namaste news N E W
J E R S E Y
SUMMER ISSUE 2010 •
H E A LT H Y
w w w. n j n a m a s t e n e w s . c o m
Yoga & Weight Loss A Personal Journey
Beat the Midday Blues! Try this 3-Step Energy Boost
PLUS! Enter to Win “Yoga Is Everywhere” Contest, Check out our Summer Events Guide, and more HEALTH, BEAUTY, and FASHION inside!
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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 Rick Madore Denyse Thedinga Contributing Writers Edwin Bryant Bobbie Ellis Kristin Gould, Jyoti Blanche E. King Amanda Nicholson Kathy Rana Mary Tricario Contributing Photographer Helen Hsu Special Thanks Suzy Fouad Jeffrey LaSalle Joe Sukotsky Erin Zaleski We Welcome Your Feedback! 732-659-7365 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 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. 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.
Dear Reader, elcome to the inaugural issue of New Jersey Namaste News – to our knowledge the first and only publication in NJ devoted to yoga practice and lifestyle. We look forward to sharing with you all of the exciting ways that yoga is at work in the lives of people in our community. To our readers who practice yoga regularly – thank you for joining us. We’re sure you’ll find us a local resource for all things yoga. In case you’re reading this and have never before practiced yoga or are new to yoga practice, we encourage you to read on. A relatively small part of what you’ll find here will relate to asana practice – or the physical part of yoga. Yoga at its core is a roadmap for how to live a more mindful life. Through that mindfulness a wealth of peace, joy, and calm opens up to us that we never could have imagined. It is our intent that anyone seeking this better life will find something useful here, regardless of whether or not you can stand on your head! If you’re someone who is skeptical of yoga and can’t even imagine how your life could be filled with joy, peace, and calm – we invite you to read on too. You just might find out about a great new restaurant down the street from your home, a non-profit group making a difference in your neighborhood, or an exciting event taking place nearby where you can connect with other members of your community. In essence that’s what this magazine is about. We’re locally owned and operated, covering stories and topics about the community we live in – but unlike other publications we’ll do it from a yoga point of view. We hope you’ll join us each season (we’ll publish quarterly through spring 2011) as we bring to you news both from the yoga mat and from Main Street.
Namaste, Brian & Tarra PS: We’d love to hear what you think of issue #1 and find out what else you’d like to see in New Jersey Namaste News. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Thanks for reading!
SUMMER ISSUE 2010
YOGA & HEALTH 19 Yoga & Weight Loss: A Personal Journey
6 WELCOME 6 Yoga Buzz Reviews, Letters, Local News
Beat the Midday Blues: 3-Step Mindful Energy Boost
The Veggie Chick on…Fashion
MINDFUL EATING 12 Visiting the
Open Your Heart to Cobra Pose
Exhale and Let Go
How to Get the Most from Your Next Massage
Yoga Travel: The Peace Abbey, Sherborn, MA
CULTIVATING KARMA 30 Ahimsa in Action: North Brunswick Humane Association
Princeton Area’s Farmer’s Markets
Sutra Spotlight: Is Your Practice Firmly Grounded?
The Cool Side of Vegan
An “Elixir” for Cancer Patients – An interview with Elixir Fund founder Meg McQuarrie
Summer Events Calendar
The Last Word: Yoga Strong Foundation
15 Simple Balancing Principles of Ayurveda
16 Veg Dining “Down
New Skin, New You
38 NAMASTE NEWS
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
Yoga Is Everywhere
Enter to Win!
s you can tell from this month’s cover New Jersey Namaste News is strongly rooted in the belief that yoga is not something that can only take place at certain locations and times. Part of the joy and benefit of yoga is that you can carry it with you wherever you go and practice anytime day or night. It can be easy to fall for the notion that we need a lot of props or the right outfit or a cool soundtrack to accompany our practice. Actually when we strip away all of the “bells and whistles” the practice of yoga requires very little other than a sense of willingness and openness. In order to increase awareness of yoga’s versatility and portability we’re offering you, our readers, the chance to participate in our Yoga Is Everywhere contest. Here’s how it works: Get a friend to snap a photo of you doing your favorite pose in an “unconventional” place – the boardroom, the boardwalk, on the bus, or anywhere else that inspires you – and then email your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your name, address, and phone number. We’ll publish some of our favorite shots that capture the meaning of Yoga Is Everywhere in our fall issue and online at njnamastenews.com. One lucky entry will also win a gift certificate good for 3 meals for two people courtesy of Madeline’s Table. This unique personal chef service provides healthy, gourmet meals to fit your active lifestyle. Visit clarksvillechefexpress.com or madelinestable.com for more details. If you have questions about the contest or have fun ideas for future Yoga Is Everywhere initiatives, call our office at 732-659-7365.
Enlighten Up Movie Review By Brian Critchley ate is a film maker and yoga student in New York City. She decides to make a documentary about the transformative power of yoga and chooses to follow a yoga neophyte for 6 months as he attempts to figure out what yoga can offer him and what makes yoga so powerful. Kate’s subject, Nick, is a 29-year old journalist, also from New York, who is physically fit and emphatically, in his own words, “not religious.” The journey starts all around New York as Nick visits OM Yoga, Jivamukti, Kundalini, and Bikram studios and finds his skepticism growing as the workouts challenge his physical abilities. His mind burns with questions about how the asana practice of yoga can bring him or anyone else closer to enlightenment. He travels from New York City to Woodstock, NY (visiting with David Life & Sharon Gannon), to Hawaii and eventually all the way to India. While there he meets some of the luminaries of the yoga world, including K. Pattabhi Jois and B.K.S. Iyengar, who impart their wisdom before his skeptical eyes (and ours). Eventually, he meets a guru with a simple enough message, “Be Your True Self.” I’d definitely recommend the movie to yoga students and newbies alike. For seasoned practitioners you’ll no doubt be excited to hear the moving words of Jois, Iyengar and others. But for all of us, the movie gets us thinking about how we as individuals choose to live life, regardless of whether we practice yoga or believe in a Higher Self. As in life, there are definitely more questions than answers at the heart of Enlighten Up. As the guruji in the film says when asked by Nick to forgive the stupidity of his questions, “There are no stupid questions, but all answers are stupid.”
Y O G A
B U Z Z
Raves and Rants Tell us what you think about…Jade Yoga Mats
ade Yoga Mats have been getting a lot of attention in the yoga community for their environmentally friendly approach to manufacturing, their unique non-slip surface, and their all-star ad campaign featuring Seane Corn, Sharon Gannon, David Life, Baron Baptiste and others. What’s all the fuss about? Well, here’s what a couple of new users of the Jade products had to say about their latest purchases:
“The Jade Yoga Harmony extra long mat is awesome! It provides plenty of room so I can get into the deepest of Downward Facing Dogs and its non-slip surface provides enough support for the most strenuous classes. Even though it’s a bit on the pricey side, it’s a great investment for anyone.” – Mary, East Brunswick “I just got a Jade Harmony mat as a gift and while I definitely feel good about my choice being eco-friendly there are some things I’m having trouble getting used to. The mat has a strong chemical smell that can be really distracting. I’m hoping that will go away in time. It also has a tendency to carry a lot of static electricity so it picks up every hair or fleck of dust wherever I put it down.” – BJ, Princeton “I love my Jade mat. I feel it’s a substantial foundation to practice on. I didn’t think the mat could make such a big difference. I liked my old mat – however, with this mat I feel stronger and more confident. I will say that at first it had a strong rubber smell, but after a week it aired out and now it doesn’t smell. It will also pick up a lot of lint, so I wouldn’t put it on a carpet. It gives great grip and absorbs sweat so you won’t slip. My Jade mat has made my practice stronger! Love it!” – Tarra, Milltown 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 October: Your reviews of Yoga Toes – that fun little gadget that helps keep your toes spread apart to increase surface area and muscular control of the feet.
One Yoga – Take Two! oming in August 2010, One Yoga & Wellness Center of East Windsor will expand to a small second location in Ewing, NJ. It will be located at the intersection of Scotch Road and Parkway in Suburban Square Shopping Plaza. The new location will offer Gentle, Hatha, Vinyasa, Kids Yoga, and even Belly Dance – with plans to eventually expand the schedule to include Meditation and Pre-Natal Yoga. Director Tracey Ulshafer expressed her eagerness about the project, “Over the ten years as One Yoga, we have outgrown the first two locations, finally landing where we are now on Route 130 in East Windsor Flooring’s lower level. As yoga is creative and constantly growing, I am excited about where this new path will take One Yoga & Wellness Center.” On July 31 from 7 – 10 pm the center will host a Grand Opening Celebration featuring music by Dan Johnson. Throughout the summer the studio will host complementary classes, open houses, and special events to celebrate the opening of the new space and spread the word to the growing community in the greater Ewing/West Trenton area. For more details, visit oneyogacenter.net. Operation "ONE-TWO" has officially commenced! ©iStockphoto.com/Neustock images
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. NAMASTE NEWS
welcome H E A L T H
Beat the Midday Blues: 3-Step Mindful Energy Boost he physical practice of yoga has been gaining popularity in the United States over the past several years. However, we often mistake the physical practice done at a gym for yoga when, in fact, yoga is more a way of life. Yoga doesn’t have to be a formal practice done only in designated areas such as gyms and studios. Going through your day with
mindfulness and awareness on your actions and movements is also a way to integrate yoga into the fabric of your life. When you are feeling tired, pressured or just need an energy boost, instead of reaching for a chocolate bar or a cup/can of caffeine – try a little yoga. Even if you have less than 10 minutes, you have enough time to practice yoga. It will
increase the oxygen in your body and mind and you will feel better. This can help you focus and increase your energy to help you accomplish more – with enthusiasm! You can do this anywhere; and please don’t worry if your friends or co-workers see you. Invite them to join you – they just may thank you when they experience yoga’s energy boosting effects.
1. It is best to practice yoga in bare feet, so slip off your shoes if possible. Stand with your feet a small hip-width apart. Lift your toes and spread them apart. Put them down. Root down through the balls of your big toes, your inner heels, where the little toe of each foot meets the ball of the foot and your outer heels. Feel grounded and rooted. Now lift or energize the muscles of your legs. Lengthen up through the crown of your head. Lift your shoulders up and back and anchor your shoulder blades to your back. (See Photos A and B) The chin lifts slightly. Take a nice, slow, full breath and allow your abdomen and chest to expand; then slowly let the breath out.
