Sunday, October 4, 2015

Inner Beauty

"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."— Audrey HepburnAs a  young girl I looked to my mother as the icon of beauty. I always  noticed that she was  appealing and charismatic.   Men would stop her on the street, women would start chatting with her at the  grocery store and all my friends wanted her to hang out with us.  She was really quite something.  My father,  being a bit crass gave her the nickname Audrey Heartburn. Nice. One thing that I did recognize about my mother was that she would tend to look on the bright side of things, and give others the benefit of the doubt. If I came home from a confrontation with a girl at school, she would remind me that perhaps the reason the other little girl was so cruel, was because she may not have it so good at home. It could be quite frustrating when I wanted to complain, or have her on my side. Looking back, I am happy that I had a mother that pointed out that I might look a little further into someone to find some compassion. Decades later, my mother became a  literacy teacher to children, and was quite the popular rock star. Kids would beg their parents to allow them to be tutored, even if they were doing well in school. Mom was in demand.  She played with and entertained the kids, one of them was   quite disappointed when he found out she was not his age and he would not be able to marry her.   It was a lesson she taught to a little girl ,Luah, who was not in the spotlight next to her friend who was being complimented on her beautiful dress. Luah was a little upset and asked "what about mine?" My mother noticed this and  told her that there is such a thing as "inner beauty." Did she know what that was? And proceeded to share with her about goodness. What a lovely lesson, even to this day. Inner Beauty. What is it? It is a feeling towards the world. A way of looking at the world with love. It's a way of feeling touched by the gifts of nature  that we can find in any given moment. Standing in the light of life itself , we can develop the grace to receive abundance and to take each moment thoughtfully and with poise. This requires presence of heart and mind. Taking the time to be exactly where you are and to choose light and delight. You are not alone. The best possible way to know this in your heart is to  begin a relationship with a force that walks alongside you, supports and sustains you. The best possible way to begin is with a sit. I've heard it said that prayer is how I talk to God, and meditation is   how I listen.  In each moment, as I pause through out my day , I can allow this stream of light to enter my heart. Prior to my action, I can learn to pause and see through the eyes of G-d. Which holds all in the light. To me, this is Inner Beauty. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hashtag SuperMoon

It seems no matter where you turn these days, you see a #hashtag about a Super Moon. I knew the hundredth monkey phenomenon had officially occurred when my uncle, who is a lawyer, reminded me not to get upset because Mercury in retrograde is "real." This weekends' Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse was actually trending!! Well, Mercury is retrograde. So how can we make sense of all this "information?" As I was checking out my own social media, I actually became weary of the obligatory posts on said #supermoon. So feel free to tune in again next week, unfriend, or even make a snide comment if you must. (I actually got one on my Facebook page: Blablabla, he commented. And I sort of agreed. 

Now down to business. After over four decades of astrological study, here's what I know: Whenever there is a full moon we are working with the polarity of opposites. Issues of relationships come to the fore because we are working with the Sun (self) and the Moon (internal emotional life); therefore emotions heighten as we feel a pull from deep within and equally from the external forces. We feel pulled in two opposing directions, creating dynamic tension. This past full moon was on the Aries/Libra axis. The sun in peace-making Libra and the moon Libra's opposite fiery sign of Aries. This indicates an internal need to care for the self first; to follow your impulse and to be selfish. At the same time, the conscious and solar life highlights partnerships. How can you balance your own needs with those you are closest to? 

Now for the eclipse part, which is what made it a #BloodMoon because of the pinkish hue. As earth travels between the moon and sun, it eclipses that light reflecting off of the moon. In this moment of darkness, there is a reboot. In a way like turning your computer off and then on. Eclipses have a six month effect, so it marks a new theme in your life. It isn't like a lightening bolt or an "aha" unless it is touching your personal planets. For more clues into what this may look like for you, perhaps you can remember back to Fall of 1996. There was an eclipse in a similar position. What were you learning then? Take some time to identify what themes are similar for you today and stay available for a makeover.

As far as the SuperMoon part, when the moon gets as close to the earth as possible, thus making it appear larger, and has no significant astrological effect due to this display. I will say, there have been a lot of #SuperMoons lately. I almost feel that I need to jump on the bandwagon and address it! 

I will leave you with this, everyone has Aries and Libra somewhere in their chart. Personally, I try to roll with the energy of the day and in the Libra month, balance postures, surfing, and aerial yoga classes could benefit you during this month. When training at the gym, work with a Bosu Ball to challenge your balance. Relationships and negotiating, compromise and pretty things take priority. When challenged by the impulse of the moon in Aries that is quick, impulsive and active, communication is the key. But what's done is done. Moving on. I hope you had a #SuperWeekend and have a #SuperWeek filled with #SuperSunSalutations.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Balance is Beautiful: Let's Fall!

