Restore Your Calm

Restore Your Calm

PeaceFULL : A Restorative Yoga Workshop to Combat Holiday Stress and Help you Reconnect With Your Calm Centre

Holiday Season is upon us, yet with all the extra festivities, so many people are stressed-out, with huge ‘to-do’ lists and “get-it-done” momentum, leaving them feeling exhausted, pressured and with no ability to recover. As the workload increases, and our social calendars fill, our digestive system becomes overloaded and sluggish, and our nervous system can feel more frazzled than filled with joy.

Restorative yoga is the antidote and will benefit and balance out the more active practices that Yoga offers. This specially themed class is a practice of BEING poses, postures held with strategic placement of props for an extended period of time, where the practitioner can detoxify, replenish and recover from fatigue, overtraining, and anxiety. We will also include breathing practices and deep relaxation to help regulate, repair, and allow your body to naturally release tension, elongate chronically tight musculature, and help you access your inner core of joy and peace, light and love.

Come and celebrate the season by immersing yourself, in this peaceFULL practice that will give you the gift of relaxation and rejuvenation so that you can enter into 2015 with a calm and centered approach. It is appropriate for all levels and all are welcome.

$25 in advance call 201-993-1110

$30 at the door

Sunday, November 23, 5:00 – 7:00 P.M.

Jivamukti Yoga Center Jersey City

restorative yoga for calm

Calm and PeaceFULL

creating your own rope wall

creating your own rope wall:

below is an awesome rope wall – not all studios have them, not all studios want them. When you understand the traction you get, not to mention the assistance with alignment…sigh…

rope wall

I live in an apartment and as you can see (and imagine) I have an extensive yoga prop collection. I do not over decorate, preferring to have wall space for practice. I would love to have a yoga rope wall set up, however, it is not feasible.

rope wall

Creating your own rope wall can be done using a door knob. You first have to get it out of your head that it isn’t perfect, but it is totally awesome as a simulation. The next thing you need to get is a 10 foot yoga strap with a D-ring buckle.

Check out my yogatherapyproplove store on Amazon for all the utensils of the trade. Before you tie the belt fold it in half. Then cover the door jam with the belt and take each long end around each of the door knobs and underneath. After that, you can fasten the ends. It may slip but that is ok, just fiddle with it. In this photo I left about a two foot loop. I then lay on my back and crossed my ankles, resting them in the loop for about two minutes per side – you switch the cross of the ankles mid way. There are a number of poses that can be done with this set-up. If you are in Jersey City or Hoboken, you can contact me for a private yoga lesson and we will set you up. Enjoy!

restorative yoga pose of the day

Restorative yoga pose of the day: Today we included in our restorative segment a posture that is called Viparita Karani or legs up the wall. There are many variations of the pose, I did teach the simplest variation today; the bolsters are very round and large, making it almost impossible for some of the smaller framed students to approach. Also, this may have been the first time for some of the students, so I kept it simple, although we did add some variations while we were in it. You can actually see how unique each person is by how bent or straight their legs, and how much space from the wall they needed.

Definition: “The name comes from the Sanskrit words viparita meaning “inverted” or “reversed”, and karani meaning “doing” or “making” and asana (आसन; āsana) meaning “posture” or “seat” “

restorative yoga poseOur restorative yoga pose of the day was a passive, supported variation of the Shoulderstand that is said to have the following benefits:

  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Digestive problems
  • Headache
  • High and low blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine
  • Mild depression
  • Respiratory ailments
  • Urinary disorders
  • Varicose veins
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Menopause

Restorative yoga poses in the Yapana® system are called “being” poses. They are held with the support of strategically place yoga props. Instead of chasing a pose, you can allow your body to receive the stretch, as well as the calming effects on the mind. This particular class, as I am subbing for a vinyasa teacher, I do an active component first, but by the end of class fit in restoratives and savasana so it is a fully balanced class

moon salutations in yoga

moon salutations in yoga:

You may be familiar with ‘surya namaskar’, sun salutations, a vinyasa which is translated to mean: “bow to the sun.” There is much lifting of the arms and bending forward and stepping, hopping, or jumping back which is heating to the body and thus embodies the more ‘solar’ energy.

