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YOGA: SPECIAL SECTION

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elcome to the Natural Awakenings

Yoga Guide. Celebrating this year’s National Yoga Month and recognizing those teachers and centers committed to the wellbeing of our community. BALA VINYASA YOGA

YOGA

786-953-7709 1430 S. Dixie Highway, Suite 116 Coral Gables, 33146 bvyoga.com

AUM HOME SHALA 3104 Florida Ave Coconut Grove, 33133 305-441-9441 A National Yoga Alliance registered School, Aum hOMe Shala offers a year-round 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) to develop and provide programs that reach underserved populations through public schools, after-school programs, universities, and hospitals. See ad, page 27.

A 5,500 sq ft Baptiste Yoga Affiliate studio and 200Hr / 500Hr RYS (Registered Yoga School) offering daily classes for all levels, workshops, private sessions and massage therapy. BV Boutique offers yoga clothing and props. See ads, pages 2 and 61.

BBH- BALANCE BEAUTY AND HARMONY 5749 NW 151st Street Miami Lakes, FL 33014 305-389-2408 or 305-826-0708 BBH I is an expression of love and respect for life, health and happiness, where a peaceful beginning will help you reconnect to yourself. The aim of BBH is to awaken the body’s own natural healing powers, to help restore vitality and prevent disease. 













































































Yoga with Drishti, 500RYT and Yoga Therapy, private sessions and yoga kids available. Using Yoga techniques of focusing inward and working with breath and core balance will help every body!

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YOGA: SPECIAL SECTION

Yoga News FREE Yoga Month Card September is the official National Yoga Month (a national observance designated by the Department of Health & Human Services) designed to educate about the health benefits of yoga and to inspire a healthy lifestyle. Helping newcomers, the Yoga Health Foundation is offering one week free yoga coupons which can be redeemed at participating studios (for New Students ONLY). Over 1,600 studios will participate nationwide. New students are welcome to try out and participate during the months of September and October. To receive your coupon, or subscribe as a participating studio, visit www.yogahealthfoundation. org. The website also offers studio locator by region.

Yoga Recess Day Feb. 28th, 2014 In Schools Join the national campaign to bring yoga into classrooms. On YogaRecess Day Friday, Feb 28, 2014 hundreds of school teachers will be participating and include yoga into their school day. School teachers may access free online video and educational resources. – Read more at: yogahealthfoundation.org/yoga_recess

Yoga For Seniors Senior Yoga Program starts September 9th at the Miami Springs Senior Center. Featuring Alice George, a 91 year old yogini. For more information visit www.yogawithnatasha.net.

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WHOLE-BEING

WORKOUTS

Moving the Body Opens the Door to Spirit by Lisa Marshall

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via a sensual, full-body t’s the Sabbath, a day of writhe she calls “the flail.” prayer, and millions of As the World Beat playlist people across America picks up the pace, Pierrat are quietly sitting or kneelleads the group through ing, humbly communing a funky, rave-like series with a power greater than of dance moves aimed at themselves. ~ Chantal Pierrat “opening up” the hips and But inside the Alchest and something less chemy of Movement studio tangible deep inside. By song five, the in Boulder, Colorado, the Soul Sweat sweat is flowing and some are dancing faithful are connecting with their unabashedly, eyes closed, lost in the higher power in a different fashion. In music. Others are smiling broadly, makbare feet, and wearing yoga pants and ing eye contact in the mirror. tank tops, they find a place before a The sense of joy and interconnectwall-to-wall mirror while a slow, Afroedness in the room is palpable. “ExerBrazilian rhythm vibrates the wooden cise can be a powerful gateway to the floor. spiritual,” observes Pierrat, the founder At the urging of instructor Chantal of Soul Sweat, a highly choreographed, Pierrat, they let their arms and necks spiritually charged dance workout. go limp, shaking off the week’s stresses

