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Health Yoga Life Turns 9 Years-Old Today

Health Yoga Life Online Studio

I’m sitting in my home office watching the golden leaves rain down from the trees. Taped up around my desk, I can see a school photo of my son when he was 2, a small Ganesha statue to remove obstacles, a “Do Your Job” New England Patriots bookmark, and a Winston Flowers card that reads May Your chosen work bring you fulfilment and success – Buba. This was written by my grandmother, who was 95 at the time. She sent the flowers on 11/11/11, the day we opened Health Yoga Life, at 12 Temple Street Boston, MA. You can see the bouquet in this picture of me waiting patiently for our first students.

Like many other businesses, we shuttered our studio doors due to Covid-19. It was uncertain with the guidelines at the time if we could or would reopen the physical yoga studios. The team immediately jumped into action virtualizing Health Yoga Life. Without missing a beat, the co-founders, teacher training faculty, class instructors, and manager worked to transition Health Yoga Life to a fully online yoga company. We already had online programs, so it didn’t seem like a stretch (no pun intended).

I want to deeply thank the teachers at Health Yoga Life Stephen Allison, Amy Dipazza, Kim Fallon, Rachel Ferry, Robyn Gimler, Liz Hosman, LeeMarie Kennedy, Lea Luniewicz, Maggie Woodward, Gina Molinari, Purvi Patel, Ashley Powers, Julian Yun and Customer Experience and Social Media Manager Chelsea Cameron for supporting our physical studio locations and then moving onto an online virtual platform. Their commitment to learning new technology, showing up and prepped on Zoom, and their persistence at improving their audio-visual equipment for optimizing customer experience was remarkable — quite unbelievable. Full of optimism, they show up to create a virtual yoga studio community, and are present to their students who show up for them.

I also want to thank our students who committed to their practice. I know sometimes it is not easy to show up. But, once you do, you do not regret it. In addition, I wish to thank the new students who have joined our community. I know you will feel at hOMe with us.

My life has been a fusion of my family and my business, Health Yoga Life. We are not a large company with deep pockets. We are Bostonian, local, family- and women-owned. 

Over these past 9 years, so much has happened in my life. The co-founders worked the business tirelessly, 7 days a week. I felt so energized after teaching a powerful hot vinyasa class. I knew it was a good class when the windows would be dripping from humidity and you could feel the vibration in your heart when everyone chanted OM in unison. I felt so honored to be a lead faculty member at the yoga teacher trainings along with my sisters. My favorite part of the job is working side-by-side with them. I am also just so delighted that Health Yoga Life trains and graduates amazing teachers! Everyone on our team right now is a graduate of our training. I was so happy to hear that when Ryma (co-founder and my mom) took Rachel Ferry’s class, she said it was wonderful! Rachel is a recent graduate of our virtual yoga teacher training, having learned from Purvi Patel, LeeMarie Kennedy, and Stephanie Jones—themselves graduates of Health Yoga Life’s Advanced Yoga Teacher Training.

I have gained so much, even though the past 9 years have also brought a lot of loss to my life. The biggest loss was my precious older sister, Aida. On June 30, 2019, she tragically passed away during a program. She was leading a session, sitting in lotus pose, and then was gone. My grief is too raw to express anything about her passing. I am heartbroken that she is not physically present with us on this anniversary.

Losing my sister; losing the physical studio locations; losing a sense of security; remembering those who have fought and died for our freedoms on this Veterans Day; seeing the whole world suffer such immense loss in the pandemic… these bring up a lot of powerful emotions.

My strength and stamina to keep going come from my family, my practice, and the Health Yoga Life community. The past 9 years have had hurdles and victories, sadness, and love.

I hope you find your way to your mat in our virtual bubble. The light in me honors the light within you. Namaste.

Thank you,

Siga Bielkus

Creating Intimacy Through Presence

Yoga is a whole way of life. It can shape and heal the body, but it also gives us deeper connection to ourselves.  In a world that is always trying to pull us off center we need a tool to help us become more present.

Why? Because from presence comes power! True, authentic power!  This quality allows you to embrace a way of living that is free and purposeful.  It allows you to be there for others and helps foster intimacy.

Intimacy is the sweetness of our relationships.  It is not just something that is present for romantic partners.  It is a quality that makes everyone we interact with important and part of our fabric.  Intimacy allows us to be in a space with another human being as simply being with versus needing to solve or improve.

As you start to practice yoga, you increase intimacy with the self. By slowing down our rapid thoughts we can start to listen to our own inner world and begin to have compassion for the self.  As this quality begins to grow in us, we begin to want to share this with others.  We want to engage in community to foster our own deepening of this experience.

Being with someone, or holding space means you are listening before you start thinking about what you are going to say. It means you are not judging or expecting. It means learning to bring your full being to the moment.

