full details here!
easeful movement: joint freeing workshop
saturday, april 12th / 11 AM – 1 PM / with sonal
welcome the spring season by safely freeing up your range of motion to relieve joint pain and stiffness. increase joint flexibility, mobility, and stability with an afternoon of exploring simple yoga practices and techniques to take home.
all levels welcome.
$25 / pre-registration . . . $30 / drop in
This Saturday, Jan. 11th, Swanand Yoga is honored to host an inspiring event created for women, by the women of She Creates Change.
Every woman has unique gifts and a natural ability to thrive… but often the road to happiness is gridlocked with limiting beliefs, unexplored dreams and an undefined calling. I’d like to introduce you to a community that is working to transform all of this!
She Creates Change is about women inspiring women to live up to their highest potential in all areas of their lives. Using their proprietary methodology focused on wholeness, their programs help you to discover what fulfillment means to you and how you can realize it in your own life.
Sign up today for the 1-day seminar: ‘Dream It, Do It’, where you’ll be invited to:
Discover the truth about where you stand,
Overcome self-sabotaging patterns
& Awaken your abundant potential!
Join us for an empowering day!
Date: January 11th
Time: 9:30am – 4:30pm
Come early for an hour of gentle yoga.
She Creates Change programming begins at 10:30am
A balanced, harmonious, fully-effective yoga practice always allows for plenty of work to be done without struggle, with comfort, ease, discipline, and stability. Far beyond pushing the body to physical extremes, cultivating a peaceful mind offers vital support in keeping the whole system healthy this season. It’s about wellness on every level, not merely physical fitness.
Tension is physical because it’s mental, and vice versa. Gentle yoga allows us to meet ourselves where we are — New York City, one of the most exhilarating, stressful cities in the world. Slowing down might seem counter-productive in a yoga class, so we’re here to offer five reasons to embrace a gentle practice:
1. Yoga is holistic — for body, mind, and spirit. Gentle practice gives the mind the chance to connect closely with itself, with body, and with breath. Meditation is not about using the mind to dominate the mind, but rather about learning the nature of the mind, letting thoughts run free and exhaust themselves, then enjoying the quiet state that arises naturally. This peaceful mental framework is the foundation of health.
2. Yoga is about abiding in your calmness, not about doing 108 Sun Salutations. Observing and moving with the breath in a way that feels natural and supportive never produces struggle, and prepares us for real stillness by allowing us to get comfortable and strong in our bodies. In many vigorous asana classes, breath often loses the spotlight to sequencing and gymnastic movements. Gentle practice gives the body the chance to find relief in itself. Life is intense enough!
3. Learning how to breathe deeply, consciously, and evenly will relieve stress on and off the mat. Breath is the principle means to work with the body and mind as one vehicle, safely and effectively. Slowing down with your breath is a sign that your practice is advancing, no matter what kind of capabilities your body has.
4. Yoga should be done for pleasure — because it feels good to release restriction around the heart through breath and body movement. When we let go of physical intensity as a means to fight tension, we learn total patience, that there is strength to be found in ease, and freedom in not pushing ourselves. And you’ll still gain plenty of physical strength and flexibility in the process.
5. Yoga is for you, as you are, now. No where to get to, no goals to achieve, just giving yourself the time to experience your inner self at peace. And when you take care of yourself, when you learn to hold yourself, you prepare yourself to give that same kind of support and care to those around you.
Slowing down awakens us to the subtle yet profound changes that a genuine yoga practice brings about — across the mental, emotional, and spiritual levels, making for a holistic experience of consciousness, happiness, and freedom. Our Hatha Candle Light, Hatha Restorative, and Hatha Level I classes are the perfect opportunities to decompress and fully enjoy being the calm, breathing wonder that you inherently are, now!
OM OM OM
“What would you do if you were not afraid?” — Sheryl Sandberg
#SHESummit on June 14-15 is a 2-day weekend conference designed to help women lead their most optimal professional and personal lives, created and curated by ClaudiaChan.com. You will hear from 40+ top female executives & entrepreneurs leading companies like BCBGMAXAZRIA, Refinery29, Dress for Success, UBS Wealth Management, UN Foundation, Pepsico, A&E Networks and more. Whether you seek more personal fulfillment, practical leadership advice to advance your career, habit shifts that will bring you more happiness, or to expand your network of amazing women–these 2 days can transform your life! After the empowering sessions, join women influencers for cocktails, networking, discovery and shopping in the S.H.E. Marketplace. Don’t forget to grab your swag bag with giveaways from fabulous sponsors on your way out. To purchase tickets, click here and use promo code “SwanandYoga50” to SAVE $50!
TO JUICE OR NOT TO JUICE
Over the last couple years, juicing has become very popular. Traditionally, juicing has been done to cleanse and detoxify, not for weight loss. And while it has many benefits, it is not a cure-all as many people seem to believe. So assuming you are not looking to lose weight so much as to feel more energetic and clear-minded, would a juice cleanse be beneficial for you? Maybe … and maybe not. I’ll explain.
Ayurveda’s Take On Juicing
Ayurveda is clear on one thing: nothing is all good or all bad for anybody all of the time. And so it is with juicing. It can greatly benefit some people at certain times, and be absolutely detrimental to other people at other times. The way Ayurveda looks at individual constitutions as well as the qualities inherent in food and the seasons further supports this idea.
