namaste news N E W
J E R S E Y
CENTRAL JERSEY’S YOGA & HEALTHY LIVING GUIDE
AUTUMN ISSUE 2010 • VOL. 2
w w w. n j n a m a s t e n e w s . c o m
Get Ready for the Holidays! The Veggie Chick’s Holiday Gift Giving Guide Healthy Holiday Recipes 29 Gifts: A Transformative Giving Exercise Fall Events Calendar
Plus: Traditional Thai Massage And more HEALTH and LIFESTYLE articles inside
yoga & chiropractic:
partners in spine health
R educe Stress * R educe Tension Increase Flexibility * Increase Strength
r u o Y d n i F t a e c a Pe
Inner Light Yoga Center Strong Yoga Tradition in a Modern World Certified Instructors * Classes for all Levels Private and Group Sessions * Yoga Therapy Yoga Teacher Training Program Workshops * Serene Atmosphere Inner Light Yoga Center 1626 Route 130 N, K-3 North Brunswick, NJ 08902
NOW namas N E W
J E R S E Y
te new s
CEN TRAL JERS EY’S AUTU YOG MN IS A & SUE 2 w w w. 010 HEAL njnam THY astene • VOL. 2 LIVIN ws.co G GU m IDE
Get Re ad the Ho y for
The Veg lidays! gie Chick Gift Giv ’s ing Guide Holiday Healthy Holiday Recipe s 29 Gifts: A Transf ormativ e Giving Exercis e Fall Eve nts Calen dar
Traditiona l Thai Ma ssage And mo re HEALT H and LIFESTYL E article s inside
opractic : partirn in spienres health
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From the Publishers
namaste news N E W
J E R S E Y
Publishers Brian J. Critchley Tarra J. Madore Editor-in-Chief Brian J. Critchley Creative Director Tarra J. Madore Graphic Designer Stephanie Laudien Advertising Sales Representatives Sydney Bernstein Whitney Kasserman Jessica Silva Contributing Writers Lisa Nicole Chen Amy Chu Lisa Dekis Bobbie Ellis Helen Hsu Kathy Kady-Hopkins Blanche E. King Jeffrey LaSalle Amanda Nicholson Kathy Rana Nancy Sheehan Contributing Photographers Helen Hsu Harry Rossmann Special Thanks Anita-Marie Conway Joe Sukotsky Mackey’s Orchards, Belvidere, NJ We Welcome Your Feedback! 732-659-7365 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org www.njnamastenews.com © 2010 by New Jersey Namaste News LLC. All rights reserved. Although some parts of this publication may be reproduced and reprinted, we require that prior permission be obtained in writing. ISSN# 2157-1457. All material and information which appears in New Jersey Namaste News is presented for informational purposes only. Always consult a physician if you have questions concerning you or your family’s well being. All information in this magazine is presented as is without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, and is not liable for its accuracy, for mistakes, errors, or omissions of any kind, nor for any loss or damage caused by a user’s reliance on information obtained in this publication. Under no circumstances will New Jersey Namaste News LLC be liable for any special, indirect, or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from use of this magazine or information presented within. Cover photo by Helen Hsu
Dear Reader, he autumn always seems like a time for giving. It’s the time of year when Mother Nature gives us the gift of warm, clear days and cool, crisp nights - not to mention an overwhelming bounty of delicious fall produce. It’s the time of year when we set aside an entire day as a way to give thanks for our many blessings of the past year on Thanksgiving Day. For most of us it’s also the season where we focus a lot of energy on finding the perfect gifts for the loved ones in our lives to celebrate the holiday season. Keeping in mind the giving spirit of autumn we have several articles themed on the topic. The Veggie Chick checks in with her conscious holiday gift giving guide to take the guess work out of rounding out your shopping (or wish) list this year. Brian’s written an article on the book 29 Gifts, a touching story about how one woman turned a difficult diagnosis into a worldwide giving movement. After reading the book, he followed the book’s prescription of giving 29 gifts in 29 days and shares his experiences in the Cultivating Karma section. We also have an article about how a group of women are giving the gift of yoga to the Deaf community in central New Jersey. If you’d like to give yourself the gift of yoga and good health this autumn, of course we have plenty of articles on how to do that, too! From Tarra’s guide to alignment in trikonasana to information on going vegan or experiencing Thai Yoga Massage. Of course we’d be remiss if we didn’t take the time to offer a gift of gratitude to all of our wonderful readers who have written in with kind words, offers to contribute articles, and photos of themselves in strange places for our Yoga Is Everywhere contest. One of the greatest gifts we all share is that of our vibrant yoga community here in New Jersey. If you need further proof, you need look no further than the excited yogis on our cover who gathered at Mackey’s Orchards in Belvidere, NJ to celebrate the coming of autumn by doing vrksasana, or tree pose, together. Hoping your autumn is full of joyous giving of gifts, gratitude, and good food!
Namaste, Brian & Tarra PS: As always, we’d love to hear what you think of New Jersey Namaste News. Email us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. 4
AUTUMN ISSUE 2010 • VOL. 2
YOGA & HEALTH 17 Balancing Act: On and Off the Mat
9 WELCOME 6 Yoga Buzz 9 10
Reader Photos: Yoga Is Everywhere The Veggie Chick on Holiday Gift Giving
MINDFUL EATING 12 A Traditional Holiday Feast – Vegetarian Style!
Traditional Thai Medical Massage
Trikonasana: From Solid Foundation to Ultimate Freedom
Yoga & Chiropractic: Partners in Spine Health
Reclaiming Your Rasa
Put Your Best Face Forward
Yoga Travel: Visiting Sewall House Yoga Retreat
16 Become a fan on this Magazine.
CULTIVATING KARMA 28 29 Gifts: A Transformative Giving Exercise
The ABC’s of Going Vegan
16 Vegetarian Fine
34 36 38
Beyond Words: Yoga for the Deaf
Sutra Spotlight: The Way to a Peaceful Life
Fall Events Calendar Last Word: Extraordinary Yoga
welcome Y O G A B U Z Z
N e w s , R e v i e w s a n d m o r e F r o m t h e Yo g a C o m m u n i t y
Help Support Local Business Owner’s “Climb for a Cure”
entral Jersey resident Candice Belfer is no stranger to helping people. As founder and President of Home Training Group, a local fitness and nutrition coach referral service which now serves people in 20 states nationwide, she has made it her personal mission to empower others to take back their lives through healthy lifestyle choices. This winter Candice will join a team of celebrity climbers who will make Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak, their goal while raising money for their respective charities. Their experience will be filmed for a reality TV show due for release in 2011. She has chosen the National MS Society as the recipient of her fundraising efforts. For more information or to follow the journey visit www.fatwomanonthemountain.com.
Music Review: MaryaMusic By Lisa Dekis aunched during Yoga Month this fall, maryamusic.com stands out as a world-class, eclectic, resonating soundtrack that offers downloadable music to accompany yoga practice or instruction. Founded by Vinyasa and Yin yoga instructor Marya Glowka and her husband John, the site offers 75-minute digital album downloads that feature an expertly assembled selection of tracks that encompass kirtan, folk and alternative genres. "Each of our musical flows starts in a peaceful place, builds energy and strength then quiets down again returning you to a place of deep relaxNovember 20th marks the 7th Annual ation and healing." This description by Marya, can also apply to her personal journey. She ran the Miami Women’s Wellness Day Marathon in 2006, is a certified dive master, accomeart to Hearts, Inc., a non-profit women’s wellness organization plished springboard diver and coach as well as volleydedicated to empowering women through education, will host ball player. An athlete who set and met strenuous their 7th annual Women’s Wellness Day on Saturday, November endurance and precision goals, she has now come to 20th from 8am to 3pm at the ETS Campus in Princeton. This year’s call yoga her home for strength, healing and relaxfeatured keynote speaker is Marie Savard, MD who will discuss her ation. It has been a labor of love to choose and position recent book, The Body Shape Solution to Weight Loss and Wellness. songs on their soundtracks. John has produced an easyOther lecturers will discuss sleep disorders, endocrine imbalances, on-the-eye website, where three digital music downand body image. The event will also include health screenings, loads are currently available. Going forward, each exhibits from local health practitioners, and massage, Reiki and month a new volume will be released and available for reflexology treatments. Tickets are $60 ($50 for Heart to Hearts purchase and download. The uplifting yet meditative members and seniors) and are available at 609-689-3131 or online at sound of the mixes is sure to delight wide-ranging www.hearttohearts.org. tastes in music and yoga level.
Mark Your Calendar!
Y O G A B U Z Z
Raves and Rants: Tell us what you think about…YogaToes hat are those funny things on your feet? If you’ve ever seen someone wearing YogaToes this question may have come to mind. Is there any benefit to this most unique footwear? Here are what a couple of local yogis had to say:
“I am new to the practice of yoga, so when I first heard my instructor say, "Spread each toe apart and ground all four corners of your feet," it was the first time I thought about my toes moving independently! I use YogaToes about an hour each night, and as a result, I feel a difference on and off the mat. I can go deeper in warrior and grip the floor better on balancing poses, and the foot pain I have from arthritis has subsided. ” – Karen, Central Jersey “I love YogaToes! I wasn’t sure if they were going to be firm enough to hold my toes apart and soft enough so I wasn’t in pain. They’ve somehow been able to do both! I love working with my toes – separating them, moving them individually. And I have bunions that I don’t want to get worse. I started using YogaToes for about 10 minutes a day and worked up to an hour. My feet feel great! I recommend them.” – Tarra, Milltown See the special offer from YogaToes for New Jersey Namaste News readers on page 19.
Want to share a rave or a rant on a yoga-related product that you’ve used in your practice? Drop us a line at email@example.com and we just may share your review with our readers in a future issue of New Jersey Namaste News. Coming in January: We’ll be looking at products from Barefoot Yoga. Have you used any Barefoot Yoga products? We want to hear about it!
Book Review: “Bringing Yoga to Life” by Donna Farhi By Brian Critchley
hen a friend and fellow yoga teacher suggested that I pick up this book, I had no idea how powerful and practical of a read it would be. This lightweight paperback seemed like an easy beach read at first glance but it is in fact a compelling guide for developing a daily yoga practice – not just in the studio but in all aspects of life. The author does an excellent job of pulling in references from classical yoga texts, quotes from more modern yogis and philosophers, and anecdotes from her teaching career and personal life to help navigate a path toward an enlightened life. The book is divided into three sections, with each part tackling a different aspect of developing a personal practice. Section I (Coming Home) discusses the common challenges faced by newcomers to yoga as they grapple with the many new concepts and poses to which they are introduced. The second and longest section (On The Means) looks closely at the detailed elements of a growing practice. Topics in this section include setting an intention, trusting an inner teacher, the balance between effort and surrender, and finding the discipline to keep practicing when times are difficult. Finally, the book concludes with Section III (Roadblocks and Distractions) which gives readers tools to deal with the inevitable difficulties that will arise not just in practice, but also in life itself. The author discusses common stumbling blocks such as sloth, strong emotions, and identification with the ego as Self and gives fine examples for how to strengthen a yoga practice by facing these difficulties head on. For anyone interested in having a daily yoga practice this book is a terrific, masterful text that will have you identifying with the real life examples at every turn.
Have a question about yoga practice, meditation or philosophy? Do you have comments or want more information about articles you’ve read in New Jersey Namaste News? Send us your letters and we may publish them in an upcoming “Letters to the Editor” section! You can send your snail mail letters to: New Jersey Namaste News c/o Tarra Madore & Brian Critchley 1626 Route 130N, Suite K-3 North Brunswick, NJ 08902 Or send an email to the editor at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Since 1995, Gano Excel has been offering THE WORLD’S FIRST CHOICE of a healthier Coffee,Tea and Hot Schokolade. Taste what customers from 65 countries around the world love about Gano Excel. ®The enclosed information has not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration. For nutritional information, please view the Product section of www.GanoYoga.com Gano Excel® products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, prevent or mitigate any ailment. Ganoderma Lucidum is not a drug. Never reduce or discontinue any prescribed medication without consulting your physician. Always consult your physician if you have questions about products containing the Ganoderma Lucidum mushroom. All products are trademarks or registered trademarks of Gano Excel® North America and Gano Excel® International.
