So, about those New Year’s resolutions

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We have all set them before and continue to do so, despite the statistics that show that come February most New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the way of the Christmas fruit cake.  But, there’s something about that date . . . the 1st of January . . . the first day of the rest of your life . . . ahhh the possibilities.

Lucky for us mere mortals, I have a found a couple of – I guess I’ll call them “life hackers” – people who have, or are in the midst of figuring out shortcuts (hacks – the minimum that needs to be done while still getting maximum effects) to bypass our own self-defeating tendencies (and we all have them, so sit down and take notes).  In my opinion, if we can at least understand the why of our behaviors, we have a better chance of changing them to serve us, rather than the other way around.  The following websites have gathered the top experts in their fields and garnered their knowledge and techniques for our benefit.

Creating New Habits/Behavior Modification

The first one is Eric Barker, author of one of my favorite blogs, Barking Up the Wrong Tree (http://www.bakadesuyo.com/).  Quoting directly from his website: “This site brings you science based answers and expert insights on how to be awesome at life.”  Sign me up!

Following is a quote from his latest blog post, The Five Habits That Will Make You Happy, According to Science, which was featured in the New York Times:

“When it comes to the choices you make and the things you do, Alex says there are 3 regions you need to be concerned with. You don’t need to memorize the names. It’s just important to realize they all get a vote:

  • The Prefrontal Cortex: The only one thinking about long-term goals like, “We need to prepare that report for work.”
  • The Dorsal Striatum: This guy is always voting to do what you’ve done in the past, like, “When it’s time to work we usually start by checking email 9 times, then Facebook, and then watching Netflix.”
  • The Nucleus Accumbens: The party animal of the three. “Email, Facebook and Netflix are fun. Work sucks.”

So guess what you end up doing? Yeah… Ouch.

But when you exert effort, the prefrontal cortex can override the other two and do the right thing. Repeat this enough times and you rewire the dorsal striatum: “We usually start reports quickly. I vote we do that again.

That’s how the brain builds good habits. So why don’t we do that more often? Often the culprit is stress.”

http://time.com/4149478/happiness-neuroscience-simplicity/?xid=time_socialflow_facebook

Following is a link to another one of his articles, which directly addresses New Year’s resolutions:

http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2013/12/new-years-resolutions/

Whatever your goals may be, you will find science-backed techniques at this website.  The articles cover subjects from what the color of your clothing says about you, how to be creative, how to focus, ways to conquer chronic procrastination, shortcuts to bonding with a romantic partner, etc.  The blog has also been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine and Time Magazine.

Fat/Weight Loss and Fitness

The second resource I highly recommend is Tim Ferris, author of “The Four Hour Work Week (and a blog post by the same name), The Four Hour Body, The Four Hour Chef and a tv show/series, The Tim Ferris Experiment (available on iTunes), which he describes as a mix between Mythbusters and Jackass, and he describes himself as “Bestselling Author; Human Guinea Pig.”

Since losing weight and fitness is one of the top goals on most people’s lists (all year round, but especially in January), I highly recommend you start with the following two articles on his website:

How to Lose 20lbs of Fat in 30 Days . . . Without Doing Any Exercise – Fat Loss via Better Science and Simplicity

http://fourhourworkweek.com/2007/04/06/how-to-lose-20-lbs-of-fat-in-30-days-without-doing-any-exercise/

and,

From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34lbs of Muscle in 4 Weeks

http://fourhourworkweek.com/?s=from+geek+to+freak

Ferris also gives a list of books and other resources in the articles and within the comments section, and he notes some basic ingredients and techniques that he’s found help in accelerating/facilitating fat loss, such as cinnamon, cumin, and ice baths (yes, ice baths! Brrrrr).

But don’t stop at just the articles I linked above. Ferris’ site covers a very wide gamut. From investing to fitness, health, neuroscience, entrepreneurship, psychedelics, meditation, travel, technology, and relationships – just to name a few.  His interview guests are just as varied.  From neuroscientist, Dr. Rhonda Patrick (who works with one of the most quoted scientist in the world) to seven times New York Times best selling author, Neil Strauss (author of The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick Up Artists and The Truth (the story of one man’s search for true intimacy as he questions and struggles with the concept of monogamy)) to Tara Brach, PhD., founder of the Insight Meditation Community in DC and author of Radical Acceptance. (if you like guided meditations, she offers an  amazing collection of free guided meditations on her website https://www.tarabrach.com/guided-meditations/).  Other guests:  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brene Brown, Ryan Holiday, Maria Popova, Jamie Foxx, Amelia Boone, Alain de Botton . . . ok, I think you get the picture.  There’s something for everyone.

