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14 08, 2019

Can You Be a Yogi Without Adhikara?

By |August 14th, 2019|Ashaya Yoga|0 Comments|

Last week, I was on line at the farm stand, waiting to pay for my greens, corn, and fruit so that I could go home and make a meal of summer’s bounty, when I found myself listening to the women ahead of me. They were visiting the Berkshires for the week, enjoying all that this beautiful part of the planet has to offer. One told the other that she wanted to pause and “do some poses” on their hike today so that she could take pictures for her social media. I went to my car thinking about the ways in which yoga has enriched my life. Over the past three decades, my practice has supported me through some very difficult moments.
Even a little bit of yoga is better than none at all, but how much are you getting out of your yoga practice?
One of the most beautiful things about the practice of yoga is that there is no limit to learning and no limit to the benefits a yogi can derive from study. Each person is responsible for his or her own journey on the path. Some people get on their mat daily; others only sporadically. Some practice only within the confines of weekly class; others develop additional practices such as meditation, chanting, and pranayama (breath work). The level of “studentship” that we bring to our learning is known in Sanskrit as adhikara.
Adhikara means that we are dedicated and open to learning about our bodies, minds, and hearts.
When we cultivate adhikara, we bring our full hearts and whole minds to each practice, each session of meditation, each moment of study, each journal entry.  We are open to the entire experience, not just the result.  […]

30 07, 2019

Inspiration is a State of Good Health

By |July 30th, 2019|Ashaya Yoga|0 Comments|

When you are healthy and living in balance with yourself, others, and life, you automatically release brain cells of inspiration that uplift the soul.

All too often our inspiration wanes because our heart closes down. We encounter some difficulty, challenge, insult, embarrassment, or failure, and our heart plummets into the depths of despair and self-judgment.

Scientists have discovered the happy part of our brains that “spray other areas of the brain” with dopamine – the feel good chemical. (To learn more, be sure to check out the TED Radio Hour Podcast from June 28, 2019 with relationship scientists entitled, “How We Love.”) When we’re sad, like after a breakup or loss of a loved one, another part of the brain becomes active and your inspiration goes down the drain.

Inspiration, from the Latin “inspiritus,” means filled with spirit or the life force. It’s composed of two words, breath and spirit, which, when combined, mean to be alive, filled with the muses, filled with god. From Middle English, it means to inspire or to receive divine guidance.
When inspired, you are engaged in life – there’s no anxiety, no worries, no doubt, no fear because you are too busy being happy. When you’re happy you are far away from doubt, sadness, and fear.
Fear steals your joy. It’s a robber and feeds on the heart like a parasite. Fear is the corrosive agent of the heart and breaks it down, tears it apart, separates it from its healthy connection to all things, people, and life. Fear isolates and diminishes, whereas, love unites and expands.

Inspiration is also related to its “cousin,” enthusiasm, which comes from the Latin en theos, filled with god.

Yoga teaches that, when you do what you love, enthusiasm follows. […]

10 07, 2019

Follow Your Path: Become an Ashaya Yoga Teacher

By |July 10th, 2019|Ashaya Yoga|0 Comments|

I once met a man working at a yoga retreat center. He was folding a huge pile of blankets, one after another, and humming to himself. I paused to chat with him for a moment and expressed my sympathy about the tedious task he was engaged in. Folding blankets is boring and time-consuming. No one would volunteer for that job. He paused, looked me in the eye, and said, “But that’s the yoga.”

I walked away from the encounter humbled. This man had found his dharma, his purpose in life, at the yoga center and folding blankets so that others could learn was part of it. He didn’t think he was wasting his time, and he didn’t mind doing it because he knew it was all in service of his dharma.
Dharma is what gives our lives meaning.
I found my purpose many years ago, when I stepped on my first yoga mat. As I went through the series of positions that the instructor was offering, I knew that I would become a yoga teacher and share the keys to a blissful, purpose-filled life with others. Since that day, I have cultivated a deep personal yoga practice, doing poses, taking time for meditation, and seeing the beauty in the world around me.  In time, I created Ashaya Yoga, a heart-centered, alignment-focused way of offering all that I’d learned to others. Now I want to share it with you.
Have you found your purpose in life?
The Bhagavad Gita says, “It is better to do your own duty badly than to perfectly do another’s.” I invite you to discover your dharma at my upcoming 200-Hour Teacher Training, beginning in September at Boston University’s Tanglewood institute in Lenox, Massachusetts.

In this training, you […]

2 07, 2019

Kula – Community of the Heart

By |July 2nd, 2019|Ashaya Yoga|0 Comments|

You become the company you keep. So keep good company.” – Dr. Douglas Brooks

I was a good kid growing up but I got involved with the wrong crowd.
In high school I was a serious student, played the piano for school choir and musicals, and got decent grades. That is… until I began hanging around with friends who valued partying, resisting authority, and breaking the rules. This got me into a lot of trouble.
My health declined and I started to feel burned out and exhausted. I had a bad attitude, my grades began to slip, and I was unhappy.
I knew I needed to change something.
I rededicated myself to my music. I started studying with a university professor and practiced 6 hours a day. I entered a regional competition and won for the first time. I was ecstatic. This led to a career in music, which eventually led me to yoga.
I was heavily influenced by those friends; I don’t blame them or myself. I take full responsibility for my actions and decisions. But I’m aware now that I wasn’t living in a vacuum.

We are all influenced by the people who surround us.
When I transitioned from jazz to yoga, I had to let go of my jazz friends. I remember my jazz buddies calling me every night to go club hopping in Miami to hear all of the hot new bands. Once I starting practicing yoga, I just couldn’t tolerate the nightclub lifestyle – the late nights, smoky clubs, alcohol, and sometimes drugs.
After a while my jazz friends stopped calling me.

I had to change friends in order to change my life.
The great thing was this: although I lost […]

6 06, 2019

Achieving Your Dreams, Yogi-Style

By |June 6th, 2019|Ashaya Yoga|0 Comments|

It was a glorious sunny afternoon, and I had a free hour to myself. I decided to take a bike ride, but I got distracted and headed out an hour later than planned.

It started getting cloudy so I decided to check weather.com for the hourly report. It said there was only a 15% chance of rain, with an increasing 20% chance later on. With the odds in my favor, I changed into my bike gear and took off down my driveway.

Within moments, I could feel the rain on my face.

Ugh!
“I won’t have any fun on a wet, soggy ride. It’s not worth it.”
I went back inside, took off my bike gear and commented to my assistant about what had just happened. Truth be told, I complained about the weather (anyone living in the Northeast this year would totally understand what I’m talking about since we’ve had so much rain).

Frustrated, I went back upstairs and proceeded to my desk to get back to work.

I noticed… that it stopped raining.
“The heck with it. I’m going biking!”
Determined and confident, I got my bike gear back on and started going down the stairs when I paused. “Maybe I shouldn’t go biking now because Stephanie will see me again and think I’m crazy. I’ll be embarrassed.” I ignored my inner commentary and proceeded.

Once on my bike, I settled into a comfortable cadence. With the wind at my back, the sun peeked out and illumined the dark gray/blue rain clouds in front of me. It was a brilliant sight. This is a perfect ride. I’m so happy I didn’t stay inside.

About halfway through the ride, the sun came out fully and I felt confirmed that I made […]