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R E A D E R C O N T E N T
Everywhere Yoga is
Bailey Finch in Urdhva Dhanurasana below the Delicate Arch, Moab, Utah
Congratulations to Bailey Finch of Monroe, NJ who entered our “Yoga Is Everywhere” contest and sent in photos of herself doing yoga with the striking backdrop of the Utah landscape! She was chosen at random from all of our contest entries to win a gift certificate from Madeline’s Table personal chef service good for 3 meals for 2 people. We received so many wonderful entries from our readers throughout New Jersey that we just had to share some of the highlights.
Amy Chu in Svarga Dvidasana at Johnson & Johnson offices in New Brunswick, NJ
Lisa Conforti in Nataranjasana on the Asbury Park Boardwalk
Lisa Chen in Adho Mukha Vrksasana at Sonic Drive-In Restaurant near O’Hare Airport, Chicago, Illinois
Danielle Severson in Hanumanasana atop her home jungle gym in Monroe, NJ
MANY THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED AND KEEP ON STRIKING THOSE BEAUTIFUL POSES.
Helen Hsu in Urdhva Dhanurasana in Johnson & Johnson meeting room, New Brunswick, NJ NAMASTE NEWS
The Veggie Chick
Veggie HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING
ith the holiday season almost upon us and so many people choosing a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, I started thinking about ways to be a conscious gift giver. How should I advise my meat-eating and leather-wearing friends when they ask what’s on my wish list? What tips would I share when they ask for shopping guidance for the animal lovers among us? What gifts can I feel good about giving to others?
Available at Baghaus.com
For the fashionista During a recent fall boot scouting session at DSW, I came across a few bags by Urban Expressions and Big Buddah which were quite impressive. The quality was great, they were extremely fashionable 10
... on Chick ...
and 100% vegan. What’s not to love? That ient gets the added bonus of a night out on sparked an internet search which turned the town. up some very reasonably priced and very Veggie Heaven in Denville cute bags and wallets on (973-586-7800), Kaya’s Kitchen Baghaus.com and Ebags.com. in Belmar (732-280-1141) and Maoz Vegetarian in New Both sites have an ample selection of items that are Brunswick (732-543-1600) all offer gift cards to be used for their leather-free. Both brands wide selection of vegan and are also sold at DSW vegetarian yummies. stores. The sample at left If you think gift cards are is just one of my long list impersonal, and would rather of favorites. I’ll certainly give the gift of food itself, be asking Santa for a check out Vegandivine.us couple of these bags to be for amazing gift baskets rangleft under my tree! ing form $29.99 to the extravaYou can also find some gantly priced $349.99. This pretty cool jewelry to fit Recycled windshield vegan owned and operated any budget at Uncommon site has tea baskets, cookie goods.com. Jewelry items start as low glass earrings by as $20 and many of their pieces are Uncommongoods.com baskets, relaxation baskets, made from recycled goods – a major plus and so much more. My friends and family for those concerned with the health of our will definitely be receiving something from planet. These recycled jewelry items (see this site. Some of my favorites include the one of my favorites above) are quite the Snacks Sleigh ($99.99) featuring a wide conversation piece and would be a nifty array of veg-friendly treats and Chocolate addition to any outfit. Desire ($49.99) which is full of decadent chocolate treats and body products (likely to be loved by any woman you know, vegetariFor the foodie Who wouldn’t love to receive the gift of an or not!) food? For the vegetarian and vegan food lovers on your list, here are some ideas that For the interior decorator are sure to be a hit. Recently I was turned on to Green Gift cards to vegan/vegetarian restau- feet.com by my earth loving friend (thanks, rants are always a safe bet for those who Jeff!) and found some terrific and fun gifts for love to eat, especially if you’re not quite those who love aesthetically pleasing, envisure how to wrap a Tofurky. Restaurant ronmentally friendly and unique things in gift cards are also nice because the recip- their homes. This site also has a wide selec-
The Veggie Chick
'IVE THE GIFT OF LIVE THEATER
Available at the McCarter Ticket Office and online tion of gifts for all from the financially limited shoppers to the extravagant givers. Honeypot Botanicals ($29.95-$35.95) come in various cool prints and designs and are made from beeswax. The Ecosphere is also one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. A self-sustaining, mini ecosystem, it’s like a real, live snow globe! My son is getting one of these in his stocking, for sure. Sizes range from small to extra large, and prices are just as varied, ranging from $54.95 to $345.95. Our friends at Uncommongoods.com also have home items made from recycled glass in addition to their jewelry selection mentioned at left. Check out the recycled night light (page 31) which would be an amazing addition to any home. If none of these items or ideas has won you over, or you’re stumped by that one person on your list who has everything, why not make a donation of time or money to a local animal rescue or shelter? Most of these places are understaffed and Ecosphere by Greenfeet.com CONTINUED ON PAGE 31 NAMASTE NEWS
Gift Basket by Vegandivine.us
Available in any amount. Good toward any McCarter Theatre event purchase (subject to availability). Not refundable or redeemable for cash. Not valid on merchandise, company store purchases, or concessions.
609.258.2787 s 609.258.2787 s www.mccarter.org ter.org 91 UNIVERSITY PLACE s 02).#%4/. s .*
A Traditional Holiday Feast– Vegetarian Style! By Brian Critchley ow that the holiday season is here I get to enjoy one of my favorite pastimes. I’m not referring to exchanging gifts or singing festive songs, but instead to a fun game I like to call “Find the Hidden Meat in that Holiday Dish!” If you’ve ever had to ask whether the stuffing served at a family member’s house was really made with vegetable broth or if the side dishes weren’t cooked in bacon fat, you may have a “meat sneaker” in your family. Usually good-hearted but misinformed, they will accidentally add meat or animal products to dishes without realizing it. While she’s really come around in recent years, my mom was a notorious meat sneaker when I first went vegetarian several years ago. As it turns out, it’s worked to my advantage because I’ve developed my own veg-friendly holiday
recipes that won’t have you looking under every potato on your plate for the hidden animal products. Here are a few of my favorites that you can try this holiday season. Remember—the best way to avoid falling prey to meat sneakers is to host the gathering at your place and have the carnivores bring the beverages!
Slow-cooker Tofurky with Braised Vegetables Don’t roll your eyes! That football shaped Tofurky roast isn’t just for tossing around in the park while dinner’s cooking. It can be a delicious centerpiece to your holiday feast. Ingredients
1 Tofurky vegetarian roast, thawed 24 hours in the refrigerator prior to cooking
6 3 1 1 1 8 2
tbsp olive oil tbsp soy sauce cup vegetable broth tbsp ground sage tbsp ground thyme whole garlic cloves, peeled carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks 10 whole pearl onions, peeled or 1/2 onion chopped into large chunks 3 small potatoes, washed, unpeeled, and quartered Directions
Remove Tofurky roast from the shrinkwrapping and place in a crock pot with the garlic, carrots, onions and potatoes arranged around it. Combine oil, soy sauce, broth, sage and thyme in a separate bowl and pour into the crock pot. Roast should be covered about 1/2 way up the sides with the liquid. If necessary, add more broth to increase the liquid content of the crock pot. Using a kitchen brush apply some of the cooking liquid to the top of the roast to baste it. Cook on medium setting in the crock pot for about 1 1/2 hours, turning the roast once after 45 minutes, and basting regularly to keep moist. Once the roast and vegetables are heated through and tender, remove the Tofurky from the crock pot and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. You can arrange Tofurky slices and braised vegetables on a serving tray and reserve the cooking liquid to make a delicious vegan gravy.
Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin
My sous chef and I preparing for a feast. 12
Most people turn up their noses at these cute little sprouts, however they’ve never tried them browned in garlic and topped with cheese. If you’re preparing for a vegan crowd, substitute a good vegan cheese. Or
mindful eating skip the cheesiness all together, cut the broth in this recipe in half and top with nutritional yeast flakes instead.
1 tbsp ground sage 1 tbsp ground thyme Salt & pepper to taste
1 container of fresh Brussels sprouts (about 15-20 medium sprouts), stem ends removed, and quartered ½ cup vegetable broth 2 cloves minced garlic 1 tbsp butter, margarine or olive oil ½ cup bread crumbs ⅓ cup of shredded asiago, provolone, mozzarella or other white melting cheese
Preheat oven to 350F. Cut the top off the turban squash (similar to removing the stem end on a pumpkin when preparing to make a jack-o-lantern). Scoop out the seeds and either discard them or set them aside for roasting later! Place squash, cut side down on an oiled baking sheet and cover with foil. Roast for 50-60 minutes until the flesh of the
Sauté garlic in butter, margarine or olive oil in a large skillet with a lid for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add sprouts and sauté on medium heat uncovered for several minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts turn bright green and some of the edges start to caramelize. Add the vegetable broth and cover the skillet until the liquid comes to a boil. Uncover the skillet and continue cooking until the sprouts are tender but not mushy (4-8 minutes depending on the size of the sprouts). Reduce heat to low and add bread crumbs and cheese, tossing to combine. If there is still a lot of liquid left in the skillet add more bread crumbs, 1 tbsp at a time until remaining liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and serve hot.
Stuffed Turban Squash Turban squash can usually be found in grocery stores in early-mid autumn, but if you can’t find one at a store near you, acorn or butternut squash are common varieties that would do well in this recipe. Ingredients
1 2 ¼ 1 1 1
turban squash (about 3 lbs.) tbsp butter or margarine small onion, diced stalk celery, diced carrot, finely diced package of vegetarian bulk sausage (such as Gimme Lean brand) ¼ cup breadcrumbs 2 tbsp “real” maple syrup
ECOTIP: Feed food scraps to squirrels instead of tossing them in a landfill Ingredients
Tofurky and all the trimmings
squash is tender. Let squash rest for 15 minutes and then scoop out the tender pulp from inside the squash - be careful, it will be hot! In a skillet, sauté the onions, celery and carrots in butter or margarine until onions are translucent. Break apart the bulk sausage into chunks and add to the skillet until pieces are warmed through and beginning to brown. Then add the maple syrup, bread crumbs, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, and cooked squash, combining all ingredients. Remove the skillet from the heat, and scoop filling into the cavity of the squash and cover with the reserved top. Place any extra filling in a small casserole dish. Bake squash and casserole dish in 350F oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve this dish in the baked squash for an eye-catching addition to your dinner table.
Vegan Apple Pie Make this classic, that’s as American as...well...apple pie, fit for a vegan by looking for vegan crust in your health food store and substituting the butter for margarine.
2 9-inch store-bought pie crusts (regular or vegan) 6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (use at least 2 different varieties for a complex taste) ½ cup apple cider ½ cup maple syrup 1 tbsp cinnamon 1 tbsp nutmeg 1 tsp allspice ½ cup butter or margarine 2 tbsp cornstarch Directions
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine cider, syrup and butter or margarine in a large skillet or sauce pan and heat until blended well. Add the apples and spices and cook until the fruit is tender. Remove 1/4 cup of the liquid mixture to a small bowl and add the cornstarch, stirring to combine thoroughly, before adding back to the skillet. Cook the mixture, stirring often until thickened. Once thickened, remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool for 10-15 minutes. Add the fruit mixture to the pie shell and cover with the top crust. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream or nondairy frozen dessert.
