One of the best things you can do during the summer is take your yoga practice outside. Whether you’re doing your own flow, or participating in a class, we have some tips on how you can get the most out of your practice.
Happy Mother’s Day from Health Yoga Life! Self-care is important for everyone, but especially for moms. Take some time and choose one of these tips to try and give yourself a break today. Even if you can’t schedule a weekend at the spa, you should find at least a few minutes in your day to take care of yourself.
Meditation is known to benefit the mind and lower stress, but did you know that it can also help improve your health? The benefits of meditation have been studied, so here are four benefits of a regular meditation practice.
We posted recently about adaptogens and how to use them, so we thought we’d share some great recipes for adaptogenic drinks that you can incorporate into your day to get all the benefits and enjoy yourself at the same time.
Winter temperatures and dryness can be harsh on your skin. To keep your skin feeling soft and hydrated, you’ll need to level up your skincare routine during the winter months. We’ve got a few tips on how you can keep a dewy look all year long.
We’d all like to use more natural products in our homes, but sometimes it can be daunting to figure out what we can swap with our old products. We’ve got some tips on how you can make the switch and create a healthier home.
Essential oils can be used so many ways throughout your daily routine, but it can be overwhelming trying to decide which oils to use, and what to use them for. We’ve compiled some ways you can easily incorporate essential oils into your everyday life to help boost your mood, increase energy, or help you get a good night’s rest.
With so many options for yoga classes, from in-person to online, it can be overwhelming trying to choose the right yoga teacher. It’s important to find a teacher that is welcoming, qualified, and who supports your yoga journey, whether you’re a beginner or advanced yogi.
A lot of yogis will assume that since they don’t plan to become a yoga teacher, that yoga teacher training isn’t for them. The truth is yoga teacher training can be an incredible way to grown in your own practice and build on your love for yoga.
March 8th is International Women’s Day, and what better way to celebrate than with yoga? Health Yoga Life is proud to be both family-owned and women-owned. Yoga has so many benefits, specifically for women. We’ve got some poses to practice this International Women’s Day with your mom, sister, daughter, friends, or even just by yourself.
Thinking about taking a yoga teacher training program is a big decision. Not only is there a financial commitment, there’s also a time and energy commitment. Here’s how to figure out if a training is right for you.
No matter who you are, you probably need more rest, or better-quality sleep in your life. In addition to having a calming bedtime routine, here are five yoga poses you can do before bed to help you get a great night’s sleep.
Every single body is different, and your yoga practice can look completely different from the person on the mat next to you. Modifications that work for you are key to helping support your yoga practice, and for giving your body what it needs for that day. Here are some tips on how to modify your yoga practice.
We get so caught up in our workdays that yoga is sometimes the last thing on our priority list. Movement is so crucial to maintaining a healthy body and a strong mind, so here are four yoga poses you can do right from your office chair. There are numerous benefits of stretching every day. These are also ideal for anyone dealing with an injury, or someone who wants a more gentle and supported practice.
Fall can be a stressful time. The lazy days of summer are over, and it’s almost time to prepare for the holidays. Sometimes you need a little rest and recovery from the chaos! Yoga is the ideal way to take care of both your body and your spirit.
Here at Health Yoga Life, we know that yoga is for everyBODY, at any age. Yes, yoga is great for kids, teens, and young adults, but the benefits of yoga for those with more life experience are numerous. Many may also assume that they have missed their chance to become a yoga teacher, and that it’s only a career path for the young and flexible. The world needs yoga teachers of all ages who want to spark and nurture the love of yoga in their students.
Everyone knows about spring cleaning your house, but what if you took that spirit to spring clean your life? This is the perfect time of year to change up your routine, try something new, and de-clutter every area of your life. Out with the old and in with the new!
Setting yourself up to have good day starts with one thing: your morning routine. Having a bad morning can set you up for having a bad day. Set yourself up for success by creating a morning routine to support having a great rest of your day.
It seems like every year we all sit down at the end of December and set our intentions for the new year, but how do you keep those intentions? We’ve got some tips on keeping your motivation strong throughout the new year.