2.To increase your energy level, turn your palms out to the side, keeping your shoulder blades anchored on your back. Inhale and sweep your arms out to the side and up. You can take a few breaths here. Lift just as much through your thumbs as you do through your pinky fingers. Turn your pinkies toward each other and slide your shoulder blades down your back (the shoulders stay up and back). (See Photos C and D) Exhale and lower your arms to your side. You can take a few breaths with this motion – inhale arms up and exhale arms down. Remember to keep the chin slightly lifted. A little awareness goes a long way. Even though this is nonweight bearing movement in the arms, you will still strengthen your upper body, especially the muscles between the shoulder blades. When we spend a lot of time on the computer, reading, studying or carrying kids we tend to become rounded through the upper back with the head forward. When we don’t pay attention to this, it leads to the dreaded humpback posture common in older age. 8
H E A L T H
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F 3. Beginning in the same standing position, sweep the arms up just like before. With an exhale bring your arms in front of you to shoulder height with your palms facing forward. Bring your shoulders up and back. (See Photo E) You can feel the bottom tips of your shoulder blades begin to come forward on your back. Stay upright and strong, chin still lifted to keep space between the chin and the chest. Take a slow breath in, and with your exhale, bend your elbows toward your ribcage, so your thumbs come next to your chest (about mid-chest). (See Photos F and G) With your inhale, bring your arms down. You can repeat this sequence a few times. For those familiar with yoga, this fun energy boosting sequence is similar to a Sun Salutation, but can easily be done anywhere without needing a mat or props. We all know that regular physical exercise is important, but it is great for you to keep your body moving throughout the day – not just at designated workout times. In fact, studies have shown that taking short breaks during work or studying can improve memory and concentration without the calories or negative side effects of energy drinks or other caffeinated items. So the next time the café is calling, try turning that coffee break into a yoga break! You’ll feel more uplifted. When you feel better, you’ll be better equipped to handle the challenges of your day mindfully and with enthusiasm.
SUBSCRIBE NOW to receive the next 4 issues of New Jersey Namaste News delivered to your mailbox for only $15! If your busy schedule, both on and off the mat, keeps you from picking up the latest issue of New Jersey Namaste News at a nearby health food store, coffee shop or yoga studio now you can get each issue delivered right to your door. You’ll get in-depth feature stories from your yoga community including: • Anatomical focus of yoga poses • Yoga philosophy • Healthy living and diet • Seasonal calendar of events… and more Send your name, mailing address, and email address to confirm receipt along with a $15 check made out to New Jersey Namaste News LLC to our offices at: New Jersey Namaste News c/o Tarra Madore & Brian Critchley 1626 Route 130N, Suite K-3 North Brunswick, NJ 08902 NAMASTE NEWS
The Veggie Chick
ow, I don’t know about you, but just because I am a vegetarian doesn’t mean I want to look like one. If you’re like me, a vegetarian who likes to look her best, you’ve probably searched high and low to find fun, fashionable, cruelty-free gear. For the masses “genuine leather” is a good thing and the gold standard for bags, shoes and accessories. But if you know The Veggie Chick, you know that the “genuine leather” label mocks me.
Bag by Deborah Gallo
Sezame boot by Madded Girl 10
... on Chick ...
It keeps me from putting some serious miles on my If being vegan and vegetarian is credit card when I find some becoming more mainstream, fabulous new shoes or a terrific bag only to discover shouldn’t we have more choices those accessories used to be in cruelty-free fashions? four-legged friends! Now the question that keeps me up at night is, “If being vegan and vegetarian is becoming more mainstream, own finds and favorites to make being a shouldn’t we have more choices in cruelty- tree-hugging gal in a leather-wearing free fashions?” Well, as a self-proclaimed world a little bit easier. Before I share my ideas on where to shop fashionista, I’m here to share some of my consciously, I thought I’d also make a pitch to all the leather-wearing folks out there. First of all, 9 times out of 10 faux leather is less expensive. So even if you’re not moved by the karmic consequences of wearing leather, consider what real leather will do to your bank account! Also, I find the faux version much easier to clean (Ever try to clean a pair of suede boots? Not so fun!) But ultimately, we choose a yoga lifestyle and/or a plant-based diet in part because of how good it feels. There’s no reason why conscious P. Harris shoe by Steve Madden shopping can’t be just as gratifying. Without further ado, here are some of my suggestions for where to shop and what to buy the next time you’re feeling that urge to hit the stores. Take it from The Veggie Chick, you don’t want to overdo it on the spending front. To help you out, I’ve used the key at the top of the next page to help you manage your budget. Have fun out there, and if you see a gal with a big smile, a faux leather bag, and an armload of new Wallet by Lulu shoes, say, “Hi!”
The Veggie Chick
$ = bargain, $$ = moderate, $$$ = splurge Francesca’s (www.francescascollections.com) is my latest favorite place to shop. They have absolutely adorable faux leather bags and the prices are pretty decent. You’ll definitely bump into me at one of these locations: Bridgewater Commons in Bridgewater, Menlo Park Mall in Edison or The Promenade at Sagemore in Marlton. ($$) Vegan Chic (veganchic.com) is a safe bet as far as cruelty free shopping. Everything on the site is vegan, (hence the name), but I can’t say I’m in love with the options. Some cute things, but not one of my faves. ($$) Madden Girl (stevemadden.com) has some adorable and comfortable synthetic (yet not cheap looking) shoes, boots and sandals. You can find Madden Girl at DSW or Famous Footwear stores throughout central Jersey. ($$) Forever 21 (forever21.com) also has some very cute wallets, bags and footwear. Some of the Wallet by Forever 21 styles are a little young, but this is Forever 21 after all. So kudos to them for being true to their name. Visit them at Bridgewater Commons in Bridgewater or Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence. ($) New York and Company has some decent finds as far as bags and wallets go, but they aren’t always labeled accordingly, so beware and do your homework! Visit them at Bridgewater Commons in Bridgewater or The Shoppes at North Brunswick. Alloy.com has some very cute and reasonably priced shoes and bags. Most of their items are faux leather but have some real leather thrown in, so be sure to read the descriptions. ($) Matt & Nat (MattandNat.com) has some beautiful things, but are a bit beyond my monetary means. Also available locally for when you have a few extra bucks to spare at either Bloomingdale’s in Bridgewater Commons Mall or Roseanna Boutique in Princeton. ($$$) Well I hope my shopping experiences have helped and until next time, shop on my vegan and vegetarian friends! If there are other topics you’d like to see me cover here, drop me an email at email@example.com.
TO NEW HEIGHTS!
Your ad in New Jersey Namaste News could reach 10,000+ health-conscious readers throughout the central NJ area. Display ad rates start as low as $90/issue.
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.
Yours truly, The Veggie Chick
To place an ad in our next issue call our office at 732.659.7365 for more information or visit njnamastenews.com. NAMASTE NEWS
Neighborhood Harvest Visiting the Princeton Area’s Farmer’s Markets By Kathy Rana
he sun warms the crisp, clear morning air as you take a whiff from a basket of plump wild mushrooms – the aroma is earthy and fresh. In your shopping bag are a still-warm apple pie, a vegan cupcake, and a bunch of gorgeous sunflowers. The sound of a ragtime band plays in the background. It’s summer in central Jersey and you must be shopping at one of our local farmer’s markets! Every week, from Wednesday through Sunday, local communities in our area host farmer’s markets from late spring through early fall. These farmer’s markets are a great way to purchase some of the best locally grown produce and flowers, baked goods, cheeses, and snacks from area artisans. Many vendors travel from market to market, but each farmer’s market has its own unique feel and character. The Princeton area is a great place to start if you want to find a market just about any day of the week. Here are a few of my favorites where you are sure to find something delicious for your next summer picnic:
The Hopewell Farm Market is held on Wednesdays, from 2pm – 6pm at Railroad Place in Hopewell, New Jersey. This is a great place to stop on your way home from work to pick up fresh bread from the Village Bakery or those wild mushrooms from Davidson Exotic Mushrooms. Davidson usually has free recipe cards for ideas on what to do with those mushrooms. Princeton Farmer’s Market has had some challenges gaining momentum in the past, but this year looks promising. Now conveniently located in front of the Princeton 12
Public Library on Witherspoon Street, the market is open Thursdays from 11am – 5pm. If you work in the area, this is a nice stop during lunchtime where you can pick up locally made cheeses from Cherry Grove Farm and some bread from the Witherspoon Bakery for an al fresco lunch. Hightstown Borough Farmer’s Market, located at Main & Franklin Streets, will enjoy its second season this year of bringing fresh produce and gourmet treats from the eastern Mercer County area. Open Friday afternoons from 4pm – 8pm, the Hightstown market will also feature local specialty shops such as Molto Bene Italian Market & Café offering fresh bread and prepared foods for a simple summer supper.
Lawrenceville Farmer’s Market If Sunday is your best morning to get out for a relaxing stroll, then head on over to 16 Gordon Avenue, right off of Route 206. Cooking demos fill the air with delicious aromas, while a 4-piece band provides nice background music to your shopping experience. Pick up some of Crazy Steve’s homemade pickles and salsas or a freshly made egg sandwich made with organic eggs and olive bread from the Village Bakery topped with a sprinkling of shredded Gouda from Valley Shepherd Creamery. Yum!
Chef Kathy Rana likes to check out what’s new and fresh for her personal chef service clients at local farmer’s markets. To see what Chef Kathy is cooking this week go to http://clarksvillechefexpress.com/index.php.
West Windsor Community Farmer’s Market On Saturday, head over to the at the Vaughn Drive parking lot of the Princeton Junction Train Station. From 9am – 1pm this market hosts a large variety of vendors providing specialty foods and snacks. From kettle corn to vegan baked goods to barbecue sauces and rubs, this farmer’s market does a great job of including a large variety of healthy, locally produced goods. If you are feeling a little stressed, take a break and get a chair massage from one of the massage therapists at the market. Additionally, you can chat with local advocacy groups including the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance and the Friends of West Windsor Open Space to learn more about current community activities. Pennington and Montgomery Farmer’s Markets are also both open on Saturday from 9am – 1pm.
Directions and more details for all of these markets are available at their websites: Hopewell Farm Market www.eatlivehopewell.com Princeton Farmer’s Market www.princetonfarmersmarket.com Hightstown Borough Farmer’s Market www.downtownhightstown.org West Windsor Community Farmer’s Market www.westwindsorfarmersmarket.org Pennington Farmer’s Market www.farmersmarketonline.com/fm/Pennington FarmersMarket.html Montgomery Farmer’s Market www.montgomeryfriends.org Lawrenceville Farmer’s Market www.lawrencevillemainstreet.com/events/ farmersmarket.htm
The Cool Side of Vegan By Brian Critchley
ne of the toughest things about being a vegan in the summer is missing out on one of life’s simplest pleasures – enjoying an ice cream cone on a hot day. In recent years there have been various non-dairy ice cream alternatives appearing in local grocery stores for the vegan and lactose intolerant folks out there. But if you’re like me, there’s nothing like making your own ice cream. It can be a fun and creative culinary activity during the summer months when no one really wants to slave over a hot stove. If you’re a vegan looking for a cool summer dessert (or you simply have an adventurous palette) try serving this non-dairy ice “cream” at your next summer picnic. I
l el nn co iO r o /D m co o. ot h p ck to iS ©
guarantee your guests won’t be able to guess the secret ingredient that makes this dessert so rich and creamy – without the guilt of dairy. You won’t taste avocado, but you will be surprised at how fast this dessert will disappear!
Fine off-premise catering and fresh meal services for all occasions. Freehold, NJ 07728 732.491.3399 www.christopherskitchen.com
Vegan Chocolate Avocado Iced Dessert Ingredients:
½ lb. silken tofu (drained) ½ ripe avocado (pit removed) ¾ cup pure maple or agave syrup 1 cup soymilk (plain, vanilla or chocolate) ½ cup vegan cocoa powder 1 tbsp vanilla extract Pinch salt Blend all ingredients except for cocoa powder in a blender on high setting until the mixture is smooth. With the blender turned off, fold in cocoa powder a small amount at a time until the mixture is combined thoroughly. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes after blending before freezing in a standard ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t have an ice cream maker? No problem! You can make vegan fudge pops by freezing small amounts of the mixture in store bought molds or Dixie cups. The unfrozen mixture also makes a great pie filling or vegan chocolate mousse!
