June Newsletter

IMG_2009.PNG

 

Yoga for Guys
(Special Father’s Day Edition)
by Kevin Diemer
Gentleman, if someone told you that there was something that could settle the mind, make you feel connected with yourself and others, give you vitality, strength, flexibility, and be more present, would you be interested? I would be skeptical too…but there is.
Guys, everywhere you turn now you hear the word yoga. If it’s not your doctor telling you it’s a “cure all” or your significant other telling you “A Lot of guys do yoga” as she shows you a picture on her phone that Gumby would tap out of, it’s the confusion…What is vinyasa? Should I start with hot yoga? (NO, just no), Do I need to learn this new language they say all the poses in? Is there going to be a goat jumping on me? Then, you realize you can’t touch your toes and you don’t even have a tattoo!!
You’re not alone brother, this is a microcosm of life and yoga. We all have these thoughts in life as we do before we enter a yoga class. Then we get there the anticipation is over as the teacher instructs us to take our first of three calming breaths…and then we are practicing.
My path to yoga wasn’t anything you write a documentary you need a box of tissues to get through, but it is my journey. I lifted weights, ran on the treadmill chasing the TV and it just didn’t fill me any more. Then I started to practice yoga videos on TV and hoped no one would open the door and see me. I know that there was something there.
Then the big day came when I would actually take a “real” yoga class, of course it had to be and intermediate, because I’m a guy and guys don’t take beginner classes ( yes they do and I strongly encourage it for all beginners). I remember filling out a form and one of the questions was “what kind of yoga do you practice?” and I’m thinking “what do you mean….yoga yoga”. No worries chap these questionnaires don’t get graded. As I rolled out my mat there were people doing splits and wondered what I got myself into. I survived and 8 years later I went from being an OK gym rat to having a practice with meaning to it far beyond the physical appearance…it was yoga ( union of the body and mind).
A practice that didn’t require machines, a practice I could do virtually anywhere, one that gets me through the tough times and makes me more present for the good ones.
A lot of us know the benefits of yoga, but it would be a disservice if I didn’t mention a few. Helps reduce anxiety and stress, improves functions of the body, calms the mind and body, improves self confidence, and it is an “adult play time”. This is why we see people 100 plus years old still practicing because it is sustainable and you become it.
I realize yoga is not for everyone but even for you guys out there who are resistant, it is a good practice to add to your “life tool box”, and will help to increase flexibility and lengthen muscles, or something that you can take slower and take it wherever you like. Try different teachers, classes or with a friend….most of all have FUN with it.

Happy Father’s Day and well wishes,
Kevin Diemer

IMG_2010.PNG

Yoga and Anxiety
by Crystal Delia
When I first began my physical practice of yoga, I did so for the increased flexibility and strength. I always loved Cirque DuSoleil and my imagination led me to think that yoga would enable me the ability to contort like one of the performers from the show. My practice was inconsistent and at times dangerous because I often attempted advanced asanas without any sort of physical warm up or preparation.
Fast forward and now I am working as a counselor within behavioral health. If you or someone you know has worked in behavioral health, then you understand the lasting effects of burnout. I struggled with anxiety while helping others through their anxiety. Physical movement has always been a healing outlet for me, whether it was Muay Thai, running, hiking, biking or dancing. During and immediately following these activities, I would experience peace and calm. This peace would often last for the remainder of the night or at least until the next stressful trigger presented itself. When I decided to enter yoga teacher training, I did so will the goal of self care and self improvement. My intention was not necessarily to teach but rather a tool I could implement in my counseling profession. Teacher training introduced me to the spiritual practice of yoga and how “my practice” is not just on my mat but always within my being.
What I have learned and experienced is that a regular practice of yoga will increase confidence as your balance improves, your awareness and focus become present and you become stronger. The breath is the most important aspect of your physical practice. As with thoughts, the breath is not easily seen nor touched and though it is always with us, we rarely ever pay attention to it. Anxiety is often a result of internal incongruence, fear and a sense of lacking control of the future, whether immediate or long term. Bringing attention to our breath and practicing pranayama, we learn to become aware of it and even control it. Linking our movements to our breath, as we do in vinyasa, our attention is drawn inward and within the moment we are freed from fear of the future. We may not even notice it when it is happening because we are truly practicing mindfulness! The more we learn to let go of outside triggers and focus on our breath and movement, the more confident we become in our own ability to grow. The more we practice mindfulness, the greater freedom we achieve from anxiety. The feelings we experience during and after a physical practice can continue if we allow our attention to the cleansing breath to continue to heal us throughout the day. The kindness and patience that we begin to show ourselves is naturally experienced by others around us. Energy flows where our attention goes and focusing on our internal selves can be positively energizing and empowering. When we feel empowered and confident, we are better able to care for ourselves as well as others. Practicing mindfulness as we learn in yoga, leaves little room for pestering anxiety to flourish. And in those moments where we might have felt overwhelmed with anxiety, we may now instead experience calm (go figure!) both on and off the mat. Namaste, my friends.

