Thursday, December 10, 2009
One of the best ways to deepen a practice of gratitude is to extend compassion and generosity to others. According to so many philosophies of life, all of our actions of what we put into the world we receive back with its reaction. If the intention of the action is from a place of bhakti, love/devotion, meant to bring harmony to all beings, only positive results become inevitable. When we genuinely share ourselves with others, we encourage an abundance of positive responses to be thankful for. The challenge for many of us is figuring out how and when the best way is to be generous with our time, energy, love and resources.
During the holiday season, we are asked or expected to be more generous by people in our lives as well as by strangers. There are days when we ride the subway or walk down the street and are approached by at least a dozen people asking for money to help them or one talented musician after the other with their music cases or hats outstretched hoping for support. Many of us also receive letters, emails and FB messages requesting support for many worthy causes.
Every time we see someone asking for help, we all have our usual reactions or a combination of the two. We may want to donate every time we are asked, hoping to help somehow in a small way. Perhaps we also experience skepticism, or the typical questions that any person caring for the well-being of the world faces when approached for help: Which cause do I support? Will my donation really make a difference? Do I want to encourage people to seek help on the street rather than non-governmental organizations or government organizations? Do NGOs and GOs actually help the problems people face. Isn’t there a better way to give my help? Will I end up depleting my own sustenance if this goes on forever?
No one answer addresses the dilemma of how and when to give. We all have so many accessible ways to give back to our communities in small and big ways, even if we are uncertain of the results. Regardless of how we decide to share a part of ourselves with others and what the actual influence of our actions are, it is important that we do our best to be mindful in making decisions on how to give and sharing ourselves from a place of compassion and generosity.
Taking care of our own body/mind/spirit through yoga and meditation brings us closer to a happier, healthier self. When we nurture and are generous to ourselves, we come to take joy in giving to others and that makes a difference in the lives of all of those around us.
In A Path with Heart, former Buddhist monk and inspiring teacher Jack Kornfield shares these words:
“Compassionate generosity is the foundation of true spiritual life because it is the practice of letting go. An act of generosity opens our body, heart, and spirit and brings us closer to freedom. Each act of generosity is a recognition of our interdependence, an expression of our Buddha nature. But for most of us, generosity is a quality that must be developed. We have to respect that it will grow gradually, otherwise our spirituality can become idealistic and imitative, acting out the image of generosity before it has become genuine. While it can be good to give beyond our means, if this is done unconsciously and repeatedly, it will become unhealthy. Whether it is generosity with our time, our possessions, our money or our love, the principles are the same. True generosity grows in us as our heart opens, grows along with the integrity and health of our inner life.”
• Practice five slow and steady sun salutations to warm up the body and begin to create the sense of being spacious in the body and mind.
• Sit down in a comfortable seat and follow the breath, counting from 10-1, then 1-10. If you lose count, begin again.
• Once you feel completely relaxed, let go of counting and be mindful of the breath flowing up and down from the base of the spine through to the crown of the head.
• Breathe in healing breath, drawing in anything that you feel grateful for and helps you to feel peaceful, healthy and strong.
• Exhale compassionate and loving breath to someone in your life that can use your positive energy the most.
• With each new inhale, consider something new that you are grateful for.
• With each new exhale, extend your compassion towards someone new, or to an area of the world that can use your generosity of positive vibration.
• At the end of your meditation, take time to research and donate to a charity that has special meaning to you.
Friday, November 13, 2009
General Advice during Vata season:
Eat warm cooked foods.
Include small amounts of olive oil or ghee (clarified butter) when possible.
Drink warm drinks, hot almond milk or spiced tea.
General diet to avoid during vata season:
Avoid cold foods, sour foods, cold beverages and too much caffeine. Always be sure to avoid refined sugar and bleached flour and especially any processed foods.
