My Favorite Essential Oils
By Nancy Weshkoff
What are essential oils? Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers & other plant parts. Essential oils have been being used for thousands of years to support wellness of the mind, body & spirit. Moonflower Yoga has a wonderful variety of essential oils for sale from Young Living, a leader in high-quality, therapeutic quality essential oils. Essential oils can be useful for so many things including:
- Help you feel calmer and more relaxed
- Opening up the nasal passages to reduce sinus congestion
- Cleaning and disinfecting
- Giving you a boost of energy
- Increasing spiritual awareness
At Moonflower Yoga, my yoga teachers and I offer each student an essential oil to apply before they begin their yoga class. It is a great way to help you feel centered and relaxed. Essential oils are fabulous for use before meditation. We also diffuse essential oils at the Moonflower Yoga studio which sets a wonderful mood as soon as you walk in the door.
I love so many of these great essential oils. I’ve decided to pick a few of my favorite ones that I would like to share:
- Stress Away: The name says it all! This beautiful essential oil which is a blend of copaiba, lime, cedarwood, vanilla, ocotea, and lavender just instantly helps me to feel calmer and more relaxed. I especially love the touch of vanilla added to this blend.
- Lavender: One of the most versatile essential oils. Its lovely scent instantly relaxes you. Some students like to apply a tiny drop to their third eye (the space between the eyebrows) to help them sleep better at night. It can also help with certain skin problems, such as acne, as well as provide some relief from respiratory issues. Because Young Living essential oils are pure, we use the Young Living lavender oil in some of the desserts made at the studio, and they are yummy.
- Peppermint: This essential oil is so invigorating and great to use if you are feeling tired and need a boost of energy! If my nasal passages are a little congested from the winter cold or from spring allergies, breathing in peppermint helps relieve nasal congestion. It can also support good digestion. We use peppermint in many of the desserts served at the Moonflower Yoga studio. Anything with peppermint and dark chocolate is heavenly!
- Citrus Fresh: I love this clean blend of orange, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon, mandarin, and spearmint. It is a great essential oil to use first thing in the morning when you need a pick me up to get your energy going. It is also a great air purifier providing your environment with a fresh scent.
If you’d like to try one of these beautiful essential oils, or several other amazing Young Living essential oils, come to a yoga class at Moonflower Yoga. We are located in in Bellmore, in Long Island, New York’s Nassau County. You’ll feel wonderful from the great yoga class and leave the studio with a beautiful fragrance from a lovely essential oil. To learn even more about essential oils, join us on Saturday, May 7th for a fabulous Discover Essential Oils workshop at Moonflower Yoga, where you will learn the basics about 12 lovely essential oils (including those listed above) and make 2 fun Mother’s Day gifts using essential oils which you will take with you. You’ll have a blast! If you’d like to have a great essential oil to keep at home, we have a great variety of essential oils and essential oil products for sale at the Moonflower Yoga studio. You will love the many ways in which you can enjoy your essential oil.
The Positive Effects of Knitting and Crocheting
By Nancy Weshkoff
Did you know that learning to knit or crochet can have health benefits? Here are just a few of the many benefits:
- Creating a knitted or crocheted piece lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in this country, and taking steps to reduce your risk of heart disease is highly recommended.
- It lowers your stress levels, and has been found to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.
- It is meditative. Working on your piece helps you to concentrate on the present moment. Being mindful and letting go of regrets from the past or worries about the future is key to good health.
- It has been found to help people stop smoking by providing a positive outlet.
- Can help children with math skills, especially when following a challenging instruction.
- It has been found to help people with cancer and other serious diseases cope with their illness.
- The pieces that you create are something special for both you and the receiver. What’s better than a gift from the heart handmade with love!
At Moonflower Yoga in Bellmore, in Nassau County, Long Island (New York), we have a very fun Moonflower Yoga Needle Arts Group that meets approximately every 4-6 weeks. The members of this group work on their individual pieces. Many do crocheting, while others prefer quilting, needlepoint, or knitting. Whichever handicraft you prefer is fine. Everyone comes together to show their latest creations, to get advice from the group, and have fun catching up with the other members on what has transpired since the last meeting. For newcomers who have never tried doing this before, there are experienced members of the Moonflower Yoga Needle Arts Group who offer free advice on how to do some basic steps. It is a great way to spend an afternoon. And, as stated above, knitting and crocheting offers many other fabulous health benefits.