Your fourth chakra, your heart chakra is one of the chakras that we all focus on most. Your heart chakra is the home of unconditional love. When this chakra is blocked, we may feel fear, have relationship stress, or an inability to offer and receive love from others. Here are some tips on how to open your heart chakra.
The approach of the Winter Solstice is a time that, evolutionarily, mammals (including humans) naturally want to go inward (as in hibernation). In our culture, this natural tendency is at odds with the busyness of the holidays and year end. We often resist the colder temperatures and shorter days by contracting our energy, which can leave us feeling down in the dumps.
Alternatively, we can cultivate a wintertime practice (or concept) called Hygge (pronounced Hughga).
Not only can the holiday season be stressful, but it can also cause us to get distracted from our own self-care routines. There’s too much else that needs to be done, and often taking care of ourselves can be the first thing we drop. We’ve got some tips for you on how to maintain your self-care for the upcoming holiday season!
Your third chakra, your solar plexus chakra is all about personal power, motivation, and self-esteem. When your third chakra is blocked, you can have digestive issues, struggling to set personal boundaries, lack of motivation, and low self-esteem. Here are a few ways you can power up your third chakra to increase your warrior energy, find motivation, and increase your personal power.
As we navigate life, conquer challenges, and go on adventures, we need to garner a sense of respect for our planet and its people. While you may be careful about the food you consume, you may not have considered the clothes you wear from day-to-day. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but you can transform your closet one piece of clothing at a time. Start your eco-conscious journey by treating yourself to clothing from prAna.
Clothing for a Positive Future
With a goal to reduce their impact on the environment, prAna makes sustainable clothing for women and men using organic cotton and hemp. They also maintain Fair Trade practices, ensuring the safety and well-being of the workers who make their clothing. Their mission is to advance the movement toward a sustainable future.
Stretch and Move with prAna’s Yoga Staples
prAna has yoga clothing that matches your practice, no matter how intense or relaxing it is. They have everything from yoga pants and tanks that stay in place to headbands and bras that are ultrasoft and supportive.
Not sure what to treat yourself to first? We suggest the headbands. We LOVE these organic headbands. They’re a staple among HYL’s yoga teachers and student yogis. With a prAna headband, you can focus solely on your practice and not on your unruly hair trying to be the star of the show. These headbands keep hair in place and wick away sweat. Just beware of headband-snatching husbands! prAna headbands do such a great job that even the men in our lives enjoy using them on their runs.
Gift Yourself a World-Changing Outfit
This holiday season gift yourself a little something special. After a long, challenging year, we all deserve a little self-love. prAna’s holiday must-haves are a great place to start in transforming your closet, with options for activewear, outerwear, and loungewear. Help ensure a bright future with clothing that cares for the planet and people.
Cinnamon and ginger lacing the air; candles flickering in the windows; and laughter wafting about the home. It’s the holidays again, and that means it’s time to shop for your loved ones. While this year’s festivities may look a little different, take time to show your family and friends how much you appreciate them. Here are five reasons you should give the gift of yoga this holiday season.
Great for All Generations
Age has no boundaries in yoga. Is your giftee in college? Mid-thirties? Approaching 70s? Yoga is for them and anyone!
Live classes are perfect for college students who are stuck at home. Are they feeling restless? Do they miss their college friends? Give them the gift of yoga! Health Yoga Life’s live virtual classes provide structure and community – two ingredients to help students feel invigorated. Plus, they’ll have a new hobby to share with their friends once they get back to school (#yogalove).
Yoga is not just for the young in body – it’s also for those young in spirit. Health Yoga Life offers Slow ‘n Strong classes, which are loved by older generations. Ryma, HYL’s co-founder who’s currently in her 70s, steps on the mat and frequently joins these classes. Has your grandmother or elderly friend expressed an interest in boosting their health? Treat them to a yoga gift certificate. They can choose the classes that match their interests and skill level.
Young and old will be filled with joy this holiday as they strengthen their muscles and connect with people around the world through virtual yoga sessions.