Crystal Delia, MS, LAC, NCC, RYT-200

IMG_2010

IMG_1613

Slingyasa with Regina
Regina will be leading this special one hour class on Wednesdays starting June 7th at 9:00 AM for the summer. This is an All Level Flow class that will incorporate the use of the Yoga Wall, Ropes & Slings to explore different asanas; focusing on alignment. Open yourself to a whole new level of understanding of your body in postures. The ability to move more freely with the support of the wall/ropes/slings, is a joyful experience! The principle rules of safety when practicing with ropes and slings will be reinforced. Regina has been certified through Alison West, considered one of the most influential yoga teachers, in New York at Yoga Union. Reservations are Required!…as the maximum limit for this class is 5 people in order to maintain highly individualized attention and safety. $15 Drop-In, memberships and packages do not apply. Register online at http://www.breathelifesangha.com or through the Mind Body Connect app on your mobile device.

IMG_2010

IMG_0499
Teacher Spotlight on:
Crystal Delia
Crystal began practicing yoga 13 years ago while still living in Queens, NY. As a counselor working in mental health and addictions treatment, she decided to earn her 200hr RYT from Align and Flow as a way to further assist people who are struggling with emotional and behavioral challenges to achieve positive change. Crystal identifies herself as a lover of nature, student of life and a servant to all living beings, volunteering her time with animal rescue and care. She recognizes that both the physical and spiritual practice of yoga are vital to wellness and growth and offers a strengthening vinyasa flow with emphasis on breath and mindfullness. Crystal teaches twice on Saturdays at the studio; 7:30AM Sunrise Salutations and 9:30AM Intermediate. You can also find her teaching beach yoga for Breathe Life Sangha in Lavallette (check the schedule online)!

February Newsletter

 

img_1581Five Ways to Balance Your Heart Chakra

by Chrissy Columbino

With Valentines Day around the corner, now is the perfect time to make sure your heart chakra is in check. Below are 5 easy ways to balance your heart chakra:

1. Carry a rose quartz crystal everywhere with you! Known as the “love stone” this pink crystal has powerful energy that resonates with the heart chakra. The heart chakra is responsible not only for the love of other people but it is responsible for the love we have for ourselves. This crystal has a powerful effect on healing your emotional state and aiding in relationship problems by producing peaceful and calming sensations that help dissolve anger and resentment helping us feel compassion and forgiveness. I typically carry my stone in my pocket book and use it during mediation and yoga. You can also wear the crystal around the neck that way the energy of the crystal will resonate out into your whole aura.

2. Rose oil: Apply topically to the temples during mediation or any heart opener pose. Apply some to the wrist as well to keep you balanced throughout the day. Rose oil boosts self esteem, confidence and mental strength. It also relieves anxiety. Not only will you have a happy heart and mind, its light sweet scent will make you smell good too.

3. Meditation: Don’t be afraid to sit with yourself and your thoughts. Choose a mantra that is different every day. “I will forgive XX,” “I will let go of XX” “This no longer serves me” I am open to love” are just a few affirmations you can chant silently while meditating.

4. Heart healing bath….(wine suggested but optional) A good soak in the tub can always wash away any negativity and help calm the mind. Plus, you’re pampering yourself! Not only does this help with balancing the heart chakra but your skin will feel nice and soft and will release any toxins by the use of the Epsom salt.

1/2 cup of sweet almond oil

10 drops of rose oil

Little bit of Epsom salt.

5. Reclining Bound Angle Pose using a bolster: Come to a seated position with the legs stretched outward. Bringing the bolster right up to the lower spine, begin to slowly lean the spine back over the bolster. When in position bring soles of the feet together. Palms should be facing up so you can give and receive positive vibes from the universe. While in pose, breathe deeply and meditate on the color green.

Hope your February is full of love and light!


Teacher Spotlight:

kathrynquinnsanchezphotoHave you met the cutie of the studio, Katherine Quinn-Sanchez? Katherine’s teaching mirrors her personality, bringing playfulness, and spark to the mat.  A former ballet dancer, she’s all about finding a space filled with joy and contentment no matter where you are.  If you haven’t tried her Warm Gentle Flow on Thursday Mornings, you really should get out and share your salsa feet and sassy hands with her!


Workshops and Events!