If you are near Bellmore, New York, in Long Island’s Nassau County this Saturday, February 20th, please stop by and join us for the next installment of the Moonflower Yoga Needle Arts Group. You will have a blast working on your own piece, enjoying the company of the fellow Moonflower Yoga Needle Arts Group members, sampling delicious homemade snacks, and, of course, you will do some great things for your health as well. We also have a great variety of yoga classes with great yoga teachers at the Moonflower Yoga studio, as well as fascinating workshops. We look forward to having you join us soon!
Yoga and Your Bone Health
By Nancy Weshkoff
As an avid fan of yoga for many years, as well as a yoga teacher, I have experienced firsthand the many benefits of yoga. It is a wonderful practice for helping you feel great, reduce your stress, while teaching you to worry less as you focus on the present moment. The breathing techniques that you learn also calm you while bringing more oxygen to your organs. And your balance improves, which is very important as we age.
Did you know that yoga is also good for your bone health? Many of the poses that you do in yoga are weight bearing which helps to strengthen your bones. In a recent study, Dr. Loren Fishman tested the benefits of yoga on seniors who were suffering from osteoporosis or osteopenia. In this study, the test group performed a standard set of yoga poses on a regular basis. The test was conducted over a 10-year period with more than 90,000 hours of yoga practiced by 741 participants. The results were eye opening. During this period, no fractures or serious injuries of any kind were reported by the participants. Several participants also showed better internal support for their bones. There were also improvements in posture and balance. All of this is great news. Plus with yoga, there are no harmful side effects which you might experience from certain medications.
Yoga can be practiced at ANY AGE. At Moonflower Yoga, located in Bellmore, in Nassau County, Long Island (New York), we have students ranging from children to seniors. No matter what your age, you can always work on improving your bone health, as well as your health in general. If you have never tried yoga before, give one of our great beginner yoga classes a try. Our dedicated yoga teachers are here to help you, and Moonflower Yoga has a small class setting with personal attention, so we can work closely with you as you learn. Keeping your bones healthy is so important! A fracture or fall can be devastating. Come check out one of our great yoga classes and help improve your bone health today.
NEW YEAR, NEW BEGINNINGS
By Nancy Weshkoff
There is something very special about the new year. It is a time for new beginnings. One of my favorite authors is Lucy Maud Montgomery who wrote the wonderful “Anne of Green Gables” series of books. In this series, Anne Shirley made this comment after having a not-so-good day: “Tomorrow is a brand new day with no mistakes in it.” How true! If there were some things in 2015 that didn’t turn out as planned, just say goodbye to that, and turn the page to 2016. It is a brand new year!
One of the best things to do for 2016 is to take care of YOU. If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of the others in your life who may need you – children, elderly parents, spouse, your boss and co-workers, friends, siblings, etc.
At Moonflower Yoga, we have a great selection of yoga and meditation classes where you can take care of you. In just one hour you can de-stress, learn to take some deep, cleansing breaths to remove tension, and engage in physical activity designed to help you become stronger, more flexible, and improve balance. If you are afraid to take that first step, don’t be! Everyone is welcome and greeted who walks through the door. Our class sizes are small and semi-private in nature (with generally no more than 6-8 students per class). We have great yoga teachers who will pay attention to you and help you with alignment and feeling comfortable. There are many props at Moonflower Yoga to support you. If you have difficulty with a standing class, we have Chair Yoga on Tuesday mornings where you’ll get a great workout and feel amazing while seated in a chair. Or come to a Tuesday meditation class and find some inner peace and relaxation.
Make 2016 a year in which you learn something new. You can join us for the Moonflower Yoga Needle Arts Group where you will learn how to knit, crochet, or quilt, or try the Moonflower Yoga Book Club and go on a wonderful journey with a fascinating book. There are great workshops on the schedule to start 2016 including a Feng Shui workshop to learn how to situate items in your environment to get the best energy flow, the Ayurveda workshop where you discover your “dosha” type and learn how following the lifestyle for your dosha can help you reduce stress, feel better and sleep better. Or learn a wonderful healing energy such as Reiki in our Reiki training sessions or Reiki Healing Circle. Discover essential oils and how they can fill your home with aromatic bliss while also providing other benefits, and learn to make homemade, organic gifts using essential oils. Most importantly, you can feel relaxed while meeting new people and making new friends in one of our great workshops, training sessions, or events.
