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Treat Yourself! Urban Weekend Retreat!

In terms of getting back to balance, very little compares to taking time for yourself!  But we know it can sometimes feel impossible to carve time to getaway.  Health Yoga Life has created the Boston Urban Weekend Retreat just for you.  Join us this Memorial Day for a rejuvenation of mind, body and spirit.  You deserve to be good to yourself.

Take time focus on yourself and plant seeds for transformation.  Health Yoga Life’s founders are experts in the field of wellness and have created a dynamic weekend program to teach you the tools and tips they know work for people. Come learn, have fun and connect back with yourself! Just in time for summer!

Highlights of the weekend include:

  • Welcome Kit-including weekend nourishment and detox (optional) plan
  • 4 Yoga Classes
  • Meditation Sessions
  • Healthy Delicious Lunch Saturday
  • Emotional Wellbeing Strategy Session
  • Gong Sound Bath
  • Endless tips for optimal health to last a lifetime & awesome community!

The weekend will take place at the HYL Cambridge Yoga Studio at 181 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139

Schedule for the weekend:

May 25-27, 2018

Friday: 6PM-9:00PM

Saturday: 11AM-7:00PM

Sunday 8:30AM-12:30PM

Save $50 for early bird registration! CLICK HERE

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.

HYL Sister Review-Sipping in Ease for Mind, Body & Spirit! Yogi Tea!

I have enjoyed Yogi Teas for many years now. Inspired in the sixties by Kundalini Yoga Teacher Yogi Bhajan and Ayurveda, these teas are now  part of the East West Tea Company.  There are many delicious flavors to choose, that sometimes it’s hard to pick. These teas are more than delicious; they are healing. Ayurveda is the world’s oldest holistic healing systems and the tea formulas use specific herbs for specific healing properties. The range of teas include Bedtime, Detox, Calming, Immune Support, Breathe Better and others that take aim at your specific mind, body, & spirit needs.

My favorite of the moment is The Honey Lavender Stress Relief. It is particularly delightful. The ingredients include lemon balm, passion flower, chamomile, lavender, honey and spearmint. The combination is just right. There is a bit of sweet honey sensation, but not too much. The aroma of lavender is gentle and calming. The formula relaxes my whole system from the inside out and the outside in.

yogi tea cup

As a Health Yoga Life coach and yoga teacher I am often asked about how to break unhealthy habits and many of my clients are eager to reduce their stress. To reduce stress, often we need to work on removing things from our lives that are causing stress or change our relationship to those things. Sometimes we need to add things to our lives, new habits to replace old negative ones. Sipping on a Yogi Tea could be a new healthy habit you add to your life. In coaching others, I teach my clients about self-care and the importance of taking a few moments for the self every day. What could be better and more convenient than sitting down and allowing yourself to hold a warm cup of tea? It warms your hands, provides a gentle soothing aroma, and allows your entire system to take a brief reprieve. Yogi Teas also have a little inspiration on every tea bag, which makes the mind reflective toward positivity even for a brief moment.

This tea does calm my nerves (body). It does release negative thoughts (mind). It does give me time to be with myself and rest (spirit). Are these big claims? Yes, they are. However ultimately it is bringing me to the present moment. And as we yogis know it is about enjoying the present moment and the journey, not about the achievement that brings a sense of ease.

#WellthyWednesday #QuickEnergyShift – Marma Point Self Massage for Stress Relief

#WellthyWednesday #QuickEnergyShift: Marma Point Self Massage for Stress Relief

You literally hold your heart in your hands.  It is called the Tala hridaya marma point. Marma points are Ayurvedic acupressure points.  They are where matter meets consciousness.  It’s true. When you reach out to shake someone’s hand there is a moment of heart connection. Here is a great way to take care of the “HEART” in your hands!

The Tala hridaya marma point is l
ocated in the palm of both hands. It is underneath the middle fingers’ bottom knuckles.  It is responsible for circulation and controls the lungs and heart. Massaging this point on the right and left hand will reduce stress and anxious feelings.