Weddings Showers Dinner Parties Cooking Classes Weekly Fresh Meals Sweet 16 Parties Brunches Barbecues Romantic Dinners for Two Anniversaries Business Dinners Corporate Lunches
Have a vegetarian or vegan recipe you’d like to share with your fellow readers? We want to hear about it! Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may select your submission to appear in a future issue of New Jersey Namaste News. NAMASTE NEWS
A Mushroom That’s Really “Magic”! GANODERMA LUCIDUM has been shrouded in mystery for more than 4,000 years. Attributed with almost mythical properties by the ancients of Asia, this striking burgundy red mushroom with its shiny skin has recently surfaced as an object of hope for millions around the globe.Yoga practitioners are being imbued with properties that help to optimize every function of their mind, body, and spirt. Ganoderma has been studied by Top Scientists and Homeopathic Professionals for a multitude of uses. Over and over, it has been shown to be an: • Anti-bacterial • Anti-candida • Anti-inflammatory • Anti-viral • Anti-tumor • Blood pressure regulator
• • • • • •
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Cholesterol reducer Blood sugar moderator Cardiovascular enhancer Kidney, liver, & nerve tonic Immune booster Heavy metal detoxifier standardized extract you can buy at www.GanoYoga.com! In 1997 we came up with the most brilliant delivery medium ever conceived. We discovered that Ganoderma Lucidum’s bitter taste blends perfectly with Coffee, Tea and Hot Schokolade (actually
enhancing the bittersweet, savory taste). As the richest source of Organic Germanium known and purveyor of over 200 additional Phyto nutrients, Ganoderma further legitimizes our claim that we offer THE WORLD’S FIRST CHOICE of a healthier Coffee,Tea and Hot Schokolade. Gano Excel also offers Personal Care products enriched with Ganoderma Lucidum in Gano Fresh Toothpaste and Body Soap infused with Goat Milk. It’ll leave your body wrinkle free and zinging with ecstasy. www.GanoYoga.com – Yoga’s 1st Choice In Ganoderma Lucidum® ® 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. © 2007 Gano Excel USA, Inc. All rights reserved
The Sweetness of Summer Simple Balancing Principles of Ayurveda By Bobbie Ellis yurveda is known to be the mother of all medicine; the word Ayurveda means the study of life. According to ancient text, all healing systems stem from Ayurvedic medicine. Many years ago before the group fitness craze, teachers of yoga would meet with a student one-on-one. The teacher would ask the student many questions about their lifestyle taking special note of their diet, exercise habits (or lack thereof), and even what type of temperament the student felt they had. After careful observation, the teacher would “prescribe” specific asana practices, breathing exercises, dietary recommendations and specific meditations to suit the need of the student from the perspective of Ayurveda. In Ayurveda there are three basic doshas or constitutional types: vata, pitta and kapha. Everyone has all three types, but individuals tend to have one dosha that is dominant over the other two. Knowing a student’s dominant dosha, the teacher would then base much of their care and healing on bringing these doshas into a balanced state. Because yoga practice in Ayurveda bases its principles on the elements (earth, water, fire, air and space), certain doshas are more dominant at certain times of the year and day. In the summer months, pitta is most dominant because of its foundation in the elements of fire and earth. Students with a dominant pitta constitution will find it most helpful to keep strenuous activity in the early part of the day and later part of the evening when it is cooler and the sun is not high in the sky. Optimally, light yoga and early morning walks in the coolness of nature work best to keep the fires low! If possible, resting between the hours of 10am and 2pm and 10pm and 2am is recommended as this is the time when pitta is most active in nature. If it is not possible to rest completely during those late morning and early afternoon hours, perhaps you can do
more restful activities or be mindful of resting within what you are doing. In addition, cooling foods like cucumbers and mango are great for the summer months to cool the hot-headed pitta personality! Summer is also a great time to clean out the body of toxins left over from the long winter. Here is a tri-doshic balancing and cooling kichadi – a healing, cleansing stew of basmati rice and split mung dal. This dish may take on endless variations depending on the herbs, spices and vegetables used in them. Enjoy a few bowls a day with some peppermint herbal iced tea flavored with a bit of all-natural maple syrup to balance your pitta dosha.
Kichadi Summer Cleansing Stew ½ c basmati rice ¼ c split mung dal (available in Indian grocery stores) ½ burdock root, about 8 inches (in most health food stores) 1 ½ c green beans 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) ½ tsp fennel seeds 1 tsp cumin seeds 1 tbsp amaranth (optional, also in health food stores) 1 stick of kombu seaweed 6-10 c water ½ tsp sea salt 1 tbsp coriander powder Garnish with chopped cilantro Wash rice and mung until water is clear. Drain. Wash burdock root and peel it, slicing it into 1 inch slices like a carrot. Wash green beans, chop into 1 inch pieces. Warm ghee in medium saucepan. Add fennel and cumin seeds and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add rice and mung and sauté another few minutes. Add burdock root and green beans, stir, and allow to sauté for 1 minute. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Put kombu, amaranth and salt in
once the kichadi comes to a boil, reduce to medium-low heat. Cover and cook until tender about 1 hour or so. Add water as needed to keep moist. Before serving, add coriander powder, stir well. Garnish with fresh cilantro. This dish is a potent blood purifier. Burdock clears the kidneys and blood, while green beans act as a diuretic. It will also help with summer break-outs and excess water retention. Please be sure you are healthy and well before starting any cleansing program.
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. Stay tuned for more informative articles in the deeper healing arts of yoga practice by Bobbie Ellis in upcoming issues of NJ Namaste News.
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Down the Shore By Brian Critchley
f you’ll be heading “down the shore” this summer, you’ll not be alone. According to a 2009 Monmouth University report, 6 in 10 New Jerseyans visit the shore region of the state each summer. Along with 60% of the New Jersey population (and perhaps the cast of an MTV reality show) you’ll likely find something for everyone in the family – boardwalk amusements, lazy beach days, and fun night life. However, if you’re a vegetarian, or looking for something other than the usual seafood fare, you’ll be stuck eating funnel cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner, right? We’re happy to report that we’ve scoured the 130 miles of beachfront communities at the shore to find some of the region’s best vegetarian-friendly eateries. From north to south here are some of our favorite places that just might make it worth braving the traffic on the Parkway!
Twisted Tree Café
This place is an eclectic find – perfect for that special night out – featuring culinary inspiration from around the globe. From hearty Mediterranean pasta dishes to homemade Vegetarian Meatloaf to Pierogies to an Asian Stir-Fry this place has it all. The Crispy Seitan (either as an appetizer or main course) is a delicious and inventive dish served with a tangy honey mustard sauce. Both the Groundnut Thai Curry with Fried Tofu and the Spinach Stuffed Tofu in Brown Sauce really make delicious use of soy in traditional ethnic dishes. The Eurasian Eatery is just footsteps from the NJ Transit station and right in the heart of Red Bank’s thriving arts district. Space is limited, so reservations for 4 or more are recommended.
Nestled among a row of eclectic shops in downtown Asbury Park this gem offers really delicious food at a great price. The menu is almost entirely vegetarian, save for a dish or two that includes tuna, and focuses heavily on sandwiches, wraps’, salads and other lighter summer-friendly fare. Highlights of the menu include the Tofu Meatball Wrap (with either vegan or dairy cheese) and the Sesame Crusted Baked Tofu Sandwich served with roasted red peppers, fresh tomato and pesto on a crusty oat bread. Their drinks and smoothies are also delicious and the Two to Mango is highly recommended. The cozy interior feels intimate and comfy featuring live music on weekends (maybe you’ll see the next Bruce before he makes it big!) while outdoor seating is also available in nicer weather to enjoy some good people watching.
Another Asbury Park option right around the corner from Twisted Tree Café!