But how do you get yourself out of the way? Many of us are taught to debate our position. We feel validation when we can impose our views or ways of being on someone else.  But this is not empowering to anyone.  This doesn’t allow for growth.

Health Yoga Life programs are dynamic self-development programs that will help you learn the skills to be able to be present for others, to deepen intimacy with yourself and others and to embrace a new way of living. Our yoga teacher trainings and Health Yoga Life Coach Trainings not only teach you how to employ these in your own life but certify you in a professional skill set.

If you love yoga, consider yoga teacher training with Health Yoga Life. We offer two dynamic programs.  Check out the Boston 8 Weekend Yoga Teacher Training CLICK HERE offered or our Summer Intensive Yoga Teacher Training in Vermont CLICK HERE.

Would you like an online program that will teach you more about these skills but will also certify you as a Health Yoga Life Coach CLICK HERE.

Three Quick Tips to Boost Immunity! #WellthyWednesday

We know this time of year can be crazy hectic. Parties, shopping, keeping healthy and fit, weather changes, end of year work projects…the list continues! It’s easy for stress to pile up and to start to feel rundown. Luckily there are strategies that can really help keep the immunity up.

Here are three quick tips to consider:

1. Keep unrolling your mat! Sometimes yoga is the first thing to get sacrificed when the demands on our time increase. STOP! UNROLL! GET ON YOUR MAT! Consistent yoga practices decreases stress and immunity. Studies have shown that people who practice yoga regularly are less likely to get the flu or catch a cold.

2. Pop a probiotic! Gut health is critical to overall health. Different foods/beverages, weather changes, and stress can contribute to the flora in the gut being compromised. So if probiotics aren’t a daily habit yet, you might consider a month trial in December. See how you feel. Gut health is even connected to our mental health. Probiotics have been shown to help ease stress and anxiety. All kinds of foods have good probiotics including yogurt (just go for the plain stuff and add a drop of maple syrup or berries as most yogurts are loaded with sugar) and fermented foods like sauerkraut and kombucha!

3. Go Green! Increase your daily raw green leafy vegetable intake. You know the ones: kale, romaine, parsley, chard, dandelion greens, collard greens. Indulged a little too much? You need to hydrate and raw green vegetables are loaded with WATER! Look for or make juices with primarily green leafy vegetables and start to replace fruits, like apple and pear, with lime and ginger (both great immune boosters that enhance the taste of the juice but without the added carbs from the fruit. Want a how to? Check out Siga’s Green Drink Video CLICK HERE

WINTER YOGA TEACHER TRAINING STARTS JANUARY

GROW YOUR PRACTICE-TEACH!

Take everything you learn back to your mat and your life!

Yoga teacher training is an opportunity to learn about the practice you love. Our training will give you the skills to start teaching and teach you how you can take the incredible tools that yoga offers back into your daily life. Time to embrace the yoga lifestyle! Learn more CLICK HERE

YOGA RETREAT TO TULUM, MEXICO

SNOW AND COLD IS COMING! HAVE SOMETHING TO DREAM ABOUT!

REGISTER TODAY. SPACE IS LIMITED.

A yoga retreat is one of the best vacations you can ever go on! Tulum, Mexico is a world known destination. Come play with us. 2 yoga classes per day, healthy life giving food, amazing beaches, Mayan ruin exploration, great people and GREAT FUN! Come with a friend or register by yourself, and we will match you with an appropriate roommate! Time to be good to your self and your soul!  Learn more CLICK HERE

HYL GIFT CERTIFICATES! THE PERFECT PRESENT!

Give the gift that brings peace and health! Or forward this link to someone who might be struggling to come up with the perfect present for you and say Hint! Hint! PURCHASE HERE

Looking for Balance? Choose It!

These days we have so many things to distract us, it’s easy to forget what is truly important to us!  It can feel like we are being pulled in thousands of directions.  This way and that.

So how can we find that elusive quality- BALANCE so many of us are searching for?

YOU CHOOSE! That’s how.  I distinctly remember when I started practicing yoga I started making more true choices and sometimes those felt scary at first.

For example one of the scariest choices for this recovering Type-A personality to make, was choosing to leave work early to make a yoga class I loved.  I had to leave 15 minutes before the customary end of day, otherwise I would miss the class.  This was a tough one. Every time I got up to leave I feared I would get yelled at by my boss or at least get criticized. I could feel the sneers from my colleagues as I walked by them and out the door.

But you know what I came to find out. No one really cared! Besides a few sarcastic remarks, there really was no issue. I was a great employee and a great co-worker. And the ones that smirked, what they actually felt, I think, was disappointment in themselves.  And as we know it’s much easier to be mad at someone else than be upset with yourself.