Start your day with warm cream of wheat or oatmeal with stewed apple to help stimulate the digestive system and nourish your body with energy. Eat sautéed or steamed vegetables with sweet potato, carrots or asparagus for lunch. Snack on dates, fresh fruit, warmed almond milk. For dinner, enjoy a hearty soup with whole grain bread and butter. For dessert warm up almond milk with a dash of ginger and agave, maple syrup or honey with cut-up dates.
For more information about the Doshas:
Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self Realization by David Frawley
I hope that this finds you happy, healthy, peaceful and enjoying the fall season while preparing for the transition into the holidays.
As many of you know, I'm leaving for a three week trip to India this December to attend a yoga conference and then travel around the region. I will be back the first week of January and promise to share as much as I can from all that I learn and absorb from the experience! I will also be offering a post-holiday Detox Ruah Yoga Flow workshop when I return at Reebok Sports Club on January 9th (see details below) - I hope that you will join me there!
So many of you have shared with me that yoga has changed your life for the better! It always brings me such joy to hear those words – as all yogis can relate to that experience. Whatever anyone’s reason is for trying yoga, people often walk away with a sense of positive change. Part of yoga’s purpose is to help us be our best selves in times of change by opening up and strengthening the muscles and joints of the body while simultaneously creating peace and equanimity in our minds.
This season is a busy time for many of us, especially as the fall weather brings with it winds of change in the world around us and our bodies begin to make changes within us. According to ayurveda, the science of the body, the time from October until February is the season of the vatha dosha (the constitution or tendency of our body and mind). When Vatha, the air element that makes up our body, is out of balance we experience excess of being dry, cool, stiff, exhausted, distracted, anxious and restless. As the fall weather continues to change the environment around us with cold air and shorter days, our bodies and minds can become vulnerable to toxic germs and negative thoughts.
One of the best ways to build up your immune system and resist illness in our bodies and minds is to create positive energy from within. When we face a block in our motivation or have the sense of losing our routine, sit down and create a schedule that you can stick to in your daily life. Here are a few reminders that are important to stay healthy this season:
• Schedule in your calendar yoga or exercise either daily or several times a week and commit to those times as a priority for your well-being.
• Wake up every morning 10-20 minutes early and sit up in your bed to meditate or sit quietly listening to the sound of your breath.
• Before you go to bed at night or when you arrive home, sit for 10-20 minutes to meditate or sit quietly and listen to the sound of your breath.
• Do your best to create a schedule for 8-10 hours of sleep a night.
• Eat colorful, in season warm foods and fluids with lots of fruits and veggies.
• Try to have your last meal before 7pm in order to have enough time for digestion during the hours when your metabolism is the strongest.
• Conserve and use your energy wisely - treat yourself to entire days or evenings of rest.
The Bhagavad Gita (the last chapter of the Mahabarata, the ancient Indian epic story) says that yoga is the disassociation of all pain and suffering. Through a regular daily yoga practice, staying healthy and strong becomes an effortless process. It is equally important to practice the physical postures of yoga and to be mindful and deliberate in all of our actions in order to find balance and happiness in our lives and unite with our true self.
May you be blessed with good health, love and happiness this season and each day throughout your life!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
What a wonderful way to transition into the holiday season from positive vibrations from call and response chanting (kirtan) with Krishna Das? Please join me and like-minded amazing yogis from all of my Yogaworks & Equinox classes - plus NYC andvisiting yogis to sing along with Krishna Das.
If you have never tried Kirtan, now is the time to begin your journey into creating your own bliss!
What: Kirtan with Krishna Das
Where: 86th Street & West End Avenue
When: Thursday November 19th
*Event starts at 6:30pm
*Join me to get good seats in the front and hang out at 5:30pm
Event Details & Purchase Tickets: http://www.krishnadas.com/tour_schedule.cfm
Peace, love, happiness and good health,
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Start the year by releasing stress and detoxing your entire mind & body through intense flowing movement, mindful breathing, guided relaxation. As featured in Time Out New York, Detox Ruah Yoga Flow © maps out a simple union of three essential yoga practices: pranayama (mindful breathing), asana (physical postures); dhyana, meditation in order to create a well-balanced and healthy body while effortlessly guiding yourself into a peaceful mind. Detox Ruah Yoga Flow© enhances the hypometabolism (oxygen consumption), stimulates the hypothalamus (body’s ability to react/fight or flight response) and improves the nervous system (breathing, digestion, cell rejuvenation). Discover how to guide your mind and body into a personal mini-retreat. All yoga levels are welcome. All rights reserved Ruah Bhay 2009.
