Mantra and Stress Reduction
By Nancy Weshkoff
Beginners to yoga often ask what is a mantra and why is this used in yoga classes. Mantra is a short phrase, or a chant, or it may be a single word. It can be in Sanskrit, the ancient language of yoga, or it can be in English. As an example, “shanti”, is a Sanskrit word and means “peace”. At the end of a yoga class, a yoga teacher may close the class with “shanti, shanti, shanti” as a message that peace be with you and with the world.
Mantra can be any word or combination of words that has meaning to you. It is important that it be a POSITIVE message. For example, you can say “I am smart”, “I am beautiful”, “Everything is going to be okay”, “I am grateful”, “I am happy”, etc. You want to avoid negative versions of this such as “I am not stupid”, as your brain has difficulty processing the negative and hears “I am stupid”. You could also choose a famous phrase that resonates with you. A simple “I love myself” is also wonderful.
Sometimes people think a mantra can only be used in a yoga class or if you are doing a seated meditation in your house. This is certainly when you might encounter mantra, but mantra is available to you at any time during the day. If you are sitting in traffic, on a train, waiting in a doctor’s office, standing in line at a store, or just walking down the street, you can use a mantra. Just silently repeat to yourself the positive mantra of your choosing.
So, why is mantra important and how can it help with stress reduction? During our day, our mind is occupied with many thoughts – not all of them good. We might find ourselves regretting something from our past and reliving the past scene in our mind. Or perhaps you are imagining what might happen in the future at a certain event which is making you anxious, and we start to worry. Our blood pressure rises, which increases a strain on our heart and other organs. Guilt and worry are two negative emotions that we should try to reduce as much as possible.
Instead of negativity, how about changing this to something positive? If you change the negative into a positive mantra that you repeat to yourself, you start to relax. It helps with stress reduction and lowers blood pressure.
Try doing this for just 2-3 minutes. Select a positive mantra that is meaningful to you. Notice how you feel before you start the mantra. Take a few deep breaths. Then start repeating the mantra to yourself. If you are alone in a room, you can choose to say it aloud. After just a few minutes of slowly repeating the mantra, notice how you feel. You should notice a reduction in your stress and your mind should be calmer. Mantra can be miraculous!
If you would like to discover more about mantra, come try one of the great yoga classes at our Moonflower Yoga studio in Bellmore, in Nassau County (Long Island, New York). Our yoga teachers offer mantra to our yoga students and encourage them to incorporate these into their daily routine. In our singing bowl meditation classes, mantra is used with sound, which is a fabulous way to relax. In our Kundalini yoga classes, mantra is part of the yoga practice, and you may repeat your mantra while moving in a certain yoga posture or with a breathing technique offered by our Kundalini yoga teacher. I encourage you to incorporate mantra in your life and see how it can help you relax and feel great!
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.
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!
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!
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!
GOODBYE WINTER DOLDRUMS
Written by Nancy Weshkoff
It has been a brutal winter here in Bellmore, on Long Island, New York. Our snow fall totals have already reached approximately 60” and there is another snowstorm on the way later this weekend with the prospect of possibly 10 more inches of snow. Mother Nature has not been kind to us this winter.
I am, however, shaking off the winter doldrums. While the temperatures are still cold outside, there are signs of better days ahead. Officially spring is just 3 weeks away. Have you noticed the extra daylight? It is no longer dark at 5 PM. And when the snow is cleared away in my garden, there is beauty coming from the earth. Several of my spring bulbs already have a couple of inches of green foliage. A few of the spring perennials also have some green growth. The robins have returned. The flowers and birds know that spring is just around the corner.
There is something wonderful about the prospect of spring. It marks a new beginning. Are you ready for spring?
Warmer weather means shedding those baggy, extra layers of clothes that have kept us warm. It is time to start thinking about getting in shape for the lighter clothes of warmer weather. It is a great time to get off the couch, wake up our bodies, and get toned and stretched. If you start now, you’ll feel fabulous and be ready for the warm days which are ahead.
Moonflower Yoga has some great yoga classes to help you get in shape for spring. If you have never practiced yoga before, or have been inactive, start slowly with one of our fantastic beginner yoga classes which are offered several times a week. We have lots of props on hand to help our students as you are getting back into shape. Ready for something more challenging? Try our Stress Reduction Vinyasa Flow class on Monday night at 7:30 PM or Sunday Flow at 9 AM each Sunday. We also added a wonderful Move and Stretch class to the Tuesday schedule at 6:15 PM, and there is a fun Stretch and Flow class every Thursday morning at 10 AM. We have an Iyengar-style Level One class on Tuesday at 10 AM and Thursday at 6:45 PM to help you tone. If you are working in the vicinity of Bellmore, Long Island, we added a Yoga Lunch Express class on Mondays at 12:30, which is a great 45-minute lunch class: skip the heavy calories and try a wonderful class to energize you.
Remember spring is just around the corner. It is time to shake off your winter doldrums! Come visit us at Moonflower Yoga in Bellmore, New York, in Long Island’s Nassau County, for a great yoga class with our dedicated team of yoga teachers to help you get into shape and feel great. Hope to see you soon!
In the Spotlight
By Nancy Weshkoff
One of the things that I love about being a local business is the sense of community that you have from your fellow small business owners. It is the small businesses that are the backbone of our country, and the income that is earned from a local business stays in the local community to help support schools, parks, etc.
Moonflower Yoga is a member of the Bellmore Chamber of Commerce, a great organization that works very hard to support our local Long Island community. I am pleased to advise that Moonflower Yoga was selected to be the “In the Spotlight” business by the Bellmore Chamber of Commerce for the month of January, 2014!! Listed below is the text from our “In the Spotlight” feature. And remember if you are in the area of Bellmore, in Long Island’s Nassau County, please stop by & check out one of our great yoga classes or workshops!!