Live yoga classes make for a great gift because they keep people accountable to their exercise goals (New Year’s Resolutions, anyone?). By knowing they need to be ready at a specific time, people are more likely to exercise regularly. Give the gift of accountability this holiday season.
One of the benefits of virtual yoga is being able to practice in the comfort of your own home. A gift of HYL’s virtual classes will give a gentle nudge to those who are hesitant to try something new. They’ll learn and grow in their skills without worrying about the “perfect” pose or the judgement of others. It’ll just be them, their mat, and their instructor.
Anywhere at Any Time at Any Level
We all have a lot on our plates, especially around the holidays when we’re shopping, baking, and video-chatting with our families and friends. Many of us could benefit from a gentle reminder to focus on our physical and mental health. Give your loved one a certificate to Health Yoga Life’s classes. Yogis can choose to practice at the time that is most convenient for them – whether it’s rolling out of bed and onto the mat for a 6:30 AM class or whether it’s stepping away from the desk or oven for the 12:30 PM or 4:00 PM class to renew their mind and relieve tension. No matter their experience level or availability, everyone can benefit from yoga.
Speaking of benefits, yoga promotes several health benefits when regularly practiced. It improves flexibility and posture, and it boosts your immune and nervous systems.
In addition to its physical benefits, yoga improves mental health as well, making you happier, relieving anxiety, and benefiting your relationships. By gifting yoga to your loved one, you’ll be investing in their overall health for a beautiful future.
Give the Gift of Yoga This Holiday
Take away some of the hassle and stress of shopping for the perfect present by supporting a women- and family-owned local business. Give a Health Yoga Life yoga gift certificate. Not only will they enjoy yoga classes, your giftee will also receive a personalized gift once they become an HYL member. Empower your loved ones to reconnect with their inner spirit, meet their goals, and improve their health this winter.
The COVID-19 pandemic required us to press pause on many areas of our lives including travel, concerts, group gatherings, and school in the traditional sense. It may have even resulted in a break in your yoga practice since in-studio classes were canceled, and maybe life felt too stressful to practice on your own. Whether you took a break from yoga due to the pandemic, or for another reason, it is perfectly acceptable. In fact, we can learn a lot about ourselves by stepping away from our yoga practice for a while, but when you’re ready to return to your mat, there are a few tips you can adapt as you restart your yoga practice.
Be Gentle with Yourself
Welcome your body back to the mat with kindness and warmth. Incorporate some of your favorite poses from your previous practice, they’ll bring back all the good vibes! Keep in mind that you may have to make some adjustments depending on how long your break has been. Poses that came easily to your body a few months ago, may not be in your practice the first few weeks back. Grab props like a block or strap when you need them. Listen to your body and do what feels good, but it is important not to push too hard.
You may recognize changes your body has been through since the last time you practiced. Maybe your arms shake a little more in plank pose, or your legs stay bent in downward dog. That’s perfectly okay! Thank your body for continuing to sustain you and getting back on the mat. Keep those thoughts positive and full of self-love.
Take A Class
A healthy self-practice is great, but it can be very beneficial to add in a regular group class. A certified yoga instructor can help guide you in correct posture, breath, and transitions that you may have forgotten during your hiatus. Attending a group class on a regular basis also cultivates community and accountability, even online!
At Health Yoga Life, live online yoga classes are available morning and evening, seven days a week. By attending a live online yoga class you’ll benefit from a virtual, judgement-free community of encouraging yogis and certified teachers. Whether you’re an expert or still pretty green, Health Yoga Life virtual classes meet you where you’re at. Just what you need to get back into the swing of your yoga practice!
Don’t Forget to Engage Your Mind
Restarting your yoga practice isn’t just for your body, but your mind as well. You may feel like it only takes a few weeks to get back to a regular practice, or it may take a few months. During this time, consider jotting down your thoughts. Routine journaling has been shown to relieve mental stress, inspire creativity and encourage self-reflection. Here are some ideas on what you could journal about:
How your body is feeling after a session on your mat
What you enjoyed about the class you took that day
Changes you’ve seen in your body since restarting your practice
Words or quotes your yoga teacher shared in class
In addition to journaling, meditation can be a powerful tool as well. It calms an anxious mind and promotes mental clarity before and after your practice. When you sign-up for Health Yoga Life’s online classes, you’ll receive free meditations and ancient wisdom techniques to begin engaging your mind.