Sun salutations are one way to warm up, which is necessary and common sense sequencing. However, there are a gazillion warm ups and you don’t need to over do or just stick to one way. If you are feeling depleted, overstimulated, or overheated, which can happen to anyone – think : stress, emotions, lack of sleep, it is good to know that there are soothing practices in Yoga. Remember that the key word is balance not over-doing.

The whole concept of yogatherapy is to suit the practice to the person. Let’s say you don’t want to do a completely restorative class, you are looking for a slow flow. Here is Chandra Namaskar, or Moon Salutation. As the name suggests, Chandra Namaskar is more quieting sequence that invites you to cultivate the moon’s soothing lunar energy. This doesn’t mean that you are not warming up, rather, you are doing so in a less strenuous way. Think: conserve, it can still be intense, but not draining. Some days, you need a little more R and R. In fact, if you practice at nighttime, this would be a good little flow, adding a restorative child’s pose and savasana. For more info please contact me, I am here in Jersey City and available for private yoga lessons

moon salutations in yoga

Yoga Surrender Quote

yoga surrender quotes  : 

“yoga is a dance between control and surrender-between pushing and letting go- and when to push and when to let go becomes part of the creative process, part of the open-ended exploration of your being” – Joel Kramer

I think we tend to conceptualize ‘surrender’ with giving up, weighting the meaning with negatives. This quote brings to light that it is actually about balance. If all you do is push the envelope, you will likely experience burnt out. Here is where learning the more restorative and relaxing components of yoga help. on the other hand, if you lack drive, motivation, and strength, you may find more balance through energizing practices.

On one hand, we learn through repetition and practice. However, if we continue to do the same things over and over, we lose the elasticity and adaptability that comes from opening to transformation. I think this goes fro time on the mat as well. The exact same practice every day can be draining, and you may be missing out with being in the present moment with yourself. It really is a dance, and a balancing act to find where you need to persist and where you need to surrender.

yoga surrender quote

Child’s pose

Child’s pose – called Balasana in Sanskrit is one of the prone poses in yoga, meaning the face is down rather than up. In some yoga schools they refer to it as embryo pose as well. For some people, bending this way is really uncomfortable, which is one reason why strategic prop placement is important. For example, in an active (unsupported) variation, the challenge  is to bring the sitting bones to the heels and forehead to floor.childs pose

These actions require a lot of lengthening from the spinal extensors, gluteals, piriformis, calves, feet. You also need to be able to widen the knees in order to make room for the front spine/belly. It is a pose where tightness in the hip flexors will show up and it may be hard to feel anything other than congestion and the inability to breathe. A helpful tip obviously practicing this pose on a full stomach – suffocating. So – in order to allow gravity to work for you rather than against you, in order for your nervous system to approach calm – which is the idea behind it, the props you use matter. Here, you can see we used a bolster, folded blanket, and 2 ThreeMinuteEggs. These just helped with tightness in the shoulders and actually freed up more space in the side ribs to be able to access a calm breath. Also, you can see how the hips and shoulders are kept in the same plane, instead of having one pull on the other. Generally, done this way, child’s pose can help blood flow to the pelvis, relieve some general back tension, and improve the flexibility of the hips. There are many ways, many options so contact me to help set you up in this fine pose!

child's pose yoga

It can be really uncomfortable or really relaxing and restorative. Sometimes in a vinyasa class, child’s pose is used as a segway or prep to downward facing dog.

Prenatal Yoga as Therapy

Prenatal Yoga in private class format is tailored to your needs, as they change and evolve through your pregnancy.  There is a great read over on Yoga International about modifying a practice for prenatal students and some of the tips are pretty spot on if you teach a group class and a pregnant woman is among the participants. I have usually, in my career, taught prenatal yoga one on one and each of these lovely students has had different requirements.