Press into this point with the thumb of the opposite hand. When you feel a knot or tenderness, you have found the right spot. Gently massage, counterclockwise in small circles. This will break up blocked energy.  Finish by closing with clockwise circles. This stimulates and energizes the point. This only takes 3-5 minutes on each hand. One side might feel like it needs more massage than the other.  Go for what you feel you need. Let your intuition guide you. Massage oil and essential oils may be used to enhance this experience.

Feel your body as a whole. Feel the link between the hands and the heart, and the heart that links the whole body. Breath in what you need, exhale what no longer serves you.  The free Prana (life-force) circulating through your whole body feels flowing and balanced. This balance reduces stress and creates an overall sense of wellbeing.

Check Out HYL’s Ongoing Offerings

200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Available HERE

Virtual Coach Training Available HERE

Mind, Mood & Muscle™ Online Yoga & Wellness plan.  Includes 12 months of Quick Energy Shift Videos, Motivational Coaching Tips, Yoga Class Videos, and Audio Meditations sent directly to your inbox! Available HERE

#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.

The Perfect Yoga Retreat is Waiting for You-by Vyda Bielkus

Health Yoga Life and Life Source Retreats

As a business owner in the yoga and wellness arena, I practice what I teach.  Through meditation, yoga and Health Yoga Life coaching I find a quicker connection to self, can eradicate limiting beliefs and move forward with choice and action confidently. And still we live in world (perhaps cosmically and consciously designed) to take us far from center almost on a daily basis.  Recently, I was given the gift from a dear friend to attend a retreat.  As I am usually the one leading the retreats these days, I must confess, the first day or so I was continuously nagged by a feeling that I needed to do something. Whether that was to check-in with my sisters about our yoga studio back home in Boston or teach a yoga class to my peers at the program, my mind was like a ping pong ball, back and forth back and forth “what can I do now to distract myself from being present”.  As I observed this in my mind and body, I noticed a rushing feeling of thoughts and sensation.  It was a slow-leak of my own energy, and it was time I stopped the drain.

Retreats are a wonderful opportunity to slow down and see what is really going on behind the scenes of our own life; what gives us energy what takes it away. If we never pause we simply do not have the time to be with ourselves long enough to know what makes our hearts come alive or what hinders or grows our light.  Retreats like our “Ultimate Liberation: Free the Mind, Empower the Body, Awaken the Soul” retreat in Tulum allow for self-exploration at the deepest level.  As the resort is right on the beach the ocean waves provide the melody for the week.  The water moves in the water moves out. The breath moves in the breath moves out. The perfect reminder that there is an easeful flow to life and if we feel like we are constantly swimming upstream it’s a calling to change direction.

As my time went on at the retreat, I paid full attention to what I needed to do that week to receive the most from my experience.  As my life outside the retreat is spent surrounded by people and in constant communication with others, I knew I desperately needed alone time.  So I gave myself permission that week to be with me and created lots of moments of being quiet with myself. Through this, pain and grief that I was carrying that was blocking my freedom of being was released and healed.

I didn’t think I needed a retreat when my friend gave me this gift.  Of course I was excited to spend a week in a beautiful place, but I didn’t have any intentions for the week.  However, as retreats will do, this time away gave me so much more than I ever expected to receive.  I am refreshed, more present, and have more energy for the things that are important to me.   Join us this winter Jan 21-Feb 5 and be transformed by the journey! Learn More Click Here

One Year Plan – By Liz Swenton

Yoga is a part of my weekly routine because of its ability to help me through life’s stressors and challenges. In exactly a year, I will be celebrating one of the biggest and happiest days of my life – my wedding! While exciting and joyful, I am aware that some moments this next year will be stressful, chaotic and overwhelming.

imagesI recently created a “One Year Plan” which includes personal goals to help me look and feel my best on the big day. Number one on the list is to continue with my weekly yoga practices and not letting anything get in the way.

Here are three benefits of a yoga routine to help prep brides for their big day:

  • Breath – Vendors (florists, DJs, hair/makeup), cake tastings, spreadsheets…Having a perfect wedding requires a lot of planning and can often cause you to feel overwhelmed. By taking three deep lions breaths, you will suddenly feel at ease and back in the zone.
  • Reduce Toxins – A heated, sweaty yoga class helps release toxins from the body (think champagne toasts at the engagement party and bridal shower) leaving your skin glowing and beautiful.
  • Toned – It’s no secret that yoga has the ability to give you a strong core, toned arms and an overall leaner look.