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Twenty years after the yoga craze introduced Westerners to the possibility that the two seemingly incongruous goals could be intertwined, the spirituality-fitness link has spread well beyond the yoga mat. It has spawned fusions ranging from Body Gospel, a Christian workout tape, and Jewish Yoga classes to triathlon programs rooted in Native American teachings and Buddhismbased running meditation workshops. In addition, creative instructors have been fusing body/mind/spirit classics like yoga and Pilates with hardcore cardio disciplines like spinning and boxing. Half of all U.S. fitness clubs now offer mind/body programming, according to the IDEA Health & Fitness Association, and the portion of classes dedicated to “mind/spirit” versus just “body” is on the rise. “The newer programming is balanced 50-50, rather than the 80-20 body-mind split of the past,” estimates Sandy Todd Webster, editor in chief of IDEA’s publications. At a time when, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, the number of people that identify with “no organized religion” continues to grow (topping one-fifth of Americans and one-third of U.S. adults under 30), more people than ever are exploring exercise as a path to both flatter abs and deeper self-discovery. “We have spent so long focusing on the mind and the brain… but that is not the whole story,” says Pierrat. “The somatic, or physical, expression of spirituality is the future.”

In the Zone The notion that intense dancing or a long run could spark what feels like a spiritual awakening makes sense to Philadelphia-based research neuroscientist and physician Andrew Newberg, author of How God Changes Your Brain. A pioneer in the field of integrative “neurotheology”, he has for years used brain imaging technologies to study the impact religious or spiritual practices like deep meditation, intense prayer and speaking in tongues have on the brain. Exercise, he says, provides many of the same effects. In addition to prompting a surge of feel-good endorphins, a highly strenuous workout is one of the few activities


~ Marcus Freed

Mindful Sports that can lead to simultaneous activation of both sympathetic (fight-or-flight) and parasympathetic (calming) nervous system reactions. “Normally, when one of these is active, the other one shuts down, but when people drive one or the other to a very heightened level of activity, there is some evidence that the other turns on too,” explains Newberg. That intense dual firing can paradoxically lead to an interruption in sensory information traveling to areas of the brain that control our sense of ourselves at any moment. “Not only do you have this great feeling of energy and calmness, but you tend to lose your sense of space and time,” he notes. Newberg’s own research also suggests that when people “surrender” themselves in a spiritual practice, the frontal lobe (the practical part of the brain that keeps our thoughts in check) quiets. He speculates that something similar may happen in the midst of, say, a marathon or intense dance, enabling out of the ordinary thoughts and feelings to surface. “It can allow for creativity—a blending of different, more intuitive ideas in ways you don’t normally mix things,” comments Newberg. So, is exercise able to only make us feel like we’re having a mystical experience, or is it somehow actually opening a channel to the divine? Newberg declines to go there, commenting that a brain scan tells what’s going on in the brain, not in the soul. Yet he has no doubt the two are inextricably linked. He says, “There are many well-known examples of intense experiences, like Sufi dancing, generating spiritual experiences for people.”

The spirituality-exercise link likewise resonates through other traditionally solo pursuits such as triathlon activities and running, in which many athletes say a more mindful approach to training has infused their sport with more meaning, and in some cases, improved their performances. Ironman Marty Kibiloski, formerly a competitive marathoner and road racer, led what he terms a “high achievement, low contentment” life for years, measuring his self-worth by timed results that never quite satisfied him. In 2006, he attended a Running with the Mind of Meditation three-day workshop, based on Rinpoche Sakyong Mipham’s book of the same name. The retreat combined with his newfound interest in Buddhism, completely redefined running for him. Kibiloski prefers to steer clear of the word “spiritual” (which he sees as

Whole-Being Workouts Marcus Freed is one of those people. He grew up in a traditional Jewish family in London, England, and attended a rabbinical seminary in Israel. Still, he felt that something was missing in his spiritual life. “I thought, ‘God has created us with a body. Why aren’t we praying with our body?’” Freed says that Biblical text often references the body: King David, in the Book of Psalms, says, “Let all my bones praise the creator.” The Jewish Talmud refers to a rabbi that “stretched his spine with a prayer of gratitude.” Yet, Freed observes, the physical elements of daily spiritual practice have been largely forgotten over the centuries. When he discovered yoga, it filled a gap for him. “I found a way to draw upon this incredible spiritual literature but ground it in the body, so that experience is not just in the head, but also in the heart.” Thus, Freed founded Bibliyoga, which launches each class with a Hebrew or Kabbalistic teaching, followed by poses that incorporate its themes, as reflected in his book, The Kosher Sutras: The Jewish Way in Yoga and Meditation. The practice, now taught in cities around the United States natural awakenings

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and Europe, has prompted the birth of similarly religioninfused classes, including Christ Yoga, and the Jewish Yoga Network. “A lot of people separate things, saying they’ll get their spirituality from one place and their exercise from somewhere else,” says Freed. “I think they are missing out.”


