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Have you been wanting to give yoga a try?  Join me this fall for Gentle Yoga For Beginners, a delightful series of 4 Monday evening classes, 75 minutes each, to get you started with experiencing the benefits of yoga.

You won’t just be ‘doing’ yoga, you’ll be learning more about yoga in an environment that allows for questions and discussion. The four segments will include:

Week 1 (Oct. 5, 2015) – Yoga for Stress Relief – De-stress with yoga poses designed to leave your mind and body relaxed and balanced.

Week 2 (Oct. 19) – Yoga for Energy – Learn how to use yoga to tap into the power of healthy digestion. Get the most energy out of the food you eat, and feel rejuvenated in the process.

Week 3 (Oct. 26) – Yoga for a Vibrant Mind – Sharpen your focus and memory skills with yoga poses that clear your mind and boost circulation to your brain.

Week 4 (Nov. 2) – Yoga for Better Sleep – Get your best sleep from deeply restorative yoga poses and simple breathing exercises.

 

Classes will take place at New Leaf Yoga and Pilates studio in Park slope, Brooklyn just steps away from Prospect Park. Space is limited. Find out more and register at newleafbody.com.

We all know the benefits of a good sleep but getting one can be hard to come by. Here are a couple of restorative exercises that I like to do to help me relax, unwind and prepare for a restful sleep.

I am currently taking a break from teaching my Tuesday evening Vinyasa flow classes. New Leaf yoga and Pilates studio will still be running a class on Tuesday evening and Saturday morning outside in Prospect Park.

I will continue to run my Wednesday evening Restorative class at 7:30 PM throughout the summer. See you there!

Visit Newleafbody.com to find out more and to register.

The Lotus flower is revered for its ability to grow beauty out of darkness. Its roots start in the muddy soil below a river or pond and out above the water grows a radiant flower. It blossoms toward the sun every morning and then closes up to go underwater every night. This series of hand positions represents the opening and retreating of the Lotus flower. Follow along with the pictures and repeat the sequence several times. This exercise is adapted from the book Yoga in Your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi.

Lululemon will be featuring New Leaf’s yoga and Pilates studio during the month of May and I am excited to be teaching the kick-off class! Class will be free to attend and open to all levels. Please bring your own mat and maybe a friend! Classes tend to fill up so I recommend coming a little early.

Sunday, May 3, 2015. 9 AM to 10 AM @

Lululemon, 166 Smith Street, Brooklyn

This February, my boyfriend Greg Heffernan and I joined forces to lead a special Valentine’s Day partners yoga class with live cello. Our intention was to help couples connect more to each other through music and yoga. Everyone left smiling and Greg and I felt more connected, too! During the class, we read two poems that helped inspire us. See if they move you, too. :-)

The Charge of the Lord of the Dance 

From The Body Sacred by Dianne Sylvan

Whenever the voice of the earth is lifted in song, whenever your soul aches for union, call my name – I am Lord of the Dance and I am the wild tribal beat of your heart.

Free the serpents of your spine, delight in your earthly senses – for yesterday as a lesson learned, tomorrow is yet unwritten, and only in the present moment can you feel my rhythm. My music is the turn of the seasons; my lyric is the endless cycle of days.

I am the stolen kiss, the gaze across a crowded room, the tangle of limbs the morning after. When you learn to love with a whole heart and live your deepest passion, you will know and never fear darkness – for I am the shadow that follows the flame, the far side of the sun, and the most desperate desire of your heart.

I am the tremor of the thunderdrum and the graceful moonlit flight of a stag – I dare you to stand up and not to stand aside. I am the first step of the thousand, the sweat of a thousand more, and the courage to move at all. I bring the ecstasy of the unchained soul found only through the ecstasy of the body.

Wherever you gather in the love of nature, I rejoice among you. Whenever you honor the spirit within, whenever you dance the dance that is yours alone, you do so at my fire. I am Lord of the dance – take my hand and step into the rhythm of the infinite.

All the world is a dance.

——————–

I call upon the Lover

From The Body Sacred by Dianne Sylvan

I call upon the Lover

I call upon the fire

I call upon the heartbeat

I call upon desire

I call upon the moonrise

I call upon the tide

I call to you, beloved

I call you to my side.

Ayurvedic medicine, the sister science of yoga, tells us that it is best to eat fruit warm, not cold, in the wintertime. This vegan tart has been a comforting treat for me this year and I may keep making it even as the weather warms up. The nights can still be cold and turning on the oven is a great way to add a little extra heat to the home. It’s also a great excuse to cook up some root vegetables when the oven is already on! Along with the apples, I have used dried cherries, cranberries and raisins instead of dates. I have also used bananas in place of the apples and while the dish doesn’t come out looking as good (the bananas turn brown) it is sweet and delicious. I have tried this in different sized baking trays and my favorite is one that is about 8 in.². The tart can easily be formed into different shapes and sizes, too.

Apple Date Tart

Adapted from The Path of Practice by Bri. Maya Tiwari

Serves 4

2 apples

¼ cup dates

½ teaspoon cardamom powder

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 pinch of rock salt

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons oil plus enough to coat a baking dish

1/8 cup maple syrup

1/8 cup applesauce

Preheat oven to 350°. Wash and cut the apples, sliced thin, and set aside. Remove seeds from dates, and cut into thin strips. Combine apples, dates, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt in a mixing bowl, then set aside.

Combine flour and baking powder, then sift into a separate bowl. Add the oil and maple syrup to flour mixture, along with the applesauce. Mix into a batter and pour into an oiled baking dish. Layer fruit mixture on top of batter. Bake for 45 minutes, until a fork inserted in center of tart comes out clean.

Serve warm.

On this last day of winter, I am reflecting on how different things feel outside-and-in when winter turns to spring. I’m feeling ready to be more physically active outdoors after an introspective season spent mainly inside. Here’s a song that I’m using this week at the end of my yoga classes to appreciate that winter has passed and look forward to all that comes with spring. 

Luluc – Winter is Passing (listen here) 

Come to weekly yoga classes at New Leaf Yoga and Pilates studio in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Tuesdays 7 p.m.-8:15 p.m. — Vinyasa Fresh All Levels Welcome

Wednesdays 7:30 p.m.-8:45 p.m. — Restorative Yoga

From June through September, the Tuesday Vinyasa classes will be held outdoors in Prospect Park! Get more information and sign up at newleafbody.com.

Follow along with this single fun and simple move to energize you, cleanse and nourish your body, refresh your mind, and even help fight insomnia!

Use this as a one-minute break from a desk, as a flowing stretch break from an active day, or as the start to some more movement.