In the Spotlight:
Moonflower Yoga is proud to make its home in Bellmore. Our classes are small, generally with a maximum of 6 students per class, which enables our instructors to provide you with personal attention. We are fully equipped with many props, such as bolsters, blocks, pillows, and blankets, so you are completely comfortable while practicing. Your first class is always free, which gives you an opportunity to try a class with no obligation.
Moonflower Yoga offers an interesting array of yoga classes for all ages and fitness levels. The classes are lovingly designed to help you build strength, gain flexibility and balance, as well as reduce your stress and find inner peace. Moonflower Yoga also offers meditation classes, as well as Tai Chi. We love working with students who have never tried yoga before. Moonflower Yoga owner and Bellmore resident, Nancy Weshkoff, has put many special touches into the studio to make it a warm and friendly place. Nancy personally greets all her students welcoming them as they enter the studio. If you would like a private one-on-one yoga session, we can create a class just for you, and Moonflower Yoga can also come to your local place of business to teach an onsite yoga class in corporate locations.
For something new and interesting, check out the Moonflower Yoga workshops which take place on Friday evenings or weekend afternoons. Our past workshops topics have covered varied topics such as relieving back and neck pain, astrology, women’s health issues, goal setting, crystals, Feng Shui, and meditation. We are also starting the Moonflower Yoga Book Club, which will meet once a month on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, beginning in January.
Please stop by and visit us at 2093 Bellmore Avenue at the corner of Wilson Avenue to learn more about Moonflower Yoga. You can also check out our user-friendly website, www.moonfloweryoga.com, which is packed with lots of photos and info, and where you can reserve a class or workshop. Hope to see you soon!
The Changing Season
By Nancy Weshkoff
This weekend we changed our clocks back one hour from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. And while it was nice to have that extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning, the changing of the clocks also reminded us of something else: the changing of the season to cooler temperatures and less daylight as it is dark by 5 PM.
When it gets darker and cooler, we naturally spend more time indoors. While that is understandable, it is important that we continue to move our bodies during the cooler months. We need to keep your muscles flexible. At Moonflower Yoga in Bellmore on Long Island’s Nassau County, all of our great yoga classes emphasize stretching and flexibility. Did you know that tight hamstring muscles can cause back pain? You can keep your hamstring muscles loose through yoga. Our Stress Reducing Vinyasa flow classes, Level one and Level one-two classes, Sunday Flow, Beginner, Tai Chi, Stretch & Flow, Adaptive, Easy Beginner & Easy Flow yoga classes are all great choices for keeping you flexible. And being active can prevent weight gain over the winter months.
Aside from our physical body, our mental state can also change with the cooler temperatures. We spend less time socializing outdoors. For some people, this means spending more time watching television, playing video games, or with social media sites. While these can be fun in moderation, they may not help you deal with stress in your life. Stress can be harmful and health care professionals all agree that it is a contributing factor to many health problems today. You can reduce your stress through the physical movement of a yoga asana practice. You can also reduce your stress through meditation which provides a wonderful opportunity to let go of things that might be bothering you and to teach you to focus on the present moment. Our bi-monthly Meditation class is fantastic for this. We also have a lovely Candlelight Restorative class on alternate Tuesdays, which rotates with the Meditation class, where you have an opportunity to completely relax and refresh yourself while you stretch on bolsters, pillows, and blankets. If you are looking for a combination of light movement and restorative, there is the Unwind and Relax class on Thursday night which is a perfect way to end your day.
You can combat the winter blues, stay in shape, and feel better through a regular yoga practice. Hope to see you soon at one of our great yoga classes.
Yoga and the Nassau County Health and Wellness Fair
By Nancy Weshkoff
It is amazing how quickly time flies by. The next month brings several happenings for Moonflower Yoga. There is the upcoming Moonflower Yoga one-year anniversary celebration and the annual Bellmore Family Street Festival. But first let’s concentrate on this week.
This Sunday, August 18, 2013, from 10 AM – 4 PM Nassau County is holding its Health and Wellness Fair in the Mitchell Field Athletic Complex at One Charles Lindbergh Blvd. across from the Cradle of Aviation Museum. This will be a great opportunity for people on Long Island to learn about healthy options to make you feel better. I am pleased to advise that Moonflower Yoga will be participating at this Fair, and will be the yoga studio selected to provide a one-hour yoga class / demo from 3 – 4 PM at this informative event.
I am expecting that there will be some people at the Nassau County Health and Wellness Fair who have never tried yoga before. I am excited to meet them and introduce them to some of the great health benefits that yoga can provide. At the Moonflower Yoga studio in Bellmore, we welcome new students of all ages. I love working with beginners. It is inspiring for me to see the progress these students have made in just a few short months with increased strength, flexibility, and balance. Yoga has also made them feel calmer and less stressed. Several students have indicated that they sleep more soundly and are coping better with life’s pressures since they began their yoga practice.
If you are on Long Island, New York, this Sunday, August 18th, I hope you will stop by and say hello to us at the Nassau County Health and Wellness Fair and come to the Moonflower Yoga class / demo from 3-4 PM. If you can’t see us this weekend, you can always stop by the Moonflower Yoga studio in Bellmore. For those who are new, your first class is free, and it is a fabulous opportunity to learn more about the health benefits of a regular yoga practice with one of our great yoga teachers.
And stay tuned for future postings about our one-year anniversary celebration and the annual Bellmore Family Street Festival.