Where: Reebok Sports Club on Columbus Avenue & 67th Street.
When: Saturday January 9th
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Exciting news! What a wonderful wayto start the fall season with positive feedback from Time Out NY on one of my new signature class Detox Yoga Flow! I have pasted the link and the review for you to follow.
Wishing you peace, happiness and good health!
Detox Yoga Flow Body & Mind Builders (78 Reade St between Broadway and Church St; 212-587-1099, bodyandmindbuilders.com). $18 per class, monthly unlimited pass $165, new-member two-week unlimited pass $30. Length: 90 minutesType of activity: Yoga and meditation.
What to expect: Eighty minutes of challenging yoga, with a focus on poses that promote cleansing of the circulatory, lymphatic and digestive systems. The class begins with a light warm-up and includes about ten minutes of meditation at the end. How in shape you need to be: Gym regular; yoga experience is helpful but not necessary.The verdict: The class regards pain as a necessary evil to achieve the resulting detox. The workout is hard—challenging enough to leave your muscles sore the day after, but paced just right so you aren’t struggling to keep up. Each movement comes with a specific breathing instruction, which helps you stay focused and relaxed even as the contortions get more involved. The instructor, Ruah Bhay (who teaches this signature class at various studios; see ruahyoga.blogspot.com), provides several options in each pose, so that yogis of all levels can find their way through the practice.Plan to take a hot bath after this one.—Noelle Stout
Monday, September 14, 2009
Release stress and detox your entire mind & body through intense flowing movement, mindful breathing, guided relaxation. Detox Yoga Flow maps out a simple union of three essential yoga practices (pranayama mindful breathing, asana yoga poses and dhyana meditation) in order to create equanimity in your body and have a peace of mind. Detox Yoga Flow enhances the hypometabolism (oxygen consumption), stimulates the hypothalamus (body’s ability to react/fight or flight response) and improves the nervous system (breathing, digestion, cell rejuvenation). Discover how to guide your mind and body into a personal hour-long retreat. Detox Yoga Flow facilitates you to overcome physical and mental challenges of stress, encourage a healthy body and mental balance. For times, see above schedule.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Sunday September 13 * 2:30-3:30pm
Tuesday, September 22 * 12:00 - 1:00pm
October 11 * 1:30-2:30pm
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
TUESDAY AUG. 11th 6:30 - 7:30 PM.
Join me in Central Park to salute the sun in support of ARKwww.ruralkids.org, a non-profit organization that focuses on improving primary education and health of school-age children living in impoverished rural communities in developing countries.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
REJUVINATE with RUAH BHAY this fall to the Atlantic Ocean from September 25th-27th. Two luxurious nights in an ocean front house. Yoga, core strengthening, meditation, walks on the beach, healthy eating, relaxation & rejuvenation. Cultivate strength, flexibility & a peace of mind alongside the beautiful beach front location just a train ride away from NYC. Ideal for solo travelers, friends or couples. Limited rooms available & subject to sufficient sign-ups.
• 3 days and 2 nights in beautiful beach front retreat center www.gurneysinn.com.
• Vinyasa yoga with NYC’s Ruah Bhay.
• Meditations & detoxification guidance.
• Delicious healthy vegetarian meals.
• Beach walks & core-strengthening exercises.
• R&R + fun in the sun with NYC yogis.
Quad - $530
Triple - $590
Double - $760
Single - $1,060
*Includes COMPLIMENTARY NIGHT at Gurney's Inn either for Sunday Sept. 27th or later fall date (to be approved by resort).