RED BANK 110 Monmouth Street 732.741.7071 / www.eurasianeatery.com (Tues-Thurs: 11:30a-8:30p. Fri-Sat: 11:30a8:30p. Sun: 4:00p-8:30p) Vegetarian Friendly / $$$ / Major CC Accepted Street Parking
ASBURY PARK 609 Cookman Avenue 732.775.2633 / www.twistedtreecafe.com (Wed-Sun: 11a-9p) Almost 100% Vegetarian / $ / Major CC Accepted Limited Free Street Parking
ASBURY PARK 603 Mattison Avenue 732.481.4110
“I have always loved the beach. The smell of the salty water, the wind in my face, the gentle roar of the waves all combine to create a sense of peace and calm.” —Anonymous ©iStockphoto.com/John Mroz
Kaya’s Kitchen The mother of all vegetarian restaurants in NJ is now in a new location in the heart of Belmar. Delicious, hearty meals are all vegetarian and utilize many meat analogs such as tempeh, tofu, and seitan. The Appetizer Sampler includes three finger food favorites all served veg style: Hot Wings, BBQ Ribs, and Chicken Nuggets. The Rocky Mountain Stew served over mashed potatoes is divine comfort food for that rainy day at the beach. The menu also includes fresh organic juices, salads, sandwiches, and several dishes with international flair – stir fries, jambalaya and pierogies to name a few. You’ll be hard pressed to find better faux meat dishes anywhere in NJ. Save room for homemade vegan desserts – you’ll be glad you did. BELMAR 1000 Main Street 732.280.1141 / www.kayaskitchennj.com (Tue-Sat: 11:30a-2:30p; 5:00p-10:00p. Sun: 9:00a-1:00p Breakfast (Apr-Oct only); 5:00p-9:00p Vegan Buffet) 100% Vegetarian / $$$ / Major CC Accepted Limited Free Street Parking
Java Joint We really wanted to like Java Joint – the location is great (right in the center of downtown Toms River and a stone’s throw from the bridge to Seaside Heights) and the HappyCow.com listing was promising. However, there were few options for vegetarians other than the staples you’d find at any New Jersey diner – grilled cheese, French toast, and egg dishes. If you’re in the mood for diner food, you’ll likely find one along Route 9 with better food, faster service, and cheaper prices than Java Joint. TOMS RIVER 1 Washington Street 732.240.2123 / www.javajointcoffeebar.com Some Vegetarian Options / $$ / Major CC Accepted / Ample Free Street & Lot Parking
Living on the Veg Good things come in small packages! This small vegetarian deli and juice bar may
be small but it definitely won’t leave you hungry. Plus, it definitely wins the award for the vegetarian eatery closest to the beach, as it is just footsteps from the sandy shores of LBI. The totally vegetarian (and vegan friendly) menu includes wraps, sandwiches, salads, and refreshing juices and smoothies to beat the heat (made with real fresh fruit and soy milk). Try the Chickenless Salad TLT with tempeh bacon, lettuce and tomato for a unique, filling lunch. The equally delicious Buffalo Tofu Caesar Wrap combines spicy tofu cubes and crunchy romaine lettuce and croutons in a hearty whole wheat wrap. There’s limited counter seating available but your best bet is to grab some take-out and hit the beach! BEACH HAVEN TERRACE Long Beach Boulevard between 132nd & 133rd 609.492.4066 / 100% Vegetarian / $ / Cash Only / Limited Free Off-street Parking
The Melting Pot If for you visiting the shore means the bright lights and night life of Atlantic City, then you might want to steer clear of the all you can eat buffets and check out The Melting Pot. The atmosphere is relaxing and the food is filling with a vegetarian meal option that includes fresh vegetables and dumplings cooked in a vegetarian broth. Of course it wouldn’t be fondue unless you started with a traditional cheese fondue with bread and apples, and finished off your meal with a decadent chocolate fondue with fruit and cookies for dipping. The Melting Pot is a dining experience – and is the perfect spot for a long, slow meal on a lazy summer evening. ATLANTIC CITY 2112 Atlantic Avenue (at Caesars Atlantic City Casino) 609.491.1100 / www.meltingpot.com Some Vegetarian Options / $$$ / Major CC Accepted / Paid Lot Parking
friend’s home. The menu includes smoothies, sandwiches, wraps, and breakfast foods served all day. The vegan BLT served on sprouted whole wheat bread with vegan mayo is amazing and clearly a crowd favorite. Friendly Chef/Owner Katie makes your food in her quaint open kitchen just behind the counter. The whole vibe feels like you’re standing in a friend’s home as you wait for your order. Enjoy your food on the patio or in the comfy parlor-like dining area complete with mismatched lounge chairs reminiscent of your college dorm days. You just might have to share your BLT with Bear a charming pup who always welcomes some love or vegan bacon! WEST CAPE MAY 479B West Perry Street 609.884.1131 www.highergroundscapemay.com (Open 7 days for breakfast and lunch through 2:30p) 100% Vegetarian / $ / Cash Only / Limited Free Street Parking
Bella Vida Café on Broadway This casual family-friendly spot will at first glance remind you of your typical Jersey diner. Retro booths line one wall and the menu boasts breakfast and lunch all day. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find the menu has a robust vegetarian-friendly section including veggie burgers made fresh on premises, a tempeh reuben, and several vegetarian burritos and paninis. For an interesting twist on a classic Jersey diner favorite - don’t miss the garlic fries! With an extremely friendly staff and cozy atmosphere you’ll be glad you stopped here. It will please a hungry mixed crowd of vegetarians and carnivores alike. WEST CAPE MAY 406 North Broadway 609.884.6332 / www.bellavidacafe.com (Open 7 days, Breakfast 8:00a-2:30p; Lunch 11:30a-2:30p; Dinner from 5:00p) Vegetarian Friendly /$$/ Major CC Accepted Limited Free Off-street Parking
Higher Grounds An absolutely unique find even by vegetarian standards. Totally vegetarian with many vegan options, stepping into Higher Grounds feels like you just stepped into a
Bella Vida at Aqua Beach Another Bella Vida location for your convenience! WILDWOOD CREST NAMASTE NEWS
W E I G H T L O S S
yoga & health
Yoga & Weight Loss:
journey Today Mary Tricario is a yoga instructor teaching classes in the East Brunswick area. She loves to unfurl her mat every chance she gets whether at her home studio or doing yoga alongside hundreds of others at the Summer Solstice event every year in Times Square. To see her upside down in forearm balance (her favorite pose) it would be easy to assume that she’s always been fit, healthy, and comfortable in her skin. However, for Mary the journey from couch potato to yoga instructor has been a winding path where she had to overcome the influence of her family’s bad habits and her own difficult past. She was kind enough to share this personal story of her own weight loss in hopes that others could find inspiration when their own journeys seem hopeless. For Mary, yoga wasn’t just an important tool in her weight loss regime, it’s also become the medium she uses to express her success and guide others toward a similar outcome.
ou can’t help the family you’re born into. I come from a large "Eye-Talian" family where pasta and cannolis are staples in our diet. I am #23 of 23 first cousins on my father’s side and I would say that about 2/3 of those people smoke, and about half of them are obese or morbidly obese. There is also a history of lung cancer, emphysema, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. My mother’s side of the family is a bit smaller (not by much though) however that side of the family tree has a history of esophageal and skin cancer amongst other things. One would think that just by family history alone, that would keep me "scared straight" and steer me away from poor health habits. Wrong. I struggled with weight my whole life, but it wasn’t until my senior year in college where it really started to get out of control. At that point I was well into the legal drinking age and broke, because I was well into the legal drinking age! My diet was beer and pizza and my exercise consisted of going from my car to my class. At this point I was already 5 years into smoking and going on 2-3 packs a day. It seemed I was destined to head down the
Teacher Mary Tricario in vrksasana (tree pose).
Continued on page 20 NAMASTE NEWS
yoga & health W E I G H T L O S S Continued from page 19
same path that so many of my family members had already tread. Just three years later, in April 2004, I found out that I was born with a condition where, not only do I have a PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale - a small, pin-sized hole in my heart), but an Atrial Septal Aneurysm as well (a condition where one side of my heart is bigger than the other). Now while this is something that I had just happened upon and is not life threatening, I was told I had to change my lifestyle and get back on track. Here I was, in my mid-twenties, already seeing a cardiologist. I knew that I needed a lifestyle change, but I was so out of shape that I could barely last 10 minutes walking at a brisk pace. Over the next few months while I struggled with my own new diagnosis and how to lead a more heart-healthy lifestyle, I watched the sobering effects of my family’s poor health habits develop before my eyes. My Aunt Clara (my Godmother on my father’s side) passed away in May due to complications with coronary heart disease and diabetes. She was 5’2" and around 300 lbs. when she passed away at 72. In September my Aunt Gloria (on my father’s side) passed away after losing a 6-year fight with lung cancer. She had smoked most of her life and was just under 70 years old. Two weeks later my Uncle Mike (on my mother’s side) passed away losing his 1-year fight with esophageal cancer at 69. On top of all of that, I found it hard not to be reminded of my father’s passing from cancer. He smoked most of his life and passed away at the very young age of 57. After seeing all this happen, all at once, and remembering my father, I knew that I had to do something or I would end up just like all of them. All of these outcomes could have been prevented. They could have made changes to their lifestyles and stopped the cycle. I knew that if I didn’t change my diet, didn’t get more exercise, and didn’t stop smoking my life would be cut short. I had to make myself better, inside and out. My cardiologist and my GP encouraged me to start my weight loss journey by setting a goal of 20 pounds. I 20
started a new eating program and began taking group exercise classes 4-5 days per week. At first I took a wide range of classes from yoga to kickboxing to boot camp to strength training. However, over time I found myself really drawn to the yoga practice because its benefits were profound, not just on my body but on my mind and spirit as well. The physical practice was relatively low impact for someone so out of shape and the sense that I was doing something to nurture myself holisti-
Mary before her yoga & weight loss journey began.
cally from the inside out kept me coming back for more. Eventually I started focusing on yoga, practicing 5-6 days per week and trying to walk as much as possible. Thanks to yoga, healthy eating choices, and other physical activity, I was able to maintain a weight loss of 55 pounds! I have never felt better! In February 2010, I even celebrated my 4th anniversary of being smoke free. I think the biggest thing I have learned through this process is not to give up. Sure, you may slip one day and have that chocolate chip cookie the size of your head, but there is no reason to say that one cookie was your failure. No one is a failure in this process, everyone wins. It just takes patience, perseverance and most importantly confidence in your success.
In 2008, I started receiving attention from various media outlets and organizations regarding my weight loss journey. At the time, while I was flattered, I couldn’t help but think that my story was not that unique. I wondered, "Why was I able to do it while so many others struggle?" I realized it was support. I had the support necessary to be successful and go the long haul and I realized that there are so many people out there who are just like me - they have the will, but they lack the support network. I then sought out a way to reach those people and provide that support. I thought about going into the medical field, but I’m impatient and have little funding, so that was off the table. Then I thought, why not deepen my yoga study so that I could share its powerful effects with others? I had been practicing for a couple of years at that point and already was reaping the benefits of a regular practice as it related to weight maintenance. So, I sought out a terrific program and I received my certification this past spring and developed a "Yoga and Weight Loss" program which promotes balanced nutrition, healthy movement and, most importantly, support. I believe that using yoga as a tool for weight loss is one of the best ways to sustain long term success. The program incorporates poses that sculpt muscle and detox the body and gives the student the tools to be successful at home. Most importantly, though, it provides an environment of support and encouragement which is crucial to this whole journey.
Mary E. Tricario is a survivor ambassador for the American Heart Association who shares her story to pretty much anyone who will listen. She has been featured in Weight Watchers Magazine, The Home News Tribune, and The Courier-News. She is a Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher and a private weight loss coach. While she is neither a registered dietician nor a nutritionist, she has become a real-life expert in successful maintenance of healthy weight, and uses her experience to help others in their goals to live healthy lifestyles. For more information visit heroespose.com.
A S A N A
yoga & health
Open Your Heart to Cobra Pose By Tarra Madore most out of the pose. It will take you longer to read the details than it will actually take to perform the actions. Getting into a yoga pose is a lot like preparing to paint a room. If you take the time to set everything up – taping off the ceiling and moldings – it will be easier and faster to paint the room. If you take the time to set up the foundation of your poses, your practice will be more efficient and effective. With all of that in mind, here are some key points to remember when practicing bhujangasana to experience the intricacies of the fabulous pose.
Your Lower Body
hujangasana or cobra pose is a wonderful pose for energizing and opening the body. Sadly, the pose is often done in transition as part of a flow sequence and not as a separate pose that gets much attention to proper form. To gain the full benefits of this pose, it should be done slowly and carefully. Moving quickly through this pose to get to the next won’t allow your body, mind and spirit the chance to absorb the benefits of bhujangasana. Whether you practice vinyasa or not, you will want to be in this pose for a few breaths at some point during your practice. When it’s done well, it can improve the overall health of the body including the circulatory, digestive and lymphatic systems. While it opens the shoulders, chest and heart, it also strengthens the legs, low back and shoulders – even reducing fatigue. Who doesn’t want that? The instructions that follow for bhujangasana are detailed so that you can get the
Start on your belly. You want to begin slowly, giving yourself the chance to connect with your breath and then connect with your foundation. Use your breath to help your body to soften. Bring your attention to your feet. They should face straight back. Press the tops of your feet firmly into the floor. This will give your legs strength. Hug your shins in, right above your ankles. Your thighs will engage, and as you continue pressing into your feet, your thigh bones will press into the backs of your legs. Then you can lengthen your tailbone toward your feet and down toward the Sickle feet in mat. This action lengthens and protects your low back. Try using the smaller muscles deep inside your pelvis to create this movement in your tailbone rather than over-gripping with the larger, superficial gluteal muscles. The action of scooping the tailbone will create a lift in the abdomen that will begin the process of opening up
into the backbend. Using all of these muscles together will help promote strength and tone throughout the lower body rather than overworking one area and causing pain. The stronger the lower body works to set the foundation, the more length you will get out of the upper body, leading to a beautiful pose.
