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Reflections East OutsideI’m having twins!!

Well at least that’s what it feels like! My sweet baby is due at the end of this month and I am also unexpectedly birthing a new addition to the family: Reflections East! 

After five years on the west side, Times Square NYC, Reflections Center for Conscious Living & Yoga must move. I have to say, it wasn’t our choice. We love our west side community. After all these years on W. 49th St., we have built a community that feels like family. But New York City real estate has gone out of control and we, like many, have fallen victim to the market and inflated prices. Don’t even get me started!

When I got the news that we needed to leave our home on W. 49th St., I opened my heart and asked if Reflections had run its course. What I received was an even more beautiful space on a quiet, tree-lined block, and can you believe it…at a lower rent! A more clear message could not have been given!

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Moving a business in NYC is very expensive, and we were caught unprepared by the loss of our space on W. 49th St. To help us with this major expense, Reflections Center for Conscious Living & Yoga  will be running a crowd funding campaign to raise money for renovating and moving into the new space.

This is how you can help and become a greater part of your Reflections yoga community:

Go to our Indiegogo Crowd Funding Campaign and enjoy some of the amazing perks.  Your donations will enable us to open up our new doors.  We would LOVE for this to be theMOST SHARED indiegogo campaign EVER.  Please go to our Facebook and Twitter pages and share the post with your friends, family and community!

We are very lucky to have found a beautiful space on E. 24th st. and 2nd ave. The new 3,000 square foot duplex would not be complete without a homey Reflections kitchen, a relaxing lounge, private healing rooms for massage, meetings, or private yoga sessions, floor to ceiling windows, a Zen garden, showers, two bathrooms, and changing rooms. It is simply perfect for us. Reflections East will open in September.

Reflections Center for Conscious Living & Yoga will continue to offer the yoga classes you’ve come to love and appreciate as well as being a resource for cutting edge in healing, wellness and movement.

Here are a few important dates we’d love you to keep in mind. Be sure to check the website, newsletters, Facebook, andTwitter for updates and new information, and we look forward to seeing you and serving you in our new beautiful home!

Here are a few save the dates at Reflections East:

  • Wed 9/10: Studio blessing and concert with Shyamji Bhatnagar
  • Thurs 10/9 Opening celebration hosted by Body Local, from 7-10pm with Guest Speaker Mark Hyman (author of the 10 Day Detox Diet)
  • Sat/Sun 10/11 and 10/12: Open to the public with a weekend of FREE yoga classes

Oneness

onenessThis was my third year teaching at the amazing Time Square Solstice event.  There were so many familiar faces. It seems to have become a tradition for many. This year I brought an additional family member tucked deep in my belly.

Nothing has brought me more into my practice then this sweet soul. It has taught me, on the deepest level, the experience of oneness and unconditional love.

Before this baby, on a certain level, I’d been living in the illusion of separation– from the world, from others and often from myself, even though I have been teaching about oneness my entire adult life. In my work I have come to realize that this is an illusion we all share and the one that causes us the most pain.  If I feel disconnected and that no one understands or feels me I experience a deep primordial pain that causes me shame and seems to be unhealable.

The first time I felt this baby kick — inside my body! —  I suddenly knew the deep level of connectedness we actually are and my whole being rushed with love and then joy. I had been found. I was in fact connected, felt and no longer alone.

Ridding ourselves of the myth that we are all separate can be done in one way – with love — like most things. If we fill our practice with sensitivity, connection and feeling then we are nurturing this love on a genuine level. If we can only give our practice the permission to show us the way to self love instead of competition and struggle then this myth is no longer valid. When we stop working beyond or outside of our practice and get humble, even vulnerable, self love is there waiting. I learn and will continue to learn this on many levels as this baby asks me to surrender, literally at the core of my being and I do so not only willfully but with joy.

The great yogi  and philosopher, Richard Freeman once told me yoga offers us the space and freedom to stop pretending and the opportunity to get real with who and what we are. I would add to that — when you discover who that person really is love them with all you got. Love them as if they were your child.  Because if I can love me unconditionally then I can hold that compassion and love for all.

Coming together in the greatness of an event like the Times Square Solstice gave me the extraordinary chance to love myself, my child and to love and understand all people as part of our connection in the pot of separation. What separates also holds the road to integrate depending on how we look at it.

The fact is, re-discovering this oneness, time and again is really the evolution of humanity. Every time this baby kicks I come to know again that I hold life inside of me and that we are surely a miracle. The re-occurring murky waters of my mind clear for the billionth time and I remember there is no where to look but here inside of me. What more of a miracle can there be than to live a life — to create a life. We are a conduit of connection and if we accept this we come to understand that WE are what we seeking. We are the miracle and hold the highest vibration right inside of us.

