"News"

your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside awakens.

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

This quote by Carl Jung conveys what the ancient yogis referred to as Samadhi; the sight of the soul. They believed that when you look outside of yourself you have sight however; your true self becomes hidden by someone else’s dreams. This allows your family, friends and community to become your compass through life. On the other hand, when you look inside of yourself you have insight, self-exploration, and the discovery of who you are and what you believe. This allows your whole being to awaken and blossom.

Yoga philosophy and tools give us the ability to develop physically and spiritually. As we move into spring allow the ongoing practice of yoga to guide you towards Samadhi, where you become master of your circumstances and one with the core of your being.

gratitude

Friday, December 13th, 2013

At this busy time of year we all have so much to be thankful for. Perhaps this would be a good time for all of us to create a new daily habit and start a gratitude list. The messages that we give to ourselves are the most important messages we hear. These internal thoughts determine our attitudes, behavior and the course of our lives.

Let’s decide that every day we are going to write one thing we are grateful for. Let that thing become a mantra in your head by repeating it over and over throughout the day.
Make each thought a full sentence that begins with, “I’m grateful for …” or “I’m grateful that …” This way, it’s a complete thought, and you’re not just listing things or people, but actively associating them with giving thanks.
Your list can be composed of specific things like—Honey Nut Cheerios, cell phones, cabs, or abstract things like—courage, perspective, or help in all its forms. It can be about small things—funny things —or big things like—friends and their love. Just go with what comes to you.

Overtime, I hope we will all see the benefits of cultivating gratitude and how rich our lives really are.

Here are seven things I am grateful for —-
• I am grateful for yoga, my teachers, and my students
• I’m grateful for my morning tea ritual.
• I’m grateful that I have a loving family.
• I am grateful for my dog Teddy.
• I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to dance.
• I’m grateful for my cozy bed.
• I am grateful for my daily walk and the smell of fresh air.
Now—you create your list and let’s keep each other going!

That sense of commitment will give us all the push we need to write our thought(s) on days when it seems hard. Sharing something from our lists in class will help us all access our own gratitude more easily and it will be fun to progress together!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!

everything’s blooming walk

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Spring is upon us and it is the perfect time to get outside and observe nature changing. For instance, dry contracted and dense soil gradually transforms into moist, fertile, and fragrant soil that is essential for everything to bloom and grow.

This powerful energy is also within us creating the perfect time to shed the excess weight of winter, get rid of the sluggishness we have been feeling and to lighten up our bodies, minds and hearts by reconnecting with nature.

Step 1 Observe your surroundings

Walk slowly and observe the natural energy of the season, day, time or weather. Allow the smells of Spring to invigorate your whole body. As you breathe feel the fresh air entering your body. Let the renewal you are seeing fill you with optimism. Allow the sounds of birds singing open your heart. Savor the longer days of light and find joy in each moment of your day.

Step 2 Notice your current state of body and mind

How do you think and feel?
Let that connection inform your walk today.

Step 3 Focus on your feet

Feel the firm ground beneath you
trying to remain aware of your steps.

Step 4 Turn you attention to breathing

Lift your torso, roll your shoulders back and open your heart and chest. This will increase the space in your lungs to allow for deeper breathing. As you inhale, imagine you are drawing in renewed, healing energy. As you exhale, allow tiredness, tension, and stale energy to release from your body. Let the fresh flow of oxygen fill your lungs and every cell of your body. Let your breath anchor you as you visualize your body opening up and your mind ready to receive.

Step 5 Talk to yourself

Feel a sense of gratitude for all that you are experiencing in this moment. Agree to think positive and uplifting thoughts to lift your mood and make you feel more “connected” to yourself and the world around you. Let this renewed point of view nourish, expand, relax, and open your body and mind. As you walk let the awareness of time dissolve, there is nothing to be done.

being present is…

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

“In an asana, the mind has to reach inside the body to find a quiet space until a point comes where perfect balance is felt.”

-geeta iyengar-

counting meditation to calm and center your mind

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

As we move into this busy holiday season it’s easy to get overloaded with all the plans and festivities. Many of us are also still dealing with the after effects of Hurricane Sandy. Allow this simple counting meditation to trigger a calmer version of yourself and help you focus on what’s really important during this time, connecting with family and friends.

Sit in any comfortable position and close your eyes.

Start by breathing in and out through your nose. Breathe naturally allowing your mind to focus on the air moving in and out of your body.

Then, start counting inhale 20, exhale 19, inhale 18, and exhale 17, and inhale 16, exhale 15, inhale 14, and exhale 13 and so on.

As you breathe allow your excess energy to settle and feel a calmer version of yourself resurface. The more you do it the better you will feel.