The ABC’s of
Going º øπ
Ωœ–¢ Vegan By Jeffrey LaSalle
aking the transition to a life of veganism (that is, not consuming the flesh nor byproducts of any animal) is a bit like learning a new language. There are lots of strange new words such as agave (a plant based sweetener used to replace honey or white sugar) that suddenly become part of a vegan’s everyday vocabulary. Furthermore, some familiar terms such as Vitamin B12 (a nutrient readily found in omnivore diets, but more challenging to find in plant-based sources) become much more important. To ease the transition to veganism, here is a handy, but by-no-means exhaustive, A to Z guide to vegan foods, concepts and resources. Even current vegan or happy meat-eaters may still find some interesting local resources in the vegan alphabet that follows!
is for Amazon Green. Find all your favorite vegan products, including the latest items, and get free shipping over $25. Who knew Amazon could get even cooler?
is for Broccoli Rabe. Sizzle some garlic, slice the rinsed rabe into thirds and toss it into a frying pan when still slightly damp. Stir fry for 5 minutes for bitter, sumptuous heaven.
is for CaringConsumer.com’s list of companies that don’t test on ani-
mals. It’s even available as a free, pocket-sized guide.
ally going to the animals (as opposed to administrative waste).
is for decadent. Try Go-Max-Go bars as substitutes for non-vegan candies. Jokerz bars are delicious, vegan versions of Snickers.
Did You Know? You can’t get B12 from vegan sources, so supplements are necessary.
is for Ezekiel. Their organic, freshlysprouted cereals and wraps are exceptionally filling and healthy. Combine with fruit and/or nuts for a satisfying meal.
is for forgiveness. Remember that while you may be eating by more ethical standards, others may not be at the same place yet. You aren’t perfect, don’t expect perfection from others. Educate, don’t attempt to persuade.
is for giving. Check out Charity Navigator.org to get the skinny on how much of your wildlife donation is actu-
is for Happycow.net. This is a great resource for eating vegan anywhere on the planet. It’s a go-to resource when planning a vacation or road trip.
is for independence. Recognize that very few Americans are vegetarians, and even fewer of them are vegans. You will come across people who will have eaten meat at every meal for their entire life. Do what feels just and righteous to you.
is for junk food. Want vegan junk food and want it now? Unhealthy vegan foods you can get anywhere include Twizzlers, Jujyfruit, Dots, Swedish Fish, Cracker Jack, and Lemonheads.
is for Kaya’s Kitchen in Belmar, NJ. Seriously, they have a humongous vegan menu and all of it is scrumptious. Treat yourself and your family to an amazing, inexpensive vegan meal.
is for lentils. They are cheap, don’t require soaking like other dry beans, and add protein to any meal. Besides, how often is your food as cute as a tiny little lentil?
is for MooShoes.com and their vegan kicks for men and women. They also sell wallets, bags, and adorably hip t-shirts.
is for VegNews, a fabulous vegan magazine with recipes, fashion, interviews, new products, and all kinds of fun stuff. Great “snuggled up by the fire” reading! is for Vegan Outreach which has disseminated over 12 million pamphlets regarding animal cruelty. All are urged to eat compassionately; their pamphlet ‘Even If You Like Meat’ encourages omnivores to simply reduce the amount of animal products consumed.
is for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Love ‘em, hate ‘em, at least you’ve heard of ‘em. Few other pro-animal groups have made such a name for themselves.
is for quote. “As long as there is conscious life on Earth, there will be suffering. The question becomes what to do with the existence each of us is given. We can choose to add our own fury and misery to the rest, or we can set an example by simultaneously working constructively to alleviate suffering while leading joyous, meaningful, fulfilled lives. Being a vegan isn’t about deprivation or anger. It’s about being fully aware so as to be fully alive.” -Matt Ball, Vegan Outreach
is for Rennet. This ingredient in cheese is made by removing a young cow’s stomach, salting and drying it, and finally grinding it until the enzyme rennin is produced. How exactly is this vegetarian? is for Soybeans. Whether in faux meat, eaten whole as edamame, or made into milk, the soybean is a great source of protein and the omega-3 fatty acids that are easily obtained by omnivores in fish.
is for Tofutti. “Better than Cream Cheese” is just that. And Vanilla
Almond Bark ice cream is amazing. Just avoid their pizzas, which still need work.
is for UFC fighter and animal advocate Mac Danzig. You think vegans can’t be 1) tough, 2) muscular, and 3) hunky? Think again!
Yoga for Pain Relief Sunday, October 24 9am - 11am
is for Vitamin B12. You can’t get B12 from vegan sources, so supplements are necessary. Try Pangea VeganLife B12 supplements. B12 deficiency can permanently damage your nervous system. Look into it before making the switch to veganism.
is for Whoopie Pies made by Catherine’s Vegan Sweets. These locally-made treats are available at the Lawrenceville Village Bakery, Small World in Princeton or West Windsor Farmers Market. Whoopie!
is for X’s to O’s Vegan Bakery which sells vegan twinkies online at vegan store.com. Try to contain yourself!
is for Yum, as in VeganYumYum.com, a beautiful website with fantastic recipes and a stellar cookbook. Look at their vegan cinnamon rolls and feel your taste buds activate.
is for vegan Zombie. What do vegan zombies crave? “Graaaaaaainnnnnnssss!” Check out www.tofutheveganzombie.com for more zombie fun.
It is a great time to try veganism, as there have never been more resources or crueltyfree products available. A great place to start is at a local supermarket, trying out an eyecatching vegetable that was previously foreign, or by talking to a friendly vegan about alternative sweeteners to enhance a fruit smoothie. Hey, maybe veganism isn’t so scary after all!
Jeffrey LaSalle loves animals and can’t understand why anyone would hurt them. When not in school to become a nurse, he enjoys playing video games, eating, and cuddling with his dachshund Dash.
This workshop will look at common physical pain patterns (low back, shoulder, knee pain and others) and ways to find relief through yoga. Cost: $32. No prior yoga experience is necessary. Center for Relaxation & Healing, Plainsboro, NJ For more info and to register: (609) 750-7432 or http://relaxationandhealing.com
SomaCenter YOGA • BODYWORK • MOVING ARTS
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200 Hour Teacher Training & Continuing Education for Yoga Teachers
Vegetarian Fine Dining By Kathy Rana s vegetarians, we all have our go-to restaurant for a relaxed Friday night out. We all know that casual ethnic restaurant where we know we will have a variety of menu options to meet whatever mood we are in. But what’s a vegetarian to do when the occasion calls for a more special dining experience? I’ve searched the Princeton area for places where you can enjoy a leisurely vegetarian dinner that is beautiful, sustainable, locally grown, and often organic. You’d be surprised how many mainstream restaurants offer copious options for the vegetarian crowd! At the Ferry House (32 Witherspoon Street, Princeton) there is an entire menu section of vegetarian options containing mushroom and salad selections. Dan Newsome, manager of the Ferry House, explained that the executive chef, Bobby Trigg, loves mushrooms. According to Dan about 1 in 6 customers order a fully vegetarian meal at the Ferry House. You can order an entrée sized portion of the Wild Mushroom Risotto & Exotic Mushroom Sauté with White Truffle Oil, or pair 2 or 3 appetizer-sized selections to create a delicious mushroom-based dinner. Not on the menu, but always available, is their vegan Pineapple Risotto. Desserts are all vegetarian as well, with the exception of the Panna Cotta which is prepared with gelatin. (What I wouldn’t give for a vegetarian Panna Cotta! Oy!) Across town from the Ferry House is elements (163 Bayard Lane, Princeton) offering innovative new-American cuisine with a beautiful presentation. Sous Chef Joe Sparatta, who started at the Ryland Inn along with Executive Chef Scott Anderson, describes how the staff at elements prepares most dishes with their house-made, vegetarian vegetable broth. Instead of using an animal base for their broth they use vegetables along with chickpeas that provides
body, protein, and a bit of iron to this broth. When I visited elements a few months ago they offered a yummy autumn pasta dish, but with so many people wanting to eat healthier and lighter, elements now always offers two vegetarian entrees, and changes their menu regularly based on what has come in from the farm. According to Chef Sparatta converting a non-vegetarian appetizer to be meat-free is not a problem since most animal protein is added at the end of the preparation.
Up the road from elements is Princeton’s newest fine-dining restaurant, the Peacock Inn (20 Bayard Lane, Princeton). For vegetarian guests, Executive Chef Manual Perez creates a 3-course tasting menu to delight any palate. For Chef Perez vegetarian dishes are not an afterthought, as we have all sadly experienced in other restaurants. The Peacock Inn also works to make sure there
is no cross contamination between vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. That awareness and sensitivity carries over to the front of the house staff who can assist with putting together a vegan dinner. Don’t miss the crepes fettuccini for dessert, it is brilliant! Down the road, in Hopewell, NJ, is the Blue Bottle Café (101 East Broad Street, Hopewell, BYO) where you can enjoy some of the freshest vegetable-based meals in the area. Pastry Chef Rory Phillipson and her husband Aaron Phillipson work together to produce amazing meals. At the Blue Bottle Café you will find vegetarian dishes created with seasonal, local, and organic produce (where available). According to Chef Rory the menu contains both vegetarian and vegan options, and many of their dishes are gluten-free. “At the Blue Bottle Café customers are treated as people,” states Chef Rory and that makes a difference in the quality of the food that is served. As the pastry chef, Chef Rory often works with kudzu and arrowroot as a substitute for gelatin to create desserts that are vegetarian and more natural. Call ahead to order the vegan special – an artist’s palette of fresh, local, seasonal vegetables. Other vegetarian friendly fine dining venues in the area include: • Lahiere’s–11 Witherspoon Street, Princeton. Red Belgian Endive Salad and Baked Apple and Almond Tart are to die for! • Mediterra–29 Hulfish Street, Princeton. Try the Mezze Sampler and the Penne al Telefono pasta. • Palate–31 South State Street, Newtown. The Black Bean and Wild Rice Burger and the BBQ Seitan Cutlet are both awesome.
If you know where to get vegetarian panna cotta, contact chef Kathy Rana at ChefKathy@MadelinesTable.com
P R A C T I C E
yoga + health
Balancing Act: On and Off the Mat By Lisa Nicole Chen ecently I embarked on a 200-hour Yogaworks® training program where I discovered the joy of balance—literally and metaphorically. After six months of intensive training my knowledge of asanas (poses), pranayama (breath work) and Pantajali’s Yoga Sutras expanded exponentially and I certainly had a new sense of balance in my practice. Although the literal definition of “balance” conjures up images of contortionist positions, that is not where I experienced the most satisfying growth. Instead, it was the balance “off the mat” that provided the deepest release. The balance between work and pleasure, fits of creativity and routine tasks, or intense activity versus moments of deep relaxation are where I gained my steady footing. In balancing poses we often have a dominant side – one that is stronger, more nimble or just better suited for holding certain asanas. If I had my way, I’d only practice ardha chandrasana (half moon pose) on my strong right leg or I’d only move into eka pada raja kapotasana (pigeon pose) with my more flexible left hip. This is true in our lives as well. Some of us spend an irrational number of hours working because we find it easier to be successful in our professions than with the people in our life. Others spend time obsessively pursuing a hobby to the detriment of their livelihood and ability to focus on reality. And, many of us feel like we’re hamsters spinning on the proverbial wheel, trying to keep our balance between all that we have to do and the diverging directions in which we’re pulled. I’ve experienced all of the above. I’ve worked too many hours only to realize that I wasn’t satisfied with my effort and had abandoned the relationships that meant the most to me. I’d spent far too many hours reading celebrity magazines and analyzing red carpet award dresses or dating habits to later realize the lives of these celebrities had no bearing on my own. And, at times I’ve moved through life’s activities with such a frantic passion to check a “todo” off my list that I’ve forgotten everything on the list by the time I’m done. What’s the point of the trip if you can’t remember the journey? Yoga training helped me to understand that it’s hard to balance. Sometimes I’d move into an asana full of hope only to shake like a leaf and fall down. That was alright; I tried again. I learned that while it may feel better to stretch on one side, what I needed was to stretch the other side so that my body felt aligned. And, I learned that by slowing my breathing, going within and listening to what my body was telling me, I always found the answer to that challenging pose. Sometimes the answer wasn’t a perfectly executed asana. Some days I found balance just standing erect on my
mat and appreciating the practice in sheer calm and acceptance of myself. As the months of my training program continued, I began transferring the lessons of balance that I was learning on the mat to my life. We all wear multiple hats – employee, manager, coworker, spouse, parent, child, volunteer and friend. But, no one role or activity yields success. It’s the balance and integration of our multiple priorities that leads to a productive, fulfilling life where you can do your best and, importantly, feel your best. It’s unlikely we’ll be satisfied with our lives Lisa at Kripalu, Lenox, MA if we live by one focus alone. Photo by George F. Chen Instead, savasana – or deep release and inner alignment – is attainable off the mat with a balanced and accepting approach to everything that we do. That’s the type of balance that I strive to continually practice on and off the mat each and every day.