*All rooms include private bathrooms, access to ocean & spa.
*Includes pick-up from LIRR.
*Subject to sufficient sign-up.
*Please respond as soon as you are interested for details.
*Deposits due by August 25th.
*Full Payment due September 14th.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
I hope that this finds you happy, healthy and enjoying the summer! Summer is personally my favorite season of the year.
I’ve always felt that summer is a time when people can really just be themselves. Shedding layers of clothing feels like letting go of protective layers of whom we think we need to be and previous experiences of whom we thought were.
Yoga offers a unique guidance to explore the mind-body connection and discover the depths of whom we truly are. Through the physical postures, asana and guided breathing, pranayama and effortless concentration/meditation, dhyana, we are able to release ourselves from any fears, anxieties and expectations that may be holding us back. Dedicating ourselves to a yoga, pranayama and dhayana practice enables us to absorb the energy of life that happens around us and use it in the best possible way helping us to live up to our greatest potential.
So many students and friends always share with me how practicing yoga has made them a better person. It is so much easier to live life, be happy and healthy with the help of yoga. I feel so very grateful and blessed to have found yoga in my own life and I am especially in gratitude of the opportunity to share my love of yoga with you.
I hope to see you this summer – either in Central Park on Tuesdays & Thursdays at 6:30pm, on my www.Youtube.com channel, in class at Yogaworks and Equinox or at my new location in Tribeca, Mind & Body Builders.
May you have peace, happiness and good health for the summer and each day in your life!
One of Yoga’s great sources of what it has become today is the Bhagavad Geeta. The Geeta is the last chapter of the ancient Indian epic poetic story the, Mahabarata. The story is said to represent man’s inner struggle to connect to the true self, the purusha or atman. The Geeta reminds us that though we often seek satisfaction in life in the world around us, happiness is already naturally inside of us.
In the 17th Chapter, the Geeta discusses the Five Noble Values of life in order to attain peace and happiness.
The Five Noble Values of Life:
1) Serenity of mind manaprasada – Connect to your breath. As the breath so is the mind and vice versa. Let negative thoughts float away like clouds, allowing your mind to rest peacefully refreshing itself for what is to come.
2) Kindness/Affection (Karuna/soumyatyam) – Cultivate this through affection for all living beings without discrimination.
3) Silence (Mauna) – Silence of speech originates from the relative silence of the mind. Detach yourself from distractions of desires and create inner noiseless calm.
4) Self-control (atma vinigrahah) – Positive elements of life are possible to maintain when we deliberately control our inner nature through yoga, meditation & pranayama (mindful breathing). The mind is like wild horses unable to tame unless we are vigilant – otherwise our desires can upset our inner balance and equanimity.
5) Honesty of Motive – self control is only possible when our motives are pure and harmonious for all. Once we have self control and an honest motive, it becomes natural to stick on constantly to the grand road to success is to assure to ourselves a happy journey to peace & happiness.
By doing the best that we can to follow these values, we come closer to our true self the atman or purusha, which is often in a haze of the business of our lives. When we arrive closer to our true self then it is easier to identify what we really want in life and pursue the path to achieve success, happiness and peace.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Email Ruah if you plan on attending and be in touch if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Bring your mat, strap and towel.
I hope to see you in class or in the park soon!
Here are walking directions from 72nd and Central Park West:
August Dates: 4, 6, 11, 14
*Subject to good weather & interest.
Subject: Central Park Yoga (or CPY) + Date you plan to attend
Same day sign-up: $20
Pre-register on-line: $18
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I hope this finds you doing well and enjoying spring! I am happy to share with you some exciting news.
The Brazil Yoga retreat was a great success - the NYC group returned feeling fully rejuvenated and with plenty of fun stories and pictures.
Now that I am fully accustomed to practicing yoga outdoors on the beautiful beaches of Buzios, it is only natural that we transition in beautiful weather salutig the sun together in Central Park starting this June (see schedule below)!