YOGA: SPECIAL SECTION

spotlightartist ~ Marty Kibiloski

Yoga Wendy Butcher Wendy Butcher began drawing in early childhood, inspired by artistic relatives. “I feel as though I was born with an artistic talent. A love of nature and my surroundings is what inspires my creations.” She went on to become a prolific illustrator. After earning a certificate in advanced business marketing design from Sessions School of Design of New York, Butcher’s art career flourished. She

is the founder of WB Designs,

a print, illustration, website design and development studio that specializes in creating brands for small businesses, nonprofits and independent artists. When creating art, Butcher imagines her subjects and they come to life on canvas. Her cover image, Yoga, bloomed from a long-held hatha yoga practice. She creates in a variety of mediums, including digital art, painting and photography. “For painting, I work mostly in acrylics, pastels and watercolors,” says Butcher. “My subjects appear in my mind. I don’t typically use other reference points.” Her illustrations are featured in many formats, including brochures, invitations, newsletters, postcards, note cards and website graphics. The New York native recently relocated to Melbourne, Florida, where she creates art in her home studio. View the artist’s portfolio at WBDesigns.org. 24

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somewhat ambiguous) when describing what he now experiences when running. Instead, he frames it as a vehicle for self-discovery, a mobile meditation that provides the intense focus and freedom from distraction that enables him to “awaken to how things really are.” He now leads the retreat that proved pivotal for him, drawing more than 100 runners each Labor Day weekend to the Shambhala Mountain Center, in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. Participants learn to focus on the cadence of their footfalls, their breathing and their surroundings to, as he puts it, “move meditation beyond the cushion.” He remarks, “It trains you to have your mind be still when your body is active, which is how you are in everyday life.” Triathlete Mark Allen credits his work with Brant Secunda, a shaman and teacher in the Huichol Indian tradition of Mexico, for enabling him to overcome negative self-talk and physical stresses

and go on to win the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, six times in the late 1980s and early 90s. He notes, “In every one of my physical workouts, I also focused on training the spiritual aspect, so that when I got that chatter in my head, saying, ‘This is too hard’ or ‘I want to quit,’ I could go to a quiet place, rather than a negative one.” Based on their book, Fit Soul, Fit Body: Nine Keys to a Healthier, Happier You, the pair conduct workshops around the country on how to strengthen both soul and body by intertwining both. “Some people think you are only spiritual when you are praying, but when you are moving your body, that is an intensely spiritual experience, too,” says Allen. “It’s my way of saying, ‘Thank you for letting me be alive.’” Lisa Marshall is a freelance health writer near Boulder, CO. Connect at Lisa@LisaAnnMarshall.com.

FUSION WORKOUTS Pump Body, Charge Spirit

Drawing newcomers eager to break a sweat while staying true to their mind/body and spiritual roots is the aim of yoga, Pilates and tribal dance instructors that are busy introducing innovations. Here’s a quick look at just some of them. Aero boga: This approach to yoga-dance fusion is designed for older adults that follow the bhakti yoga philosophy. Buti: Teachers of this 90-minute, high-intensity workout that fuses yoga, tribal dance and plyometrics aim to unlock the shakti spiral and release the hips to help energy flow freely in the first and second chakras. Piloxing: Created by Swedish dancer and celebrity trainer Viveca

www.namiami.com

Jensen, Piloxing blends Pilates and boxing with powerful principles of femininity. Soul Sweat: Highly choreographed, yet accessible to beginners, dance movements are set to World Beat, African, Latin, hip-hop and rave music to enhance coordination, tone muscles, enhance energy flow and awaken creativity. Vinyasa on the bike: Conscious pedaling on a stationary bike integrates yoga principles of breathing, flowing and paying attention to what is happening in the body. YoBata: Fast-paced classes intersperse Vinyasa (or flow) yoga with tabata brief sets of high-intensity, fat-burning bodyweight or cardio exercises).