  • Pre-Natal Yoga Teacher Training with Nicole Buratti – 21 CEU’s! $295.
  • Breathe Life Sangha Yoga Teacher Training Open House Enrollment
    January 15th 1:00-3:00 PM. Free Q&A session. Light refreshments served.
    Come meet our lead trainers and see why our YTT is so desirable!
    Six Month YTT starts Sept of 2017 – Early bird specials.
    Class sessions will be Friday nights and Saturdays.
  • Crystal Bowl Sound Bath & Meditation with Louisa Feb. 19 12-1:30
  • Yoga Wheel Workshop with Louisa  March 19 12-1:30

 


Other EXCITING stuff:

Have you seen our new Yoga Wall!!!

img_9885

Private and semi-private class will be offered soon.  Call the studio to learn how the yoga wall can enhance your practice!


Breathe Life Sangha Yoga Teacher Training

img_9857

Have you been practicing yoga for a while and want to deepen your personal practice?
Has yoga changed your life and you want to share its many benefits with others?
We have a 6-month YTT starting in September, 2017 with a very convenient Friday night/Saturday schedule.  Early bird pricing and payment plans available.

Why Choose BLS for your YTT?
– We are an independently, locally run studio with an interest in serving our community
– Our focus is bringing the traditional eight limbs of Yoga to life in a modern perspective
– Our lead trainers have each been trained in their own specialties, bringing a broader educational experience to the student
– Smaller classes provide a more individualized education
– YA and IAYT recognized teaching staff

Visit our website to download an information package and application at  http://www.breathelifesangha.com

Contact Regina at (732) 600-8030 for more information.

November Newsletter

Are you a School Teacher?

Teachers and Students!!

Teachers play a special role in our lives, they have guided us, our children, imparted knowledge, wisdom and critical thinking skills. We love our teachers! In gratitude for all they do, Breathe Life Sangha offers a special class for school teachers.

We also know have a stressful courseload and a limited budget. The classes are offered year round, to Teachers and Students (high school and older)

Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30-4:30 pm. The cost is only $5 per class. *class packages do not apply*

 

Teachers Convention Week

Just a little something to keep in the back of your mind for November. If you are going to be in the area for Teachers convention week, we are offering a special class for teachers on Thursday Nov, 9 from 12:00-1:15 pm Cost is only $5! Register online at breathelifesangha.com under the workshops/events tab. 

 

Studio News

 14AF4F9C-82DD-4DC4-999E-94B996F9D31F             F0BC4797-A5C7-4768-8593-CF824A0C8F3A

Good news for our wonderful Sangha clients clients!! If you buy a class package you will receive a guest pass to bring a friend to try a yoga class for free. Guest must be a first time visitor to our studio. The cards are good for three months. If your friend purchases a class package within one week of their visit they will receive $5 off their class package and will be given a card for them to bring a friend! Please visit the front desk next time you come in with any questions or call the studio at (732)-600-8030.

Other Exciting News!

 file nov 02_ 1 22 19 pm

 

Sharon Keeton is back for the winter and teaching a Foundations II class on Wednesdays, 9:30-10:45 AM

saguna

 

 

Saguna (Christine Geiger-Ruvolo) is also back!! Saguna will be teaching intermediate practice on Saturdays from 9:30-10:45 AM

 

  Vegan Roasted Apple and Squash Soup

 

820D3C45-EC84-464A-93DA-347A2E0C68B5

  • 4 green apples, peeled and cored, plus more for garnish
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs. (8 cups) red kuri squash, cut 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 in. piece ginger grated
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • Pinch ground cloves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh apple cider
  • 2 cups low-sodium broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Place the apples in baking dish and roast for 20 minutes.
  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic, cooking till tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients. Chop the roasted apples and add. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.
  • Purée in batches in a food processor until smooth, then return to the saucepan. Heat over low heat, thinning with more water, if necessary.
  • To serve, ladle into shallow bowls and garnish with sliced apples, freshly ground cinnamon, and a pinch of ground cloves.

Try not to dive in.

Makes 12 servings.
Credit: PETA Website, Adapted from A Vegan Survival Guide for the Holidays

 

 

Gratitude

E3A876A9-E949-459F-B2C4-78A7564ACD77

by Regina Pietersen

On Gratitude and Best Present.