Start practicing the right choices for yourself and see, you just might find what you have been looking for!

EmpowerUP :  “I align my choices with my desires and take action”. 

Join us for our Boston  fall yoga teacher training   It’s not too late! Choose Now!  Read all about our training including weekend dates CLICK HERE.  Don’t worry if you have to miss a day or a weekend.  We work with you to make up the missed time.

CLICK HERE to register! Add to cart for automatic $200 savings.

Questions?  Email yogatt@healthyogalife.com!

#MondayMantra – #LoveIsLove

Sky above. Earth below. Peace within. #MondayMantra #LoveIsLove #Orlando

Today, we rise with heavy hearts in the aftermath of the events in Orlando this weekend. Our thoughts & prayers continue to be with those affected by this senseless tragedy.

Today, we also take the opportunity to recommit to finding peace within ourselves so that we may radiate peace, love & light out into the world. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” 

Love is truth. Love is light. Love is the way. And, as President Obama reminded us yesterday, “no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.”

Manifest love & light on your mat using a Lotus Mudra. By sealing in specific energy forces in the body, Hand Mudras (seals) cultivate a certain state of mind. Rising out of muddy water toward the sun, the lotus flower is a symbol of light rising out of darkness. It cultivates grounding and the opening of one’s own heart.

You can practice Lotus Mudra in seated meditation, in asana (yoga postures) such as Vrksasana (Tree Pose), or in conjunction with Pranayama (control of breath or breathing exercises).

To create a Lotus Mudra, bring the heels of your palms together at your heart center. Spread your fingers, bringing your thumb tips and pinky fingers to touch. Keeping your knuckles separate, let your fingers blossom like the petals of a flower.

Closing the eyes or gazing gently at your hands, breath in deeply. Feel strong and grounded like the deep roots of the lotus. Pause and hold in the breath. Exhale slowly, feeling your heart open like the lotus blossom, radiating love and peace.

#TransformYourself. #TransformYourWorld.

#MondayMantra – Try something new!

Don’t let fear stand in your way, try something new! Everyone has a list of “I’d like to, but haven’t” – whether it’s paddle-boarding on the Charles, joining an ultimate Frisbee league, taking a music lesson or cooking class, or hosting a dinner party.

When it comes to leaving our comfort zone, we often let fear stand in our way. But how often do we actually regret trying something new?

Commit to checking one thing off your list this summer! We promise, you won’t regret it.  We’re stronger together! Share your progress with us on social media #HYLSummer

HYL AT THE STRATTON MOUNTAIN RESORT, VERMONT!

Our Summer 2016 two-week Intensive Yoga Teacher Training starts June 25th!

Join us for an amazing time in the mountain of Vermont. Great hikes, terrific food, awesome friends, a great learning environment, and someone to make your bed every morning!

Get certified in 2 weeks! Find your voice. Improve your practice. Or take one week now and the second week later!

Email us at yogatt@healthyogalife.com for more information!

Love our studio?! Vote for HYL for Best Yoga Studio on the 2016 Boston A-ListVOTE HERE! Share your vote on social media with the #bostonsbestyoga & be entered to win a $25-$50 HYL Gift Certificate!

Questions about our upcoming events?! Contact us at info@healthyogalife.com or 857.350.4124.

Namaste!

#WellthyWednesday: 5 Fab Ways to Use Cacao

It’s HYL #WellthyWednesday!

During our last Yoga retreat in Mexico we could not resist bringing home some of the elixir of the Gods, the Mayan ceremonial drink, cacao powder. This exotic super-food is actually available everywhere now, the trip just reminded us of some its great uses. It is an antioxidant, is anti-inflammatory and mineral rich.  The words cacao and cocoa are used interchangeably. You may be more familiar with cocoa. The word “cocoa” is simply the English word for “cacao”.

The cacao referred to here has been roasted and ground to a fine powder.

5 Fab ways to use Cacao!

  • Drink it. Put about a table spoon in the bottom of a mug and add a little hot water at a time. It forms a paste, slowly add more water to fill a mug. Because it is a fine powder adding to much water too quickly leaves powder floating.
  • Smoothie it. Put some in your favorite morning smoothies with fruit and yogurt.
  • Snack it. Mix it up with some peanut butter and a touch of honey. It makes a delicious spread on top of sliced apples or crackers.
  • Mask it. Make a homemade face mask with cacao powder, olive oil, and brown sugar. Apply a light layer to your face and meditate for 20 minutes. Rinse clean.
  • Spice it. Add it to a hot sauce, bean chili, or any great Mexican dish you may be making. It brings out an amazing depth of flavor.

