caveat, let go of the past! You can't cling to it if you expect to open the door for new!

So as we transition into 2017 this quote by chime sums it all up nicely;
"You have to take the good with the bad, smile with the sad. love what you got, and remember what you had. Always forgive, but never forget, learn from your mistakes but never regret. People change, things go wrong, but just remember life goes on."

yogamom
yogamom

Happy fall!

Happy Fall! It's that time again! Time for change. Our days are becoming shorter and the temperatures are getting cooler. It's a season marked by letting go. Letting go of the leaves on the trees, letting go of the carefree days of summer. It's always been a season that I love, even though it makes me sad to say goodbye to summer.

I have always loved to incorporate the seasonal influences in my yoga practice, and in Chinese medicine we learn that autumn is the season associated with the lungs and the large intestines. It's perfectly natural for us to start to move from the expansive nature of the summer to a more internal vibe. We start to nest a little bit, and work on getting things done that we put off while we were out and about during the summer.

This season teaches us that boundaries are important in our physical bodies and in our lives. There is a time and a place for everything. Our yoga practice helps us to explore this concept.

Every organ has emotions that are associated with it. Lungs are about being happy, and having the ability to relax and let go. When we are dealing with grief or loss, and this feeling is prolonged, we experience weakness in the lung. It's important to note that every organ has a pair. One of the organs is a yin organ, and the other organ a yang. Our lungs are yin and our large intestines are yang. The lungs receive air and the large intestines let go of waste.

Yoga and pranayama helps us to strengthen our lungs. When we breathe deeply we increase our energy. Yoga also helps our mind, which ultimately increases our positive attitude. It's about having the mindfulness to know what we need to hold on to, and what we have to let go of. This is a big part of transitioning to a healthy fall and a healthy life. People often think of the spring as a time to clean and give away, but fall is equally an important time to go through this process.

yogamom
yogamom

In Loving Memory...

We've lost a good one; Amy Hagedorn has been a student of mine since I opened Om Sweet Om. In the beginning, she was in her late 60's and a little more agile. As time went on, and her illness sometimes got the better of her, she would show up to an open level class and do child's pose most of the time. She was a pure example of someone who came to be in the community and energy of others, and gained something from doing the simplest of poses. She is an example of how to live, and how to die. She left a legacy of wonderful things she accomplished. Besides her philanthropy, she was cultured, and adventurous. She came on my first yoga retreat to Costa Rica, where there was quite a bit more rough terrain than expected, but she did it with a smile, and came back (to a different location!) the following year!

This week, I want to dedicate this newsletter, as I have dedicated my practice, to her life. How she lived, and who she touched. Many people come in and out of our lives. I am truly touched by each and everyone. This one, well, it leaves a big footprint on my heart. May we all have the humility to do what we need to do on our mats and in our lives.

yogamom
yogamom

Ganesh Chaturthi

This past Monday was the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi, a ten-day period which celebrates the birthday of Ganesh, who is the elephant deity we know from yoga.

Ganesh has always been meaningful to me. He is known as the remover of obstacles, but also ushers in new beginnings. It's a nice coincidence that it happened to land at the beginning of the school year. The date does vary from year to year, so it's not always in sync with the beginning of school.

New beginnings are always full of energy. We have renewed hope, and excitement for what lays ahead. I personally love the feeling of getting a new notebook and some new writing utensils to begin again.

Though it's been a few years since I've sat in a traditional classroom, I am forever a student, and I love to learn something new. It's one of the reasons I think I resonate with yoga so much. Every time I come to my mat, I learn something new.

This fall we are excited to begin again. Lots of new offerings to excite even the most reticent student! Please make sure to check out our workshops and trainings that are coming up in the next few months. We have tried to bring you lots of learning opportunities. If you're not able to join us for those special offerings, hopefully we will see you in class! It's always great to see the people who disappear during the summer back at the studio, and for those of you who never left, we appreciate your dedication more than you know!

yogamom
yogamom

Being Prepared

Being prepared

With the impending storm, it got me thinking about how half the time I don't pay attention to the hoopla about storms. I am a glass half full person, and so I always think they are wrong, and are just blowing things out of proportion.