These are just two of my favorite sites that have helped me develop and stick to new habits and have referred me to resources to develop other skills, such as speed reading, learning a new language.  A couple of others to look up are Brian Johnson (The Optimizer, En*theos, Optimize) and Tom Bilyeu of Inside Quest.

Hope this helps everyone as they embark on their New Year’s journey.  And remember, “When the world says , ‘Give up,’ Hope whispers, ‘Try one more time.'” ~ Unknown

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Dumbing Down Your Writing

dictionary

…extended vocabulary, if properly used, is impressive. It is rare to come across unusual words in manuscripts these days. It is as if all of today’s writers were working from a high school-level vocabulary—and writers who do use unusual words more often than not misuse them. ~ Noah Lukeman, author of the popular The First Five Pages

If the word is beautiful, unusual, attractive, it sounds cool, it’s got great rhythm—and, by the way, it means exactly what you mean to say—why shouldn’t you use it? Why in this day and age should we be apologizing for keeping these words alive? We’re killin’ ’em. We’re doing away with them as fast as we can…. It’s not about being snobby. It’s about being excited about language.~ Award-winning non-fiction author Michael Perry

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The best remedy for those who are afraid . . .

Anne Frank Nature Quote

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What happens when you actually click on one of those “One Weird Trick” ads?

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Great article by Alex Kaufman of Slate Magazine on marketing and manipulation (link below)   http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2013/07/how_one_weird_trick_conquered_the_internet_what_happens_when_you_click_on.html

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The Many Styles of Yoga

Godess Pose

I found this great cheat sheet for the various styles of yoga at gaiam.com (link at bottom). Granted, there a least another 5 styles that can be added to this list (i.e., Jivamukti, Forrest, Acro, Aerial) but in my opinion they are almost all some form of a derivative of the styles listed below. Oh! I just noticed they didn’t include Kundalini, Bhakti, nor even Tantra (??!!). Ok, I see I’m going to have to do some research so I can compile a comprehensive list. For now, this list is a good place to start.

Hatha

Hatha yoga is a generic term that refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. Nearly every type of yoga class taught in the West is hatha yoga. When a class is marketed as hatha, it generally means that you will get a gentle introduction to the most basic yoga postures. You probably won’t work up a sweat in a hatha yoga class, but you should end up leaving class feeling longer, looser, and more relaxed.

Ashtanga 

Ashtanga is based on ancient yoga teachings, but it was popularized and brought to the West by Pattabhi Jois (pronounced “pah-tah-bee joyce”) in the 1970s. It’s a rigorous style of yoga that follows a specific sequence of postures and is similar to vinyasa yoga, as each style links every movement to a breath. The difference is that ashtanga always performs the exact same poses in the exact same order. This is a hot, sweaty, physically demanding practice.

Iyengar

Iyengar yoga was developed and popularized by B.K.S. Iyengar (pronounced “eye-yen-gar”). Iyengar is a very meticulous style of yoga, with utmost attention paid to finding the proper alignment in a pose. In order to help each student find the proper alignment, an Iyengar studio will stock a wide array of yoga props — blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, bolsters, and a rope wall are all common. There isn’t a lot of jumping around in Iyengar classes, so you won’t get your heart rate up, but you’ll be amazed to discover how physically and mentally challenging it is to stay put. Iyengar teachers must undergo a comprehensive training – if you have an injury or chronic condition, Iyengar is probably your best choice to insure you get the knowledgeable instruction you need.

Vinyasa

Vinyasa (pronounced “vin-yah-sah”) is the Sanskrit word for “flow”, and vinyasa classes are known for their fluid, movement-intensive practices. Vinyasa teachers choreograph their classes to smoothly transition from pose to pose, and often play music to keep things lively. The intensity of the practice is similar to Ashtanga, but no two vinyasa classes are the same. If you hate routine and love to test your physical limits, vinyasa may be just your ticket.

Bikram

Approximately 30 years ago, Bikram Choudhury developed this school of yoga where classes are held in artificially heated rooms. In a Bikram class, you will sweat like you’ve never sweated before as you work your way through a series of 26 poses (like ashtanga, a Bikram class always follows the same sequence, although a Bikram sequence is different from an ashtanga sequence). Bikram is somewhat controversial, as Choudhury has trademarked his sequence and has prosecuted studios who call themselves Bikram but don’t teach the poses exactly the way he says they should. It is also wildly popular, making it one of the easiest types of classes to find.