Mindful Practices Enhance Any Routine by Casey McAnn When it comes to attaining fitness, several well-regarded recommendations increase the likelihood of success. Natural Awakenings canvassed online fitness sources for tips and techniques intended to keep workouts safe, fun and satisfying. Our favorites follow. Always stretch – Light stretching before and after workouts loosens muscles and increases circulation for quicker repair and healing. It can also help prevent injuries. It’s ideal to hold stretches for at least 30 seconds, breathing “into� the muscles that are being stretched and inviting a gentle release of tension on the exhalation. If any pain surfaces while stretching a certain area, stop. Start slowly – Begin and build workout routines slowly in order to avoid straining muscles and ligaments. Exercise at least twice a week, the bare minimum for staying physically fit. Be well rounded – Add leg and back exercises to crunches and bicep curls, and vary cardio routines to stay enthusiastic about workouts. Experiment with all the equipment available at a studio or gym, asking a trainer for guidance. Drink plenty of water – Drinking

water helps to decrease appetite and eliminate cravings, while nourishing and hydrating the body. The goal is to drink half of one’s body weight number in ounces each day. Keep it regular – Making exercise a regularly scheduled part of the week eliminates excuses. Keep it on the calendar and show up as dutifully as for any other important appointment. Make up any days missed. Increase intensity – More intense workouts mean less time spent doing them while achieving the same level of benefits. It’s also important to keep endurance exercises in any routine, however, because they are vital for cardiovascular benefits and building stamina. Use weights – Adding muscle to the body increases strength, life expectancy and fat burning. To tone muscles, use a weight that works for eight to 12 lifts. For bulk, use a weight suited to four to six lifts. Practice a weight training routine two to three times a week, keeping sessions under 45 minutes. Add interval training – Sprinting for about 50 yards boosts metabolism and heart health. Return to the starting point by taking a slow walk. Repeat as

Casey McAnn is a freelance writer in Boston, MA.



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UNIVERSAL FITNESS TIPS

many times as possible, making sure to warm up before the interval training and cool down afterwards. Dress up – Energize a workout session and boost confidence by wearing something snazzy. Donning an exercise “uniform� gets us in the mood, and a new piece of clothing or footwear can make us excited to get moving again. Be a safe runner – Every six weeks, cut running mileage and frequency in half for a week. This allows the body to recover from workouts and helps to prevent injury. Make it meaningful – While walking or running, recite prayers or a gratitude list, or listen to inspirational podcasts and downloads. Volunteer for fitness – Many volunteer tasks involve some form of physical movement. It feels good to burn calories while helping others. Bring workout buddies – Friends and pets need exercise, too, and they provide restorative companionship. Working out with a pal adds support and motivation, which are keys to success. Seek out a human buddy with similar fitness goals. Go green – Research from the University of Essex, in England, shows that exercising in nature produces additional physical and mental benefits. The researchers found that “green exercise� improves mood, self-esteem, enjoyment and motivation.


YOGA: SPECIAL SECTION

healingways

About Yoga For Vets Yoga For Vets is a nonprofit organization that exists to welcome home war veterans and help them cope with stress of combat through yoga instruction. The Yoga For Vets website lists studios, teachers, and venues throughout the country that offer four or more free classes to war veterans. Most locations offer four free class but some offer more (ask them when you call or stop in).

DEEP-HEALING YOGA Release Trauma, Build Resilience by Sarah Todd

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Presently, Yoga For Vets’ mission is straightforward: allow veterans to see the benefits of yoga with four free classes. In the future, however, Yoga For Vets hopes to support veterans in yoga by offering scholarships for teacher trainings and workshops.