Lisa Nicole Chen is a 200-Hour Yogaworks® instructor, corporate communications professional and health and wellness writer. She can be reached at email@example.com 45 years Experience Ɣ No Problem Too Big
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yoga + health M A S S A G E
Traditional Thai Medical Massage By Nancy Sheehan
Thai Massage has been steadily gaining popularity in the West in recent years as a practice that lies somewhere between the worlds of massage and yoga. It seemingly combines the best of these two worlds: the passive body manipulation and muscle release of massage and the asana-like poses and spiritual core of yoga. In the story that follows, one local practitioner, who herself combines the best of these worlds as a yoga teacher and massage therapist certified in Thai Massage, gives her account of her trip to Thailand to study what is actually a very ancient practice. hree years ago I was sitting in a hostel in Singapore reading a fabulous article in Yoga Journal about the healing art of Thai Massage. I had just gotten my land legs back after eight months of cruising the South Pacific and Eastern Asia as an on-board Massage Therapist and Yoga Teacher. I was intrigued to learn that this
one technique helps people to achieve a for their intensive Thai Massage training. variety of hatha yoga positions and also I took the overland route: a bus to includes aspects of shiatsu and active med- Malaysia, a train to Bangkok, and another itation. After reading the article I decided bus to Chaing Mai, a northern hill city. I to travel to the Institute of Thai Massage found the Institute of Thai Massage, which in Chaing Mai, Thailand, a school The Thai therapist uses a series of noted by the author
passive stretching exercises to energize and increase range of motion. sat just outside the gates of the old city. I decided upon my arrival to try a massage. In Asia things move slowly and the pace of massage is no exception. My first massage was great: three hours of pure bliss. In Thailand they have a saying that a one hour massage is good, a two-hour massage is better and a three-hour massage is best! My massage left me feeling completely relaxed, energized and revitalized. I enrolled in the training program the next day. There were twenty other students in my class including travelers from all over the world who had benefited from Thai massage and wanted to learn its secrets. Every morning we washed our feet and dedicated our prayer to Dr. Jivaka Kumar Bhacca the founder of Thai Massage. This legendary figure, who lived about 2500 years ago, is believed to have been a doctor from northern India and a contemporary of the Buddha. Thai practitioners traditionalÂŠiStockphoto.com/Torsten Schon
M A S S A G E
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ly recite a mantra to this enlightened soul before each session. My teacher, Chongkol Setthakorn, has translated the prayer from the ancient Pali language as follows: “We invite the spirit of our founder, the Father Doctor Jivaka, who comes to us through his saintly life. Please bring to us the knowledge of all nature, that this prayer (mantra) will show us the true medicine of the universe. In the name of this mantra, we respect your help and pray that through our bodies you will bring wholeness and health to the body of our client. The goddess of healing dwells in the heavens high, while mankind stays in the world below. In the name of the founder, may the heavens be reflected in the earth below so that this healing medicine may encircle the world. We pray for the one whom we touch, that she will be happy and that any illness will be released from him or her” Thai massage was originally considered to be a spiritual practice of metta, or loving compassion, and until recently was only practiced in the temples by Buddhist monks. If one traces the evolution of the Thai Massage techniques, one discovers that it has influences from Indian Ayurvedic medicine. In Thai Massage relaxation is only a secondary goal. The primary focus is on balancing the network of unseen energy meridians called Sen. These channels are similar to the nadis, or energy channels, of Indian Ayurvedic medicine. It is believed that the Sen distribute life energy throughout the body and if any of the Sen become blocked, then illness will manifest. Like Ayurvedic medicine, some Thai Massage incorporates herbal treatments and steam baths. To this day Dr. Jivaka Kumar Bhacca is venerated as the “Father of Thai Medicine” and religious ceremonies (called pujas in Pali) are conducted to remember him. A session of Thai Massage begins with the client on a mat on the floor in a space suitable for relaxation. Except for the feet, the client is fully clothed. The Thai therapist uses a series of passive stretching exercises to energize and increase range of motion. Often thumb, palm, elbow, and foot pressure are used to release blockages and balance internal energy flow. Drawing on passive yoga therapy, this massage also incorporates acupressure and reflexology. This results in loosening of the joints through manipulation and peripheral stimulation, stretching of the muscles, toning of the internal organs, and an increase of vitality and relaxation. The treatment is rhythmic and meditative providing a unique experience for the giver as well as the receiver. The benefits of Thai Massage can be greatly enhanced when combined with a regular program of yoga practice. Good health depends on a balanced flow of vital energy in the body. Both Thai Massage and yoga assist in the free flow of vital energy and help build a high level of vitality and fitness.
Nancy Sheehan is owner/director of Cranbury Therapeutic Massage and is certified in Traditional Thai Massage as well as Shiatsu, Swedish and Neuromuscular Therapies. For more information visit www.cranburymassage.com. NAMASTE NEWS
yoga + health A S A N A
Trikonasana: From Solid Foundation to Ultimate Freedom By Tarra Madore lthough millions of The openness of a wellpeople flock to Italy to see the Leaning executed trikonasana pose Tower of Pisa, it’s not because starts, not surprisingly, with of the brilliant engineering the feet. and structural integrity. It is an amazing building made of beautiful marble and one of the most recognized structures in the to bring the body forward to counter the world. However, the Leaning Tower uneven foundation or he or she may fall has a soft sand, rubble and clay foun- backward. When one leans forward, the dation that cannot support its weight. pose becomes closed. The expression of the The engineer didn’t take the founda- pose is dim. If you can properly ground the tion into consideration and the tower feet , you can open the body and heart and began to lean before the third floor enjoy the pose fully. was complete. They attempted to The other tendency in this pose, with shift the floors above to make it regard to the feet, is for the student to let the appear straight but that didn’t stop medial arches collapse. Usually this happens the instability at the base. The when too much weight in on the inside of Leaning Tower of Pisa reminds us of either foot and the muscles of the shin are how important it is to have a stable not engaged. By engaging the shins and hugfoundation, whether we are con- ging them in, the feet can root down. structing a building or a yoga pose. Another common tendency is for the feet to Trikonasana or triangle pose is a per- be too close together, creating a narrow fect model for how a yoga pose, when stance. Taking a step back with the back foot practiced regularly with good align- may be all that is needed to have a deeper ment, can help you tone and open trikonasana expression. your body. Not surprisingly, the key Let’s examine the steps to gaining and to the pose’s beauty and grace starts maintaining a sound triangle pose. with a strong and steady foundation. Start by facing the long side of your mat With the Leaning Tower, the struc- with your feet about 4 feet apart - or wide ture settled unevenly, sinking down enough so that when your arms are out to on one side. The foundation for the side, your ankles are under your wrists. trikonasana is the feet. When practic- Turn your left foot in slightly or keep it paring, the feet need to root down allel to the back edge of the mat. Turn your through the four corners of each foot right foot to face the front, short side of the to avoid collapse of the pose. The mat. Your kneecap should face the same common tendency is for too much direction as your foot. Take a breath and weight to be placed on the outside allow your feet to root down. Press the edge of the front foot. When that mound of the big toes down, the inner heel, happens the student will either have up to the place where the little toe meets
Photos by Harry Rossmann
A S A N A
the ball of the foot and then the outer heel. All four corners of each foot should be firmly rooted to the floor. As your feet press into the floor, do the action of dragging your feet toward each other (without moving them). This will initiate the engagement of your leg muscles from your feet all the way up to your lower back. Keep the legs strong and steady. From the power created through engaging the leg muscles, especially from the inner thighs, press the thigh bones back (the thighs turn in, press back and move apart). This will create the natural curve in your back. Keep the thigh bones pressed back, especially being mindful of your back leg, as you lengthen your tailbone away from the crown of your head and scoop it forward. Keeping all of the muscles engaged as described above, hinge to the right and bring your fingers, behind your right shin/calf, onto the floor or a block. While breathing in the pose, review the above steps to create a beautiful, strong and open pose. After you press the thighs back and scoop the tailbone you can let your upper back and head lean back and you will open even more. How can you further open up your trikonasana pose? Take a lesson from today’s engineers. While no engineers want to copy the lack of structural integrity of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, there are architects who want to recreate the beauty. In Las Vegas, the Veer Towers, built in the heart of the CityCenter development appear to lean. In Dubai, architects and engineers collaborated to build the Capital Gate or “leaning tower of Abu Dubai,” which is the world’s tallest, manmade leaning tower. They key to these
yoga + health
Balance the weight in the 4 corners of your feet. Root down the mound of the big toe, inner edge of the heel, the little toe (where it meets the ball of the foot), and the outer edge of the heel.
modern leaning marvels and our own openness in trikonasana are the same. When building the “leaning” towers, the engineers had to root the foundation deeper, opposite the side that extends out or appears to lean. They also had to keep the core of the structure solid and strong. Therefore, the openness of a well-executed trikonasana pose starts, not surprisingly, with the feet. Be sure to root the feet down strongly, especially the mound of the big toe. Then, lift the muscles above the right kneecap. Keep the integrity of the pose as mentioned above: feet root down, muscles engage all the way up to the core, thighs press back, and tailbone scoops. When you scoop your tailbone, scoop more on the right, while keeping the left thigh back. Allow the sides of the body to extend from pelvis to armpit and underside (the right) to rotate forward from the
DON’T Don’t lean the weight to the outside of your foot, it will lift the mound of the big toe, creating instability.
abdomen up to the chest. You extend from core of the pelvis, extend down through the feet and out through the crown of the head and arms (while keeping the shoulder blades on the back). Trikonasana is an elegantly complex pose, like the architectural and engineering masterpiece buildings in Las Vegas and Dubai. It takes a strong foundation and solid core to gain the most freedom and enjoyment from the pose. By practicing it regularly and with awareness to the alignment principles mentioned here, you too may be able to defy physics and gravity as you explore the beauty and balance of trikonasana.
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For more information or to register contact Brian at (609) 306-2618 or visit http://omcentraljerseymassage.com To learn more about Sewall House visit www.sewallhouse.com or see the article on p. 26 NAMASTE NEWS
yoga + health C H I R O P R A C T I C
Yoga & Chiropractic: Partners in Spine Health By Tarra Madore oga and chiropractic can be considered two sides of the same coin. While many people only consult chiropractors for back problems and may only come to yoga class to increase strength or flexibility, both systems play a role in enhancing the physical, mental, and social well-being of their respective devotees. Even though they use separate techniques, they have very similar benefits. As a result, incorporating both of these practices into your life can have a profound effect and put you on the road to wellness.
health. People of all ages from infants to seniors seek the help of chiropractors to allow their bodies to function free of disease—or at ease. One of the main goals of the chiropractic method is to allow the innate intelligence, the life force within each person, to flow freely. By applying a gentle force to the physical body which brings the spine into alignment, it takes the pressure off the mind, allowing more of a balance so that one system does not have to work harder to make up for another one.