”There are two kinds of Gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we take; and the larger kind we feel for what we give.” Poet Edwin Arlington Robinson
We are now approaching the holiday season fraught with the hustle and bustle, and loaded expectations; setting us up for missing out on what is most important. What IS important to you? 
The simple act of preparing a holiday dish you are giving to a co-worker or loved one is an act of love and gratitude. Why not take the time while you are doing it to revel in this simple act of kindness? The joy of creating a masterpiece, this true act of giving something of yourself and showing others you love them. As it is with yoga, the mindfulness that you apply with each action and gesture, embodies the work you do on the mat and off. 
One of the simplest things you can do to be present is to practice gratitude. One suggestion is maintaining a gratitude journal. Maybe writing down 3 things a day you are grateful for. Maybe it is a grateful reminder that you put on your mirror, to look at every day when you brush your teeth. Another way to find gratitude is to examine those hard lessons in your life. How would it be for you to instead view that hard lesson learned with gratefulness, and for the person you are because you have grown from it… or are still growing. Writing it down helps. Setting a time of day like when you first wake up or while you’re having that first cup of coffee is good. Try stopping once a day to just look around and find beauty in everything and everyone around you… just for a minute. 
What are some tricks you have learned over the years to find bliss, peace, happiness and gratitude in your life? We would love to hear them. We have a gratitude journal at the studio for the holiday season. Perhaps write that one thing you are grateful for in our journal when you come to class, anonymously if you wish, just to record it somewhere. Perhaps by putting it out there in the universe, we can start operating from a place in our hearts that is full of love and kindness…and spread that everywhere you go.
This writer is grateful for the Sangha she is a part of, grateful for her practice, and grateful for her teachers. 
In loving remembrance and gratitude for Joell Lanfrank, one of my teachers.
BREATHE LIFE SANGHA YOGA
(732) 600-8030 
INFO@BREATHELIFESANGHA.COM 
img_2811
   Follow us on
https://www.facebook.com/breathelifesangha
https://twitter.com/BLSYoga
https://www.instagram.com/breathelifesangha/

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

August Highlights & Deals! 

 Summer Savings:                      

Member Appreciation!  Members Only – Enjoy 20% OFF your next visit with us 




There’s so much to enjoy about summer—and now, add practicing yoga at Breathe Life Sangha to your list! Come indoors to beat the heat and take a class with one of our fabulous instructors … at a 20% discount! One time use only please! Currently registered students only. Offer is for the month of August. Use code “20BLS” at checkout online at www.breathelifesangha.com when purchasing a 75 minute drop-in.

(Classes only – Does not apply to beach yoga, workshops or specialty classes) 

 


New Class Added!*                    



Meet Tasha Rothlisberger, the newest member of our sangha! She is a native Toms River resident, having traveled extensively in Europe and Asia. She has taught at retreat centers, hotels, organic farms, and pop-up outdoor yoga events. She teaches vinyasa, yin yoga, gentle yoga, meditations and pranayama. Her favorite destinations are Nepal and Laos. She is a compassionate, kind, loving soul. Tasha will be teaching Foundations I/II Thursday mornings at 9:30 AM. Please give her a warm welcome! She is excited to be serving the community here at Toms River again!

 


A Different Kind of Paint Party     


 


 

Donation Class By Brandi 

                   

Meet Brandi Bissland! You may see her from time to time as she will be subbing classes at BLS. To get to know her a little better, we are offering a Donation Class on Wednesday, August 2nd from 12:00 Noon to 1:15 PM. This will be an all-levels class! Sign up is free and the suggested donation is $10 – but pay what you wish.  


Recovery Yoga With Ryan                 


Ryan Abrams is a dedicated yogi. He offers a once a month support yoga class at BLS for those seeking to supplement a program of recovery from alcohol and/or drugs. You can expect to hear uplifting music, practice asana(postures) at any ability level, basic pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation, and will include a brief discussion of spiritual principles (12 steps/8 limbs). Join Ryan for this free class. Donations gladly accepted. This class is offered on the last Sunday of every month. Next class is July 30th from 12:00-1:00 p.m.


 


Namaste. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

July 24, 2017

July Newsletter

Summer time… ahhh!  With the warmer climes, we are taking it outdoors!  Beach Yoga in Lavallette and Tai Chi on the Beach with Jennifer Steffener in Brick.  Details about Tai Chi can be found on our website  at www.breathelifesangha.com/.

Design


Our new summer schedule is out.  Please be sure to check online or grab a paper copy.  This schedule will stay in place for the summer.  We encourage our clients to register online and please double check the website or your Mind Body Connect app for any changes.


Teacher Spotlight on Kristy Beline!

IMG_0104

Kristy began her yoga journey in 2011 after she took her first class. As a person who seeks balance through out her life she immediately fell in love with both the spiritual and physical aspects of yoga. She quickly noticed a physical and mental change, her body awareness improved and she felt incredibly calm and grounded. Kristy believes the mind, body and soul connection is a sacred one that should be nurtured daily. It is with this mentality that she teaches her classes from the heart creating fun inspirational sequences based on proper alignment techniques and principals. Her goal is to provide a safe environment for all students to feel comfortable to explore their bodies both inside and out seeking harmony between mind and body. Kristy received her 200 hour certification from Align & Flow in New Jersey and is Yoga Alliance Certified.