Supporting our troops with four free yoga classes in their community

Please Visit Our Website to Locate Classes in your area.

www.yogaforvets.org 26

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hen a woman separated from her husband last fall, she tried hard to shut down her emotions. A 30-year-old working mother of two young boys, she felt she couldn’t afford to be sad or angry, even as she contemplated divorce. But something shifted when she began taking yoga classes in her town in northern Michigan. “It was my one place to relax and let go,” says Emily, who asked that her real name stay private. “I used to go to class, get into a deep stretch and cry. It was like my muscles were connected with my heart. My instructor would warn us that certain poses would provide emotional releases, and sure enough, the tears would fall.” People suffering disruptive changes —from losing a loved one to coping with unemployment or striving for sobriety— often find yoga to be a healing force. Lola Remy, of yogaHOPE, a Boston and Seattle nonprofit that helps women navigate challenging transitions, attests that yoga makes them feel safe enough in their bodies to process difficult emotions. “The goal isn’t to make stressors go away, it’s to learn resilience,” Remy explains. “Irreparable harm isn’t necessarily the only result of experiencing stress. Even if I’m in a challenging position—like wobbling in the tree

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pose—I can see that I’m still okay.” The object is to teach women that their bodies are strong and capable, giving them more confidence in their ability to weather obstacles off the mat.

Supporting Science Research suggests that yoga can also be an effective therapy for people affected by some forms of severe traumatic stress. A study in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences that scanned the brains of trauma survivors after a reminder of the traumatic event revealed decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain that helps make sense of raw emotions and bodily experiences. While shutting down the connection between body and mind can help in coping with dangerous experiences, it also makes recovery difficult. “You need to have a high-functioning prefrontal cortex to organize the thoughts that come up and know that you’re safe in the present moment,” advises David Emerson, director of yoga services at the Trauma Center, in Brookline, Massachusetts. “Otherwise, you’re assaulted by memory sensory information.” Yoga appears to rewire the brains of trauma survivors to stop reliving past


traumatized people, being touched intimately can be a trigger,” Emerson remarks. “Yoga may let them feel ready for physical intimacy again. Others have mentioned victories such as being able to go to the grocery store and knowing exactly what foods their bodies crave.” Emerson notes that such programs emphasize choice and individual empowerment. “The beauty of yoga is that you reclaim your body as your own.”

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Spreading the Word Once largely concentrated on the East Coast, trauma-sensitive yoga programs are spreading. Jennifer Johnston, a research clinician and yoga instructor at Boston’s Mind Body Institute, sees programs like these enriching our culture’s understanding of the physical and mental health connection. “In a country where drugs and surgery are often the first go-to,” she says, “it’s important to remember that things like yoga can change our chemistry, too.”

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“Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.”

Sarah Todd is an East Coast-based writer and editor. Connect at SarahToddInk.com.

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distress. “You can’t talk your prefrontal cortex into functioning well again,” Emerson observes. “But you may be able to do it with your body.” The study found that eight female patients that participated in traumasensitive yoga saw significant decreases in the frequency and severity of their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. In a study at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, military veterans enrolled in a 10-week yoga course also showed improvement in PTSD symptoms. A paper presented at a recent International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies conference studied 64 people that had experienced childhood abuse and neglect; those that participated in a trauma-sensitive yoga course had a 33 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms. Two months later, more than 50 percent in the yoga group experienced greater freedom and were no longer diagnosed as suffering from PTSD, compared to the control group’s 21 percent. Yoga can also transform traumatized lives in other ways. “For many


YOGA: SPECIAL SECTION

Connected Warriors

bookreview

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Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion is Dorling Kindersley’s complete illustrated guide to yoga by leading teachers from the world-renowned Sivananda Yoga Vedanta School. She provides clear instructions on each pose, demonstrated step by step, explains common mistakes, and provides list of the physical and mental benefits of each pose. Achieve strong, flexible body, mental alertness and inner serenity through the practice and the benefits of Yoga. Demonstrating how each poses can help to stimulate our hormonal system; Kindersley illustrates the vital role hormones play in calming the nervous system, helping you to relax, and helping maintain the vast network of elastic tissue that encloses and connects muscles and organs. You learn classic yoga poses for all levels following clear step-bystep photographs and easy-to-follow instructions and pick up invaluable tips, as well as the essential roles of meditation and breathing exercises and learn strategies to develop powers of concentration. The book includes yoga programs for beginners, intermediate and advanced students. Also included is a Vegetarian Diet chapter, which includes a helpful transition eating plan to becoming vegetarian, as well as over forty wholesome and delicious all-new vegetarian recipes. 28