Whether you’re ready to restart your yoga practice today, or still mulling it over, you can use these three tips to help you ease back into a regular practice when you’re ready. We’d love for you to join us virtually at Health Yoga Life. You’ll feel at hOMe practicing yoga with us in your hOMe. Our virtual classes offer professional instruction, a reduction in stress and lots of fun!
I am often asked about how to create a space, a sanctuary for practice (meditation/yoga) in one’s own home. You might have an extra room, or you might have some space within your own living room to create a dual-purpose room. The size of the space does not matter. The bottom line is that you value practice. It makes sense to create a devoted space to this value. We have kitchens, bedrooms, entertainment rooms, why not a practice room? So, your mind might jump to thoughts like… “what should I buy” or “what color should I paint it?”. My suggestion is start somewhere else, in fact start way back. Practice while you create.
To create an authentic space in your home for meditation and yoga practice look to Patanjali’s (400CE) 5 Yamas (restraints) and 5 Niyamas (observances), 10 ethical guidelines for living. These guidelines are lived for the purpose of quieting the mind for meditation. Here is the how to guide on how to apply these guidelines in the creation of your meditation space. By applying these restraints and observances during the creation of your meditation and yoga sanctuary you will ensure the room will have both inspirational form and efficient function.
5 Yamas- Restraints
Ahimsa- Non-harming: When choosing materials look to sustainable, earth friendly materials, organic elements that have gone through less processing and materials that have been made by companies who care about ethical manufacturing.
Satya- Non-lying: The room must be a true representation of you, not what you think it should look like. Within the realm of mindfulness lifestyle movement there are many different symbols. The symbols mean something. Find out what they mean and only use statues and symbols that represent a part of your truth.
Asteya- Non-stealing: Make your design decisions wisely. Make them in such a way that you do not have to throw away excess materials. Also, respect the time and energy of the people you hire to help you, do not “steal” their time.
Brahamacharya- Non-wasting of energy: Overly stimulated senses use up too much energy. This space is not meant to be stimulating. You do not want anything in your sanctuary that will catch your attention or wow you. Design with balance and find neutral tones. Look for objects that feel serene, these objects do not distract.
Aparigrapha- Non-hoarding: In the design of this room do not bring in every single symbol and trinket that symbolizes you or somebody else’s spirituality. This room is not about accumulating goods or boasting your ability to covet earthy processions. Keep it simple.
5 Niyamas- Observances
Saucha-Cleanliness: Create visual order. Orderliness in our physical spaces creates orderliness in the mind. Besides clean design choices, also look ahead: will the room be easy to maintain, easily and healthily cleaned to maintain a fresh and organized feel? You do not want to bring in materials that will trap and hold onto dirt.
Santosha-Contentment: You will practice contentment in this room. Start by practicing contentment while creating your space. Practice contentment with your choices. Practice contentment with your budget. Practice contentment with the process. In other words, do not over think this.
Tapas-Discipline: You must do the work. Designing, moving furniture, creating, cleaning, and building, these all take effort. You have set your intention to do this, now the effort requires action. This effort may feel like you are moving past obstacles, this is a good thing, keep going.
Svadyaya-Self-study: A purpose of this room is for you to be able to observe yourself, your consciousness, your practice, your breath, your movement. Make it personal. What are you currently practicing? Bring in elements (books, symbols) that will help you maintain your self-study. These may change as time goes by.
Ishvara-Pranidhana- Surrender to the sacred: Build an altar in the room, a focal point of inspiration to remind you of your spiritual journey. Bring in a seat for meditation. Leave an open space for movement and breath, a space to let go of the desire to control. Surrender here in your sanctuary to your eternal self, the bliss of the divine.
Enjoy your sanctuary. You might notice that by creating this space you find your way to more practice than usual. This is a good thing! Your friends and family physically see this space, witness your passion, and are sparked by it. You are on a path, a journey, this space is a physical representation of that.