Our True Presence

organ movingI am just back from Denmark where I taught a week-long training on Yoga and the Organs. I’d never taught this before in this much depth and I was a bit nervous about getting across all that I felt in my own body. In addition I am quite pregnant and having this beautiful life in me has put a bit of a spin on my teaching. I know my body pretty well but the body I have today is very different than the one I have been working with for all these years. The process of continuous movement has helped me to integrate all this newness – but it takes time and it seems always to be changing.  To prepare for this training, I went back to read something I had written about being a teacher a few years back and I thought I would share it once again because it rings even more true to me today.

All of my gratitude rests with my teacher Bonnie Bainbridge. This wisp of a woman has changed my life in so many ways. When people ask me why I love Bonnie so, what in particular is special about her teaching, I have no need to think: yes, she has taught me things about the body and movement that I could never have dreamt; yes, she has filled my mind with anatomy and philosophy and so much more; but beyond this, the teaching she has offered and that I had not gotten from any other was… how to “be”. Nothing exists without presence. Yes, you can meet a person or go to a place, but the level of presence you hold within that space relates directly to the depth of your “knowing”.

I remember an occasion at one of Bonnie’s workshop in Massachusetts, when the classes were small and intimate, and we felt like a little family. The days were filled with rolling around and bouncing on balls and moving like starfish. Within all of that we mostly hung on her words, and sat eager for her touch. On this one day she held my hand. It may sound crazy, but it felt as if the eternal mother was holding me. She never even said a word. We simply shared space. She taught me everything possible in that single moment. If I never saw her again, it wouldn’t matter, because it was left to me to cultivate in myself that which she so generously offered.

In this we are all teachers — and students. Whenever we bring with us our true presence, we are both open to receive and grow as well as offer ourselves up. My learning from Bonnie was never about how many notebooks I could fill with her words… She gave me my life’s lesson with a simple touch.

I wished to impart this to my students in Denmark. They asked many wonderful questions and I hope I answered them to some level of satisfaction. In the end what made me feel like I made some difference in their embodiment was how each of these sweet souls opened their bodies and hearts in the morning free movement. It went from slow and a bit awkward when we first began to the most loving expression of beauty toward themselves and each other by the time I left. By the last day, I was certain I had helped open the door to their presence.

Keeping the Faith

imagesAs I sat chatting with a very sad and anxious friend the other night I found myself looking to my own life and speaking to her from the deep wisdom of knowing– which was born of years of FREAKING out!!!!  I tried to explain as she sat, tears running down her face, that all we can do is trust that when we aren’t getting what we want its because there is a better plan out there for us. That over years I have come to believe that the episodes of life are already written, and it is merely our job to stay present and learn the lessons they hold for us to grow and mature as conscious beings. 

The truth is we learn as we do, and change reluctantly. It’s always curious to me what we, as humans, believe we are holding on to when we resist change. What are we so afraid of losing? Why can we never see that there might be more to gain instead of living in this constant worry of impeding loss? In the case of my friend it wasn’t possible for her to see that her life might turn out for the better from where she was sitting.  I could see in a few months time it might all become humorously clear that what she wanted so badly was not what was best and perhaps not even what she really wanted in light of the new gifts life might offer. I knew that to be true from times in my own life where I clenched my heart to the unfairness of it all only to later dry my tears with humility and gratitude for what it eventually offered me.

Today I find solace when I turn to my practice and work the tenets so I am reminded how impermanent it all really is. Life is always changing and all I can do is be present for what is there for me in any moment. If I hold on to the past or rush to some unknown future, I fail to live. Instead, I can choose to be here now and let the water rush over me. I simply shift with the moment that is before me and suddenly I find myself in alignment with the master plan! 

Not easy, for sure. Often we need to sit with others to help us see how this is possible. It is difficult to find our way alone, we need good tools to be so versatile… but versatility– or surrender is what is needed–  and our ability to respond to what life is offering is directly related to the level of our overall happiness. The more I struggle with things not being as I would like, the more pain I am in. The more I awaken and sit with what is, even if what is–is pain, mourning, loss, happiness, success, failure, death, birth … the happier I am – because I am in alignment with nature. If I have faith that the divine is a much better artist then I could ever be I can see the amazing tapestry which has been created for me. If I choose a false sense of control I find myself lost in the failure and pain.

Here’s the thing: the more I am  capable of maneuvering through the flow of life, like a bird or a fish, just riding the flow, not thinking, just gracefully responding to what is, then I am always in the right place with no fear of loss. When I can find the courage to let go of my fear, what I am offered is the ability to ride life in its fullest expression. I sat with my friend for a long time knowing that part of this awakening is experiencing the pain of resistance and the best I could do for her in the moment is let her be and keep holding love and faith in my heart trusting her own divinity would do the rest.