Juices by their very nature are cold, light and dry (no fat). Depending on whether you have more air (vata), fire (pitta), or earth (kapha) in your individual constitution, those qualities may or may not agree with you. On the plus side, juicing is a great way to provide your body with mega-doses of vitamins and nutrients, in an easily absorbable form. It will also give your body a break from digesting foods that are heavier and denser, so it has more energy to heal and repair itself.
In terms of energetic effects, juicing is:
But are those the qualities you are in need of? If you are feeling congested, mucous-y, foggy and uninspired, then most likely yes. But if you need more grounding, warming, nourishing foods to feel good, proceed with caution. You can still juice now and then, but it has to be at the right time, and for a brief period of time. Done for too long, juicing can easily be depleting, because of the absence of protein and fats in juices.
Juicing and YOU
If you don’t already know your mind/body type, take this quiz to find out.
Those are general guidelines. Try juicing if you are so inclined and pay close attention to how your body and mind respond. Trust what you feel and become the expert of yourself. Don’t just follow the trend! Only by investigating honestly, with an open mind, can you figure out how much juice (if any) you can enjoy without upsetting your internal balance.
Also know that having only juices for a while…
The Ayurvedic Cleanse
Fortunately there are other ways to detoxify our body than juicing. Solid foods can actually be used for that purpose! Ayurveda recommends doing periodic mono-fasts. This consists in eating a simple diet of whole foods, cooked with the right spices, and eaten at specific times, along with lots of hot water and herbal teas. Coffee, alcohol, sugar, dairies, processed and fried foods are not to be consumed. Herbal formulas are often used to support the liver and colon. When we cleanse, we want to circulate the energy and release toxins, many of which are stored precisely in our fat cells. However, when you are starving, as a survival measure your body will drastically slow down its metabolism to hold on to whatever fat/energy reserve it already has. Balance, consistency, and knowing your body are the keys to cleansing.
Are you ready?
Spring is a time of renewal and an ideal time for cleaning both our external and internal environment. The benefits of a cleanse are much more than physical. A cleanse is an opportunity to re-assess our eating habits and not just look at what we eat, but also how, when and why we eat. Tendencies such as eating when not hungry, until full, eating fast, when upset, sad or bored are magnified in the process of doing a cleanse. This greater awareness goes a long way to help us adopt healthier habits.
To be truly effective any cleanse should include lots of quiet time, deep breathing, meditation, gentle yoga, walks in nature, proper sleep. Fasting from electronic devices is also highly recommended, at least for a few hours every day.
If you feel ready, or not quite, and are looking for guidance, support and motivation, join me here at Swanand Yoga on April 6th, 13th and 20th from 3-5PM each time. I’ll share with you a ton of information on how to:
See you soon!
Over the past few years, our meditation teacher Sarah Barab and her film-making team have been traveling the world from East to West, talking to meditation masters from all walks of life. Finally, the documentary NAKED MIND: The Film is ready for the final stages of production. Please join us in supporting this beautiful project by contributing and sharing the newly launched Kickstarter campaign!
In March, Sarah will be back at Swanand for another series of meditation workshops on Sunday mornings. Come sit with us! Find more details on our events page.
Often when we think of acceptance, we think of it in terms of relating to other people: not judging someone by his or her shape or size, or the color of his or her skin. We’ve come a long way as a nation, which is why we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King today, but I’d like to discuss acceptance in terms of ourselves. In yoga, we recognize that if we cannot accept ourselves first, then we cannot hope to accept others. Similarly, if we cannot love ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to love us?
One of the many reasons why I love yoga is because it has taught me how to be still, and connect with who I truly am: a loving, loved, and lovable human being. It also helped me recognize that each and every one of us is meant to be like the sun, unconditionally loving and completely worthy of unconditional love.
According to a medical online dictionary: “Yoga should be done with an open, gentle, and non-critical mind; when one stretches into a yoga position, it can be thought of ACCEPTING and working on one’s limits. Impatience, self-criticism and comparing oneself to others will not help in this process of self-knowledge.”
When we tune in with ‘Om’ at the start of a class, it represents the universal consciousness all around us. It is an acknowledgement that we are all connected. Similarly, the greeting ‘Namaste’ can be defined as ‘the light within me bows to the light within you.’ Again, reminding us that we are all connected. This brings us full circle to the point of needing to accept ourselves first in order to accept others.
At Swanand Yoga, egos are left at the door. The emphasis is on working together in a tranquil, peaceful place. Our arms are open to new students that have not tried yoga before because they are afraid or are intimidated by the intensely gymnastic-esque classes so often found in NYC.
During any class at Swanand Yoga, your body will reap the rewards of yoga, but so will your mind. As you learn to breath and become an observer of your thoughts, you can connect with your truth. You can discover who you truly are and ACCEPT what you can do and don’t focus on what you can’t. You ACCEPT that everything doesn’t always go according to plan or the way we hoped it would go. Lastly and most importantly, the more you practice, the closer you will come to touching your innate happiness and bliss, which just so happens to be the definition of “Swanand.”
- Laura Krassner