Mushroom Miso Hot Pot

IMG_2034

Borrowed from Purple Carrot and delicious!
Servings:2
Time: 35min
Nutritional value per serving: calories 620, fat 16g. carbs 84g, protein 35g Ingredients: 2tsp veg oil, salt and pepper for taste, extra-firm tofu, garlic, fresh ginger, 1tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp sambal, 2 tbsp veg broth powder, 1oz dried shitake mushrooms, 4 oz udon noodles, ¼ cup miso, 2oz baby spinach, 1 scallion
Process: Drain and pat dry tofu, then cut into 1 inch cubes. Mince the garlic and ginger. Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ½ tsp sesame oil and 2 tsp veg oil. Once hot, add garlic, ginger, and half the sambal. Cook until fragrant, about 2 mins. Stir in the veg powder, dried mushrooms, cubed tofu, and 2 cups water. Stir to combine, bring to simmer, and cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 1-15 mins. In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add udon noodles and cook until al dente, stirring often, about 4-5 mins. Drain the noodles and quickly rinse under cool water to prevent them from over cooking. Shake off any extra water, toss with remaining sesame oil to keep from sticking and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the miso paste and 1 cup water. Whisk until smooth, then stir into the mushroom-tofu mixture. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the spinach between large soup bowls. Once the noodles are fully drained, put them on top of the spinach. Rinse, trim, and slice the scallion and add it to each of the bowls. Ladle the mushroom-miso soup over the udon noodles, spinach and scallions. Serve hot and enjoy!


We hope you will take time this summer to enjoy family time and take care of yourself.  Renew, relax, restore… and smile. Be present for your family. Whatever else is going on in the world, just take a moment to take stock of all the blessings in your life.  We are all guilty of running around from project, to deadlines, racing to get everything done.  Even taking 30 seconds in your day to close your eyes, sit up straight and take a minute of slow, deep breaths will do you a world of good.  The season also calls on us to eat lighter meals; fruits and vegetables.  There is a reason your body craves this in the warmer months, just as we crave stews and comfort foods in the colder months.  Follow your instincts! And always, everything in moderation.  Enjoy the blessings of summer and come and visit us at the studio!  Namaste, Regina

May Newsletter

IMG_1905

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there!

IMG_1893


Nancy10Yoga at Your Desk by Nancy “Kamala” Bonta Voitko

If you currently work at a desk job, you may find yourself not moving for hours at a time. You begin a job at 9 am and become so involved typing and answering phone calls and emails that you look up and boom! It’s lunch time! But wait, you just have to finish this job! So you crack open your container of healthy green salad, chased with a fruit yogurt, and carry on what you were doing. What’s wrong with this picture?
You may have had a productive day, your boss is pleased, and YOU are pleased that you accomplished so much. But you DID NOT MOVE ALL DAY. That’s okay, you think, I am going to the gym after work and that will counteract the sitting. Au contraire, my hard-working friend, it doesn’t work that way. Many studies are showing that prolonged sitting is what is detrimental to our health.
So what can we do? Well, first of all, we need to keep visiting the gym, or attending that yoga class! But during the work day, there are some good habits we can develop for ourselves to remain active. And I write this from the experience of having lived on the other side of self-care (the non-stop-workaholic side that can be chained to her computer all day). We can get the job done, and in fact, do it better, while practicing good self-care habits. Here are some practices I have implemented in my own work space:
[Please be aware: most of us can perform these simple practices and movements, but always speak to your doctor before undertaking any exercise regimen, even simple ones, especially if you have been sedentary. We all need to know our bodies and what they can, and cannot, do.]
1. Find an alternative to your desk chair – I have a colleague that now works at a standing desk and loves it! I brought my purple exercise ball to work – it is now my chair. $20 to better health! As I sit, I am constantly engaging my core without noticing, and keeping my lower back more fluid. And if I want to grab a file from across the room I have to get up and WALK over to retrieve it! No more doing a lazy push-and-slide-across-the-room on my chair to grab a file in my credenza!
2. Take a walk. Everyone is allowed breaks but I often see people go from sitting at a desk to sitting at a cafeteria or restaurant table. Checking emails, gossiping, and making phone calls are not the best way to re-fuel the brain and body when taking a break. Unless you have something urgent to attend to, let self-care be your urgent task. If the location of your job allows, take a walk, or do a walking meditation – these types of practices can be most reinvigorating because they are truly a “break” from what you had been doing.
3. Do yoga. You can keep a mat in your office as I do, but if that is not possible in your work space, try these simple exercises in a chair at your desk:
a. Seated Cow/Cat pose: To begin, sit forward in a chair, away from the backrest of the chair. Sit up, keeping your spine tall, shoulders over your hips, feet flat on the floor and hip’s distance apart, with ankles directly under the knees. Your hands can rest gently on your thighs. Inhale, and beginning with the sacrum at the base of the spine, begin to arch your back, bringing your belly and chest forward, opening the chest, chin reaching upward toward the ceiling with shoulder blades down and back. Then exhale, again beginning with the base of the spine, rounding your back toward the back of the chair, rounding the shoulders forward, drawing the belly in, and your chin lowering down to the chest. Inhale again and repeat cow/cat at least 5 sets to start, but if you feel the need for more movement, you don’t have to stop there!)
b. Forward fold (do not do if you have high blood pressure, glaucoma or any other condition in which bending forward is not recommended) : Stand up tall next to your desk. Pull the belly button toward the spine to engage the core muscles and support the spine. Slowly, hinging at the hips, bend forward, leading with the chest. Hands can rest on thighs and slide down your legs as you bend forward. If hamstrings are tight, keep the knees bent to take pressure off of your spine. Let the head and neck relax. Only hold for 4 breaths to start as you dangle there, especially if you are not used to this movement. This totally releases the spine, and reverses the flow of blood. To come up, do not roll – engage your abdominals, and, hinging at the hips, lift the upper body as you return to a standing position.
c. Chest and arm stretch: come to the edge of your chair, or stand. Clasp hands behind your back, palms facing the floor. Stretch your hands towards the floor, bringing the shoulder blades together behind you (and do not raise them). Stretch your chin toward the ceiling. This movement opens and stretches the chest and shoulders.
d. Seated half moon: clasp the hands together, inhale and exhale them as you stretch the hands towards the ceiling, keeping the shoulders relaxed, arms on either side of your ears. Keeping the chest open, slowly bend to the right, keeping both buttocks on the chair seat. Breathe and feel the left side of the body being stretched. Come back to center, inhale and exhale to the left, stretching the right side now.
e. Seated chair twist: turn and sit at the edge of your chair with your right side against the chair back. Legs are hip’s distance apart, ankles under the knees and feet parallel. If your feet do not reach the floor, find books to place under them so that the top of your thighs are parallel to the floor. Sit up tall, lengthening the spine, relaxing the shoulders. Inhale, drawing belly button towards the spine. As you exhale, turn towards the right (the back of the chair) beginning to turn at the waist, then turn the ribcage, the shoulders, the neck and head last of all. Hands can hold the back of the chair as you twist. Go as far as you can while still being able to breathe comfortably. Keep the shoulders level and spine tall. Breathe and enjoy this gentle twist of your spine, Hold pose as you inhale and exhale three times, then inhale, and slowly come out by turning the head back to center, then the shoulders, rib cage, and waist. Repeat on the other side.
Do these simple stretches at your desk, and you will have moved your spine in all directions, keeping it fluid and healthy, giving it a delicious break from the usual static work posture. If we work a sedentary job, we need to be diligent in moving our bodies periodically throughout the day, and take breaks that are truly self-caring. Namaste.