Your Upper Body Start with your forehead resting on the floor and your hands next to your chest. Be careful to allow some space between your hands and your chest. This will give you the opportunity to expand through the center of your chest, bringing your shoulders further back. As you press down into your hands be sure to bring weight into all parts of the hands, including the pads of the hands, all of the fingers, and especially the index finger and thumb side of your hands. As you continue the pose, maintain an even distribution of weight in all parts of the hands. Many people experience wrist pain with this and other poses where body weight is transfered to the hands. This is as a result of letting too much weight sink into the heel of the hand. Keeping the pads of the hand and finger tips pressed down will alleviate unwanted pressure in the wrists. Continued on page 22
yoga & health A S A N A Continued from page 21
DONâ€™T Bring shoulders up and forward
Before initiating any movement connect to your foundation. Lift your shoulders as far away from the floor as you can, bringing your elbows and shoulders in line with each other. This action of lifting the shoulders away from the floor will engage the muscles between
and chest forward and up. It is important to keep the arm bones lifted and the shoulders back. As you press your hands down, do the action of dragging them back toward your feet, allowing your heart to melt forward and lift. Keeping your shoulders back, bring your head straight back. The movement of your head comes from the palate and the base of your skull moving back. Be careful not to move from the top of your head. When you move the top of the head back and stick the chin out, you compress the cervical spine and collapse through the upper back. Breathe in the pose for 3090 seconds. As you can see thereâ€™s a lot more to bhujangasana than can be experienced when simply passing through it on the way to the next pose in your vinyasa sequence. The stronger you can root down through
DO Lift arm bones up and bring shoulders back. Center of the chest lifts. Press feet down, hug shins in above the ankles, toes point back
TEAM If you have a love of yoga and are interested in being a Contributing Writer or Advertising Sales Representative for New Jersey Namaste News contact Editor-in-Chief Brian Critchley at email@example.com for more information on upcoming opportunities.
your shoulder blades without overly squeezing them. From here, lengthen the spine by scooping the tailbone down and lengthening the crown of the head forward.
Your Full Expression To come into the full expression of the pose, keep all of the engagement mentioned above and with your inhale slide the head
your lower body, the more you can lengthen and lift through the upper body. Remember to keep your spine long. You will get all the benefits by keeping the spine long, the shoulders up and back, and the shoulder blades anchored to your back. Enjoy your time exploring bhujangasana and the elevated mood and increased energy it provides!
B R E A T H
yoga & health
Exhale and Let Go By Kristin Gould, Jyoti ften in yoga class, you hear an instructor say something like, “Exhale…and let go.” When I hear this phrase the question that usually pops up silently in my mind is, “What am I actually letting go of?” Figuring out where to let go and what to let go of can be a challenge, however using your breath in this way will help deepen your yoga practice. Let’s take for instance Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend. In this pose you bend forward from the hips with straight or slightly bent knees in an attempt to touch the floor with your hands, coming into a very intense stretch for the back of your body. You use the motion of bending forward as an opportunity to release or exhale the wind in your lungs and frontal body. After a breath or two in this pose, you’ll likely begin to sense temporary dullness such as muscle exertion in your legs (hamstrings), lower back, or neck. As this occurs, your mind quickly attaches itself with messages like, “Ouch!” or “What now?” This is when you would typically hear the teacher invite you to, “Exhale…and let go of something.” This is the exact second when your practice can deepen, expand, and unite. By bringing your attention to the breath as it flows in and out through the nose you can actually create space – in your lungs, hamstrings, back of the knees, fingertips, tailbone and your mind. With each inhale and exhale you can focus on the sensation of the air as it moves out the nose and onto your upper lip or the sounds your body makes with each respiration. As you stay in this forward bend and continue to focus on the breath, you can draw a mental picture of the prana (universal energy force taken in with each breath) moving around the deeper levels of tissue. The body and the face begin to warm as if you’re kindling a slow burning log on a fire. The longer you can stay in a pose with your mindfulness and attention on the breath, the more you will notice a growing peace of mind. Here is where a space of silence becomes your real opportunity to let go. You let go of movement, pain, exhilaration, competition, sadness, and desire. You let go of the physical, psychological and emotional burdens created by your mind. You are disconnected with your physical body or appearances or feelings – even your mental attachments dissipate. You sense an awareness of just being space. Once you connect with that space, you understand space consciousness. Everything you do in that moment moves a little slower. You feel a little less inhibited. The “you” who is doing the pose seems a little less important. As a result you become a lot less attached to the fruits of your actions. You have “exhaled” and you have “let go” of the ego-based piece of your life. You have created somewhat of a void, which is really not an empty space at all, but instead,
a space where there is more room for comfort, calmness, clarity and creativity. THIS is YOUR yoga! In this freedom moment, you are present! You are in the now! The next time you practice Uttanasana or any other asana, practice this mindfulness of the breath and create a non-physical “space” for yourself on the yoga mat. It just may offer you the understanding or awareness to use these principles off your mat for the intense practices of life where you really need to exhale and let go.
Kristin Gould, Jyoti is a yoga teacher living in Monmouth County.
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New Skin – New You By Blanche E. King ow is the perfect time of year to get rid of that dull winter skin, open your pores, and let the largest organ of your body breathe. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is with Simple Body Scrubbing (SBS), a technique that has been used for centuries to exfoliate dead skin cells, allowing the softer, suppler skin underneath to be revealed. Not only can SBS help your skin to look and feel better, but this simple treatment can actually provide important health benefits. Removing dead skin cells helps to unclog your pores, which allows your skin to better utilize oxygen. In addition, the gentle massaging motion used during SBS improves blood circulation and stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps your body eliminate toxins; it can even keep cellulite under control. Many salons and day spas offer body scrubbing as one of their services, and you may choose to indulge yourself and schedule an appointment at one of these facilities. However, if this is not in your budget, or if you’re like me, and prefer a more “back-to-basics” approach, you can treat yourself to a revitalizing body scrub right in your own home.
You will need only a few inexpensive items: • A loofa, mitt, or soft body brush • A washcloth and towel • Almond or grape seed oil (the latter is better if your skin is sensitive or prone to breakouts) • Sea salts • Essential oils (optional) Before starting your at-home SBS, you may want to create a spa-like environment to enhance your experience. Light your favorite candles or incense, put on soothing music, and pour yourself some pure spring water or herbal tea and keep it nearby. Choose a space in your home where
you feel the most comfortable and where you will not be interrupted. SBS is best done in the morning; try to allow at least an hour to thoroughly relax and enjoy the experience. To begin, take a dry loofa or body brush and lightly scrub the skin of the foot using small, circular motions (about the size of a silver dollar), being careful not to tug or stretch the skin. Then, start moving up the leg, taking special care to scrub the area behind your ankle; this will help kidney function. Continue scrubbing up the leg, over the buttocks, and across the back. Proceed to the hand on the same side of your body (don’t forget the palm and between your fingers), then over to the arm and shoulder. Repeat on other side, beginning at the foot and working your way up the body. To scrub the torso, begin with the area under the right breast, then move to the area under the left breast, and follow a clockwise motion around your entire abdomen. Be certain to apply very light pressure when dry brushing the soft, delicate tissue in this area. It is important to remember that dry brushing should never be done on the face.
Once you’ve completed dry brushing your entire body, relax for a few moments. You should notice that your skin feels tingly and alive. Next, place about ½ - ¾ cup of sea salts in a bowl with a few drops (about 10 or so) of the almond or grape seed oil (and a few drops of essential oil, if using). Stir gently with your fingers. While sitting on a stool (with a towel underneath) or on the edge of the bathtub, take a small amount of the salt mixture in your cupped hand and rub it gently over your skin until you have covered your whole body, with the exception of your face and neck. Dampen a washcloth and with the same light, circular motion that you used during the dry brushing, move the washcloth over your body. Finish this treatment by rinsing the salt mixture off and gently patting the skin dry. Follow with a light moisturizer. If your schedule allows, take another half hour to just rest before returning to your everyday activities. Turn off the cell phone and computer and forget your to-do lists, allowing yourself to focus on the heightened sensory awareness of the experience. Feel the peacefulness and know that you are loved.
yoga & health M A S S A G E
How To Get The Most From Your Next
Massage Session By Brian Critchley
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here are few things in the world that seem easier than receiving a massage. As massage clients, the job seems simple: lay down and relax! However, there are many things that you can do as a massage client that can enhance your experience - turning an average massage into a good one, and turning a good massage into an amazing one. Here are five things that you can do before, during, or after your next session to get the most out of your massage investment.
1. Be thorough in disclosing your history Any reputable massage therapist will ask you to complete a health history form prior to your first session and will encourage you to provide status updates as necessary with each new visit. While it could be easy to breeze through this process without giving it proper attention, it is extremely important to inform your therapist of your health status, any prior injuries or trauma, and any conditions that may affect the massage session. Even injuries that are many years old can have a tendency to affect people long after the initiating episode. By giving your therapist all of the information he or she needs to develop a treatment plan, you’ll be doing your part to ensure that the massage you get is unique to your specific needs. As a result you’ll have a better chance of increasing the therapeutic effect of each session.
blanket statement at the start of the session encouraging the client to request adjustments as necessary. Many times, however, due to the inherent power differential implied in the client/therapist relationship, many clients would prefer to not speak up when a therapist’s pressure or approach are not to their liking. Remember that your massage therapist is there to help you and their entire focus should be on providing a pleasant, therapeutic experience. A good therapist will be happy to receive your feedback and adjust techniques accordingly without judgment or resentment. Rather than thinking of communication during the session as a "correction" think of it as an opportunity to become an active parter in your own well being. Therapists appreciate the direction and prefer it to wondering whether or not they’re doing a good job!
2. Don’t be afraid to communicate during the session
3. Create a sacred space
Most therapists will check in from time to time during a massage session about the level of pressure being applied. Others provide a
Turn off the cell phone. Or better yet, don’t even bring it into the treatment room. Giving yourself permission to completely
M A S S A G E When you clearly state your intention, whether it be relaxation, pain relief, or something else entirely, you’ll be surprised at the difference between a customized treatment and an unspecialized massage.
yoga & health
We all feel amazing after receiving that perfect massage. If we find the right practitioner to help with our pain patterns it can literally feel like a There are many things that you weight has been lifted off of us can do as a massage client that when we get up off the massage table. As with most things can enhance your experience in life that are good for us, turning an average massage into a massage’s benefits are engood one, and turning a good hanced when scheduled regularly. A good therapist can massage into an amazing one. provide relief to a painful area of the body in one session. relax while devoting all of your energy to However, when you visit with that therareceiving the therapeutic effects of your pist multiple times you may start to find massage will likely leave you feeling more relief from less urgent pain patterns as well, relaxed, peaceful, and tension-free as you or you may find that your episodes of pain transition back into life in the outside or tension are less frequent over time. If world. You’ve set aside this time for your- possible, it’s also a good idea to find one self. Make it special! Arrive on time (or therapist and stick with him or her for seveven a little bit early) so that you can ease eral visits. By building this relationship, into the massage without feeling rushed. your therapist will already have a good Use the extra time to practice a centering background knowledge of your particular breath such as ujjayi pranayama (see side- needs and previous history before each sesbar) to help focus your mind and remove sion and will eventually be able to provide thoughts or distractions that could hinder deeper relief than if you saw several different therapists over the same time period. Many your massage. therapists that have a private practice will 4. Be specific about your offer discounted rates to frequent clients and expectations many spas offer loyalty programs. If you find Many massage therapists are adept at a therapist with whom you connect, ask if various modalities. Your therapist may you may be eligible for discounts when you have the ability to offer a full-body relax- schedule several visits in advance. ation treatment or intensive bodywork By accepting a more active role in your that focuses on a single trouble spot for an next massage treatment you’ll be sure to hour or more. Do your homework about notice the difference in how you feel your therapist’s offerings and about which afterwards. For a listing of massage therone may be right for you. Then, when apists in your area visit the Associated making your appointment, be sure to ask Bodywork & Massage Professionals webabout that specific treatment modality and site (www.abmp. com) and use their how it could be applied to your situation. "Find a Therapist" tool.