Here’s a Tip:

Don’t be surprised if your mind begins to wander and you lose count. Simply start again at 20. The point is to count each breath and experience it fully.

ayurveda and yoga for optimal health

Friday, October 5th, 2012

I recently pursued Ayurveda, an ancient system of holistic healthcare, to help me with chronic digestive problems. I would often go for days without a bowel movement especially when I traveled. I experienced daily aches and pains in my joints, and after exercising I felt depleted and exhausted rather than invigorated.

My Ayurveda practitioner and yoga instructor, Anu Butani, explained that Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga, is rooted in the laws and cycles of Mother Nature. The foundation of Ayurvedic medicine is one’s constitution, or dosha. There are three dosha types; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, however; most people have a combination of dosha characteristics with one dosha being more predominant than another. Each of the dosha types thrive under a specific diet, exercise plan, and lifestyle changes. According to Ayurveda and Yoga, achieving balance on all levels of our being is the true measure of vibrant health.

At my first session, Anu determined that my health problems were due to my dominant dosha, Vata. Vata is translated as “wind” or “that which moves things.” It is this energy of movement and force that governs all biological activity.” The main locations of Vata in the body are the colon, thighs, bones, joints, ears, skin, brain, and nerve tissues. Anu explained that my dosha was present in greater than normal proportions; or in an “aggravated” or “excess state” creating imbalances within my whole system. According to David Frawley, Yoga and Ayurveda, Self Healing and Realization, “Vata is derived from the elements of Space and Air which is why Vata people tend to be cool, dry, slender, and light. They are also often lacking “agni” or “fire in the belly” which is directly related to one’s digestive health.

Anu recommended several therapies which included a Vata balancing diet of foods that were primarily sweet, sour, salty and cooked. She also recommended sipping warm teas throughout the day to flush out accumulated toxins, and to stimulate digestion. A variety of herbs and oils were suggested to promote digestive strength, and she instructed me how to massage my body daily with warm oil to nourish my dry body and warm my cool skin. I was also told to avoid certain foods that were drying or over-stimulating for my system. Finally, she recommended I practice slowing down, grounding, and nurturing myself more as part of my daily routine. Simply put, my cold and dry system needed warmth, oil and pressure to come back into balance.

Ayurvedic healing and wisdom has influenced my regular yoga practice and the poses I choose. I am more aware of what I need to do to support my body and how I can use particular asanas like forward bends or restorative poses to help relieve my digestive problems and release excess Vata in my system and standing poses to ground me. With attention and commitment I have continued to make progress one day at a time. I am thankful for Anu; her time and effort in helping me heal, and the profound difference Ayurevda has made in my digestive health and life.

Think Ayurveda can help you? I would be happy to provide Anu’s contact information or answer any questions that you may have.

pace yourself

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

As we gear up for September, how many of us get so busy with tasks, work, and activities that we forget to move slow and reconnect with ourselves?

Our yoga practice is often a reflection of how we move through our lives off the mat.
So if you tend to hurry through life you are likely to rush through your poses too.

Slow down and take time for yourself. Allow yourself to be emotionally calm and to slow down physically. Be secure in the knowledge that you can accomplish what has to be done without the frantic activity.

Slow down, pace yourself and appreciate the nuances of an unrushed life by letting go of obligations and feelings of urgency.

The quiet and calm energy that you will feel and project will inspire others to do the same.

a moving meditation

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Many students envision the “right” way to meditate as sitting silently, supported by a zafu meditation pillow, in a quiet serene space. The intention is to sit back, relax, and be present. While it is true that this form of meditation does exist there are also many other ways to meditate and all aspects of yoga lead to a meditative state.

Meditation is the process of bringing the mind into focus on one thought or idea, for an extended period of time. This involves letting go of some of the normal chatter (about 600 thoughts a minute) that we are all familiar with as we move through our busy lives. The ancient sage Patanjali defined yoga as “the cessation of the thought waves of the mind” in his classical text the Yoga Sutra. The process of watching the mind through meditation helps it to clear out the clutter and allows it to function more efficiently bringing a sense of calmness. When the mind is calm a feeling of peacefulness and balance radiates throughout the whole body.

Whether you are sitting still in Sukasana or moving through a vinyasa flow, each time you come to class you experience a meditative state. Think of your practice as having three phases. First, centering yourself, becoming still, quieting your mind by focusing it away from everyday concerns, signaling it to go within and settle down, and tuning into your breath. Second, listening inward and developing self-awareness of your state of being as you breathe slow and steady synchronizing each movement with your breath. As you try to take in each sensation and detail of the pose the experience heightens your senses to a more spiritual level. Third, the transition back into the world after the relaxation where you body further releases any hidden tensions in the body and mind leaving you with a feeling of mental clarity, radiance, and complete bliss.