As a young woman, my life was filled with extremes. I swung from being a very rigid and serious task master; so strict with my body and diet to being undisciplined and directionless, in body and mind. As age has seasoned me, my swings have lessened and my life has become more subtle.Too much strength and we become hardened. Too much flexibility and we get wishy washy. When we learn to hold the dynamic of opposites and extend in both directions simultaneously, life becomes a beautiful dance. Balance is a dance of opposites, which creates a dynamic energy: both/and. This engages us and allows us to relate with one another, with our environment and with our own bodies. 
Let’s look through the lens of yoga: 

*GAZING POINT: for a balance posture the gazing point is essential. In life too, we can find our higher vision and still the mind of petty details and tit for tat mentality.

*BREATH: The breath and finding the natural body rhythm is key to being in the present moment. In life there is an ebb and flow, a natural rhythm. Being present may require waiting and a trusting that things are happening as they should, as well when we are present we sense the moment when it is time to act. There is a divine timing. 

*EXTENSION: We embrace the world of opposites, and experience the dynamic energy within that. It is possible for more than one truth to exist simultaneously. Understanding that we are both light and dark, we awaken to wholeness. 

Balance. although serene to behold is really quite active requires attention. Just like an easy relationship, presence is key. When communicating, repeat back what has been said by your partner said to be sure you understood, and that the other feels heard. Mirroring the body language of the other is a tool that creates a feeling of being in sync. In relationship to ourselves and others, communication is a key element for an easy, natural flow. 

Check in and be related to your body, and what it requires. It will let you know. 


DIRECTIONS: From a seated position, bend your knees and place the soles of the feet on the floor. Grip your hamstrings and extend your chest up, almost pressing your lower back forward. Balance on your sit bones. Extend your legs so that your toes are at eye level. Reach your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor, and lift your chest and sternum upward as you gaze up.  Balance here, using the strength your lower abdominal muscles. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat 2 times. 

Here’s to a beautiful Fall! But when you fall out of your pose, simply try again. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Harvest: Reap What You Sow

With the season change and the Jewish New Year, a time of beginnings is upon us. We begin holiday season and the air seems to breathe new life into us. Life begins anew again, and with the shift comes an opportunity to look at our routines and our habits with fresh eyes.

The Fall is a time of harvest. We reap what we sow and our bodies can be a wonderful sign post for that. Consider this: what does it feel like when, over time, you practice your health regime? Consistent time at the gym, and portion control will reveal itself through your body. It is one of the few places where you can see immediate results. The same goes for what happens to your body when you increase your daily sugar intake, and slack off on your cardio. The body softens, and expands a bit. It can happen gradually, when all of a sudden you notice that your jeans are a little too tight.

Today is the result of all of the moments that have lead up to it. Your practices, your trial and error, your awareness to the details have all gone into this moment and today is what you have to show for it. That means, whatever you begin today will be revealed as well. So here are some things to consider:

What daily practice can benefit you the most? Is it a 20 minute daily meditation upon awakening? Is it increasing your greens by adding a daily green juice and a large salad for lunch? Is it a morning walk that balances the hemispheres of your brain and gets the heart pumping the blood to all of your extremities? Choose one, two or three habits that you are able to incorporate daily for the next six months. Then, leave the results up to the universe. Don't even think about it until the six months is up and notice what happens.

On the flip side, some things are simply out of our hands. I, for one, have a tendency to try to will things to be the way that I want. Having spent my teens years in the '80's, I know all about "manifesting" and using my thoughts to create my reality; however, that type of thinking had me working really hard to make things go my way. Especially things that were not up to me. Consider that what the universe has in store for you may be much better than the thing you think you want. So, trust. The relationship that didn't work out, the job you lost, the argument with your child...just let it be. Let it go, and allow it to unfold itself. Trust that there is more that will reveal itself. You don't know everything. When I accept this mind set, I am not only more open-minded, but more open-hearted. I soften and I allow all to be as it is.

What if the world doesn't need changing? What if the world needs more accepting?

Focus on your daily work. Relieve yourself from needing to make life go a certain way.
Extra credit: write a list of habits that are already in place, and give yourself the credit you deserve. Have a beautiful week.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


September calls for a revamp of the diet and exercise plan. After the expansion of Summer, the Fall comes and asks that we hone in on health routines in preparation for the harvest and for the more internal months ahead. Nothing gives a jumpstart to the connection to fitness like core and abdominal work. When we connect in with the abdominals, there is a renewed sense of self and that the goals that we forth require intentional action. Abdominal work boots the metabolism, the digestive system and gives an overall sense of taking action. This routine can be added to your normal practice or any fitness regime you are currently following. Or, it may just be the jump start you were looking for. Try adding this to your daily self-care list for the remainder of September. 
Strengthen and firm the abdominal muscles with this quick routine that you can add daily this week to your practice.
Balance on your sit bones. Extend your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor, and lift your chest and sternum upward as you gaze up. Keep your knees bent, and your calves parallel to the floor. Balance here, using your lower abdominal muscles.
Now, extend your legs so that your toes are at eye level. Hold for another couple of breaths, then cross your arms over your chest as you slowly lower down. Hover there, using your abdominal muscles to keep your feet and shoulders just off of the floor.
On the next exhale, sweep your arms back out to the sides, and bring yourself back into Half Boat. Repeat 3 times.
SINGLE LEG SIT-UPS (both sides)
Lie down on your back with your left foot flat on the floor. Extend your right leg straight up in the air. Interlace your fingers, palms pressing away from you, and reach up towards your straight leg several times in a sit-up motion. Engage your lower abs. Repeat on the left side.
Next, bring your hands underneath your butt with your palms down. Scissor the legs eight times on each side. Remember to continue to use your core. Really get the full range of motion for 8 reps on each leg.
Still on your back, interlace your fingers behind the base of your head. Extend the right leg straight, as you bend the left knee in and try to touch your opposite elbow to the knee. Again, use your abdominal strength, and avoid pulling your head forward with your hands.
Now, come onto your forearms and toes, so that you are in somewhat of a push-up position. Heels pressing back. Sit bones aim towards your heels. Belly lifted upward towards the spine. Be careful not to sway the lower back. Lift your right foot a few inches off of the floor, engaging your core. Hold for 3 breaths and switch sides.
Come all the way down onto your belly with your palms and forearms on the floor. Keep the lower body extended and relaxed and lift the chest up. Press your forearms and hands into the mat.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My Field Trip to the Omega Institute