5. Make a follow-up appointment!
Ujjayi (oo – JAI) pranayama’s wavelike sound and inward focus will help center your mind, calm your anxieties, and help you connect more deeply to your inner truth. Here’s how to practice this uplifting technique anywhere in three simple steps. 1. Begin in a seated position with legs crossed and eyes closed. If you are in a waiting room where sitting crosslegged would be a challenge, sit in a chair with your spine long and feet firmly planted on the floor. 2. Deepen your breath by allowing your belly to rise with each inhale and fall with each exhale. It may help to bring one hand to your abdomen to bring your awareness to this deepening of the breath. Keep the breath flowing without holding for 5-10 breaths. 3. Begin ujjayi breathing on an exhale by constricting the muscles at the back of your throat. You should hear a gentle “HA” sound on your exhale and an “AH” sound on your inhale. Keeping your mouth closed and letting the breath flow evenly through the nose will prevent drying in the back of your throat. Try to keep the flow of the breath consistent and strong from beginning to end of each inhale and exhale. Be mindful of keeping your inhale and exhale of equal length. Continue for 5-10 breaths.
yoga & health T R A V E L
Visiting The Peace Abbey Sherborn, MA By Brian Critchley he trip from central New Jersey to The Peace Abbey on the outskirts of Boston was anything but peaceful. What should have been a 5-hour ride ballooned into a nearly 7-hour test of patience. At times the traffic in front of us crawled along slower than 10 mph (Thank you, Connecticut Turnpike!) and as we got to within a few minutes of our destination we found the road before us closed for emergency construction – leaving us a little bewildered, slightly lost, and tenuously peaceful at best. Once we finally arrived at the front gate and pulled into a spot near the Peace Abbey guest house it became almost imme-
diately clear that we were in a most unique place. The quiet was deafening. We were just maybe fifty yards from Main Street in the little hamlet of Sherborn, MA but on the grounds of the abbey you felt like you’d stepped into a place far form the world we’re used to inhabiting. The first thing that struck me was that all of the doors to the various buildings (the guest house, a gift shop, and a museum) were unlocked, yet not a single human being was in sight. Our hosts were trusting indeed! As we entered the guest house where we’d be staying for the next 48 hours, we were greeted only by the scent of incense hovering in the air and an eclectic mix of religious relics and peace
activism artifacts. A “Stop the War in Afghanistan” sign rests gently against one wall, the kind you’d see in an old filmstrip about the Vietnam War. It’s not far from where a giant John Lennon & Yoko Ono poster overlooks the breakfast nook. To the right is the interfaith chapel which is also unlocked and includes a mini-altar carved with the names of all of the world’s major religions. In the far corner a candle burns above a small sign that reads, “A single candle burns in memory of all the animals harmed or killed by acts of man.” We pick up our key and a visitor’s guide. The cover reads, “It’s been said time and again that there is no place anywhere like The Peace Abbey. We trust that your visit will confirm this.” My visit was just a few minutes old and I could have already assured you that I’d never been anywhere like this before!
My visit was just a few minutes old and I could have already assured you that I’d never been anywhere like this before!
Pictured Above: Peace Abbey Guest House Right: Gabriel the bull 28
We planned that evening to attend a kirtan in a nearby town featuring Snatam Kaur and GuruGanesha Singh. Before we left we explored the grounds a bit more to see if perhaps we’d missed a person or two somewhere in our midst. The only other beings on the property were two goats and a sheep resting in the paddock, a small white horse that looked like the kind to give pony rides at a child’s party, a family of groundhogs romping in a giant den, a brown and white
T R AV E L
yoga & health
Kirtan in Boston
Pictured Top: Ingrid and Andy are two very affectionate goats Right: Every corner of the abbey is filled with bumper stickers, buttons, signs, relics, and memorabilia from the peace movement
bull reclining nearby beneath a tree, and a dozen or so white doves roosting on the roof of the barn. We made our acquaintances with our gracious hosts before making the short drive to Arlington for the kirtan. After an amazing evening of chanting at the kirtan and a restful sleep we awoke to find the abbey was still still. We spent the entire day exploring the grounds and taking in all of the unique treasures they held. Our day started with yoga practice on the back deck as the doves from the barn circled overhead. It gave us a new inspiration to work on Pigeon Pose! We admired the thoughtful peace memorial that includes an
8 foot tall statue of Gandhi surrounded by dozens of plaques emblazoned with quotes from peacemakers throughout the ages including Dr. Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa. Later we found our way to the Peace Abbey’s museum that included artifacts from the peace movement and even housed the registry of Conscientious Objectors to war for the state of Massachusetts. In the basement of the museum was a touching memorial to the soldiers who have been killed in action since the beginning of the Iraq war. Nearly one entire wall was covered with wristbands each listing the name of one soldier killed in action. The enormity of the installation made it impossible to ignore the real human impact of war. Before departing from the abbey I spent about 20 minutes in the interfaith chapel meditating. I do not often “pray” in conventional terms but I was inspired by a large banner that had been a backdrop of the Snatam Kaur concert the night before that read “PEACE – in your heart, in your home, in the world.” I prayed that while visitors to this wondrous place may be few and far between that I may carry its message in my heart and bring its work with me wherever I go.
I have taken part in several kirtans before. All of them have been relatively small gatherings with local performers leading the chanting. When we arrived at the 500seat Regent Theatre in Arlington I immediately wondered how this would work. Would we still feel that interconnectedness that I’ve experienced at small events? Would this many people really chant along? Could an enlightening experience really take place at an old movie house sandwiched between a used book store and a Starbucks? From the second Snatam Kaur and GuruGanesha Singh stepped on stage my doubts were suspended and I felt uplifted. They exuded peace and had a humble, happy, loving demeanor that was both reassuring and inviting. I knew that if anyone could inspire a large crowd, it would be them. It did not take long for the audience to join in this “co-formance” as they called it. Just a minute or two into the concert most of my neighbors (and myself) were singing “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo,” the tuning-in mantra for kundalini yoga that summons the inner teacher. Over the next 2 ½ hours we chanted and sang along with our hosts and happily let cares of the outside world melt away as our hearts were uplifted by their beautiful, inspiring music. Perhaps the coolest part of the evening came when Snatam in her soft voice announced, “OK, I think it’s time for some pranayama (breath work).” Have you ever been to a concert where you actually practiced yoga? It was awesome! It was so inspiring to be breathing in unison with 500 others and it felt unlike any other pranayama practice I’ve ever done. As we suspended the breath briefly to contain the prana (life force) we were cultivating I felt a vibrant, tingling exuberance that was intoxicating. Not long after our breathing session Snatam invited us to stand and the entire crowd danced with delight, clapped to the beat, and held hands as the concert came to a dizzying crescendo. As the evening came to a close we all sat down again – a little tired, very uplifted, and feeling as though our spirits were too large to fit in our tiny movie theater chairs. Together we all sang the words of a traditional kundalini closing prayer, a fitting end to a touching evening: May the long time sun shine upon you, All love surround you, And the pure light within you Guide your way on For more information on Snatam Kaur or GuruGanesha Singh visit spiritvoyage.com. Photo by: Rich Van Every
Ahimsa in Action:
For The Love of Animals
e recently caught up with Kevin Bovino, the very busy President of the North Brunswick Humane Association, to ask him a few questions about what his organization is doing to help animals in need. The NBHA is a volunteer non-profit association serving the North Brunswick area with the purpose of educating and guiding the community in the humane treatment of animals. Since their inception in 2003, the group has collected supplies for homeless pets, provided a referral service to place countless animals, and even donated 4,000 pounds of dog and cat food for Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts.
We’ve heard about an exciting new initiative for NHBA. In thte 26 towns in Middlesex What is Project Shelter and how County, there are only about will it help animals in need in 5 shelters. our area? We’re excited to report that North Brunswick Township recently passed a resolution to provide land can. Besides housing animals, we want to upon which NBHA will build a 7,000 square have an adoption program so every cat and foot state of the art animal shelter. We’re dog that comes through our doors ends up in currently working on fundraising efforts to a loving home. In addition, we’ll have an make the dream of a no-kill shelter for the education center where the public can learn Brunswicks a reality. Each year, thousands of about animals and animal care. We’ll also be cats and dogs are euthanized. Action needs able to provide on-site spay/neuter/TNR to be taken to save as many animals as we (trap, neuter & return) services in our clinic.
cultivating karma Wow, that’s exciting news! What are the next steps for Project Shelter? We are continuing to engage the public about the need for an animal shelter by hosting events and attending community festivals and fairs. Many people assume that every town has an animal shelter. Actually in the 26 towns in Middlesex County, there are only about 5 shelters, so you can imagine how the resources of those facilities are stretched thin. In addition to education programs we’re continuing to raise money for the building of the shelter by signing up new members and through other fundraising efforts. How can people interested in this project get involved? Anyone can come to our monthly meetings. They are held at 7:30pm on the second Monday of each month at the North Brunswick Municipal Building. We always need volunteers at our events and active members to work on fundraising for Project Shelter. If someone doesn’t have time to share, we also accept donations. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit group, so all donations are tax-deductible. What’s the biggest challenge right now for your group and others like it? In these hard economic times, many people are losing their homes. When they do, many of their pets end up in shelters. Many apartment complexes do not allow pets,
What is Ahimsa? ©iStockphoto.com/ming ceative
In the yoga tradition set forth by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras, there is an eight-limbed path to realization of the true self. By following that path a yogi can reach the ultimate goal of Samadhi or enlightenment. The first of the limbs on the path, referred to by the Sanskrit word yamas details five distinct abstentions that should be mastered by aspiring yogis: nonviolence (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), not stealing (asteya), celibacy (brahmacharya), and non-coveting (aparigrahah). Ahimsa, being the first of the five yamas which make up the first of the eight limbs, has been a focal point for yoga practice both in ancient times and in our modern Western practice. The practice of ahimsa includes not only refraining from acts of physical violence, but also of mental or emotional harm as well. It is the basis for many yogis choosing a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, as eating meat (even prepared by someone else) is considered a violent act. In addition, it is central to the work of animal rights groups such as the NBHA. It is also an important element of the physical practice of yoga, as we learn to practice ahimsa toward our own body by not asking it to do more than is possible without creating harm. Once the practice of ahimsa becomes internalized, it will become clear to the yogi that all life forms are created equal and deserve respect.
especially larger dogs. This is why more nokill shelters and foster families are needed. One last question, as an animal lover, do you have any pets at home? I’m happy to say that I have 2 cats, Zeke & Mr. Smeets. They are both rescues! We definitely hope to find homes for more animals just like them through our efforts at NBHA.