About Chiropractic There are many misconceptions about what is involved in the chiropractic method and how it benefits patients. The primary focus of chiropractors is to adjust the subluxated vertebra. A subluxated vertebra (subluxation) is a bone of the spinal column that is slightly misaligned, not able to move properly and interfering with proper nerve flow. Chiropractors encourage the osseous structure (bone) to become aligned properly by applying gentle force in the area found to be subluxated. The spine is of vital importance to overall health because it houses the spinal cord and has nerve roots exiting from different levels of the spinal column. The nervous system, of which the spinal cord is the central pathway, controls and coordinates every function of your body – cells, muscles, organs, digestion, heart rate, etc. Each individual who visits a chiropractor is evaluated personally before a treatment plan is developed. While one of the major triggers for someone to seek help from a chiropractor is pain, you do not need to be in pain to get the benefits of a chiropractic adjustment. Actually, chiropractic is a powerful tool for restoring and maintaining 22
Parallels to Yoga The word “yoga” means “union”. Just as chiropractic works to create balance in the body, it is a goal of yoga to cultivate balance by realizing the union between your body, mind, and spirit. The physical aspect of yoga, or asana practice, strengthens the body and increases flexibility. By approaching asana practice with mindful awareness of the spine’s position and movements, it can have similar effects on spinal health as chiropractic. Moving through the yoga poses (asanas), the spine bends forward,
backward, laterally, and into twists, encouraging the muscles and connective tissue to become stronger and more flexible, and the joints of the spine to remain mobile. In this way both yoga and chiropractic are valuable in maintaining the spine’s length and alignment as well as preventing injury. Of course just as chiropractic can benefit people of all ages and body types, yoga can bring spinal health and balance to anyone who practices regularly. Like many people believe they need to experience back pain to visit a chiropractor, most people believe they need to be flexible to do yoga. In yoga, you work with your body in its current state, no matter what that is. Each person is unique, and each body is unique. In creating more awareness of your spine, and possibilities for movement through the practice of yoga, you can create greater strength, flexibility, and health in your spine and your life. When chiropractic and yoga are both part of a health maintenance plan, they work together to relieve stress and pressure in the entire nervous system both physically and mentally. In addition, they can enhance the function of the circulatory, lymphatic, endocrine and digestive systems. Receiving chiropractic adjustments can allow one’s yoga practice to deepen by bringing the spine into the optimal position for proper motion. Similarly yoga can strengthen the supportive muscles that can prevent subluxations in between chiropractic treatments. To learn more about how chiropractic may be a benefit to you and your yoga practice, visit the website of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors at www.anjc.info. You can read more about the benefits of chiropractic, sign-up for a regular e-newsletter on chiropractic health, or find a practitioner in your area.
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yoga + health P R A C T I C E
Reclaiming Your Rasa: The Alchemy of Practice By Bobbie Ellis lchemy is the pre-scientific craft of using natural elements to produce supernatural results, notably physical immortality. In India the alchemist sought the elixir of life, known as rasa, which can translate as taste, essence, or water. The alchemy of yoga practice has been often called Rasa-ayana, or way of the elixir. In my interpretation it means “the way of the water” or paying attention to the wavelike flow of my own body and consciousness. The human body is made up of at least 75% water and yet we often feel as though we have to solidify ourselves and strengthen the body without paying equal attention to flexibility, fluidity, and breath. The true bravery of a spiritual practice comes from embracing the body’s natural flow rather than tightening up when yoga postures or even life itself becomes difficult. By recognizing the fluidity of our own individual Divine Body, Divine Mind, and Divine Heart a radical shift can take place in the practice of yoga. The process of tapping into this fluidity begins with observation – observing all of your thoughts, body sensations, and feelings that arise during yoga practice. Try fully experiencing the fluid intelligence that runs through all aspects of your body, mind, and heart. We are all aware of the intelligent faculties of the mind, but the body also has an intellect as well. By being fully aware and observing without judgment how these thoughts, sensations and feelings arise like the waves of the ocean, yoga becomes the alchemy vessel that can lead to radical transformation. The practice of yoga helps us recognize that we are not the waves themselves or even the creator of these waves, but instead the surfer attempting to ride them masterfully.
The fluid intelligence that runs through our bodies is different from the mind’s intelligence. The mind as we know it is often trying to fix, solve, or change things. Identifying the rasa in our practice, allows this other innate intelligence to come forward. Then yoga and life itself will become a blissful experience! A mechanical yoga practice can even be transformed by this connection into a powerful method of selfengagement. Without paying attention to this idea of rasa we may expend considerable energy attempting the physical technique of a challenging pose, such as getting our feet to touch our head in scorpion pose, without activating the deeper benefits of yoga, such as filling our hearts with love and kindness. Our intelligent minds may harshly judge our progress or make suggestions for improvement when attempting new challenges like this. Activating the deeper fluid intelligence in our bodies and appreciating our place in poses, whether we are able to take them further or not, is an offering of kindness to ourselves. Allowing rasa to become the focus of your practice can be challenging because it is difficult to quiet the thinking, problem solving mind. As a yoga teacher for 25 years and a Continuum Movement teacher for 11 years, I suggest using the thinking mind in a different way. If the mind is used to observe and follow the flow of sensation in the body, the thinking mind begins to naturally slow down. Its rapid analysis and judgment steps aside and creates room for the bodily intelligence to come forward. Indeed, the body has an intelligence beyond the intellect. However, in this practice we do not let go or minimize the intellect. We focus its energy in another direction and begin to use it in a very different way. It is a more
profound way to go within ourselves that yogis have practiced and known for centuries, but is just now becoming more accepted in the West. Acquiring true self knowledge requires an unraveling of held patterns within, such as relying on the mind’s intellect to guide our way. The physical practice of yoga is only the framework for accessing the depth that is within you. Staying open to whatever happens in yoga practice and life, while not closing off when difficult feelings or experiences arise, is the ultimate goal of this practice. Becoming a great surfer of the waves requires curiosity about the ocean you find yourself in and the ingenuity and bravery to stay on the curl of that wave no matter what. Once we begin to learn how to swim through practice we learn how to become an expert swimmer of life. We enjoy the beauty of what’s under the surface of the water. The buoyancy of the water can carry and hold us -- that is if we can recognize we are made of mostly water. Whether you go to a regular yoga class or practice at home, using these ideas can enhance and transform a mechanical practice into a fluid engagement with the self. Ride the waves, become a great swimmer of life, and an expert surfer. Reclaim your RASA!
Bobbie Ellis is a yoga teacher, movement therapist and Continuum Movement teacher with 25 years of experience in her field. She is the director and owner of Soma Center for Yoga, Bodywork and the Moving Arts in Highland Park, NJ. Please see her ad in NJ Namaste News or visit her website somactr.com. Stay tuned for more informative articles in the deeper healing arts of yoga practice by Bobbie Ellis in upcoming issues of NJ Namaste News.
S K I N C A R E
yoga + health
Put Your Best Face Forward By Blanche E. King
acial masks have been around for thousands of years; everything from clay to kitty litter has been used to try to help us attain smooth, soft, luscious skin. When considering facial masks, as with all beauty products, you can spend big bucks or you can just take some things right from your kitchen and whip them up into the very best skin-nourishing products around. In my experience, some masks work well, and others simply do not. Although, whichever mask you choose, the act of pampering yourself and making the effort to put time aside to work a beauty routine into your schedule definitely revitalizes us. I’d suggest setting aside one day per week to apply a facial mask. In my experience, it’s a great idea to wake up an hour early on Friday morning, having checked ingredients and tools the night
before, in order to indulge in a wonderful, skin enhancing mask before you begin your weekend. It’s a good idea to also vary the applications – use an oil based exfoliation one week and a thick avocado paste the next. Keep notes on what makes your skin feel the best so that you can customize the mask recipe and make it your own. Another fun way to incorporate facial masks into your beauty routine isto invite a friend or two over for an in-home spa day! If you are new to applying at-home facial masks, I’ve compiled some helpful tips as well as a recipe to get you started.
Avocado, Carrot & Cream Mask Improves skin texture and diminishes age spots ½ cup heavy cream 1 cooked and mashed organic carrot 1 pitted, peeled, mashed avocado 3 tbsp honey Combine above ingredients in a bowl. Spread over face and neck area (this is best done laying down with a large towel under you head/neck area) Relax completely for 15 minutes – you’ll feel the mask drying. Rinse with cool water and allow your skin to air dry – this helps the PH to balance in your skin. Follow with your best moisturizer.
1. The thicker the mask, the more intense the action on the skin 2. Put aside a set of towels and washcloths to use only for facials, some ingredients will discolor linens 3. Determine your skin type, (dry, normal, or oily) and use a mask appropriate for your skin 4. If you have food sensitivities and wish to try a mask recipe with food ingredients, rub some of the individual food in gredients on your inner elbow, and wait 24 hours before applying the mask to your face to test for a reaction 5. Always apply masks to freshly cleaned, slightly damp skin 6. Use upward motions when applying and removing the mask 7. When applying a mask treatment to your face, don’t forget your neck, the skin here needs the same pampering as the skin on your face
Photo credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Neustockimages
yoga + health T R A V E L
Visiting Sewall House Yoga Retreat Island Falls, ME By Brian Critchley hen searching for a destination for a yoga vacation or retreat there are probably hundreds or perhaps thousands of options. Some people prefer to take retreat in an exotic locale like Costa Rica or the Caribbean. Others prefer the “summer camp for adults approach” at a big name retreat center with a star-studded staff list and thousands of happy yogis served every year. I must admit I’ve never tried either of those approaches, because every year my journey calls me back to the Sewall House in Island Falls, Maine. It’s certainly not the biggest retreat center (maximum capacity is in the single digits) and it’s not in the most exciting spot (smack in the heart of the tiny town of Island Falls, Population: 600). However,
Yoga class on Loon Ledge 26
what makes Sewall House so special can be summed up in one word – family. Donna Davidge, Sewall House yoga instructor and owner (with husband Kent Bonham) bought the historic property in 1997 from several relatives in order to keep it in her family. The home built in 1865, which is the cornerstone of this tiny hamlet, was home to her great-grandfather, William Sewall, and over the years has been the family homestead, a boarding house, town post office, and retreat center. William Sewall believed strongly in the healing power of spending time in nature and Sewall House became a place for life’s weary travelers to find some fresh air, beautiful scenery and restored health. He even befriended a young Teddy Roosevelt during his 20s, helping him overcome chronic asthma and becoming the future president’s lifelong friend. That rich history of healing and the strength of family is the foundation upon which this new iteration of Sewall House Yoga Retreat has been built. I’ve visited 3 times and each time have found that an instant family is born when new retreat guests arrive. We get to know each other’s stories intimately, make each other laugh, and even occasionally console each other’s tears during our stay together at Sewall House. We all take part in a time-honored tradition of eating meals together in the family dining room where conversations meander from yoga to travel to kids to phi-
Hiking in Baxter State Park
losophy and more. We often assist each other in yoga practice and accompany each other on the day hikes or lake outings that our flexible house schedule allows. Our intimate setting, commitment to exploring yoga and ourselves on a deeper level, and the comfortable environment
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makes the bonds made at Sewall House happen quickly, easily, and deeply. Each day at Sewall House begins with an optional silent meditation in the wood stove heated studio. Meditation is followed by an Ashtanga/Hatha morning practice which often feels less like a strict, regimented class and more like a group of friends playing at yoga. Donna is a skilled, experienced teacher who is adept at honoring each student’s individual needs. The small class setting also helps encourage a lot of personal exploration, attention and growth. After morning practice, everyone gathers for breakfast—a delicious feast of granola, fresh-baked bread, homemade jams, and a vegetarian entree prepared by the very talented Chef Kent. Midday at Sewall House affords ample time for day trips to Drum circle after evening nearby Baxter State Park (home of Mt. yoga Katahdin); Lake Mattawamkeag (for swimming, boating, and yoga on Loon Ledge); or various other hiking or biking tub, or relaxing in the sauna. When it’s outings in Maine’s majestic Aroostook time for bed you can retire to the privacy County. Evenings at Sewall House are for of your own comfortable bedroom, decoKundalini yoga practice. Donna has 26 years rated with an eye to the home’s long famiexperience teaching in this style and does ly history, for a restful sleep. an excellent job offering this unique yoga to There’s no mystery what makes Sewall her guests. The class includes chanting and House such an enticing retreat choice live music (again from the multi-talented and it’s the kindhearted, selfless service of hosts Kent and Donna. They are the glue that holds the Sewall House family together. At Sewall House you feel that They also somehow magically your own greatest potential is hold that sacred space William not just possible, but probable. Sewall had envisioned for his property over a century ago. When staying at Sewall House Kent!) and is always an uplifting way to end you definitely are afforded the time and the day. The evening meals are remarkably space to be relaxed and introspective in a delicious featuring more innovative vegetar- loving, supportive environment. I’ve perian cuisine, often prepared with locally sonally made breakthroughs during my grown produce. As always, we eat together, stay at the retreat and have witnessed sharing details of the day’s adventures and them in others. Whether it’s attempting laughing as we literally break bread an advanced yoga pose for the first time, together. After a lively family-style dinner completing a strenuous hike, or facing with homemade desserts, the evening your life’s darkest fears or biggest chalhours are perfect at Sewall House for read- lenges, the environment at Sewall House ing, journaling, star gazing from the porch, uplifts you and makes you feel that receiving a massage, soaking in the jacuzzi achievement of your own greatest poten-
yoga + health
Instructor Donna leads an impromptu yoga session
tial is not just possible, but probable and necessary. You also are filled with the sense that you are part of a bigger family – the long line of Sewalls who lived here, the countless guests who’ve made this house a temporary home on their yoga journey, and also the greater yoga community we all share. In the end I think that’s what we all search for when we consciously take a break from our daily business for a retreat. We want to connect deeper to ourselves and in turn foster that innate ability we all have to connect deeply with others. Sewall House makes facilitating that process all seem so easy, because at Sewall House we’re all strangers when we arrive but by the time we leave we’re all part of the family.