Nature is the norm at Omega.
I see the light.
Nothing reminds me of my childhood education for experiential learning more than my annual trip to the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. Omega, being the last letter of the Greek alphabet implies completion or integration and the sound:"o". "Oh"is precisely the way I feel after a weekend spent there. My mind feels wide open, my heart serenely settled, my body unwound. Yes, I am there as the leader. The teacher is really an advanced student whose learning comes from being a pioneer and leading the group, and what better setting to learn and grow than the grounds at Omega.

From one of my walks.
The acres of forest and sustainability upon which this retreat center is founded provides an open setting and environment to support any modality of study for exploration. From the lake to the nature trails, the vegetable and herb gardens, the oval stone sanctuary and the human treasures found along the way. All available as stepping stones towards a journey into the self. A journey that one can only take alone, but at Omega we do so in community. Most of the staff at Omega are volunteers, which speaks volumes for its value. These beautiful and intelligent beings facilitate all of the workshops with support in setting up the workshop rooms, making the meals from the organic fruit, herb and vegetables grown on the grounds(as well as local farmers) and keep the spartan cabins and dorms clean.
A ritual for you

Full Moon in Pisces!
Imagine my delight to be amongst the other workshop leaders like Stephen Forrest, one of my favorite astrologers, in line at the cafeteria (an experience in itself!). I attended some of the open activities that are scheduled daily during the workshop break time. I took a lovely 7am yoga class in a  mostly glass room that looks out to the woods. I practiced mindfulness meditation in the oval sanctuary. I even went to an awesome two hour demonstration of medium Lisa Williams who was teaching a workshop there as well. People from all of the workshops, Tony Horton's P90X, the Shambala Center, motivational speakers, astrology students all gathered to see if they could make contact with a relative who had passed on.

bliss by the lake
The intimate group of intelligent and curious students who I lead were a delight. In showing up for my practice, which is being open to teaching and being open to the student, I found myself with a classroom full of gifted teachers themselves. Each reflecting an aspect of me, each revealing to me more lovable parts of myself. Within this setting, we felt protected and in an intimate environment for exploration. What would we find?

The word that seemed to permeate the space and that penetrated my heart so deeply was: Gratitude.

So grateful for the opportunity to connect with you all this way. May our continued journey bring the sweetness of connection and the space for the individual. Experiential learning is just the best!

The Omega "goodbye" committee

Man and nature together. Treasures. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Impeccable You

The quest for perfection may not begin with the purest intentions, but may still lead to an honest path.

Many of us are working to fill ourselves up with externals or even spiritual currency in order to become invulnerable and powerful. In the end, each have limited returns. In order to find impeccability, we must examine and refine our motives. Underneath the surface, where insecurities hide and our fears or secrets lurk, we must address the original wound or hurt. The beauty of the journey is that all roads lead to the same place: the gift of exactly who you are. After all, you are only here to live and express the purest version of YOU. You are already perfect. Just as you are. In your natural state.

I had a wonderful opportunity to work with Women's Health Magazine at their first Well-thy Event. The currency of self care is true wealth and has abundant returns that last through time. I am looking forward to continuing that journey in a couple of weeks at Omega. Hope to see you there!

The Well-thy Retreat House was full! 

My students arriving for rooftop Yogalosophy.

"Love your body!"

Remember to breathe.

Opposition energy is dynamic.

Feel your way through.

You already have a perfect body.

Being interviewed on Well-th.

Just being myself. It's what I've got.

This is the ideal time to simplify your life and find that source of purity from within.  As above, so below. The best possible way to return to your natural state is to pare down on all that is unneeded. Keep what works.

  • meditation, 
  • hygiene, 
  • journaling, 
  • creating,
  • physical activity,
  • breath work, 
  • hydration, 
  • sustenance, 
  • service, 
  • love, 
  • work, 
  • community, 
  • relaxation 
  • play.

This is a good life. A good, honest life. For this moment, take only what you need. No more and no less.
Chop wood, carry water. Shine on.