Women and Heart Disease
By Nancy Weshkoff
February is Heart Health Month and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Movement. 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? If you are sitting in a group of women, look to your right and to your left. One of you will die 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. We have a fabulous “Stress Buster” series of classes on Tuesday evenings at 730 PM. Or try the popular “Stretch and Meditate 101” class on Thursdays at 5 PM, where you gently stretch and begin to develop a meditation practice. Try one of these classes or the other great yoga classes taught by our yoga teachers on the Moonflower Yoga schedule.
– 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 can help lower your stress levels. We have several fun “Clubs” at Moonflower Yoga including the Moonflower Yoga Book Club, the Moonflower Yoga Needle Arts Group where you learn to crochet or knit (very meditative!), the Moonflower Yoga Mah Jongg Group, and the new Women’s Gathering Group where women meet to discuss topics relevant to women. There are also fun workshops on the Moonflower Yoga schedule where you can have fun painting, or doing a craft, or just learning something new. These types of interesting and meditative activities can help you on the path of stress reduction and lowering your blood pressure.
– Try Reiki: Reiki is being offered now by leading medical institutions as an alternative therapy. Reiki is a wonderful, hands-on tool that you can learn to reduce blocked energy and send healing energy to yourself. Moonflower Yoga offers Reiki Healing Circles where you can discover Reiki, as well as training to be a Reiki practitioner. Click on the “Reiki” tab on the moonfloweryoga.com website for further info.
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 and needle arts, 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. We welcome people from all over the area including Wantagh, Merrick, East Meadow, Seaford, Massapequa and Freeport. Let’s lower these frightening heart-disease numbers for women!
New Year. New You!
By Nancy Weshkoff
Hello 2018! When we ring in a new year, it is a great time to start fresh with new goals and ambitions. I am reminded of a quote from one of my favorite books “tomorrow is a brand new day with no mistakes in it”.
For Moonflower Yoga, we are starting 2018 anew as well. 2018 welcomes in several great yoga teachers to the Moonflower Yoga staff. We are pleased to have Danielle Meill, Jackie Lee, Rose Edelman, and Cathi Nashak join the Moonflower Yoga teaching team. Each of these great yoga teachers bring their own unique style of yoga to the Moonflower Yoga studio. You will learn ways to strengthen your body, become more flexible, improve balance, link breath with movement, and most importantly de-stress and take care of YOU.
As meditation is something that is important to learn, Moonflower Yoga has also added a great new class on the yoga class schedule: “Stretch and Meditate 101” with Lynn on Thursdays at 5 PM. This gentle yoga class will help you de-stress from the day and then learn meditation tools to enable you to relax.
And to give the studio a great start to the new year, we have completed the facelift on the studio so it has a new design, better layout, beautiful colors on the walls, and new tapestries to help you feel relaxed as soon as you enter the doors.
It is our 2018 commitment at Moonflower Yoga to continue to offer great yoga classes with great yoga teachers where you receive personal attention and don’t get lost in the crowd. And we have made the studio a warm, friendly place in Bellmore, Long Island, on the South Shore of Nassau County, New York, where we also welcome students from the neighboring towns of Merrick, East Meadow, Seaford, Wantagh, Massapequa, and Freeport. Moonflower Yoga is also a great place to learn something new in one of our fun workshops or in one of our clubs. Check out the Moonflower Yoga Book Club, the Moonflower Yoga Mah Jongg Club, the Moonflower Yoga Needle Arts Group where you learn to crochet or knitting, and the new Women’s Gathering.
So what are YOUR plans and goals for 2018? First and foremost, it should be about taking care of YOU. If you do not take care of you, you cannot take care of anyone else. We often find excuses why we can’t take some time for ourselves. When we DO take care of ourselves good things happen. We sleep better at night, and sleep is important to giving our bodies and minds the down time it needs to function better. We reduce stress which lowers blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to so many diseases including heart disease, the number one killer of women in the US. Just giving yourself a couple a hours a week of YOU time can make a big difference in how you feel physically as well as mentally and it can make you MORE productive as you have a clearer perspective. Are you a beginner and feeling nervous about starting a yoga practice? No worries – Moonflower Yoga offers beginner-level yoga classes 7 days a week. You’ll see a full listing under the FAQ tab above. Have problems reaching the floor? Try Chair Yoga offered 3 times a week.
Yoga and meditation can help put you on a great path for 2018. You can strengthen your body and de-stress while learning that important message of taking care of YOU. Come try it! You will be glad that you did and you will find yourself on the road to better health in 2018. Happy new year, and we look forward to seeing you soon!
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!