 

Oops, I’m Running Low on Love

lovetapThis week was our time to tell my partner’s children that they soon would be having a new little brother or sister. I was more excited than nervous, but having never had a child before I was taken by surprise by their reaction. They first looked stunned and then cried. Needless to say, both Ed and I were concerned. Wells of love and tenderness starting pouring out of me, almost wanting to take back what I’d said. Since that was clearly not a possibility, I asked them what was upsetting them. What were they imagining this meant would change in their lives? Scarlett piped up right away and said. “Daddy will love the new baby more. I want it to be just us!” Archer went silent.
 
Luckily I had seen this type of emotion in different forms in many of my adult clients who I lovingly refer to as tall children. There is a feeling out there in the world that love is a commodity and this resource is set at a fixed amount!  As a result we love in a precious way — not wanting to give too much to too many. We hold it back and often use our love as in various plays of power. If we are hurt, we almost immediately pull our love out of the game to show our assailant “who is really in charge!”. More often, we never get to this point because we are so afraid of opening to love that we never even enter the game. We make strange decisions like love and sex are mutually exclusive and that we can easily offer sex but not our heart. 
 
I noticed right away that what I was seeing in these children were the seeds of these feelings. I was deeply saddened that such small ones had already decide these things about love and affection, but was hopeful that Ed and I could soften this belief. In our own relationship, we had been working on similar feelings and were making conscious decision to love each other more at those familiar thresholds when we would typically pull back on our hearts. As a result, we have hit some beautiful peaks in our love for one another.
 
I told the children a little story that Ed had shared with me when we found out I was pregnant. He told be that after his first child, Archer was born, he was pretty sure it was impossible to love anyone or anything that deeply again. Two short years later, he discovered he was going to be a father to a second child. He seemed to have some of the very same feelings the children were expressing. Of course, when his daughter was born, he loved her deeply and differently. I personally believe that the individuality of people bring about different aspects of our infinite ability to love. I have found that the more people I open my love and kindness to the more textures and colors my love can express.
 
I told the kids this story and then asked Archer if daddy loved him. He said ” A lot!” Then I asked Scarlett. Her response ” More than anything!” I asked how that could that be. How could he love each of you? Isn’t he going to run out? They both giggled at the silliness of this statement. I then explained how much their daddy loved me. Ed told us all that the more he loved us, the more love he wanted to give us love. Ed and I explained that instead of running out of love, we would all have this new little person to help us love more!
 

The tears stopped and the smiles came. Though I think this story still has some unfolding to do, I know in my heart that giving unconditional love is why we are here. I try each day to open my own heart fully and especially when I am frightened by the act of loving. I feel blessed beyond words to have this family that has already brought me to places of love in myself I didn’t think possible. I can say that I am certain beyond all else I will never run out of love!

 

bellyloveI’m not sure how to begin this post. Though I don’t want to down play this amazing news, I’m eager to share this butt-kicking unexpected process that transpired as a result and is changing my life. The impending birth of my first child has made me grow in so many ways, I’m not sure where to begin. Yes, this sweet  baby is due in August. I’m praying for Leo; I love those fire signs! 

What I want to share most with you today is what I am finding so unexpected and life altering (besides the obvious of having a child at this point in my life): The fact is,I’m truly in an altered state. The amount of joy that exists, quite literally in my cells, is something I never thought possible. It’s beyond what I imagined could be contained in my person. All I can see these days is beauty—these hormones are great!! Not at all like the ones we suffer with PMS. These days I feel like what people explain a “Molly” high might be. I love everyone and am filled with compassion and joy! But as humans we live in duality so I thought I might share some of the less talked about feelings that have surfaced with the coming of this new life and the letting go of my own, the way that I once knew it.

I have had the privilege of living a wonderful life that centers completely around me! I care deeply for my students and for my community at Reflections, but my life has always been lived on my own terms. I have molded a life built on physical image and freedom – though I didn’t actually realize it until it was being threatened. How I looked played into who I was and the health and clarity I represented. In the last four months, both of these things have been challenged to the core as well is how I thought a pregnant woman was “supposed to feel.” I had this notion that if you were about to become a mother, you invisibly became the Mother Mary and those sweet hormones I mentioned made you think of nothing other than your unborn child, that you would care only for this child without thought of yourself or at least without the resentment for how your life will literally never be the same again! Hmmm–not so much! I find myself in the process of looking at my choices and having to modify so many things for the life of my child and it isn’t even here yet! You know what? That’s hard!