Nancy Bonta Voitko is the branch manager of the Lacey Branch of the Ocean County Library. Her office contains yoga mats, an exercise ball, stress relieving toys, and a cache of healthy snacks available for any one who visits. She is also a working portrait artist and art teacher, as well as a certified yoga instructor at Breathe Life Sangha in Toms River. Nancy is currently working toward her certification in becoming a yoga therapist at the Kula Kamala Ashram.


IMG_1902Asian Pasta Salad with Veggies

1 lb. LINGUINI, UDON, or SOBA NOODLES, (or any GF pasta) cooked and drained, and rinsed in cold water to stop cooking
2 CARROTS, shredded
1 SMALL BUNCH SCALLIONS, sliced
1 CUP SNOW PEAS, or 1 cup BROCCOLI FLORETS*
3 t SESAME OIL
¼ CUP SESAME OR VEGETABLE OIL
1/2 CUP TAMARI or GF SOY SAUCE
JUICE OF 2 LEMONS
2 or more CLOVES OF GARLIC, crushed
4 T SESAME SEEDS, toasted (this is done very quickly by putting seeds in a hot skillet, stirring quickly till they start to toast – you can smell them. Remove immediately).
This is easy-breezy as we head in to the warmer months and you need a quick and easy dish. Basically, all you do is toss everything into a large mixing bowl. This is one of my favorite go-to recipes because you can experiment with different vegetables – you can julienne a red pepper for color, or use bean sprouts. I have always taken recipes as a suggestion and change it up as needed.

Let this sit overnight in the refrigerator so that the flavors really soak in. This is quick and easy and delicious!
* If you use broccoli florets, or any crunchy vegetable, I would blanch them first to soften them up, but that is me. If you like crunchy – skip this asterisk! If you like to brighten the color and soften up your veggies: boil water, drop in the florets till they turn a beautiful bright green, drain and rinse in cold water immediately. Then add to salad.


Employee Spotlight on Melissa MacDonald

Bio pic

Melissa teaches a Slow Flow on Mondays at 7:00-8:15 PM and will also be one of the instructors for Breathe Life Sangha’s Beach Yoga to be offered in Lavallette over the summer. Melissa became curious about yoga in 2004 as a way to cope with chronic pain from an old spinal injury. Having no expectations, she was truly blown away by the profound effect that first class had on her body & mind. She became a regular student and was drawn to the incredible sense of peace she felt at the end of each class. She discovered ways to focus her mind, which helped her life off the mat too.