In all the years I am teaching, I agree with the author that no 2 pregnant women are alike. Sometimes an active practice is helpful, but when fatigue sets in, a restorative yoga practice can feel refreshing. As I have mentioned before, restorative yoga is not merely stretching out over a bolster. Skills can be taught and employed. Today I taught someone who was complaining about not being able to breathe well. The baby’s weight pulls the rib cage inward, so you have to really focus – especially when you are off the yoga mat – to stretch the top chest upwards toward the jaw line, without jutting the jaw forward.

prenatal yoga supta baddha konasana

The pose above/below is a really great rest and digest – Supta Baddha Konasana (reclined bound angle). The 3 minute Eggs were great to fill all the spaces, and hold the hands (really softens the shoulders) this mom was breathing way easier after class and during the week that passed, had translated the new awareness to better all-day posture. Private yoga classes rock! 

supta baddha konasana

Sunny Day Savasana

Sunny Day Savasana: Summer may feel relaxing but the extra light and heat coupled with more sitting (car? soccer watching? cycling?) plus walking/standing/running can often leave the body out of whack. More than a stretch, a passive way to restore balance is to set yourself up for a 15 minute savasana. For guided yoga based relaxation practices, download my YOGA MIND cd

Here is a photo where the back legs from behind the knee crease to the heels is supported. Guaranteed to please. I absolutely love to have my calves and feet elevated. I obviously have a lot of props and bolsters in my studio – you can substitute with blankets and or folded towels or cushions that are firm.

Sunny Day Savasana

For a personalized approach contact me. The benefits of relaxation (savasana) are numerous:

– savasana allows you to deepen your breathing,
– savasana reduces stress hormones,
– savasana slows down heart rate and blood pressure,
– savasana un-tenses your muscles
– savasana increases energy and focus,
– savasana combats illness,
– savasana relieves aches and pains,
– savasana heightens problem-solving abilities by turning down the thinking mind
– savasana boosts motivation and productivity – rest and digest !
– savasana increases happiness, by releasing dopamine, seratonin, oxytocin and other immunomodulators to change brain chemistry

so what are you going to practice ?


The Path Of Happiness

The Path Of Happiness : Sometimes it appears as if happiness is like the sun on a cloudy day – hiding! Especially if you are sleep deprived. Where your yoga practice plays in is to balance out the overdoing.


the path of happiness

Extra tiring week? Stressful? Not sure if you are happy? Something that “feels good” and elicits a calm response in the nervous system is restorative yoga. Everyone seems to be concerned about stretching…you get a great release actually, and the opportunity to teach your nervous system to unwind. Think of balance as calming what is overly active and energizing what is not as strong as it could be. Find your happy place !

Even just placing the calves and feet on a chair or sofa, turning down the lights, and taking 15 minutes for yourself can help you reboot. It may not take away the stressful situations but at least make you less reactive. Soothed nerves can ease mental agitation.

Fatigue and anxiety often accompany breathing difficulties. With gentle stretches that open the chest more mobility is created in the spine, and the emotional tension that restricts your ability to breathe well is loosened up.

We spend a lot of time chasing – whether it is to run and catch a bus, make it to work, to a class, to an appointment. The mode we are in, we also carry towards happiness, chasing it, trying to purchase it, eat it, wear it. Even trying to get the one magic pose that creates it.

“Remember, happiness is a way of travel, not a destination”

vehicle For Happiness

Yoga – Tension Tamer

Yoga – Tension Tamer

It’s hot summer and tempers can flare. Sometimes an active yoga session is less desirable than a restorative one. That’s why you need tension taming tools in your yoga practice toolkit.

Here is a great set up for mindfulness and is also a great way to practice pranayama lying down. We positioned a bolster with a shelf of folded blanket so that the forehead is higher than the chin, shoulders cascade. Small of the back is snuggled right up to the end of the bolster. Student on right side needed a little extra blanket support for lumbar. I especially like this variation because it opens the chest, so if you sit rounded over a computer a lot (or driving), it will give you a little extra something special.



For those with very busy minds, you have to look upon this pose and the time spent in it as a practice to soothe tension, without actively chasing any thoughts away. Your best bet is to acknowledge thoughts and emotions without getting lost in them; remain a calm witness on a journey. Naturally, the first few minutes, the mind may fight you off, so see if you can just make up your mind to be in it for 5 minutes or more, to really feel the effects of settling in and settling down