To learn more about Sewall House Yoga Retreat visit www.sewallhouse.com. Brian Critchley is a yoga instructor, massage therapist and Co-Publisher of New Jersey Namaste News. To learn more about joining Brian and fellow central NJ yogis on a spring 2011 4-night retreat to Sewall House see the ad on page 21 or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing and details. NAMASTE NEWS
A Transformative Giving Exercise By Brian Critchley
y adventure in giving began with receiving an unexpected gift. A friend I’d known since high school wrote to me on Facebook and asked for my address because she had a surprise to send me. I love receiving surprises and quickly sent back my address. Over the week that followed I forgot about the package that awaited so was totally surprised when I returned home one afternoon to find a big white box with my name on it at the bottom of our spiral steps. My surprise was here! It felt like Christmas morning as I peeled back the blue tissue paper to reveal a new book. I inspected the jacket and found that it was called “29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life” by Cami Walker. I decided to jump right in and read the prologue to learn that the book’s author, Cami Walker, was presented with the prescription to give 29 gifts in 29 days by a friend and spiritual healer named Mbali. She was offering Cami a way to step outside of herself and get some perspective during one of her many bouts with MS. I was immediately fascinated by this woman’s story and couldn’t wait to read on. Over the next several days I devoured the book and decided to begin my own 29 day cycle of giving and keep a journal of how the month progresses. The excerpts from the journal that follow are just a few of the gifts you can read about online at my blog: http://justbenow.wordpress.com.
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Day 1: It Begins Here I arrived home from my week away in Maine where I read “29 Gifts” fully expecting to begin the challenge tomorrow. When we arrived home we noticed that our neighbor had taken in our mail, compiled it all in a bag and placed it at our doorstep for us. I started to feel guilty that I hadn’t brought him something from the trip as a thank you. Then my mind started to wander and think about all of the things I might give as a thank you gift to him tomorrow. Nothing felt quite right, though. The book tells us that gifts given out of obligation or guilt are not in the spirit of the challenge. Only gifts that are from the heart and give you (the giver) a spiritual lift really count. As I was taking out our recycling cans later this evening I noticed Chris’s cans still sitting next to the back door. I decided spontaneously to take them out front too. It was only a few extra steps for me, but it was nice to know that it’s one less thing he’ll have to worry about when he gets home this evening.
Day 6: Spontaneous Giving In my Saturday morning class, I got an opportunity to give about 2/3 into the practice. I invited my students to sit up on a blanket to work on a seated, wide-leg forward fold. That’s when I noticed one of my regular students just to my right, who hadn’t brought her blanket, attempt to roll and fold her mat so that she could create an elevated seat for herself. Without a second thought, I got up, walked over to her and handed her one of my blankets. “The gifts are starting to come naturally!” I thought. I also realized that an essential part of my vocation as a yoga teacher (and massage therapist) is really the act of selfless giving. I want my students to do well. I want them to have everything they need to get the most out of their time on the mat. The giving was instinctual and meaningful. I hope to carry that innate giving that comes with being in front of a class to my everyday life!
Day 8: Letting Go Today’s gift was truly a challenge. Giving
gifts of money or buying new things for others as gifts is relatively easy for me. For some reason, for me, the real difficulty lies in giving something that is already my own possession as a gift. I have this weird sentimentality about stuff. I think part of what I want to get from this project is a realization that it’s OK to let things go and put them to better use by sharing them with others. I’ve always admired people who I’ve heard described as a person who’d “give you the shirt off of his/her back.” I wish I could be that person. I’d rather buy you a new shirt than give you mine. So after I had a long talk with my downstairs neighbor yesterday about the 29 Gifts book and the giving project I knew that I was supposed to give him my copy of the book. Yet, I wanted to figure out a way out of the give. I wanted a way to keep my possession and be a giving person. Sure I could’ve bought him a fresh book, but something in me told me that giving my own copy would be more meaningful and help me face my weird clinging to items. Wouldn’t the book do more good in the hands of someone else who will read it instead of sitting on my shelf? Of course it will! So I let it go. I gifted it. And it felt great.
DAY 18: Giving is Therapeutic! I was feeling rather grumpy this afternoon. However, being committed to the giving project, I decided that I would go to a local department store and pick up a gift card with every intention of adding credit to the card and hiding it somewhere in the store as an anonymous gift. As it turned out, another shopper and I ended up at the checkout line at the same time. “Go ahead,” she said with a smile. It was so nice to be treated kindly by someone that I immediately knew that I’d fill the gift card and give it to her to pay for her items. When I did, she was a bit stunned and said, “Wait! You’ve got to give this to someone you know!” I said, “Nope, I was just going to leave it here as an anonymous gift. Thank you for letting me go first in line. I needed that!” She smiled graciously as I headed out the door. By allowing myself the opportunity to give, it made me feel calmer, happier, and less stressed.
Day 28: Dedication I was so overjoyed by my surprise progress on two of the poses that have been challenging in my yoga practice that I decided to take a longer savasana (relaxation) than usual. As I lay on my back preparing for relaxation I decided to dedicate my practice to a more peaceful, happy world. I started to think about the people in my immediate circle to send them “good vibes” including my family and close friends. Then I started to imagine extending that circle to include my neighbors, coworkers, fellow teachers, massage clients, yoga students, old far-flung friends, people I’ve met through the 29 Gifts movement or the NJ Namaste News project, etc. As each person came into my consciousness I held them for a moment in my heart, imagining sending them a feeling of light, peace, and love. It truly made me feel part of something greater than myself – a larger human community. As I received this realization, I sent love and light to all beings everywhere: happy folks, people suffering or dying, people celebrating birthdays or mourning a loss, people with plenty and those who have little. At some point we’ll all experience these heights and depths of human existence, which is what makes us all one. I followed the exercise with one of the most satisfying savasana poses I can ever remember experiencing! In light of all that has happened in the past 29 days, I actually wondered why most of us allow our natural giving tendencies to be pushed aside in favor of modesty or fear of lack. I feel far less worried about “having enough” and much more confident that the universe will provide just what I need when I need it. In fact, as I’ve opened up to giving I’ve found that I’ve received many unexpected gifts as well. When your hands are clutching onto your possessions and wealth, you’re not in a position to receive because your fists are closed. When you open up your hands to give something, your hands are also ready to receive!
For more info on the 29 Gifts book, movement or social network, visit www.29gifts.org. NAMASTE NEWS
Standing Split By Lisa Dekis ooking longingly and with a whisper of jealousy, I gazed at a large and glossy frieze of a moment of perfection. The yogini in a perfect standing split was a piece of living art. Effortlessly her bones and muscles obeyed. From the outside, I watched as she transported to an altered state. The magnitude of a piece of art had not impacted me like this since the sixth grade. It was as if Chagall’s I and the Village had been shown to me again for the first time. Years ago in an unsuspecting, grey-bricked classroom, the masterpiece was first revealed to me by my teacher, Mrs. Jones. She had just returned to class after first taking an island vacation and then being laid up with sun poisoning. We had envisioned her on her death bed—clinging to life. In
reality red, raised bubbles polkaMy expression of the pose, dotted her calves. She shuffled in her sensible, low-heeled shoes. Our through different from the teacher gracefully pointed out her picture my mind had painted, ailment to us; and, ravenously we was perfect. all stared at her strange imperfections. We were happy to have her back even if she was a bit stiffened by her malady. Mrs. Jones spoke, “I’d like pair on par: cow and man. Green, red, yelvery much to introduce you all to a form of low were not shy. The distant church held art that is called surrealism.” high and fast its symbol. A man floated Alphabetical order set me in the back upside down. A contented cow provided a row. I waited until the uniformed boy in graceful cameo. Closer to the eye, a woman front of me haplessly slung his arm over his milked a cow. A seedling anchored all— head. I grabbed for the laminated card. sprouting seed, flower and pollen. The eleTime stopped. The classroom was silent. ments of color, religion, survival, life-cycle My brain devoured its very first piece of and harmony swirled and yet laid flat on mind-candy. My mind was blown. I stared the shiny card. The scene and its spirit had at the Chagall. I smiled to see an unlikely all but come to life in the Spartan classroom. I was speechless. Yet, I wanted to express my wonder. But how? The bell rang. We passed the cards forward. Many years later, it was the yogini in full standing split that transfixed me just as that first glimpse of that painting had. However unlike the flat card imprinted with the Chagall image, this time I was looking at living art. The muscles and bones knew just what to do: lengthening, fluting, anchoring, creating space, thrilling themselves. Although she appeared deeply lost in the pose, she also seemed fully aware. A voice in the room broke my awe—a voice from inside urging me to emulate the beauty and expertise of the standing split. It was now my goal. A grain, maybe two, of competitiveness fueled me. My campaign to attain the perfect standing split began. I reached. I lengthened my arms, legs and strengthened my core with sun salutations. I reassured myself that I was physically strong practicing dolphin poses and push-ups. Anticipation peaked as the weekend came. I attended my daughter, Ryah’s,
Hatha class. Aware of my goal, she kindly included the standing split. With my head upside down, I gave a good sporting glance at my fellow practitioners. A heavy fulcrum held me captive. Gravity, my own body and an unrealistic expectation of perfection halted me short of my goal. But this time the school bell did not ring. While I was not able to achieve the perfection of the standing split I held in my mind when the class began, something even more miraculous happened as the session progressed. The choreographed flow of poses lured me into my own quiet consciousness: silent and inwardly invigorated. My world was small. The walls of my ego had crumbled. The time for the stand-
ing split had come and gone. It was now a memory. I no longer focused on my attempt to achieve the flawless pose. That goal had turned to dust. What rose from the ashes was a realization that my expression of the pose, though different than the picture my mind had painted, was perfect as it was with all its imperfections. To this day, whenever I see a Chagall I can’t help but be transported to a time before my innocent, youthful beliefs dissolved—when I believed that kindness permeated all souls; good things only would happen to good people; and that, a crisis-free, secure, middle-class existence would infinitely prevail. The difficulties we encounter ultimately speak aloud a
new definition of life. We can’t ignore them. And when we face them head on, it is then that we are living a genuine existence. Similarly, to this day, whenever I practice standing split, admittedly one of my favorite poses, I can’t help but picture the artistic beauty of that striking pose I had observed. Sure, I was temporarily disappointed that I could not revel in the beauty of my own standing split: no earthly perfection, no jolt of pride. But to slough the ego, be honest with myself, revel in the energy of the class—that, I reminded myself, is what I’d come for. After all, my daughter concluded with savasana which was in its own way, art. Namaste.