Is your home your sanctuary? Is your family your inspiration? For many of us, the answer to these questions too often is, no. This unfortunately creates a blame game and perpetual expressions of stress. With just a little information, a whole lot of intention setting, and some responsible follow-through, this paradigm can change.
Here are five tips to practice at home, together as a family. The sanctuary you are seeking lies within—you create the inspiration for which you’re looking. By 1) letting go; 2) creating; 3) cleaning; 4) sharing; and 5) moving, you will observe balance, comfort, and a foundation that will nourish your family for generations to come.
Let go of cell phones. Whether your children are old enough to have their own or are just beginning to witness their parents’ connection to this electronic appendage, a mindful disconnect from your devices is a powerful choice. Verbally express your choice as a family, making a point to turn cell phones off and put them in another room, starting with meal times. Experiment with expanding cell phone free time.
Write and record your own family guided meditation. Have everyone participate in writing a script and performing it on a cell phone recording app. Be sure to include breathing deeply, placing your hands on your belly, feeling it lift and lower, relaxing body parts from head to toe. Take a visualization trip through your favorite nature spot. Ask everyone to picture something for which they’re grateful and make positive “I am” affirmations. Then listen to this beautiful meditation together.
Physical clutter not only gets in the physical way, it clutters the mind. Once a month, have every family member fill a bag to donate to Good Will or throw away. In a clutter free home, the family cleans together. Wipe down dust, place shoes in a tidy row, vacuum… there are always jobs to do. In the kitchen cupboards, find a processed food item and read the ingredients together. If it contains chemicals you can’t pronounce, toss it and replace with a nourishing alternative. Talk about how nice it feels to care about our bodies and our homes.
During dinner, share the day’s highs and lows, with everyone taking turns. Ask interesting, age appropriate questions of each other—anything but, “How was your day”? Make sure your questions require a more involved response than, “good.” For example, “What is your favorite fictional character of all time?” “If you were to open a business, what would it be?” “What is the one place in the world you are dying to visit?”
Move together. Set a timer for a 20-minute circuit. Take turns choosing a movement that everyone follows for one minute at a time. Take a walk together outside. Have a dance party in which everybody gets to choose one song for the playlist. Practice yoga together.
Calling all Families! Join Aida Bielkus and Jess Melfa at Health Yoga Life Cambridge, Sunday October 21st at 1:30 pm for an unforgettable workshop, “Ancient Wisdom for a Modern Family.”
Aida Bielkus, PhD, is co-founder of Health Yoga Life and an experienced life coach and yoga teacher. She encourages everyone to find easy ways to reduce stress in daily life.
From a quick click on something called travelagentcentral.com, I’m led to believe that Americans spent more than $100 billion on summer vacations in 2017.Why? Ostensibly, they were looking to recharge, de-stress, detach, expand their horizons, broaden their minds, rekindle romance, get some sleep, eat well, indulge themselves, or some medley of all of the above. In other words, they spent $100 billion in an effort to relax.
As I reflected on my last vacation and its attendant credit bill, I wondered how much of that $100 billion was well spent. My own small piece of the holiday economy went for a Spring Break girls’ cruise best left un-described. But, you can picture, overdone cafeteria food; over-loud dance music; overcrowded swimming pools; overexposed skin—these are the ingredients for too many overpriced getaways. They’re the opposite of relaxing.
That’s why I can’t wait for the retreat, next March, to Nosara, Costa Rica! Transformation in Nosara – Yoga, Sea, Surf and Soul. An HYL retreat in a tropical destination is the inverse of the vacation that requires a consequent vacation. It’s designed around the concept of “pura vida,” meaning “pure life” reconnecting body, spirit, and environment. It is a local mantra that you will hear throughout Costa Rica.
The nutrient-rich cuisine, the tranquil beaches, and the company of like-minded seekers of peace—these are the ingredients for serenity and life. Throughout my yoga career I’ve experienced dozens of destination retreats, and HYL’s tailored blend yoga, coaching, and ocean idyll is a beautifully balanced recipe for recharging, expanding horizons, and eating and sleeping well.