Hot Yoga

Basically the same thing as Bikram. Generally, the only difference between Bikram and hot yoga is that the hot yoga studio deviates from Bikram’s sequence in some small way, and so they must call themselves by another name. The room will be heated, and you will sweat buckets.

Restorative 

Restorative yoga is a delicious way to way to relax and soothe frayed nerves. Restorative classes use bolsters, blankets, and blocks to prop students in passive poses so that the body can experience the benefits of a pose without having to exert any effort. A good restorative class is more rejuvenating than a nap. Studios and gyms often offer them on Friday nights, when just about everyone could use a little profound rest.

Anusara

Developed by American yogi John Friend in 1997, anusara yoga is a relative newcomer to the yoga world. Based on the belief that we are all filled with an intrinsic goodness, anusara seeks to use the physical practice of yoga to help students open their hearts, experience grace, and let their inner goodness shine through. Classes, which are specifically sequenced by the teacher to explore one of Friend’s Universal Principles of Alignment, are rigorous for the body and the mind.

 

http://life.gaiam.com/article/beginners-guide-8-major-styles-yoga

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“One of the fundamental differences

IMG_7879.jpgbetween the Victim Orientation and this one [Creator] is where you put your focus of attention…For Victims, the focus is always on what they don’t want: the problems that seem constantly to multiply in their lives. They don’t want the person, condition, or circumstance they consider their Persecutor, and they don’t want the fear that leads to fight, flee or freeze reactions, either. Creators, on the other hand, place their focus on what they do want. Doing this, Creators still face and solve problems in the course of creating outcomes they want, but their focus remains fixed on their ultimate vision.” ~David Emerald

 

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Instead of thinking outside the box …

Ocean Waves off Fire Island, New York

Ocean Waves off Fire Island, New York

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The nature of Yoga is …

to shine the light of awareness into the darkest corners of the body ~ Jason Crandell

 

Sunset Yoga at Untermyer Gardens, Yonkers

Sunset Yoga at Untermyer Gardens, Yonkers

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Spirituality is not …

 

Urdhva Dhanurasana - Upward Bow at Untermyer Gardens, Yonkers

Urdhva Dhanurasana – Upward Bow at Untermyer Gardens, Yonkers

some external goal that one must seek, but a part of the divine core of each of us, which we must reveal ~

B.K.S. Iyengar (December 14, 1918 – August 20, 2014)

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Available For Group and Private Classes in Westchester, New York, New Jersey and now Long Island!!!

 

Yoga is the journey of the self

 

I am a Certified Registered Yoga instructor specializing in Restorative Yoga.  I offer an individualized, personal approach that adapts to all individuals, including those with chronic and acute pain.

I’m trained in a variety of styles, although I focus on Hatha Yoga with Iyengar-based alignment (with use of props) and always centered on the  breath. I strive to keep true to the tradition of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (and now his son,  TKV Desikachar) and B. K. S. Iyengar. The other styles I’m trained in are: Kundalini, Vinyasa Flow, Bhakti and Tantra.

My goal is to help each individual develop a personal practice that will not only stretch and relax the body, but also help alleviate pain and injury in those “stuck” places.  I will also guide you to develop and maintain a meditation practice and I’ll introduce those interested into Ayurveda (the sister science of Yoga) and I’ll use organic food grade essential oils (when desired).

If you are new to Yoga, I will help you build a solid foundation to safely embark on your Yoga journey through safe and effective methods.  If you already have experience with Yoga and want to deepen your practice and enjoy the benefits of individual attention, then I will help you enhance your practice so you can enjoy the gift of Yoga from your own personal perspective.

I am also working to become a Certified Yoga Therapist, an endeavor of a minimum of at least 3-5 years.  But as I work towards this new goal, I will be incorporating what I learn so as to address a wide range of therapeutic conditions.

I look forward to supporting you in an ongoing program appropriate whether you have never done yoga before or you are an advanced practitioner looking to deepen your practice.

Fees:

Privates $75 introductory price (can also be combined with a up to 2 other people for a Semi-Private, or $140 for up to 6 people)

Group $15 per person (10 people or more)

~ Prices may vary depending on choice of location

~ Packages available for greater affordability  (3 pre-paid private sessions $200)

सच्चिदानंद

sat Absolute Being        cit True consciousness                      ānanda True bliss

With Metta:
May all beings be safe. May all beings be healthy.
May all beings be happy. May all beings live with ease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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