So, if you think you are practicing yoga asanas without meditating, think again!

living moment to moment

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

How many of us live life as if each moment was important and counted even if it was a moment of pain, sadness, anxiety, or fear? How many of us tend to waste an enormous amount of energy functioning on auto pilot and reacting unconsciously to the outside world and to our own inner experiences? When practicing yoga, how many of us immediately focus on achieving the full pose rather than experiencing each small movement and sensation that is required to get there? How many of us can suspend all judgments of ourselves and others for a couple of minutes, an hour, two hours, a day, several days, a week, or longer? How many of us see without seeing, taste without tasting, hear without hearing, touch without feeling, and talk without really knowing what we are saying?

According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, a professor of medicine and founder/director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and Center for Mindfulness at the University at Massachusetts Medical School, learning to live moment to moment and cultivating mindfulness is the heart of Buddhist meditation. Zinn also practices yoga and studies with Buddhist teachers to integrate their teachings with those of western science in his center. According to Buddhist teachings, mindfulness means paying attention to things we ordinarily never give a moment’s thought to. Mindfulness is learning to appreciate the richness of life and the inevitability of all its dilemmas, worries, sorrows, fears, disappointments, and tragedies. It is the practice of embracing the full picture and about allowing the stories of life to strengthen you and teach you about living, growing, and healing.

In his book, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness, he invites us to experiment with living intentionally moment to moment. Not living “for the moment” but rather living “in the moment.” To begin with try suspending all judgments for the time being and commit to observing and reconnecting with your “self” in each moment. Tune into the basic experience of living with things exactly as they are. Make an effort to slow down, nurture calmness and self-acceptance, and just observe your mind. Imagine watching a sunset. Notice its colors, its size, what you like about it, and how it makes you feel in the moment. Don’t allow comments by others about the sunset or your impulse to respond to them draw you away from experiencing it. Watch your thoughts and learn how to pay attention to the substance of your thoughts. Experience the sunset as if it is the first time you are seeing it. Let go of the other “stuff” in your mind that can zap your energy. You can apply this exercise to any moment in your life like driving your car somewhere, listening to a friend tell a story, eating an ice cream cone, or taking a walk outside. With practice and commitment your mind will clear making room for you to see the world and yourself in new ways.

As you go along you may notice that when trying to concentrate on a particular moment, to be in the present, very often your attention will be easily distracted. Our thoughts can be powerful and there is always noise in our minds. This can be especially true in a time of crisis when our thoughts often cloud our awareness of the present. As you start to observe each moment you will quickly discern that this unending noise has patterns. One of the most prevalent is the Voice of Judgment. This can create barriers that block the path to your ideal life.

The very act of observing and paying attention will allow your life to unfold from inside you moment by moment. Turn off your auto pilot mode and notice how gradually your relationship to your body, thoughts, perceptions and feelings change.

discovering profound inner relaxation

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

I recently participated in a Restorative Yoga Teacher Training with Jillian Pransky of YogaWorks, NYC. Her creativity in setting up props to meet each individuals needs was inspirational. Her ability to effectively communicate and share her experience and knowledge was invaluable.

Although, shaping the body with the props is essential to this practice the training focused more on learning how to open up the lines of energy once students were in a pose and the effects of the nervous system once students were able to relax. Through experiential exercises and lectures, Jillian conveyed how we all walk around with trauma in our bodies and minds, and when whatever we are protecting becomes exposed, it takes us deeper inward and the process of healing can begin.

She emphasized the importance of students becoming aware of their tension, learning how to welcome the breath into their bodies, and learning how to relax. This is very healing and nourishing to their well-beings and to those around them. She clarified that for some students opening up and truly relaxing may be challenging at first while for others it will be pure bliss.

My initial approach to this training was to broaden my knowledge and experiences to enable me to help my students on their individual paths. However; I was completely surprised at the emotional release I experienced several times during the training and even after the program. After each restorative session I felt like I was floating or suspended, and at times forgot that I was supported by the props. It is this new wakefulness that will help me move forward in my journey.

I continue to take classes with Jillian to deepen my understanding of this therapeutic practice and to expand my own meditation and restorative practice. I look forward to becoming your relaxation and meditation teacher, and sharing all that I am learning from Jillian with you.

Want to learn more about Restorative Yoga? Check out the “news” blog below; resist the urge to do more. Have questions or concerns? Please contact me.

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What people are saying...

"I could not have imagined feeling both relaxed and invigorated at the same time until I met Andrea Kayam and began taking classes at her yogabody studio. I have taken both private and group sessions with Andrea. As an experienced teacher of yoga, she has the remarkable ability to gauge the needs of her students each time she teaches a class and to adapt the day’s practice accordingly. She urges students to challenge themselves to go farther each time, while emphasizing that there is no “perfect pose” that must be achieved. Her patience and sense of humor motivate her students to try new techniques comfortably because there is no such thing as failure. During the two years that I have worked with Andrea, I have developed more strength and flexibility and have learned to use breathing both in and out of class to control tension. I recommend yogabody to anyone who wishes to improve his or her quality of life." Linda W.