Also, this spring marked Sri Dharma Mittra's 70th Birthday. As many of you know, I am greatly indebted to Dharma's teachings and practice with him regularly. I had the honor of celebrating with him, the amazing singer Krishna Das (you've all heard him in my class playlists) singing Kirtan (call & response chanting) along with 500 yogis from around the globe.
Finally, while I have weddings to attend for the next two weekends and will be out of town until Wednesday, I look forward to seeing you in class, out and about in the city and, of course, in Central Park for lots of yoga through this beautiful spring and transition into summer!
May peace & love be with all of you for this beautiful day and each day into your lives. Om
We practiced yoga & meditation two times a day; went running; practiced my guaranteed 6-pack abs routine 4x a day, ate healthy vegetarian meals, swam in the soothing ocean waves; relaxed lazily in lounge chairs watching the horizon, discovered beaches & went snorkeling on a boat ride and explored the adorable town of Buzios.
On our last day I lead the class through 108 Sun Salutations to meditate on our transition into the end of the retreat. 108 sun salutations represents the number of beads in a mala or prayer garland/necklace, the 108 pithas or holy sites of India, the 108 Upanishads (sacred scriptures, the 108 marma points or sacred places of the body and the times around the circumference of the sun & moon to equal the average distance to the earth.
The beginning of the Sun Salutations flowed easily, I flew into chatturanga effortlessly although I found my mind also flying around. Each time my mind wandered, I did my best to reconnect to my breath and focus on my third eye, the ajna chakra. Wherever my thoughts were, I felt amazing – breathing in the fresh salty air, the morning sun on my shoulders and the blue sky radiating all around.
Around Sun Salutation number 60 or so, it dawned on me, “how will I maintain this bliss when I return to NYC?” I recalled my past experiences on retreats and how writing in a journal often helped – making it possible to read my own words expressing happiness in that moment. Yet words on paper would clearly only be a small part of reconnecting. I knew in my heart exactly what would recreate this sensation – exactly what I was doing already – yoga, meditation and pranayama (mindful breathing) guide the way and offer the best sensations in any environment.
Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras II.7 & II.8* remind us that while we attach ourselves to all that makes us seemingly happy sukhanusayi raga, and we create aversions to all that makes us seemingly unhappy (dukhanusayi dvesha) true happiness and peace has nothing to do with anything external, but rather comes from deep within ourselves.
Happiness is like a door that already exists within us, yet with the distractions of daily life it is always challenging to figure out how to open the door. With the keys of yoga, meditation & pranayama (mindful breathing), it helps us to easily unlock the door and sense an abundance of positive vibrations that come from deep within.
Once we take the time to clear away the clouds of vritti (busy thoughts) of the citta (mind), through connecting our mind body and breath, we naturally begin to sense santosha (happiness) in the center of our hearts. Yoga offers those incredible feelings – yet when we are in between practices, sometimes it is challenging to remember. That is why when practicing yoga, meditation & pranayama it’s a wonderful idea to remember exactly how you feel in that moment to inspire you to continue.
Committing to a yoga practice is like signing up for an endless personal retreat that helps connect to our inner santosha at any time within any environment – whether sitting at your desk at work or enjoying the warm breezes of summer! When santosha permeates in the body & mind, it becomes natural to reflect those feelings onto others in our lives and in turn share our bliss with the world around us.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Open to success or failure.
This equanimity is yoga…
Bhagavad Gita (2.48)
One of life’s greatest challenges is to respond to unpredictable events in our lives with a steady mind. Whether we experience times of difficulty, smooth sailing or moments of excitement and happiness – the tool of a physical yoga practice, mindful breathing (pranayama) and meditation helps to maintain equanimity and feel detached from any results.
Stepping away from specific incidents and reflecting on the larger picture is always difficult when swept up in the emotion of the moment. However, looking at life from a larger perspective with a calm mind enables us to learn from our experiences - whether seemingly positive or negative - and use that to continue pursuing our long term goals.