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eturning safely from war is never easy, but for many, the battle continues long after the return. It’s estimated that one in every five Iraq and Afghanistan returning military personnel has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For many vets, finding yoga has proven to be a powerful tool in overcoming the stress, injuries, and unwanted effects of military service. “So many of our students have truly transformed their lives with yoga” said Judy Weaver, Director of Training and Education for Connected Warriors. “Yoga postures, breathing and relaxation exercises empower students to learn how to handle stressful situations in a more relaxed manner by quieting and focusing their mind, which encourages positive thoughts and self-acceptance.” In 2010, Connected Warriors was established by Judy Weaver and Ralph Iovino, two popular yoga teachers in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Since then, Connected Warriors has grown to become one of the largest community based volunteer organization providing free trauma conscious yoga therapy for Veterans and their families in the United States. They currently conduct about 175 classes each month in 10 states. Connected Warriors will be holding a local fundraiser in South Florida on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at Jazziz located at 201 Plaza Real, in Boca Raton. Tickets cost is $125.00 and all proceeds raised will be used to cover the costs to launch new classes. For more information about how to get involved with Connected Warriors visit www.connectedwarriors.org.

Bala Vinyasa Yoga to host Baptiste Yoga Program, Art of Assisting

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ala Vinyasa Yoga will be hosting Art of Assitsing–a Baptiste Program–at their Coral Gables location November 15th though the 17th. Join world-class teaching team Kiersten Mooney and Brandon Compagnone, both 500-ERYT and Senior Baptiste Teachers from the Baptiste Power Yoga Institute, for a fun and interactive training in the art of powerful assisting. This hands-on training will spark a true understanding of asana. You will learn concrete skills for safe, effective hands-on assisting, and experience principles of alignment with a deepened awareness to help you fully understand any pose. “I invite you to join Bala Vinyasa Yoga and the greater Baptiste community in this fun, content rich and community gathering event” shared Kiersten Mooney, owner. “Your days will be balanced between practicing, learning alignment principles, and giving and receiving assists. I look forward to seeing you there.” This workshop is open to students and teachers of all levels. As a teacher, you will gain confidence and tools in delivering assists that are direct, clear, and powerful. As a student, you will gain a new perspective of your personal practice and a deeper understanding of energetic flow. Bala Vinyasa Yoga is located at 1430 S. Dixie Hwy, Suite 116, Coral Gables. For information or to register visit www.bvyoga.com, call 786-953-7709 or email infocoralgables@bvyoga.com. Also visitwww.baronbaptiste.com See ads, on page 2 and 61.

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The Law Of Attraction

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he movie, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Secretâ&#x20AC;?, barely scratched the surface in explaining the role the Law of Attraction plays in our life experience. Learning how to work with this powerful universal principle can mean the difference between fulfillment or struggle, well-being or illness, joy or suffering. Join Wellness/Mindset Coach, Kevin Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien in a transformational program designed to help you find your true power and create a healthy, joyous, and fulfilling life. Start on Saturday, September 28th from 1:30 pm to 4:30

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pm with the introductory workshop, Understanding The Law Of Attraction â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The Key To Creating The Life You Desire. For a special onetime only discounted rate of $25, discover how harnessing the power of your thoughts and emotions allows what you truly desire to make its way into your life. Follow this with a 5 week classâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Living Your Best Life Now â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Applying Law Of Attraction Principles To Every Day Lifeâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;on Thursday evenings from October 3rd through October 31st, 7pm to 9 pm. Weekly cost is $20 and recommended reading is Ask and It Is Given, by Esther and Jerry Hicks. Free yourself from struggle, and learn to attract every resource you need to support YOU in accomplishing your life goals. Workshop and sessions will be held at Unity On The Bay, 411 N.E. 21st St., in Miami. For more information call 305-788-0777 or visit www.om-wellness.com. See ad, page 23.


Natural Awakenings Miami/Keys september Yoga directory