The Veggie Chick
HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 in desperate need of assistance, especially as the weather gets colder and all of those strays start needing homes for the winter. Visit the national website American Humane.org or find a local rescue in your area that needs help. I hope these ideas will help make conscious gift giving a little bit less stressful for everyone this year. Santa, if you’re reading, I’ll take one of each item listed above. Email me at email@example.com to find out where to leave them on Christmas morning! I also welcome
Turtle nightlight at Uncommongoods.com
messages from any reader looking for help with gift giving this season. Until next time, thank you for reading and have a happy, healthy and safe holiday season! Yours truly, The Veggie Chick Amanda Nicholson (aka The Veggie Chick) has been living in North Plainfield her whole life and became interested in fashion at a young age. A vegetarian for many years, she strives to make her fashion choices conscious ones. She is a single mother of a teenage son, loves being outside and getting tattoos, and makes tie-dyed apparel for her friends and family. Details for all of these items are available at their websites: Baghaus.com Ebags.com Uncommongoods.com Vegandivine.us Greenfeet.us Americanhumane.org
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Sutra Spotlight: The Way to a Peaceful Life By Tarra Madore Yogas Cita Vrtti Nirodah “To master the modifications of the mind is yoga.” – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, I.2–Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, I.14 ogas Cita Vrtti Nirodah” is a Sanskrit mouthful for those of us who don’t study the language. It is also an information-packed sutra. In simple language it means, “To master the modifications of the mind is yoga.” Many people are not aware of the roots of yoga, so many Americans have a casual physical yoga practice of choreographed postures, or asanas. This was not what yoga was about 5000 years ago. At its origin, yoga was the practice of the mastery of the fluctuations of the mind. Simplified further, the goal of
yoga is Samadhi – the blissful, peaceful state where you truly realize and experience oneness. The ongoing process of yoga is what can make it so challenging. In the Sutras, Patanjali follows this definition of yoga with an instructional manual that leads the way to the ultimate goal and details on the obstacles that impede our process. In the last Sutra Spotlight, we looked at how yoga practice needed to be consistent and practiced in earnest to be fully grounded. Study, skill set, dedication and effort are as important here, as they are in your career. Just as you can’t play on the PGA tour without prior experience in the field of golf, you cannot expect to skip to the Samadhi, super-conscious state, you need to experience the journey. Here we want to simply look at what we can do to work toward Samadhi. The way
to reach Samadhi is through meditation. It seems easy in words, but as anyone who’d tried it can attest, being in the state of meditation for long periods of time can be challenging. Most people think you have to make your mind blank and still to be in meditation. However, the goal is not to eradicate all thought, but to alter the quality and quantity of those thoughts. We know that life is energy, and energy is motion. So if there is life, there cannot be complete stillness. We can think about meditation as the mastering of the whimsical nature of the mind. The mind fluctuates and if we follow all the fluctuations we become distracted, to say the least. If we can use techniques to quiet the fluctuations we become centered, focused and clear-minded. The centeredness and calm can last, and you can learn to keep your peace even in the most challenging times. But, it takes practice. Everything that we do in our life can have an impact on meditation practice. If you go to a coffee house and drink a double espresso on your way to meditation practice, I can safely say quieting the body and mind will be more challenging. On the other hand if you wake up, do a well sequenced asana practice, followed by prananyama (breathing practices to expand the vital energy) and then sit for meditation, you will be better prepared for the session. If you can follow all of these steps with regularity, each time you practice, it will be easier and more enjoyable. Still, it doesn’t mean that you will quickly feel a major change right away. However, changes will be set in motion to experience a healthier, peaceful and blissful life. While writing this article, I read an interview in Yoga International, with Pandit
Rajmani Tigunait, one of my teachers. In the interview he is discussing the importance of being peaceful and how sometimes we don’t realize how important it is. He states, “Unless you realize that being peaceful is good for you, you will not be inspired to become a peaceful person. You have to remind yourself how important it is to be peaceful. Do you want to live a life of fear? Anxiety? Insecurity? Do you want to be dependent on sleeping pills? Do you want to be dependent on your therapist? Do you want to be dependent on your priests, pundits, churches, swamis, rabbis, and mosques? Or do you want to experience the freedom inside yourself that comes only from having
Tratak is a method of meditation that includes staring at a candle flame
a peaceful mind? Do you want to be a crazy person who is good at making a few bucks but who, before and after work, walks blindly without any purpose and meaning? You have to ask these questions in order to nurture your resolve. And once you do that, your resolution becomes quite strong and powerful.” Being peaceful is being free. You can reach the place where you realize your own beauty and bliss, inside and out, and how that beauty and bliss is interconnected through the universe. You know that you are truly connected with everything and that everything is connected to you. However, you are not dependent on anyone or anything for peace or happiness. What can we do to practice Cita Vrtti
Nirodah and be on our way to peace? You can practice meditation on your own. At some point, to strengthen your practice and take you further, you will need to find a competent teacher. You may follow a certain path or tradition and even get initiated into that tradition. But for now, let’s sit. As I said earlier, what you do in your life matters. Keeping your body and mind free of pollutants will help. You want to be well hydrated before you begin. Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. It can help to do an asana practice before you sit. This way you can use some energy, which will make it easier to quiet the mind. Also, asana practice stretches and strengthens the body to make the seated posture steady and comfortable. After asana practice, do a systematic relaxation, this will relax the nervous system. You can do that lying down or in an erect seated posture. Once relaxed, If you are not already seated, come to a seated posture with your spine tall for pranayama. If you know how to do pranayama techniques to balance the vital energy flow, do nadi shodanum (see sidebar) or kaphalabhati. If you do not know those breathing techniques, you can do slow, rhythmic diaphragmatic breathing. It is the mind’s nature to wander, do not try to force thoughts out. Do not dwell on the thoughts that may arise. Instead, bring your focus and attention to the breath as it comes in and out through your nose. Let that be your focus until your mind and body settle. If you have a mantra you can use it to keep your focus. If not, you can use the mantra So hum. Focus on “So” as you inhale, “hum” as you exhale. Keep your attention on the mantra and your breath should flow in a relaxed, steady manner. This trains your mind, like asana trains your body. A little practice with meditation every day can keep you on the path to a peaceful life.
Tell us your favorite Yoga Sutra! If you have a particular text that resonates with you, send us your thoughts and suggestions and we just may cover it in a future Sutra Spotlight, email tarra@ njnamastenews.com.
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodanam)
Alternative Nostril Breathing is a wonderful technique for calming the mind and balancing the left and right halves of the body. Here are instructions for one of the three typical patterns of Nadi Shodhanam. If you already practice a different pattern, try this one and compare how this experience feels to your usual practice. This technique includes 3 rounds, each consisting of 9 breaths. If you are practicing in the morning, start with an exhale on the left side (as indicated below). If you are practicing in the evening, start with an exhale from the right side and reverse the left/right pattern shown below. Sit in a tall cross-leg position (you can sit on a chair with your feet on the floor if you cannot sit with an erect spine in a cross-leg position). Your left hand is placed palm down on your lap. Your right hand is in Vishnu Mudra (see picture). Use your thumb to close the right nostril and your ring finger to close the left. You should be relaxed and breathing slowly and deeply. After you inhale through both sides, you will begin the first round of Nadi Shodanam. Round 1: Close the right nostril with your thumb and exhale through the left, inhale left, exhale left, inhale left, exhale left, inhale left (total of 3 breaths). Close the left nostril with your ring finger and exhale through the right, inhale right, exhale right, inhale right, exhale right, inhale right (total of 3 breaths). Release your hand and take 3 breaths with both nostrils. This round finishes with your 3rd inhale. Round 2: Start by closing the left nostril and exhaling through the right for 3 full breaths through the right side. Then the right nostril is closed for 3 full breaths on the left. Finally this round finishes with 3 full breaths through both nostrils and ends with your 3rd inhale. Round 3: This round is exactly the same as Round 1.
Yoga for the Deaf By Helen Hsu and Amy Chu
magine this. You live in a world of silence. Your only connection to the world is through sight and touch. You are Deaf or hard of hearing and enter a yoga studio hoping to learn more about yoga and perhaps take your first class. You see a group of students doing a series of strange poses. You see that the teacher is walking around and talking. You don’t know what she is saying, but it appears that the teacher is using vocal cues to bring students into and out of their poses. Not realizing that the teacher is verbalizing instructions for proper alignment, breath cues, and pose names, you wonder how the students know what to do. This is exactly what a person who is Deaf or hard of hearing may experience during their first visit to a new studio. Many members of the Deaf community wish to experience the benefits of yoga since they’ve “heard” or read that yoga helps reduce stress, increase flexibility, increase strength, and generally improves health. How can a Deaf or hard of hearing person tap into these benefits of yoga using only sight and touch to guide their practice? That is the question that materialized for Helen (who is hearing) and her friend Kathy (who is hard of hearing) during a chance meeting at a yoga studio several years ago. While Helen was practicing with the teacher’s verbal guidance, Kathy visited the studio to inquire about taking a class. When Helen saw her friend there, she began to wonder about the difficulties Kathy would face in doing yoga in a mainstream class. She realized that the music in the background would not only mask the teacher’s words but a hard of hearing student might actually feel the music as vibrations that would be a distraction. In addition, the teacher’s instructions would mostly go unheard leaving her
Instructor Amy Chu (2nd from right) demonstrates “Sholders Back” to her class
friend open to injuries caused by misalignments. After class, Helen was really excited about trying to come up with a system to teach Deaf or hard of hearing students. Through some research, she learned that the opportunities for the Deaf community to take yoga classes were extremely limited. Helen called a yoga teacher friend, Sharon Jig, and asked her if she would be interested in teaching while Amy Chu, who is also a yogi, would sign the class. They came up with a team-teaching environment where Sharon could explain the pose, Amy could sign the instructions in American Sign Language (ASL), and Helen could demonstrate them with proper alignment. Sharon would also walk around the room and offer adjustments to students as she would in any other class. Helen coordinated with the owner of CenterSpace Studio to provide space for the classes at a nominal cost, and
yoga for the Deaf community in Central New Jersey was born! Teaching yoga for the Deaf community has required the teachers to get creative with their techniques. Helen found that the students were very excited and just wanted to jump right into the poses without really understanding the importance of breath or how to get into or out of the poses correctly. Just as she had to work to find this balance in her own asana practice, she’s worked on balancing her classes to include principles of alignment as well as generating a good flow. Amy, who has known ASL since childhood, has experienced a period of “letting go” to the lessons from her teacher training about how a class should be taught. She uses the basics of alignment and breathing, but has had to find other methods to get the press points across to the Deaf and hard of hearing
A Student’s Perspective by Kathy Kady-Hopkins
Yoga for the Deaf instructors Helen Hsu and Amy Chu
yogis. For example, she’s learned that subtle movements speak more than words. Simple gestures such as pointing to her shoulders as she rolls them up and back have the same effect as saying, “Keep your shoulders away from your ears and shoulder blades towards each other.” With every class she teaches or signs, she is learning new ways to overcome some of the language barriers between the Deaf, hearing, and yoga. “Namaste” is a perfect example of a three-way language barrier. A non-yogi or non-spiritual person would not know the meaning of this word. To explain “Namaste” to a non-yogi hearing person, one may say, “The inner light in me bows or honors the inner light in you.” This may have some meaning to the non-yogi hearing person. However, when using ASL to offer this same explanation to a Deaf person, it will make no sense to them. Signed literally, they may receive the message of a light (like a light bulb or lamp) inside of me bowing to a light (like a light bulb or lamp) inside of you. To overcome this and give the true message behind “Namaste”, Amy signs a message that translates to the English words “from within my heart, I grow to honor your heart and bow to you.” For the past three years, the teaching team has offered their classes for the Deaf community and even expanded class offerings to other studios in the area. They have added
teachers Alissa Shaneson and Cheryl Delany to their ranks while both Helen and Amy completed yoga teacher trainings as well, making it possible to offer classes more frequently. This has allowed students to deepen their practice beyond the handful of very simple poses offered during their first classes that only met once per month. Members of the Deaf community like all other people want to be afforded the same opportunities as their peers. By offering these classes for the community, Deaf and hard of hearing yogis are able to enjoy the increased strength and flexibility, decreased stress, and union of mind, body, and spirit available to others in a conventional yoga class. If you are interested in taking classes, would like to host Yoga for the Deaf at your studio, or have an interest in teaching with the Deaf community, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For many years, I always wanted to do yoga because I understood that it was good for one’s body, mind and soul. I attended one session to try it out but I was not able to hear the teacher nor follow the instructions. Two years ago, after having surgery, I thought I would try again. I wanted to improve my range of motion and reduce stress. One day, I walked into a studio to get more information and was surprised to bump into my friend Helen. I explained that I wanted to start taking classes but was afraid I would have trouble hearing the teacher. We both agreed I could use help from a teacher who understood how to work with Deaf and hard of hearing people. I find it a blessing that I have found two individuals who understand the challenges of a Deaf or hard of hearing person and have decided to come up with a way to teach this community. They have been very creative! For example, when our eyes are closed, they use a fan to blow wind at us to let us know it is time to open our eyes from meditation or savasana. Helen and Amy both are sensitive and truly take the time to understand how to work with Deaf and hard of hearing people. Thank you Helen and Amy, with both of my hands together I bow to you both!