I have always had a clear understanding of my body. I can honestly say I had a deep relationship to it and trusted it. I knew how to feed it, how much sleep it needed–I was great at  knowing how to push the limits and it responded with health and energy. These days it’s doing the craziest things and I feel I have lost the thread here. Once you figure out one thing, there is another you have to integrate, not least of all the drastic changing shape!! This is equally hard to come to grips with particularly if your life has been in some way centered around being an ambassador of health and wellness. For example, I was called to do a photo shoot for a yoga line and when I told them I was pregnant, they never even wrote back! Ouch!

The one thing that hasn’t changed, thank God, is ME. How I look at the world and the len I look through to understand myself is steady and still intact. At first I was quite disappointed in myself. How could I think of anything else but this child? How could these superficial things matter to me? Am I really living what I teach?  I finally, decided to stop feeling ashamed and start looking deeper. This little bundle of tired, achy and often nauseating joy was changing my life. What was even harder to come to terms with was that it wasn’t me changing me , it was this baby changing me and I, or my ego, was feeling out of control. From the moment I found out about the coming of this child I was 150% happy. But the truth of who I now was or what was about to happen to me was not even close to becoming a reality yet.

This feeling of being out of out of control was hard to come to terms with. When things really started to change, I remember looking at the beautiful young woman running my studio talking about the care-free things they were doing and having to pause and say, “Not me, I can’t just fly to Bali with you next September. I’ll have an infant to care for”. I’d look at how adorable they looked in the new tights we got in at the boutique while all my go-to clothes I used to feel great in started to feel tight and uncomfortable. Shopping pregnancy wear is just not that much fun.

I need to say I am very lucky to have a partner that truly thinks I look beautiful. Feeling how he sees me helps me to embody the sensuality inherent in this transformation, which does exist. I am loving the fullness of my body in a way I never had before.  I feel more sensual then sexy which I like very much; thank you my dear Ed, you make this so much more enchanting. The truth is  I don’t feel sexy in the way I was used to, which was actually more of an external experience. I notice the subtle shifts in how people interact with me. Though I don’t think I actually consciously registered it before, people do interact differently with an unencumbered woman then they do with a mom. People actually call me Ma’am. OH MY GOD! I am a Ma’am now officially! I’m being honest now, right? That stung! Who “I am” was transformed almost instantly into — a mom! Is anyone really ready for that?! What does that even mean? Nine months seems a short time to actually integrate that concept. Let’s not even bring up the issue of what it feels like to be responsible for someone else’s life when you wonder how well you are doing with your own and instead stick with the growing pains that come with the mom and a persona concept.

What I am currently dealing with is taking off my clothes and seeing parts of me I remember and then noticing other parts and saying “whoa that’s crazy looking!!” Or looking at my life and feeling “yes of course I can do that” on my lips and instead hearing “no, I’m sorry, I can no longer make that kind of commitment.” cone out of my mouth. I realized I had to honestly sit with this for a while because it was getting to me. It was actually in meditation that I came to a genuine understanding, and then respect, for the stages of life, and the knowing that they exist for a reason. I think as New Yorkers, we stay in some arrested state of development holding on to an idea of youth for far too long. At least I did. Watching the Oscars, I was keenly aware of the genuine beauty in the women who were moving gracefully into their maturity and those who Botoxed themselves in to denial.

What I am allowing myself to feel now, with the help of the love and admiration of my partner (he seems to see real beauty in my changes and it helps me take on that shape that feeling), is that what is happening is richness not a loss. I am maturing and this baby is helping me grow-up. It is pulling me out of the narcissism of an extending youth and bringing on my next journey where I have to do it all differently.  I believe there is so much  physical change inherent in this process, because there will be very little similar to my old life’s journey. Its like a metamorphosis of my soul. This is a new life with new rules and new experiences. I will of course miss my old friend, but I feel I’m about to be a better version of her, one that finds joy in guiding the life of another, one that embraces sacrifice instead of resenting it, one that perhaps finally understands the letting go of the ego and embraces the selflessness I have been teaching for 25 years.

I know the dear mothers and fathers out there reading this will say that I still have no idea how much my life is about to change. I agree! What I do know is that I have redirected my inner life mandala and I am no longer resisting the change but I’m in its full embrace. I am finding a new beauty and grace in change and feeling myself more excited then frightened. I have some inkling that this is how it is meant as it propels of our personal evolution and I’m into it!  I am most happy to watch how I grow as a person, and how we grow as parents.

Life is a real trip isn’t it—and babies do create miracles!

If you resonated with this post, you may be interested in our 5-week PreNatal Yoga Class, which begins April 2, 2014.