She fell in love with yoga’s transformative power and in 2011 became a certified 200 hour RYT so she could share that amazing experience she had (and continues to have!) with others. Her goal is to create a safe and supportive environment where students can come to reconnect with themselves and their community. She enjoys teaching a variety of classes – all with a focus on the breath and proper physical alignment.

Melissa has enjoyed practicing Reiki and meditation for some time now as well. She is also a former massage therapist and healthcare worker with a strong understanding of anatomy & physiology. These experiences have helped her as a yoga teacher/student by giving her a greater sense of awareness about our physical and energetic bodies. Make your Monday night Marvelous with Melissa’s Scintillating Slow Flow!!


BEACH YOGA IS COMING!!!

Design

*memberships and packages do not apply.  Please pay in cash at the beach.  No sign up necessary


Musings by Abby Sly IMG_1906

Yoga is largely viewed as one’s ability to contort the body into the shape of a pretzel, but the word yoga literally means to unite, or to yoke together. So what, exactly, are we uniting when we come to the mat? In a perfect world, we’re working to marry the breath, the mind, and the body to each other to allow them to work in synchronicity. And perhaps we achieve that in our 75 minute classes, feeling that Yoga-high when we leave, floating out to the parking lot. But as the mind wanders, the body falters and the breath labors, we find ourselves unfocused and out-of-synch. We critique ourselves and wonder where we “went wrong” or why we’re not “better” or “as good as”? And that is the UNyoga, the disunity, the separation of the triad of body, mind, and breath. That is where so many of us spend our days, forgetting the lessons we learn on the mat, suffering in the human condition. If we can draw our focus back to Yoga during the course of our days outside the studio, we will, indeed, be more content. Waiting in line at the grocery store, take time to breathe evenly, feel the breath circulate, allow the refreshing of the mind… When persistent thoughts rent space in your head, detach from them by bringing your awareness to the present moment, maybe engaging the hands in a mudra while practicing a mental breathing technique. Allow Yoga to move through you and find bliss in the moment. We are one with oursleves. Allow that to happen.

img_1707

The Four Leaf Clover

A symbol of St. Patrick’s Day. A symbol of anticipation of Spring to come. Each leaf is believed to represent something: the first is for faith, the second is for hope, the third is for love, and the fourth is for luck.


 

file-feb-23-5-36-32-pm
Maple Balsamic Tempeh

 Benefits of Fermented Foods &

Maple Balsamic Tempeh Recipe

by Julie Albert

You may have heard about the importance of incorporating fermented foods into your diet but you may not know why. Fermented foods provide beneficial gut bacteria, improve immune function, makes nutrients more available to the body, and makes foods less likely to cause digestive problems. Some methods of preserving foods affect the nutritional profile of foods negatively. Canning, for instance, involves high heat in the processing and then there is exposure to BPA in the lining of the can that can leach into food. Fermentation, because it does not involve high heat and is typically packed in glass jars, preserves the natural vitamins and enzymes present in foods. The process of fermentation can actually create new vitamins, specifically B vitamins and vitamin K.

Some of my favorite fermented foods:

Kefir: If you consume dairy, kefir is an excellent option. It’s a fermented yogurt drink found in the dairy case of most supermarkets. Just one cup per day will improve digestion and contribute to healthy gut microflora balance.

Kombucha: A fermented drink made of brewed tea and sugar and a colony of bacteria or yeast known as a scoby. Once fermented it becomes carbonated and contains B-vitamins, enzymes, and a high concentration of acids (acetic, gluconic, and lactic). Kombucha is great for weight loss and improves digestion, reduces joint pain, and it’s very detoxifying to the body.

Sauerkraut: Made from cabbage, it contains B vitamins and vitamins C, A, and K. It boosts digestive health, is great for circulation, fights inflammation and reduces cholesterol levels.

Kimchi: One of my favorite fermented foods, kimchi is a Korean dish usually made from cabbage mixed with other vegetables, garlic and spices. It is perfect as a condiment to compliment a meal.

Tempeh: Tempeh is fermented soybeans made into a cake. It is a great source of non meat protein and contains B vitamins. It is great for muscle recovery, reduces cholesterol, and increases bone density. Tempeh comes in many varieties. It can be just fermented soybeans or some varieties contain added grains. I prefer just the soybean variety.

Generally I try to avoid excessive amounts of soy but I love the added health benefits of tempeh because it is fermented. Today I’d like to share one of my favorite tempeh recipes. Some recipes call for boiling or steaming the tempeh before cooking (to remove bitterness and make it softer) but this recipe is great because you can skip that step. The vinegar breaks down the tempeh and acts as a tenderizer.