Here is to 2016 and its new beginnings! If you are on Long Island, New York, in Nassau County, come give Moonflower Yoga a try in the town of Bellmore. We would love to help you start the new year with a great beginning!
I wrote this blog 2 years ago 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 was 4 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, events, 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 great instructors 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 awesome 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.
LEARNING TO LOVE YOURSELF
By Nancy Weshkoff
It makes me incredibly sad when a student at the studio starts to describe herself with negative imagery: “I’m too fat”, “I’m not flexible”, “my hips are too big”, “I don’t like my midsection”, “I have wrinkles”, etc.
Sadly we are being deluged by the media that shows “perfect” bodies in magazines and billboards. Do you know that many of those “perfect” body images have been altered before publication to give the model a smaller waist, longer legs, no wrinkles, etc.?
We need to LOVE OURSELVES. I’ve learned to do this by being positive. When someone points out that I have wrinkles around the corners of my mouth or my eyes, I smile and happily remark that I’m proud of those wrinkles – it means that I have smiled a lot in my life to create them.
On Sunday afternoon, November 8th, Moonflower Yoga has a great workshop to help women look at their bodies in a different way. It is entitled LOVE YOUR BODY NOW and is presented by the talented Shana Sweeney. In this incredible workshop, you learn that many women have a negative body image and wished their body looked different in some way. If you are unaccepting and critical of your body as it is right now, you are not alone. In this great LOVE YOUR BODY NOW workshop, Shana will teach you how to break the negative belief system and embrace and love your body just as it is right now. You will use tools such as meditation, free writing, and ritual to help you heal your relationship with yourself and your body. You do not need to try to attain a shape defined by this culture, and you can give beauty a new definition and have a positive body image.
If you are in the area of Bellmore, in Long Island, New York’s Nassau County, come join us on Sunday afternoon, November 8th, at the Moonflower Yoga studio for this great workshop with Shana. You will learn something new and feel great about yourself! For more information on this workshop or any of the great yoga classes or teachers at Moonflower Yoga, click on the class descriptions section of the moonfloweryoga.com website. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Remembrances from 9/11
Written by Nancy Weshkoff
14 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, 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.
Reaching a Milestone
By Nancy Weshkoff
I am so very blessed to be doing something that I love in life. If you had asked me at the start of the previous decade, when I was on a fast track in corporate America, what I would be doing at the end of the decade, I would not have predicted owning my own yoga studio. Yet, here I am, on the verge of celebrating a 3-year anniversary for Moonflower Yoga.
One of my favorite sayings is that “everything happens for a reason”. When life in corporate America came abruptly to an end with the sale of the company, it put me on a different path. Helping me to decide what to do next was my yoga practice and meditation. And through that process, I chose the path of becoming a yoga teacher and opening Moonflower Yoga.
The journey of creating Moonflower Yoga has resulted in meeting so many wonderful people in my life. I am eternally grateful for the students who choose to come to a yoga class or workshop at Moonflower Yoga each week, as well as the great group of yoga teachers who share their love of teaching with the students. I am also grateful to the friends and family who support me.
And, so now, here is the next decade of my life with a brand new slate of possibilities. I am looking forward to seeing what this next decade brings.
If you are in the area of Bellmore, on Long Island’s south shore of Nassau County (New York), please stop by and say hello! It is always nice to meet new people on my continuing journey into my next decade.
Changing the Channel
By Nancy Weshkoff
When we discuss this concept in my yoga classes at Moonflower Yoga, I suggest to my students that they should think of their minds as cable television with a remote control. If you are sitting at home with the television set on, and if you come across a program that you don’t like, you use the remote control to change channels to something else that you do like. It is the same with your mind. If an unpleasant image pops up, change the channel to something more pleasant and concentrate on the present moment. YOU are in charge of the remote control.
So why is this important? In our yoga classes at Moonflower Yoga, we stress the importance of being in the present moment. When you focus on the present moment, you strengthen your body and become more flexible as you concentrate more fully on the alignment of your pose and your breath. When you concentrate on the present moment, it also means finding that inner peace that reduces our stress because you have released regrets from the past and worries about the future.
In all of our yoga classes at Moonflower Yoga, we teach our students techniques to help you relax, feel calmer, and learn to be more in the present moment. If you are in Bellmore, on Long Island New York’s Nassau County, come and try one of our amazing yoga classes or workshops taught be a dedicated team of great teachers as we help you to become more in the present moment and find that inner peace. You’ll feel great!
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!