Some brides-to-be may strive to lose ten pounds by their big day. My “One Year Plan” is to rather gain all of the benefits yoga can offer so I can look my absolute best in my wedding dress – both mentally and physically.

As the Health Yoga Life sisters approach their three year anniversary, I would like to thank you all for your support to date and I look forward to practicing with you leading up to my wedding!

5 Reasons Why You Should Practice Yoga on Monday Morning – By Liz Swenton

What’s the first thing you do on Monday morning? Let me guess, think about your to-do list for the day and week? Worry if you’re going to get everything done? Contemplate staying in bed a few more hours?

Put all of those thoughts aside and roll out your yoga mat!

HYL Retreat Image 2I’m a morning person and have been practicing yoga at 6:30 am on Monday for almost two years now. Let me share with you the five benefits of why Monday morning yoga practice rocks.

1. Set an intention – At the beginning of class, typically teachers ask you to set an intention for your practice. This could be something personal, something for someone else, or just a spot you want to send a little extra love. When yoga is the first thing you do on Monday, it allows you to set an intention for the entire week. During class this morning with Sara, I dedicated the practice to myself and will not allow myself to get upset or stressed over something I cannot control.

2. Fire up the core – There’s nothing better than a Monday morning detox to wring out the toxins from the weekend. Through a series of twists, you’ll fire up the core and help aid digestion for the week to come. But since you’re all yogis, I know you don’t eat burgers, fries and pizza.

3. Open your heart – By practicing at the start of your week, you’re opening your heart to new possibilities. Sara taught us this morning that the audible “hah” means to open your heart and let love in. Think “aloha!” So when you’re in downward dog, say “hah” and let love in.

4. Burst of energy – Back bends are a calorie-free way to send some extra energy to your body. Yoga poses like camel, bridge and wheel are great ways to send a java jolt to your entire body, preparing yourself for the week.

5. Let go – Yoga is a great way to lose the ego, lose the to-do list and just let go. By doing this first thing on Monday, you’re setting yourself up for success from the very beginning. The hardest part really is making it to your yoga mat, and it’s such an accomplishment to get there on a Monday at 6:30 am.

So what are you doing next Monday?

Hope to see you on your mat at 6:30 am with Sara Packard leading us through a vigorous, yet calming yoga practice. Trust me, there really is nothing better than doing Sun Salutations as the sun is rising at the beginning of the week.

Yoga Connects You to the Perfection You Seek – by Vyda Bielkus

Many of us know someone who struggles or struggled with body image issues.  From February 23 to March 1, Health Yoga Life will be honoring National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, because we believe that those who struggle should not struggle alone.

“I Had No Idea,” is the 2014 theme selected by The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). This theme was selected so that we could all bring more awareness to the symptoms, struggles  and signs of eating disorders.  As yoga studio owners and Health Yoga Life Coaches, my sisters and I see and know intimately individuals who have greatly benefited through self-care techniques like yoga and coaching to begin to change their relationship to their bodies.   In today’s world of Kim Kardashian being called fat while being pregnant, it’s no wonder women and men of all ages are afflicted by eating disorders and body image issues.

You can’t open a magazine or watch TV or walk down the street without “perfection” (as decided by someone else and photo-shopped by yet another) being projected as a uniform norm.   It’s like we are stuffing down any interest in individuality, true beauty, and the light that makes us each shine.  Eating disorders and body image issues are complex.   From criticizing our thighs to starving ourselves to death, each of us finds ourselves on a different spot on the very wide spectrum of self-love and self-worth.

A master yogi, BKS Iyengar said “It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.”  The self-care practice of yoga can help us to heal and begin to understand what being a spark of the divine truly means.  Through observation of our thoughts we begin to understand that we are more than our thoughts, that we are more than the records that play in our minds of what others define us to be or what our inner critic shouts.  What yoga, meditation and coaching can help us see is that the perfection will never be found outside ourselves and can only be found within ourselves.

Let your mat be the judgment-free zone each of us so desperately needs!  By practicing yoga and connecting your body and your breath, you can delve deep into the exploration of the divine and begin to honor and respect that.  This will then translate to the actions and choices you make off your mat to do the same.