Current Class Schedule: CenterSpace, Somerset. Every 2nd and 4th Friday of the month, 7:30pm – 8:45pm. SaKula, Metuchen. Every Thursday, 5:45pm – 7:00pm. This is a “Karma Community” yoga class to help join the Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing yogis together. Classes will be held in voice and American Sign Language. NAMASTE NEWS
Central Jersey Weekly Class Calendar
Multi-Level Yoga, 7p - 8p Heart to Hearts, Armour Ave., Hamilton 609-689-3131 / $15
Yoga for Beginners, 6p - 7p Onsen for All, Rt. 27, Kingston 609-924-4800 / onsenforall.com / $15 Multi-Level Yoga, 6:30p - 8p Inner Light Yoga Center, No. Brunswick , 732-951-1100 ilyc.com / $16 or class card
Mixed-Level Yoga, 9:30a - 10:30a Onsen for All, Rt. 27, Kingston 609-924-4800 / onsenforall.com / $15 Intro to Yoga: 5 Week Series 7:30p - 9p Inner Light Yoga Center, No. Brunswick , 732-951-1100 ilyc.com / $75 (Starting 10/20 & 12/1)
List your class here and re ach 1 0 ,000 + p ros pective students in the Central NJ area! Call 732-659-7365 or email email@example.com for details
Gentle Yoga, 9:30a - 10:30a Onsen for All, Rt. 27, Kingston 609-924-4800 / onsenforall.com / $15
Multi-Level Yoga, 10a - 11:30a Inner Light Yoga Center, No. Brunswick , 732-951-1100 ilyc.com / $16 or class card
Gentle Yoga, 10a - 11:15a Inner Light Yoga Center, No. Brunswick , 732-951-1100 ilyc.com / $16 or class card Mixed-Level Yoga, 11:30a - 12:30p Onsen for All, Rt. 27, Kingston 609-924-4800 / onsenforall.com / $15
Are you a teacher in the CNJ area who would like to see your yoga classes listed here? Call 732-659-7365 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about our affordable directory ad rates.
Fall Events October 3: 1pm – 4pm Dog Walk-a-Thon, North Brunswick Community Park. Halloween-themed dog walk and family fun day. $15 donation. 732-297-6767 or dogwalk@northbrunswick humane.org October 9: 10am – 3pm Green Fair, Monroe Twp. Environmental Commission, Oak Tree School. Farmer’s market, green crafts, recycling and paper shredding on site. 732-521-4400, www.monroetwp.com October 9: 10am – 4pm Harvest Fair, Downtown Hightstown. 5K race, farmer’s market, and family entertainment. 609-448-6352 or www.downtownhightstown.org October 9: 6pm – 9pm Wining & Dining with the Cars, Haldeman Ford Subaru, Hamilton. Wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres to raise money for Animal Friends for Education and Welfare. 609-448-5322 or www.afewpets.com October 15: 8pm WAH! In Concert, Presbyterian Social Hall, Metuchen. Chant along to the beautiful devotional music that combines classic yoga chants with Western and pop elements. Tickets $25-$30. Pre-register at 732-906-0100 or email@example.com. October 16: 7pm Navratri Raas Garba Celebration, India Foundation of Metro Princeton, West WindsorPlainsboro North High School. Dance to live Indian music during
the festival of the goddess Shakti. 609-799-5675 or www.ifmpnj.org October 21: 7pm – 9pm Free Buddhism 101 Class, Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, Montgomery. Focusing on the basic teachings and how state of the art research supports the Buddha’s message. 609-924-7294 October 24: 9am – 11am Yoga for Pain Relief, Center for Relaxation & Healing, Plainsboro. Learn sequences of poses to help common aches and misalignments. Call 609-750-7432 or visit www.relaxtionandhealing.com October 27: 5:30pm Communities of Light, Womanspace, Drumthwacket, Princeton. Launch event for the annual lighting of luminary candles to raise awareness of domestic violence. Luminary kits available for $10. Register at 609-394-0136 or www.womanspace.org October 27: 7:30pm Reading & Book Signing with Stephanie Syman, Yoga Nine, Smithville. Join author of “The Subtle Body” as she reads and discusses her new book. Event is free and books are available for purchase and signing. Register at www.yoganine.com November 3: 2pm – 9pm Health Fair, Web of Compassion, Suzanne Patterson Center, Princeton. Speakers, demonstrations, dance lessons, and family activities. Free admission but donations will be
Calendar accepted for Haiti disaster relief. Call 609-203-5854 or visit www.webofcompassion.org November 3: 6pm HomeFront Volunteer Orientation Meeting, Lawrenceville. Information about volunteer opportunities. Register at 609-989-9417 or www.homefrontnj.org. November 13: 8pm. Haiti Benefit Concert, Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, Montgomery. Singer/Songwriters David Brahinsky & Ivan Rubenste in an evening of folk classics by Bob Dylan and Tom Waite. $15 donation. Register at 609-924-7294 November 14: 1pm–4pm Elixir Fund Auction & Cocktail Party, Mercer Oaks, West Windsor. Fundraiser to help provide assistance to cancer patients and caregivers with meal services, transporting, and access to holistic healthcare. Register at 800-494-9228 or www.elixirfund.org November 20: 8am–3pm Women’s Wellness Day, Heart to Hearts, Inc. will host the annual event at ETS Campus in Princeton with health screenings, speakers, and exhibits from local health practitioners. Tickets are $60 and are available at 609-689-3131 or at www.hearttohearts.org November 26: 4:45pm. Princeton Palmer Square Tree Lighting, Featuring local high school musicians. Rain or shine. Free. www.palmersquare.com
December 1: 10am–3pm Festival of Trees, Morven Museum, Princeton. Galleries adorned for the holidays by area businesses and garden clubs. $5 entry fee, open through 1/9/2011. 609-924-8144 or www.morven.org December 3: 6pm Holiday Walk, Pennington. Music, beverages, tree lighting, and Santa Claus arrives. Local dance company performs a holiday show at 6:45. Free. Call 609737-7765. 609-921-3100 or www.princetonairport.com December 24: 11am. Santa’s Arrival, Princeton Airport. Bring a wrapped gift with child’s name in large text and Santa will distribute it when he arrives. Participants are also asked to bring an unwrapped gift of clothing, books, or toys to be distributed through Mercer County Board of Social Services. 609-921-3100 or www.princetonairport.com New Jersey Namaste News strives for accuracy in its event calendar listings, but we encourage you to call ahead before planning to attend. Planning an event of interest to the yoga community this fall? Email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org with details and your listing may appear in the October issue as space allows. NAMASTE NEWS
Extraordinary Yoga By Tarra Madore
recently attended The Tantric Yoga of Extraordinary Con sciousness workshop at the new Dig Yoga in Lambertville, NJ. The workshop lived up to its title – it was extraordinary. The asana sessions led by Sianna Sherman masterfully captured the beauty and grace of yoga practice. Sianna is like a magical fairy that sprinkles dust on you, enabling you to achieve more than you ever thought you could. We all know people whose energy is so strong that you can feel them enter a room before you actually see them. Sianna is one of those people. You can feel the magic just being in her presence. She lifts your heart and consciousness to new heights. You feel a deep shift in the vibrational energy before she even speaks a word. She sprinkles her magic dust in the form of stories and instructions, which invite you to be aware on a new, deeper level and move from that awareness with ease and grace. Her instructions are detailed and sweet. She invites you with a special way that you
want to go along for the ride and experience every bit of this extraordinary asana practice. She floats through the room. She has to, the mats are about an inch apart. When you take a workshop with Sianna, you can understand why so many people participate. The newly opened Dig Yoga studio was full of yoga students and teachers sharing their positive energy and experiencing the magic of transformation through asana and meditation. Sianna gives just the right instruction, a firm touch or a Sianna Sherman, kind word, to enhance your photos by David Martinez Photography pose and make it feel better than ever. She has mastered the art of inspiring students. She constructs just the right sequence to allow the muscles of the body to engage and lengthen. Empowering each individual to find the great strength that you never knew you had, along with the openness to expand your energy profoundly. She invited us to move and play. To reach for the stars and delight in whatever we achieve in the moment. The weekend was fabulous—all culminating in divine bliss!
Sianna Sherman is an internationally recognized Anusara Yoga teacher who delights in story-telling, poetry, spontaneous dance and long walks in nature. She had the great blessing of meeting John Friend in 1995 and has studied with him extensively these past 16 years. She devotes her yogic studies to the Tantric traditions and studies closely with Dr. Paul Muller-Ortega and Dr. Douglas Brooks. She was chosen by Yoga Journal as one of 21 talented young teachers shaping the future of yoga. Please go to www.opentograce.com to learn more!
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Your Chance to Get Discounted Tickets to 2010 State Theatre Performances
1 Merce Cunningham Dance Company 10 Ethan Bortnick (9-year-old musical sensation)
14 LOVEWELL LIVE featuring MercyMe & special guest Phil Wickham 21 Craig Ferguson 28 Pilobolus 31 Leo Lionni’s Swimmy, Frederick & Inch by Inch
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2 3-5 10 Linda Eder
14 In the Mood 21 The Passing Zone
(awesome jugglers) Craig Ferguson
The Magnificent MAZOWSZE
Abba Mania Cirque Dreams Holidaze Linda Eder’s Christmas Show Eileen Ivers An Irish Christmas The Magnificent MAZOWSZE! American Repertory Ballet’s The Nutcracker Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert 2011
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Published on Oct 4, 2010