It is, in my opinion, the definition of relaxing.
Even if you are new to yoga or new to a retreat experience it is really for anyone! Don’t just go on vacation needing another vacation when you get home. Our retreat is a journey that gives back to you long after you leave the resort!
Just imagine yourself HERE and join us! Our Costa Rica Yoga Retreats Sell OUT!
“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”
The other day I was walking along the Charles River as I love to do. The sun was glistening just so on the water and the sail boats where spinning. When the weather turns beautiful in New England, and in New England it’s literally like a switch, everyone crawls out to enjoy the warm weather. We look like hibernating animals reveling in the sun for the first time in ages.
I noticed a man jogging in front of me. He waved to an oncoming jogger passing him by. From his wave, just a simple “hey”, it seemed like he knew the oncoming jogger. I thought to myself must be a coworker. But then I kept watching the jogger in front of me. He waved to everyone he passed. Not an obnoxious wave, just a “hey I’m out here jogging. It’s gorgeous out. I’m happy.” type of wave. And guess what, NO. ONE. WAVED. BACK. Not one person!
What is that about? Are we all so distracted by our own thoughts, our own to-do lists, our own agenda that we can’t wave to someone who waves to us? Granted I realize that in this day and age maybe any slightly unusual behavior (or just typical neighborly behavior somewhere in the Midwest) puts us on guard, and triggers our fear a tiny bit. “Oh are you acknowledging me? I thought no one can see me running out here! I won’t wave back, then I won’t be seen! Please don’t make me have to engage with another human being.”
How do we solve our global problem of more loneliness than ever before, of more anger, fear, isolation, if we can’t even acknowledge someone with a simple gesture of “peace brother”?
We must change ourselves that is how. We must continue to eradicate the fear, loneliness, and pain in our own hearts. We have to acknowledge we carry this pain, anger, fear, and we must recognize that it blocks out the light and the love. It literally stops us in our tracks and keeps us from developing our ability to have compassion and healing. This translates to the world around us.
Do something about this! Decide you are going to change it up. Decide to be the person who actually initiates the wave or the smile. Start. A great little exercise if you still feel hesitant to outwardly acknowledge a stranger, is to wish them peace or a great day mentally. Beam it to them. Be kind. Always.
If you are ready to work deeply on yourself to transform and grow, then it’s time to step up and challenge yourself. Sign up for our fall yoga teacher training. Take the step toward your, and therefore your world’s transformation.
Save $300 now through the end of June. CLICK HERE to learn more.
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Pay $1000 now then 3 monthly payment of $665 CLICK HERE
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Or check out the online Health Yoga Life Coach Training and learn about the powerful change management tool the Emotional Responsibility Method. CLICK HERE
Summer is just around the corner. At this time of year, we start to shed our layers and remember that we have a body. You might think there is nothing you can do to lose stubborn belly fat, but that is simply not true in fact two thing that you love to do can help significantly–yoga and sleep!
Yoga helps by helping regulate the endocrine/hormonal system, by reducing cortisol levels which is the stress hormone that keeps the body storing fat around the midsection. Yoga can be one of the most transformative exercises for your body. Weight bearing exercise build strength and stretching increases flexibility.
You don’t need fancy equipment with yoga, your body will do. The power flow style of yoga classes at Health Yoga Life in Cambridge and Boston will get you in tip top shape for the beach days of summer. Commit to practicing 4-5 times per week and it can be the only exercise you need to do.
In addition, yoga helps you sleep! Being wound up from stress will impact the quality of your rest. Letting it all go on the mat will increase your ability to rest deeply. When sleeplessness strikes try an ancient Kundalini yoga breathing technique-left nostril breathing. It’s so simple. Simply block the right nostril off by applying gentle pressure to the outside of the right side of your nose with your right index finger. Breathe in and out of your left nostril. You’ll be fast asleep in no time!
Check out the classes at the Boston Health Yoga Life Studio
Check out the classes at the Cambridge Health Yoga Life Studio
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
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