Kevin Bovino, 41, is a lifelong resident of North Brunswick and works as a graphic designer with the Home News Tribune. In addition to his dedicated work for animals, he attends Zarephath Christian Church and is a big fan of professional tennis. For more information on NBHA and Project Shelter visit their website at north brunswickhumane.org.
Want to help NBHA build a shelter in our area? Visit northbrunswickhumane.org to become a member, volunteer, make a donation or learn more. NAMASTE NEWS
Sutra Spotlight: Is Your Practice Firmly Grounded? he Yoga Sutras are the “How-To Guide” for a successful yoga practice. They were originally passed down from teacher to student over generations in an oral tradition that lasted for centuries. Each sutra is a short, concise grouping of words with deep meaning that is meant to be studied and observed for many years. In studying the sacred yoga texts, many scholars have offered translations and commentaries on the essence of these ancient pearls of wisdom. Each issue we will take a look at an individual sutra and discuss ways to understand the deeper meaning and incorporate it into modern life. For this first issue we’ve selected one of the sutras that lays out the most basic instructions for anyone trying to live a yoga lifestyle. Sutra 1:14, if observed, will give newcomers the building blocks to start a yoga practice and help long-time practitioners deepen their connection to yoga. For this Sutra Spotlight we have two separate contributors who have interpreted the sutra in their own ways: Rutgers Associate Professor Edwin Bryant and Inner Light Yoga Center Director (and NJ Namaste News Creative Director) Tarra Madore.
Vocabulary Vrttis – fluctuation (of mind) Vacaspati Misra – wrote a commentary on the yoga sutras Sattva - lucidity Rajas - action Tamas - inertia Samskara – mental imprints, memories, subconscious impressions Gita – refers to the Bhagavad Gita
“Practice becomes firmly established when it has been cultivated uninterruptedly and with devotion over a long period of time” –Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, I.14
By Edwin Bryant Patanjali here gives further specifics pertaining to what the effort underpinning practice consists of. First, in order to become unshakable, practice must be performed without interruption. One cannot take breaks from one’s practice whenever one feels like it or the mind dictates and expect to attain the goal of yoga, which is to quell such whimsical vrttis. Second, one’s practice must continue for a long time. One cannot attain success in a few months or even after many years of practice unless one is exceptionally dedicated. Indeed, the Gita speaks of the yogi maintaining the effort of the last sutra, for many births: “Through effort and restraint, cleansed of all impurities, the yogi who has cultivated perfection over several lives, eventually attains the supreme destination” (VI.45). Practice is at the very least a lifelong commitment, to be undertaken, Patanjali goes on to say, with respect and devotion. One is, after all, pursuing the ultimate goal in life – realization of the innermost self – and cannot expect to attain this in a halfhearted or frivolous fashion, or in a random manner. As any gardener knows, maintaining a garden takes devotion and uninterrupted weeding and pest control for a prolonged period of time. In fact, these processes can never be interrupted, since within a remarkably short period of time, even the most devotedly cultivated garden becomes overwhelmed by weeds and pests; if left
unattended, all one’s hard work is easily undone. Likewise with yoga: The cultivation of sattva takes constant attention and cultivation – the minute the yogi relaxes his or her practices and vigilance, Vacaspati Misra’s highway robbers of rajasic and tamasic samskaras overwhelm the sattvic qualities so arduously developed. This is because, like weeds, they are never actually eliminated or destroyed; they remain in a latent subconscious state and thus can become activated at any moment, unless constantly curtailed; hence Patanjali’s notion of devoted uninterruptedness over a prolonged period. Edwin Bryant is an associate professor of Hinduism at Rutgers University New Brunswick and author of several books on the study of Eastern philosophy and culture. His contribution to this article is excerpted by permission from his book, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali; A New Edition, Translation and Commentary,” Published by North Point Press, New York, 2009
by Tarra Madore In Sutra 1:14 Patanjali gives the recipe for practice. He says, for practice to be firmly grounded, one must do it for a long time, without break and with devotion or enthusiasm. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a student come up to me after class to ask, “How long will I have to do yoga?” I’m never sure how to answer that question. I usually reply with a follow-up question, “What do you want to gain from yoga?” For me, yoga is a way of life. I don’t practice in order to get into a certain pose or to be able to chant a specific mantra. I practice yoga to lead a healthier life – mind, body and spirit. So I guess the deeper answer is, “I want to practice forever.”
Our society can be so fast paced and interested in instant gratification. I teach a 5-week Intro to Yoga series. The class meets one time per week for five weeks. I’m surprised by how many people ask if they can try just one class because they don’t want to make that commitment. I think Patanjali had a little longer than 5 weeks in mind when he said to practice yoga for a long time! He also suggests that a practice be undertaken without a break. For me, this means taking time out for practice everyday – even if it is for a different amount of time every day. Most people can shift some things around to find 15 minutes to an hour in their day for daily practice in order to live a healthier yoga lifestyle. You may even have to get creative (carving out ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the evening), and by doing so you’ll be making practice important in your life. The last element of a firmly rooted yoga practice is enthusiasm. In some ways this is the most important of the three, because without enthusiasm, the discipline and commitment required of a strong yoga practice will be hard to come by. Enthusiasm will be the key to help you continue practicing through difficult or challenging times. If you truly love to practice and find it fun and exciting, it will be easier to choose your practice when part of you would rather stay under the covers on a cold winter morning. During a visit to an ashram a few years back, the swami told us the story of when he arrived at this particular ashram. His guru told him to go there to see how the operations were going. The ashram staff had been experiencing some uneasy feelings and were bickering with each other, leaving guests with a tense feeling. The swami arrived and asked the staff members if they were doing their daily devotional practices. They all replied that they were doing the daily practice. The swami thought something was amiss because he arrived and felt the negative energy immediately. He decided to observe their daily devotions and was surprised to find that while they were doing their practice, they were not putting their heart into it. They
would go through the motions of puja ceremony, asana, kirtan and meditation but there was no enthusiasm for the practice. While the passion for the practice was temporarily lost, it wasn’t long before an infusion of enthusiasm helped put the daily devotions, and life at the ashram, back on track. Another good example of this sutra in action comes from none other than football legend Brett Favre, quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. Whether you like him or not is irrelevant. He has been playing football for 19 years. He became the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers on September 20, 1992 and started every game until January 20, 2008. That exemplifies commitment, discipline and dedication. At 40 years old, he is still playing quarterback with passion. While 40 is not old, it represents an accumulation of hits, tackles and injuries in the career of an NFL player. When you watch him on the field, he plays each game as if it is the most important game of his career. He reacts to good plays on the field with a childlike amaze-
ment and excitement. While he is an outstandingly gifted quarterback, it’s clear that a significant part of his success is rooted in the time, energy, and enthusiasm he has put into his career. A regular yoga practice has so many physical and mental benefits that I often wonder why everyone isn’t practicing. Over the years I have had days where I have had to juggle some things around to make time for yoga. I have even had days where I wasn’t able to practice – but those are few and far between. Even though my regular practice allows me to miss a day or two, I definitely feel the effects of missing a day, and cannot wait to get back to the mat. While I may not be able to completely still the waves of my mind, I certainly can calm them one day at a time.
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. NAMASTE NEWS
An “Elixir” for Cancer Patients The Elixir Fund Brings Comfort and Dignity to the Fight Against Cancer An interview with CEO Meg McQuarrie t’s not often that you come across someone in your daily travels that is really doing something for a living that they are passionate about. It’s even rarer to find a person who is passionate about their business and doing something so inspiring that it makes others stop and say, “Wow! I want to get involved too!” When we heard about the work that CEO Meg McQuarrie is doing with Elixir Fund we were so inspired by her enthusiasm, dedication and worthy mission that we had to share her story with all of you. Meg was kind enough to share some time with us to answer a few questions about Elixir Fund, a unique non-profit bringing hope and comfort to cancer patients in the central Jersey area and beyond. Hopefully her selfless acts of karma will inspire you to make a difference too!
How did Elixir Fund get started doing this inspirational work for cancer patients and their families? The inspiration behind the Elixir Fund is my brother, Kevin McQuarrie, and his journey with cancer. Kevin, a massage therapist, was wary of chemotherapy because of its toxicity, but eventually decided to try treatment. While he had to be admitted to the hospital for a week at a time for treatment, he thought he would make it a place that he did not mind being. He decorated the walls with pictures, wore his own clothes, brought a reclining chair, and even had a portable DVD player with his favorite, funny movies. He chose to put a positive spin on his chemotherapy and referred to it as his “Elixir” until he could make peace with it. He also insisted that all of us – friends, family, doctors, and nurses – 34
call it that as well. Kevin’s experience with chemotherapy was not at all what he expected. He really did not get sick and was able to live a full life during his treatment. He attributed this to all of the comfort and support he received from family and friends who not only sent cards and came to visit, but also spent hours providing foot massages. Kevin also realized that not everyone had such support and wanted to find a way to provide that for others. Thus, the idea for Elixir was born.
Volunteer Alex Franco providing a manicure. What are some of the ways Elixir helps bring a holistic approach to treatment by tending to not just physical needs but also spiritual and emotional ones? The primary goal of the Elixir Fund is to lighten the load and lift the spirits of those impacted by cancer. Part of that is identifying modalities and services that they may not have previously considered – such as yoga, meditation, or Reiki. We also work to bring amenities and support programs
directly to the hospital. We have donated DVD players and created movie and music libraries, organized mini-makeover days, and more. The Elixir Fund was founded based on the idea that a person’s emotional and spiritual outlook plays a key role in his or her treatment. As such, we not only educate patients about the benefits of holistic services as a compliment to traditional treatment, but also work to facilitate their access to those services. We have a broad view of “holistic” and “alternative.” There are great benefits, for example, to watching a funny movie and having a good laugh, or being able to spend a special evening with family. What are some of the biggest challenges facing individuals and their families who are dealing with cancer? Besides the obvious, are there aspects that we just wouldn’t think of? From my personal experience, as part of my brother’s support system, I found that cancer took over our lives. Our life revolved around treatment schedules, tests, and doctor’s appointments. It was also hard to make plans for a night out or a little getaway, because you never knew where my brother would be at in his treatment. There is also that feeling of “I cannot wait until my life gets back to normal.” The truth is life never gets back to normal. Rather, you develop and have to learn to accept a new normal, which is not necessarily a bad thing. That is why the Elixir Fund works to provide those little extras. Our philosophy is that this helps to better prepare everyone for life after treatment – no matter the outcome.
cultivating karma Do you have a message for people out there who are struggling with the disease? Well it is easy for me to say, “stay positive,” but that is not always easy to do. It is difficult to keep your spirits up during treatment. Eating healthy, and participating in yoga, Reiki, massage, or regular exercise will help to ease the stress and lift your spirits. This has
The Elixir Fund was founded based on the idea that a person’s emotional and spiritual outlook plays a key role in treatment. such a great impact on the success of treatment, but it also improves your ability to navigate through treatment. I was always a “prepare for the worst” kind of person. That was not my brother’s way and so I had to adjust my attitude. Throughout his treatment, I followed his lead and took the risk of celebrating every piece of good news, no matter how big or small. It did not necessarily lessen the impact of the lows, but at least I was able to experience some joy rather than living in a constant state of fear. After almost two years of continual treatment, my brother passed away. We were extremely close, and had he not chosen treatment and had we not had those two years, I know I would have been devastated by his death. I found, that because he rarely suffered during his treatment and because he, and all of us, had chosen to live and enjoy life during his treatment, I was left with so many good memories. When I think of my brother I cannot help but smile. There are so many immediate, good memories. That is a tremendous gift and is one we hope to pass on to others through Elixir. For people who need support what is the best way to get involved with Elixir? You can call us at (800) 494-9228, email us at contact@elixir fund.org, or visit our
Volunteer Heather Coopersmith providing makeup to a patient at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. web site www.elixirfund.org. We have tips for patients and caregivers and we list national and local support services. We are a small organization. I am the only full-time staff person, so if you call or email, you are going to get me. We have incredible volunteers who help us with events and other activities as well. If someone out there is reading this interview and is inspired to lend a hand how can they help make a difference through the Elixir Fund? There are many ways. If you have a business or service that you think would benefit cancer patients or caregivers, we are always looking to increase our partnerships. You may also volunteer at one of our events or fundraisers. You can also become a friend or fan of the Elixir Fund on Facebook. I send out regular updates to let people know about the needs of our constituents and how you might help. Please feel free to contact me if you feel that there are additional ways in which you can help.