Maple Balsamic Tempeh

Ingredients:
2 (16oz) packages tempeh
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 -4 cloves garlic

Instructions:
Remove tempeh from the package and cut in half lengthwise and then into triangles. Place in a shallow glass baking dish. Combine all ingredients and pour over the tempeh. Toss to coat evenly. Cover and allow tempeh to marinate 1-2 days tossing once or twice a day to coat.

Once you’re ready to prepare the tempeh, heat a nonstick skillet on the stove with olive oil and saute the tempeh until browned well before turning over to brown the other side. Transfer to a plate.

I love to serve this with fresh steamed rice and steamed broccoli. Enjoy!


Teacher Spotlight:  Regina Rosenthal

Photo Feb 21, 12 33 49 PM.jpg

Have you taken a class with our very own Regina Rosenthal? Regina is a physical therapist with an extensive background in holistic healing and pain reduction/relief.  She’s the author of “The Heart of Healing: Discovering the Secrets of Self-Care”, and she brings the treasures of her knowledge to the mat.  As an active advocate for health and well-being in her community, Regina recently brought Move Today! to local seniors.  Breathe Life Sangha was honored to offer a space for this free program which serves to promote healthy and mindful movement for everyday use.  Regina teaches a beautiful Foundations I class on Tuesday afternoons at 4:30…Come and spend an afternoon with her in this gentle class, and let Regina’s healing heart meet yours.


Be Your Own Teacher 

by Regina Pietersen

We all want that instant gratification. The easiest answer to a solution … and the quickest. Our world has now taught us to expect that. A way to grow is to break out of that mold and expect more of yourself. Like that old saying… Seek and you shall find.

I have been taking this online course on Principles of Anatomy with Leslie Kaminoff who studied extensively with master teachers in particular Krishnamacharya’s son, T. K. V. Desikachar. The one thing he always seems to impart in his online lectures is how Desikachar and others influenced his teaching in the most powerful way, not so much by what they said but by what they didn’t do and didn’t say. What they refrained from saying. The information that they refrained from putting into the process. Which would have been someone else’s answer, not his own. That is often what is under appreciated in these master teachers. People become enthralled and hang on every word and the teachings and the beauty of them.. which is certainly something that you gain knowledge from and grow from, but there is a more subtle beauty at work here. They may say some pretty general things but it is how we each relate it to our own lives and experiences, and are able to take individually something a little different away from it than others in how we apply it in our own lives.

It can be frustrating when they are asked a direct question! Oh master.. what is the meaning of life?? … and they don’t answer. They leave it to you to figure out because, guess what? We all have the ANSWERS INSIDE US. And there is also the fact that one answer doesn’t solve it for everyone. A master teacher will often insist that the practitioner find the answers themselves.

And that is what we explore in Yoga. An instructor may give you instruction in a pose but you have to determine how if feels in your body, how it makes YOU feel inside and what is it doing for you. And more than the pose and what it is doing for you physically, can you examine what you are learning about yourself from it? How can you personally take what you do in a yoga class and bring it into your life.

In one of the Bhagavad Gita’s more well known passages, it basically says if we are unattached to results, this will allow us to focus implicitly on our efforts. It is here, in that special place between ignorance and knowledge, that we are rewarded with something much better than the end goal or accomplishment. In yoga and in life, when we undertake anything without expectation of reward or anything in return, we are rewarded with something much better; personal growth, knowledge, and a bright burning light in our soul that reaches out and touches everyone we come in contact with.

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन |
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि || 47 ||


file-feb-23-6-09-09-pm
Green Tea Matcha Cupcakes

Vegan Green Tea Matcha Cupcakes

These are super scrumptious! Come in and take a class on March 17 for St. Patrick’s Day and try one for yourself!

 

 

INGREDIENTS
 1 1/2 cups flour
 2 Tbsp corn starch
 1 tsp baking powder
 1/2 tsp baking soda
 1/2 tsp salt
 2/3 cup sugar
 2 tsp matcha green tea powder
 1 cup soy milk or non dairy milk
 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
 1 tsp vanilla extract
Frosting:
• 1/2 cup vegan margarine
• 2 cups powdered sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tsp matcha green tea powder
_________________________________________________________________
1. Pre heat oven to 350° F
2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and matcha.
3. In a separate smaller bowl mix the soy milk and apple cider vinegar and let sit for a minute or two to allow the milk to curdle
4. Add the oil and vanilla to the milk. Mix into bowl of dry ingredients. Stir the batter until just combined
5. Line cupcake tray with cupcake cases and fill with batter 3/4 of a way up.
6. Bake 16-18 minutes, until golden. Poke with toothpick, if comes out clean they are ready
7. Cool completely before icing
For the frosting:
1. Place butter in a large bowl and cream with an electric whisk.
2. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating and combining until frosting is thick and creamy. Mix in vanilla and Matcha Green Tea Powder until well mixed.


photo-feb-23-4-47-21-pm