We all make mistakes, experience disappointment, feel anxiety and get excited about something. We automatically try to detach ourselves from what we dislike and grip onto moments of happiness. Yet, these windows of time never last forever – whether we wish them to or not. In these varying moments of life, it is helpful to turn our attention from the external to the internal, withdrawing our senses and responding with mindfulness.
Slowing down in our busy lives is a challenge in itself. This is why we use the tools of the physical and mental yoga practice along with pranayama (mindful breathing) and meditation. Over time, these practices increase our ability to remain still in the mind, replenishing our entire nervous system.
One way to approach life with equanimity is through committing to a yoga and meditation practice, although if you do not have time for a yoga class or are not familiar with meditation, simply taking time to breathe mindfully is a wonderful way to bring your attention inside the body and mind.
When our breath is fragmented, so is our mind. Focusing on the breath allows us to go through life with purpose by responding equally to life’s unexpected twists and turns. Taking the time to breathe creates space in our lives without residue of emotions to cloud our perception of external experiences – paving the path for a life of happiness and fulfillment.
TAKE A BREATH: Try sitting up tall in your chair or lying down on an angle with pillows supporting your entire back and head and let the eyes gently close. Find length through your entire spine and take your hands onto your ribs alongside your upper abdomen. Notice your ribs expanding and the belly filling up as you inhale and the ribs drawing in and the belly naturally deflating as you exhale. Continue this for several breaths, doing your best to have each inhalation equal to each exhalation.
Next, release your hands from your body. If you are sitting in a chair fold your hands on top of one another with the palms facing up and thumbs to touch. If you are lying down, let your arms release a few inches away from your body with the palms facing up.
On each exhalation, begin to count your breath from 10 to 1, then from 1 to 10 and repeat. If your mind wanders and you lose count, acknowledge your thoughts and let them float away as you return your attention to the breath, starting from 10 again. The purpose of this pranayama exercise is to calm the breath, so let go of any expectation of counting – rather, surrender yourself to the process of calming the breath and the mind.
Once you have completed 3-20 minutes of breathing, begin to deepen the breath and slowly come back into the present moment. Remaining still, give thanks for allowing time in your day to heal yourself by connecting to the breath. Slowly open your eyes, feeling refreshed and calm – ready for life’s adventures with a steady mind and open heart.
***Deposits due March 15th***
• 7 nights in beautiful beach front hotel.
• Vinyasa yoga 2x/day with NYC’s Ruah & Rio’s Joana.
• Meditations & detoxification guidance.
• Delicious healthy meals 3x/day.
• Day trip cruise to explore Buzios beaches.
• Samba or Capoeira lesson.
• Round trip transport to/from Rio airport.
• R&R + fun in the sun with NYC & Rio yogis.
Suite* - US$1599
Suite Shared - US$1199
Deluxe Suite* - US$1699
Deluxe Suite Shared - US$1299
*All rooms include private veranda AC & standard amenities & 3 meals.
*Deluxe Suite includes ocean front access.
Accommodations: We will be staying at a cluster of small beautiful villas located directly on the ocean called Pousada Praia Rasa. Rasa beach is one of 25 beaches of Buzios and is nearly 2 miles long.
Deposit: The $300 non-refundable deposit will be due by March 15th with the trip paid-in-full by April 1st.
Cancelation policy: Full refund, less deposit, will be given with at least 28 days notice. Within 14 days of the retreat: 50% of the total amount (less deposit) will be refunded. Within 7 days of the retreat: no refunds given without exceptions.
RUAH & JOANA = YOGA:
R&J unite their friendship and energetic forces for 7 days of a blissful yoga retreat on the beach. The R&J yoga retreat will help you deepen your practice, rejuvenate your health and vitality. R&J trained together years ago at Yogawork, NYC. They have been dear friends ever since and look forward to sharing their love of yoga, beautiful beaches and warm weather with their NYC & Rio De Janeiro students & friends.
Join the “Ruah Yoga” Facebook Group and find an Event posting for the retreat.