What are some of Elixir’s goals for the future? I would love to have yoga in hospital rooms and treatment centers. It does exist in some locations and that is definitely a program that I would like to see more readily accessible. We will continue to network and work to bring these services to hospitals, but in the meantime, we have found that we can reach more people more immediately by networking within the community and identifying partners who will offer free or discounted services. We are beginning here in NJ and are happy to say that OM Central Jersey Massage is one of our first partners.
Meg McQuarrie is the CEO and Chair of the Board of the Elixir Fund. Meg has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Rhode Island and a Master’s Degree from Duke University in Coastal Geology. Meg has worked in the nonprofit sector, in scientific research, and as a Community College Instructor. For more information on her work at the Elixir Fund visit elixirfund.org. NAMASTE NEWS
Central Jersey Weekly Class Calendar
Multi-Level Yoga, 7p - 8p Heart to Hearts, Armour Ave., Hamilton, Starting in Sept. 609-689-3131 / $15
List your class here and reach 10,000+ prospective students in the Central NJ area! Call 732-659-7365 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details
TUESDAY Intro to Yoga, 12p - 1p Onyx Mind Body, Mountain Blvd, Warren / onyxmindbody.com / $20 Yoga for Beginners, 6p - 7p Onsen for All, Rt. 27, Kingston 609-924-4800 / onsenforall.com / $15
FRIDAY Mixed-Level Yoga, 5:30p - 6:30p In Balance Center, Hillsborough 908-369-4949 / inbalancecenter.com $17
WEDNESDAY Mixed-Level Yoga, 9:30a - 11a In Balance Center, Hillsborough 908-369-4949 / inbalancecenter.com $17 Multi-Level Yoga, 7:15p - 8:15p Onsen for All, Rt. 27, Kingston 609-924-4800 / onsenforall.com / $15 Intro to Yoga: 5 Week Series 7:30p - 9p (Starts July 7 & Aug 11) Inner Light Yoga Center, No. Brunswick , 732-951-1100 ilyc.com / $75
Mixed-Level Yoga, 9:30a - 10:45a Purple Om Yoga, Rt. 10, Denville purpleomyoga.com / $18
July 7: 6pm Volunteer Orientation Meeting, HomeFront, 1880 Princeton Avenue, Lawrenceville. Information about volunteer opportunities. 609-989-9417 www.homefrontnj.org
July 20: 6:30pm “All About Herbs,” Elijah’s Promise Farm to Table, Middlesex County Agricultural Extension, Earth Center in Davidson’s Mill Pond Park, 42 Riva Avenue, South Brunswick. Cost $15. 732-398-5262
July 8: 5:30pm – 7pm Lawyers C.A.R.E., Mercer County Bar, Lawrence Library, Route 1 South. Free 15-minute consultations with a lawyer about legal issues of family law, real estate, landlord and tenant law, personal injury, criminal and municipal court law, wills and estates, bankruptcy, and immigration. 609-585-6200 www.mercerbar.com
July 23: 6:30am – 3pm Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, Solberg Airport, 37 Thor Solberg Road, Readington. Largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America featuring 125 hot air balloons from around the world, fireworks, nighttime hot air balloon glow, live concerts, interactive exhibits, children’s amusement rides and activities, and hundreds of arts & crafters and food vendors. 1-800-468-2479 www.balloonfestival.com
SUNDAY Multi-Level Yoga, 8:15a - 9:45a 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
Are you a teacher in the CNJ area who would like to see your yoga classes listed here? Call 732-659-7365 or email email@example.com to learn about our affordable directory ad rates.
July 10: 10am – 11am Nia Dance, Functional Fitness, 67 Harbourton Mt. Airy Road, Lambertville. Cost $17. 609-577-9407 www.nianewjersey.com July 14: 6:30pm – 9pm Developing Meditative Skills, Mercer County Community College, West Windsor. Cost $25, registration required. 609-570-3324 www.mccc.edu
Sewall House Yoga Retreat Ɣ Island Falls, Maine RELAX & RENEW - small personalized yoga - private rooms - acclaimed food - live music - near lakes/hikes
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July 18: 4pm – 8pm Dine with the Winemaker, Fiddleheads Restaurant, 27 East Railroad Avenue, Jamesburg. Regular vegetarian-friendly dinner menu with specials plus wines poured by Tom and Nancy Nye of Grape Escape, a Dayton facility where customers make their own custom wine. 732-521-0878 www.fiddleheadsjamesburg.com
July 24: Time TBA Free Insight Meditation Open House, Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, Montgomery. www.princetonyoga.com July 24: 10am – 11am Planting a Wetland Meadow, Master Gardeners of Mercer County, 431A Federal City Road, Pennington. Cost $3. 609-989-6830 www.mgofmc.org July 28: 6:30pm – 9pm Creative Visualization: A Tool for Positive Change, Mercer County Community College, West Windsor. Cost $25, registration required. 609-570-3324 www.mccc.edu
Calendar July 31: 7pm – 10pm One Yoga Center Grand Opening, Scotch Road & Parkway, West Trenton. Featuring live music by Dan Johnson on tabla. www.oneyogacenter.net August 7: 10am – 11am Create a Butterfly Habitat, Master Gardeners of Mercer County, 431A Federal City Road, Pennington. Cost $3. 609-989-6830 www.mgofmc.org. August 7: 2pm – 3pm Meditation Group, Mercer County Library Ewing Branch, Ewing. Cost $3. 609-456-6821 August 19: Time TBA Free Buddhism 101 Class, Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, Montgomery. www.princetonyoga.com. August 28: 1pm – 5pm Garden Field Day, Earth Center in Davidson’s Mill Pond Park, 42 Riva Avenue, South Brunswick. Garden tours, demonstrations, taste tests, and live music. 732-398-5262. Sept 2: 2pm – 4pm Canal Dog Walk, Delaware Canal State Park, Call for exact location, 610-982-0161. Three to four mile canal walk with park staff. Bring your dog on a leash and learn some park history. www.dcnr.state.pa.us. Sept 11: 10am Cranbury Day hosted by Cranbury Business and Merchants Association. 609-655-1770.
Sept 11: 1pm – 4pm Annual Insect Festival, Master Gardeners of Mercer County, 431A Federal City Road, Pennington. Cost $3. 609-989-6830 www.mgofmc.org Sept 14: Time TBA Kirtan featuring Snatam Kaur w/GuruGanesha Singh. Pollack Theater at Monmouth University. Call Box Office for ticket prices at 732-263-6889.
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Sept 21: 7:30pm – 9pm Central Jersey Sierra Club General Meeting. Whole Foods Market, Route 1 South, West Windsor. 609-731-7016 www.sierraclub.org
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Sept 23: 6pm – 10pm Gala, Preservation New Jersey, Molly Pitcher Inn, Red Bank. Cocktail reception, live and silent auctions, dinner, and dancing. Elegant party attire. Cost $250. 609-392-6409 www.preservationnj.org.
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Yoga Strong Foundation:
Empowering Lives By Tarra Madore
s a yogi, I’ve enrolled in many courses throughout the years to further my education and make my practice well-rounded. Every time I went to a seminar or enrolled in a new training, I would meet new people and we would become friends. When I started my Anusara training last year, I said to my husband, “I’m going to these sessions to learn and not make new friends.” As it turns out that was a pretty ridiculous statement! By the end of the first training weekend, I knew I had met friends for life. I met one person in particular, Whitney Kasserman, who became my current business partner in the Yoga Strong Foundation. Whitney had just moved back to New Jersey from Los Angeles. In LA, Whitney co-founded Youth Speak Collective, a non-profit, youth-driven initiative empowering low-income communities in the San Fernando Valley with the skills necessary to pursue higher education and create strong communities. YSC showed Whitney’s passion for helping at-risk youth, especially those with limited resources. She had moved back to NJ to shift her career focus and eventually wanted to work with people and teach yoga. I shared Whitney’s passion for helping others, because of some challenging situations in my own past. Both of my parents died from cancer before I was 30 years old. The time they lived with cancer was difficult for our family. When my dad died, I had just started yoga and it was a huge part of my life. A few months later my mom was diagnosed with cancer as well. It was an
incredibly busy time for me as I dealt with both the loss of a parent and my mother’s ongoing treatment. As a result, my practice wasn’t as strong at that time. In hindsight, I know that if I had made a little time to practice each day, I believe the experience could have been less difficult. Knowing the challenges families face when someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, one of my
goals as a teacher has been to make yoga more accessible to those going through difficulties related to medical conditions. As Whitney and I became friends during our training and talked about our similar interests and passions, I suggested we talk about starting a non-profit in New Jersey. We could combine our skills and provide a structure for the yogis among us to give back to the community at large. Many students taking yoga are dealing with challenging life situations. They are taking care of sick family members, living with illness,
recovering from surgery or dealing with difficult home situations. Over the years I’ve had countless students share stories of how yoga has helped them deal with whatever tough situations life presented to them. It was their commitment to practice that helped them make it through life’s challenges. It is that important! Yoga can help with the overwhelming feelings that accompany fear and stress. It can teach you that you cannot control life’s events, but can help you manage your reactions to them and emerge a stronger person. Yoga’s techniques allow people to live a more empowered life. Through asana, pranayama and meditation, one gains strength and flexibility for the mind, body and spirit. It’s powerful stuff! Whitney and I set up the Yoga Strong Foundation for yoga teachers, students and newcomers to yoga. While we have a lot of work ahead of us, we have been excited by the results of our efforts. We have been teaching yoga classes at the local Relay for Life walks through the American Cancer Society. This summer we will also host an event to help veterans and their families as they transition to life after military service. In the future, we will also work with researchers to study the effects of yoga in various situations.
If you are a member of the yoga community who would like to be a part of Yoga Strong Foundation’s efforts or if you have an idea for future events that could help bring yoga to new communities, contact YSF via their website at yogastrongfoundation.com.
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Central New Jersey's Yoga Lifestyle and Holistic Health Magazine