Tips for buying cacao powder

  1. Look for certified fair trade & certified organic.
  2. Make sure it is unsweetened.
  3. Most of the cacao you buy will be roasted. If you buy raw it is cold pressed and there is no consensus as to what constitutes raw. The raw is less palatable and you have to make sure the company is reputable and removing harmful bacteria in raw processing. The raw however may have more health benefits than roasted, the jury is still out on that one.

*For more #HYLMMM tips like this sign up for our on-line Mind, Mood &  and Muscle™plan.  Includes 12 months of healthy eating and motivational coaching tips, yoga classes and meditations sent directly to your inbox!  Available HERE

#MondayMantra – Calm is a super power!

We can’t always control what goes on outside, but we can always control what goes on inside. Yoga gives us the tools to tap into this super power!

“Yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” meaning to yoke, join, or unite. Through yoga, we learn to align our body, mind, and spirit. By turning our perceptions inward, we can feel the sense of calm & well-being associated with a quiet mind. This “calm” is always with us, whether or not we are on our mat!

Tap into your super-yogi power! Live yoga off the mat to cultivate balance in your every-day life!

JOIN US at these UPCOMING EVENTS!

 Sunday, 5/22, HYL Yoga @ Athleta on Newbury! Take part in this fun & informative community event! Join us for a free vinyasa flow led by HYL Sister Vyda Bielkus! Then stay and chat with Vyda about the benefits of yoga teacher training (even if you don’t want to teach). Refreshments will be provided. Free gift with any Athleta purchase! Doors open at 9:30 a.m. CLICK HERE to RSVP!

 Saturday, 5/28, 1:30-3:00 p.m., Stretch for the Jimmy Fund Charity Class to Support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Join HYL instructor Courtney Mussina for a gently-heated Power Vinyasa class to support 2016 Pan-Mass Challenge rider (and yogi), Jessica Lack, and Dana-Farber. $20 Registration. SIGN UP HERE!

Love our studio?! Vote for HYL for Best Yoga Studio on the 2016 Boston A-ListVOTE HERE! Share your vote on social media with the #bostonsbestyoga & win a $25-$50 HYL Gift Certificate! 1 vote = 1 raffle entry! Vote everyday until June 12th to maximize your chances to win!

Questions about our upcoming events?! Contact us at info@healthyogalife.com or 857.350.4124.

Namaste!

#MondayMantra – Challenge yourself to let your inner light shine!

The hardness of a diamond is part of its usefulness but its true value is the light that shines through it.” #MondayMantra #ShineBright

The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything. This rainy Monday, challenge yourself to let your inner light shine out brightly to the world!

Polish your diamond with these simple tips!

  1. Gratitude: Write down three things you are grateful for right now. Try this every day and, over time, you can re-wire your brain to focus on the positive things in your life.
  2. Meditation: Taking time everyday to quiet the mind allows you to step back, re-group, and free yourself from reactive thinking that no longer serves you and dampens your light.
  3. Kindness: Do something for someone else – send an unexpected email complimenting your coworker on the fantastic job they did on their latest project,  reach out to a loved one and let them know how much you appreciate them, or sign up to volunteer for a charitable cause you believe in. Its scientifically proven that doing things for others boosts happiness and personal satisfaction.

»» MAY PREVIEW «« 

Turn your world upside-down! INVERSION WORKSHOP with Allison Jones. Saturday, May 14, 2016, 1:00-3:00p.m. $40 Registration. Space is limited! CLICK HERE to register!

MAMA’STE! Mom’s practice FREE on Sunday, May 8th! If you’re a mom or bring a mom, take any of Health Yoga Life’s Sunday yoga classes on us! Just check-in at reception to redeem your free Mama’ste class!

Yoga @ Athleta on Newbury! The Benefits of Yoga Teacher Training (even if you don’t want to teach): VINYASA, BAGELS & CHAT with Vyda Bilekus! Sunday, May 22, 2016, 9:30 a.m. at Athleta 92 Newbury Street, Boston, MA. Have you thought about taking a Yoga Teacher Training but have yet to take the leap? Are you looking to improve your yoga practice? Increase your enjoyment of life? Gain more confidence? Find your voice? Live yoga off your mat? If you answered YES to any of these questions, Yoga Teacher Training might just be your answer! Find out how, at this fun & informative community event. Then, stay to shop & receive a free gift with purchase! CLICK HERE to RSVP!

Give back! STRETCH FOR JIMMY FUND – Charity Class to Support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Join HYL instructor Courtney Mussina for a gently-heated Power Vinyasa class to support 2016 Pan-Mass Challenge rider (and yogi), Jessica Lack, and Dana-Farber. Saturday, May 28, 2016, 1:30-3:00p.m. $20 Registration. SIGN UP HERE!

Questions about our upcoming events?! Contact us at info@healthyogalife.com or 857.350.4124.