When we had "tropical storm" Sandy, I learned that maybe I should heed a little more caution. That being said, what does being prepared have anything to do with yoga? Well being prepared for anything in life will certainly bring you more joy, and who doesn't want joy?

Yoga is about preparing yourself for a better present and future. This practice prepares you to age more gracefully, and live a better life. Whether it be because you are emotionally able to, or physically able to, or both, life is better.

School starting is another perfect example of being prepared. You want to show up to class with your notebooks and writing utensils, and any other things your teacher requests of you to make things easier. With yoga, you may have come to it not thinking that this practice had anything to do preparing yourself for something, but you learn that every time you leave your mat you feel better prepared to handle what life has to throw your way. You've all heard the concept of a twister, and how the middle of it is calm. I'd be remiss not to remind you that after your practice, you are the calm center of the storm.

I've mentioned this Sutra in the past, Heyam Dukkham Anagatam. It means, future suffering can be avoided. I can't think of a better, more straightforward way of saying, practice will bring you peace.

yogamom
yogamom

Letting Go...

Letting go

One of the hardest things to do in life is let go of someone. Whether it be a relationship that has run it's course, a loved one who is dying or saying goodbye to someone who is going away for an extended period of time. As I write this, my son is still sleeping on the day I am bringing him to the airport to return to school. His puppy (who many of you got to meet over the summer), is sitting next to me on the stoop outside my kitchen door (one of my favorite places to write, and take in the day).

I swore I wouldn't get attached. Well, that didn't work! So I am summonsing up my yoga tools once again. This practice has helped me through so much. I know it can help me yet again. I also know I am not alone. So many people have to deal with letting go on a regular basis. Our physical practice helps us to experience an outer attainment, and also an inner peace. The yoga philosophy is so rich in guidance that I cannot help but get drawn in to the support I can receive when I am open to it.

One of the Yamas, which are personal guidelines is Aparigraha. Many people take it to mean non-hoarding or non-greed. It also means non-attachment. Ultimately this Yama is about only taking what we need. The problem is we don't always know what we need, and what we think and what we can handle are two different things. It also helps us to understand that we can hold on when it serves us, and let go when it doesn't. Again, easier said than done.

Parinamavda is a Sanskrit word that means everything is in a constant state of flux. I know this in my heart that things change, yet change is hard, especially when someone you love is leaving you.

So if you are currently sending a child off to college, or working with another aspect of letting go. Be in the moment as much as you can. Try not to cling, and allow life to unfold the way it is meant to. Aparigraha can teach us a sense of freedom. Try not to grasp so hard, and the flow of life will happen as it should.

"But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls."~Kahlil Gibran

yogamom
yogamom

Lineage

Lineage has long been a topic I think about because I started my yoga journey with one teacher, got trained by another, studied with many others, trained again with someone else and am still learning from so many incredible teachers that to say I have one lineage I follow would be incorrect. Though it all is Hatha yoga at the end of the day! To say I teach one style would be wrong. I do however feel greatly influenced by many teachers who are direct pupils of Krishnamacharya who was known as the father of modern yoga. Some of his students include B.K.S. Iyengar (Iyengar Yoga), Pattabhi Jois (Ashtanga Yoga) and T.K.V. Desikachar (Yoga Therapy).

This week Desikachar passed. Desikachar was the son of Krishnamacharya, and originally was a trained engineer. He came into the "family" business after realizing the incredible ability his father had to help others, and was drawn in to the work. What always resonated with me about his work was that it was geared towards the individual in front of you. This has always influenced how I teach, I have studied with several of his long time students, Gary Kraftsow and Leslie Kaminoff.

Back before we had the internet, people didn't have access to teachings the way we do now. Though there is nothing like studying with a real live teacher, we have the luxury of learning online now that wasn't available even 30 years ago. At the end of the day, there will still be the teachers who have greatly influenced yoga as we know it today. They taught selflessly. We can be grateful for their contribution to our practice.

So this week, as you reflect on the practice, think of the teachings that have been passed on to you with a moment of pause and gratitude for the beautiful souls that shared what they knew to be an effective way to live well.

"The ultimate goal of yoga is to always observe things accurately, and therefore never act in a way that will make us regret our actions later."~ T.K.V. Desikachar
Unused Content: