Heart Disease: The Silent Killer for Women
By Nancy Weshkoff
February is Heart Health Month and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Movement, with February 5th designated as Go Red for Women Day. I applaud the American Heart Association for their work in bringing to light this very important issue.
Here are some key factors about heart disease in women that you need to know:
- Did you know that heart disease is the NUMBER ONE killer of women in the United States?
- Did you know that if you stacked up ALL cancer-related deaths for women together (breast, lung, ovarian, liver, skin cancer, etc), that all of these cancer-related deaths together would still be number two behind heart disease?
- Did you know that 1 in 3 women in the United States will die every year from heart disease? And of this number, did you know that more than 1,800 of these women who die from heart disease will live here on Long Island in New York?
- Did you know that you can help PREVENT becoming one of these very sad statistics by proactively taking steps to lower your risk?
While there are some things that you cannot change, such as your family history of heart disease, there are several things that doctors all agree that you CAN do to lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. These include:
- Engage in moderate exercise on a regular basis. Sitting on a couch and not moving is bad for you in so many ways. Your body needs to move. Yoga is extremely helpful in helping you with your exercise goals. The postures in a yoga class will build strength and flexibility, and at the same time, the deep breathing techniques (pranayama) used in a yoga class increase the flow of blood to your heart and your organs.
- Reduce your stress levels: We all face stress. How we deal with stress is key. Being in a “fight or flight” mode, which is how our body reacts when our stress levels are high, is putting a huge strain on your body functions – including your heart. Meditation is a wonderful tool to help you lower your blood pressure and stress levels. Yoga classes also help you reduce your stress. The yoga and meditation classes at Moonflower Yoga can get you on the path to accomplishing your stress-reduction goals.
- Learn to be “in the present moment”. We often worry unnecessarily about things from our past that we cannot change or things in the future that MIGHT happen but haven’t happened yet and may never happen. In our classes and workshops at Moonflower Yoga, we teach you ways to be more in the present moment and let go of unnecessary worries bringing you more peace and calm.
- Lower your blood pressure: Moving more, decreasing your stress levels, and using tools such as meditation and yoga mentioned above can all help you with this. How about learning something new? Spending some time reading a great book or engaging in a fun activity such as art or coloring are meditative and can help lower your stress levels. A few days ago, we enjoyed coloring mandalas in our Kundalini and art workshop. We also have a fun Moonflower Yoga Book Club that meets every 4-6 weeks and an upcoming art workshop entitled “Collage for the Soul” where no prior art experience is needed and you learn to meditate through art. Or try something completely different and learn to how to read Tarot Cards in our upcoming Tarot Cards workshop. Spending time with your Tarot cards is very engaging and takes your mind off of your worries. These types of interesting and meditative activities can help you on the path of stress reduction and lowering your blood pressure.
As someone who has a history of heart disease in my family, I take heart disease very seriously. My stress levels and blood pressure were very high – all red flags for being on the path to a heart attack or stroke. Through yoga, meditation, learning to be more in the present moment, and spending time in engaging activities such as reading, I have been able to lower my blood pressure to normal. You, too, can lower your risk. We hope to see you soon at a great yoga class, meditation, or workshop at Moonflower Yoga in Bellmore in Nassau County, Long Island, where we can help you reduce your risk of heart disease as well. Let’s lower these frightening heart-disease numbers for women!
What was your New Year’s Resolution?
Written by Nancy Weshkoff
Do you find yourself making a resolution on New Year’s Eve with good intentions but which is suddenly forgotten shortly after January 1? I found myself guilty of this as well until I learned about goal planning and strategies. From my past experience in corporate life, it was a regular occurrence to have certain requirements or tasks assigned to you. Once I learned written goal planning techniques, it was much easier to accomplish these tasks and measure the progress of my goals.
I am very excited to be sharing these goal planning techniques this weekend at Moonflower Yoga in our “Goal Setting and Vision Board” workshop. You CAN accomplish your goals if you mindfully map out the goal with a realistic goal plan.
Another great way to also keep your goal on track is with a vision board, where you place images and positive messages on a board as a daily reminder of your goal. By seeing this every day, it is a fantastic motivational tool. Chris Senetto will be working with me this weekend to help the workshop participants create their own personal vision board representing their dreams and goals.
If you are in the area of Bellmore, in Long Island, New York’s Nassau County, I hope you can join us this Sunday, January 16, 2015, at 2 PM, for our fabulous Goal Setting and Vision Board workshop. You can make 2015 the year in which YOUR dreams come true with careful planning and a great motivational tool in your vision board.
And if one of your goals for 2015 is to take better care of yourself, find some inner peace, and get in shape, check out the fabulous variety of great yoga and meditation classes or workshops at Moonflower Yoga which can help you on this positive path for this new year. The staff of dedicated teachers at Moonflower Yoga and I look forward to seeing you!
Here is to a great 2015 !!
By Nancy Weshkoff
I wrote this blog last year during Thanksgiving week The sentiments expressed in the blog are still true, and I encourage all of you to take a moment to count the blessings in your life. Doing so can help you realize how amazing each day that we spend on this earth can be. Here is the blog, and I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving!
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I am taking a moment to pause & think deeply about the holiday. If you look at the media blitz around us, you would assume Thanksgiving is about shopping for items you probably don’t need at discount prices. Stores are opening earlier and earlier, and this often means families spend less time together as they rush to get to the mall. What happened to this wonderful holiday with its family traditions?
Instead of the craziness of shopping, I am instead listing a few things in my life for which I am very grateful:
I am grateful for the many students who walk in the doors of Moonflower Yoga to attend a yoga class. It is such a blessing to have them at the studio each week, getting stronger, feeling better, and sharing a part of their lives at Moonflower Yoga. I love meeting each person as they walk in the door and catching up with them each week. Thank you to all of you who have made Moonflower Yoga a success.
It is now 3 years ago this month that my life changed forever with the news that my job in corporate America was coming to an end with a forced layoff. Although that news was devastating at the time, it gave me the opportunity to try something new that I always wanted to do. Moonflower Yoga was born as a result of that, and I am grateful that my life changed for the better. As Gandhi very wisely said: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”.
Making a life change would have been very challenging if it wasn’t for the support of my husband, Bob, who has been my rock for the last 40 years. Bob, together with friends and family, supported me and Moonflower Yoga, and I am very grateful for their love and support. And Bob’s delicious, homemade desserts at our workshops and Moonflower Yoga Book Club meetings bring a smile to everyone’s face.
Moonflower Yoga has great yoga teachers who work alongside of me each week and bring their love of teaching and helping people to Moonflower Yoga each week. I could not run the studio without them. And there have been wonderful workshop presenters as well, who have taught us some very interesting things that we didn’t know before and helped us learn something new. I am grateful to all of the teachers and workshop presenters for making Moonflower Yoga a special place.
I am grateful to my hometown of Bellmore, Long Island, in New York’s Nassau County. I have been welcomed in the town as a new business, and it has been great to establish my business roots here as well as my home roots. I always learn something new at the Bellmore Chamber of Commerce meetings.
I am grateful to my yoga teachers who helped me discover the wonders of yoga many years ago. Yoga has been my rock when things were stressful, and now it has become my life. It all started with attending my first yoga class, and it grew from there. Yoga can help you too!
What are you grateful for this holiday season? Take a moment to reflect on the blessings in your life. You will feel inspired! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
When Things Happen for a Reason
By Nancy Weshkoff
Life is often like a roller coaster. You encounter some curves and dips that you were not expecting. And when that happens, I always think that what has occurred has taken place for a reason, even if that reason is not immediately apparent. I had one of those drastic roller coaster curves 3 years ago this week.
Some of you may know that my past experience before Moonflower Yoga was in the corporate world, specifically I was in the music industry on the business side. It was very interesting, and I met some amazing people, but it also had its stressful times. I had been in the music business more than 30 years. Three years ago this week I received the news that I was being laid off from my current position. It was a shock that I was not expecting. What made it much worse was that my husband had lost his job of 30 years just 3 months earlier when his employer went bankrupt. Now we were both unemployed, just as the recession was hitting its peak and companies were not hiring and making their own cutbacks.
Things looked very bleak. Yet, through it all, I kept a positive spirit that things happen for a reason. My yoga practice had always been my savior, and I found that yoga and meditation helped me with this drastic life change. When my yoga teacher announced the start of a teacher training program, I enrolled – still not sure where this was going to take me. When I completed the training and graduated, I knew that my life was meant to go in a different direction. The corporate world was no longer my path. I also knew that I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny and start my own yoga business, bumpy as that was going to be.
And so Moonflower Yoga was born! I took a giant leap of faith and signed a lease to rent space for my new venture. Those first few weeks of having the doors open were challenging as I worked hard to build the business. Each month things improved and more and more people walked in the doors to try a yoga class. Now Moonflower Yoga has been open for more than 2 years, and yoga classes are selling out with waiting lists.
What has also happened is that I have met so many amazing – and inspirational – people that I would not have met if I had stayed in the music industry. There are a wonderful group of students who I am blessed to have walk through the doors of Moonflower Yoga to try a yoga class or workshop. Many never tried yoga before, and they have fallen in love with yoga as I did. Yoga has helped them cope with their own difficult life challenges in a positive way. At the same time, I have learned things from these amazing students and getting to know them has helped me grow as well. I am also blessed to have a very dedicated group of teachers at Moonflower Yoga who also love teaching and helping people.
And so I go back to the start of this blog…. Things happen for a reason. Although I did not know it 3 years ago, being laid off from the corporate world enabled me to have this incredible new chapter in my life. My husband, who had lost his job 3 years ago, found a new position at a great company that is closer to home. If you are feeling as if life has thrown you into a dip on the roller coaster, think positive! And if you would like to experience an amazing yoga class or workshop to help you feel better, come join us at Moonflower Yoga in Bellmore, in Long Island’s Nassau County (New York). And always remember that things do happen for a reason.
The Positive Benefits of Yoga on Baby Boomers and Seniors
By Nancy Weshkoff
At Moonflower Yoga, in Bellmore, on Long Island’s Nassau County, we have a steady group of baby boomers and seniors who attend our yoga classes. From personal observation, I know that yoga is helping them. They are getting stronger and more flexible, improving their balance, finding inner peace, and enjoying the comradery of being in a small-class setting with personal attention. Plus they are meeting new people and becoming friends with fellow students. But there is something else that yoga is helping: your brain function.
My personal observation of this improvement for baby boomers and seniors has been recently confirmed in a new study. The University of Illinois studied 108 adults between the ages of 55 and 79 years of age. 61 of these attended hatha yoga classes – the style of yoga taught at Moonflower Yoga. The remaining group did not attend yoga classes but did general stretching and toning exercises.
At the end of 8 weeks, the results were checked. The participants who did yoga for 8 weeks were speedier and more accurate on tests of information recall, mental flexibility, and task switching than they were before they began taking yoga classes. The yoga participants showed significant improvements in memory capacity, and were able to perform tasks more quickly without getting distracted. This is very key to daily living, as we often are required to multi-task in our everyday life. The people who oversaw the study believe that the yoga group benefitted from hatha yoga because it required focused effort as you moved through the poses, controlling the body and breathing at a steady rate. Studies have also found that yoga provided immediate positive effects on decreasing anxiety, stress, and depression by quieting the sympathetic nervous system.
And, for the record, there was no improvement in mental capacity for the participants in this study who did not attend yoga classes.
I personally believe that yoga can help you feel better and function better at ANY age. As this study has confirmed, it definitely helps baby boomers and seniors.
If you are the area of Bellmore, on Long Island’s Nassau County, come try one of our great yoga classes at Moonflower Yoga! Our team of very dedicated yoga teachers will pay attention to you in our small-class setting making sure that you are doing your poses correctly. You’ll gain strength, flexibility, and balance, reduce stress levels, and at the same time improve your mental capacity. How cool is that!
By Nancy Weshkoff
I wrote this special blog two years ago on the anniversary of 9/11. Like so many other people, it is a day that I will never forget. Here is my 9/11 blog which pays tribute to those who lost their lives on that September morning. May they rest in peace. And here is praying that we can live in peace rather than in senseless destruction.
12 years ago on the morning of September 11th, I remember my husband and I waking to a beautiful September morning. The weather was absolutely perfect, and we remarked that it was probably one of the 10 best days of the year. We both worked in Manhattan at that time and headed to work from Long Island and arrived in our respective office buildings shortly before 8 AM. The office buildings had beautiful views of Manhattan including the World Trade Center. Little did we know that in a few short minutes so many lives would change forever.
When we heard about the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center, like so many others, we thought this must be an accident. Sadly, as events unfolded, we realized it wasn’t an accident. From our office buildings, we could see the World Trade Center on fire. I remember being filled with shock and horror. Just like me, so many innocent people had gone to work that day, but in a different office address, and they were now dying or trapped in the towers.
As no one knew what might happen next, every office building in Manhattan was evacuated and all the public transportation in/out of Manhattan was closed. This resulted in millions of people emptying on to the streets of Manhattan. What happened next made me even prouder to be a New Yorker. There were no riots despite huge crowds. Instead we cried in the streets together and consoled and helped each other watching the smoke from lower Manhattan and praying for those who were in the buildings.
There were so many acts of bravery. I think about those heroic first responders who knew they were probably going to die but risked their lives anyway going into the burning towers to try and help people. I think a lot about the victims and their families. Family members stood on street corners after the attack holding pictures of their lost loved ones with messages such as “have you seen my daughter who was on last seen on x floor of 1 WTC.” Those pictures were later placed all over Manhattan on lamp posts and in the huge transportation hubs such as Grand Central Station and Penn Station. The victims became even more real as you looked at their smiling faces and knew they were senselessly killed that September morning.
My heart goes out to the victims and may they rest in peace. My heart also goes out to the families of the victims as they continue to find the strength to carry on.
One lesson that I learned from 9/11 was to live more in the present. Sadly we never know what will happen to us when we begin our morning. So we must make the most of each day. Don’t put off doing something that you’ve always wanted to do. It could be a simple thing such as spending more time with your family or it could be something bigger such as taking that special trip somewhere. After 9/11, I organized a trip to Disney World with my family because I wanted to create a happy memory.
Deciding to start my own yoga studio, Moonflower Yoga in Bellmore, in Nassau County on Long Island, took some courage as I left behind the life I knew best. Yet I know that the courage to start a new venture was only a very small fraction of the courage of those brave first responders who sacrificed their lives to save others on that beautiful September morning and to the 9/11 families who have learned to cope with this tragedy. May all the victims of this sad event in our history be forever remembered. And may we always remember to enjoy the blessings we encounter every single day.
Reflections on Moonflower Yoga’s 2-year anniversary celebration
By Nancy Weshkoff
For those of you who may not know my background, I spent over 35 years in the corporate world, most of these in the music industry where I worked my way up the ranks and had an opportunity to meet some amazing people. While it was an interesting and important phase of my life, it is this new phase at Moonflower Yoga that is so special to me.
When my life in corporate America came to an end, it was a gut-wrenching period trying to decide what to do next. I decided to turn to the one thing that always brought me peace during the stressful times in my life: my yoga practice. Shortly thereafter I enrolled in a teacher training program, and realized this was my new destiny. Upon graduation from the teacher training program, Moonflower Yoga was born. I decided to open the studio in Bellmore in Long Island’s Nassau County (New York) and say goodbye to commuting on the LIRR every weekday.
And while I had a dream of what I would like the studio to be, it has far exceeded what those initial drawing plans were. Moonflower Yoga offers a very interesting mix of classes, and I am very proud of how varied the schedule is, with classes such as Vinyasa flow classes for energy and strength, Iyengar-style classes that increase your flexibility, Kundalini yoga, wonderful meditation classes, restorative yoga to reduce stress, Tai Chi, very gentle yoga classes for the beginner, and an eclectic mix of classes under “Calming and Healing Your Spirit” ranging from Angel Healing (IET), to a Reiki Healing Circle, to Laughter Yoga, to a Gallery Reading with an intuitive medium, etc. The small-class setting at Moonflower Yoga has encouraged newcomers, as well as fellow baby boomers such as myself, to come and try yoga, and they are getting stronger, more flexible, and finding inner peace as a result.
I also love the workshop programs on very wide-ranging topics from natural ways to improve your health, astrology, spiritual development, Feng Shui, Tai Chi and Qigong, crystals, aromatherapy, meditation, Tarot Cards, ways to relieve neck and shoulder discomfort, goal setting to help you reach your dreams, etc. These have enabled people to learn so many fun and interesting things. And in the last year the Moonflower Yoga Book Club was formed where we have a great time meeting every 4-6 weeks, sharing the new things in our lives, and learning something new through the books selected.
Most of all, it is the students and teachers who have become such an important part of my life that have helped to make Moonflower Yoga special. I love the community that has developed here with people meeting other people, becoming friends, and supporting each other. I feel very, very blessed when I open the doors of the Moonflower Yoga studio every day and know that amazing things are going to happen at the studio. I send out my thanks to all of you who have made Moonflower Yoga a success!! And a final thanks to the other half of my life: my husband, Bob, who has been my rock through my journey and helps with so many of the functions at the studio, especially those absolutely delicious homemade goodies that we serve for the workshops and the Moonflower Yoga Book Club.
If you are in the area of Bellmore (Nassau County) on Long Island’s south shore this weekend, come join us for our fun two-year anniversary party this Saturday, September 7th, from 1 PM – 5 PM. Come say hello and help us share in an important milestone. You will get to meet some great people. And thank you again for your support!!!!
By Nancy Weshkoff
If you have never tried yoga before, the best way to start is with a beginner yoga class. It is in a beginner yoga class where you will begin a wonderful journey to better health and well-being.
Contrary to what you might think, beginner is not just for people who have never tried yoga before. Beginner yoga is great for everyone. In a beginner yoga class, you will move at a slower, gentler pace. In doing so, you can concentrate more closely on your pose and really feel your muscles moving and stretching from posture to posture. You can focus on linking your movement with your breath which helps you move more deeply and brings you renewed energy. And you can pick up some helpful tips on how to improve core, fundamental poses.
Prior to becoming a yoga teacher, I spent many years practicing yoga at various studios. I often attended beginner classes, even though I had several years of yoga experience. I enjoyed the flow of a beginner class as it gave me an opportunity to concentrate more deeply on my movement. I also enjoyed talking with new students and encouraging them while sharing my yoga experience.
Newer students have asked me how long they need to take a beginner yoga class before moving to a more intermediate level. Each person is different, and there is no set period of time. I strongly encourage everyone to be truly comfortable and understand the basics of core, essential yoga poses before trying something more challenging. You may find, as I did, that beginner yoga is perfect for you at every stage of your yoga practice.
If you are looking for a great beginner yoga class with a great yoga teacher, Moonflower Yoga has a wonderful variety to offer you. We have beginner yoga classes on weekends, weekday mornings, and evenings. Whichever time frame you pick, you will have a find a class that meets your needs. If you are in the area of Bellmore, in Long Island, New York’s Nassau County, come give one of our great beginner yoga classes a try! Our class size is small and semi-private so you can receive personal attention, and our instructors pay attention to you so that you can have a wonderful yoga experience. And remember beginner yoga is a fabulous choice for everyone!
A Special Place
Written by Nancy Weshkoff
When I formed Moonflower Yoga in 2012, I wanted the studio to be more than just a place where people learned yoga postures. It was important to me that the studio also have a feeling of community where people could come together and share and support each other. Moonflower Yoga has been a success in both of these areas: The great yoga classes that we offer have enabled people of all ages and fitness levels to enjoy the wonderful benefits of yoga. Moonflower Yoga also has a community of like-minded people who have helped and supported each other, have contributed to charitable drives, and who have fun learning new things together through our workshops and the Moonflower Yoga Book Club.
What has also happened is that Moonflower Yoga has become a special place for spiritual development. Through some of our great teachers, such as Connie and Chris, they have introduced us to ways to explore our spirituality and souls. And as that happens, people are becoming more at peace. They are supporting each other when things are challenging but they also share laughs as well. And when I sit quietly at the studio in between classes, I can sense a wonderful energy at the studio.
If you haven’t yet visited Moonflower Yoga in Bellmore, New York, in Nassau County (Long Island), come give us a try! Your first class is free. Learn something new and join the growing community of people who have helped make Moonflower Yoga a special place.
The Moonflower Yoga Book Club
By Nancy Weshkoff
When I was very young, before the days of pre-K and television programs such as “Sesame Street”, I remember sitting next to my father as he read books to me. It was a very special time, and I learned to read before I entered school. My love of reading grew, as it gave me an opportunity to learn something new or be taken away to an interesting place or period of time. When my life in corporate America started to encompass so much of my time, my reading time for interesting novels or biographies diminished, as I was instead reading reports for work. Now that my life in corporate America has come to an end and I am happily no longer reading corporate reports, I found a longing to return to something which brought me joy and pleasure: getting lost in the pages of a wonderful book.
A couple of months ago, I launched The Moonflower Yoga Book Club, and I am thoroughly enjoying it! It is giving me an opportunity to research interesting books for the Book Club and learn something new. Our first book was “THE PARIS WIFE”, which was the story of Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley. It was fascinating to learn more about Parisian life in the 1920’s and the intriguing characters that were part of that culture including Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
While I love reading the books we have selected, the Moonflower Yoga Book Club is more than that. We have a diverse group of women who have formed the initial members of the Moonflower Yoga Book Club. A community has formed, as we have learned a little bit about each other’s lives, and we look forward to meeting and catching up on what’s happening. We have some very interesting discussions, and it is fascinating to hear each of our perspectives on the characters in the book that we just read. What did we think about a decision that was made? How did we feel about the characters? Was the ending what you expected? And while we are having a lively conversation, my husband, Bob, who loves to cook, gives us some yummy homemade desserts for snacking. I have come to really look forward to diving into the next book and meeting with the fun ladies of the Moonflower Yoga Book Club.
How about you? Come and join us for a very interesting afternoon or evening! It is wonderful to form friendships and discover something new in our monthly book selection. You can check the events section of the moonfloweryoga.com website to see what our next book is and the meeting date. All are welcome to join.
Hope to see you soon at the next meeting of the Moonflower Yoga Book Club in Bellmore, New York, on Long Island’s Nassau County. Come have fun with us!