This week marks a major milestone for Moonflower Yoga – it is our 10- year anniversary!
Ten years ago, I decided to leave corporate life behind and pursue something that I loved and that made me feel great, which was yoga. I knew that I did not want to work at a gym but instead wanted my own yoga studio. I had a dream that I wanted to reach students who might not feel comfortable in a gym setting or large studio and would often choose to “hide” in the back of the room.
Moonflower Yoga was born with a mantra of “small class, personal attention”. Having this type of studio enabled the teachers to interact with the students and guide them more closely in their practice. It also helped many yoga students learn, improve their practice, and discover how much they love yoga. By having the small class size, friendships were formed, and many of those students now spend time with people they met at Moonflower Yoga.
I also knew that community was important to me, and so I launched the Moonflower Yoga Book Club where we had fun reading a book and then discussing it. The Moonflower Yoga Book Club is still going strong today with monthly online meetings. Later, the Moonflower Yoga Needle Arts Group was formed and the Moonflower Yoga Mah Jongg club.
I also became a Reiki Master Teacher and began offering Reiki training at Moonflower Yoga. Reiki is a wonderful way to relax and take care of you.
We also learned something new in great workshops on a range of topics from creating art, cooking ideas, crafts, and so much more. Lots of laughs have been shared in these workshops. Some of these activities are now offered online such as “In the Kitchen with Bob” where we cook a meal together from our respective kitchens and then eat it together at the end of the workshop at our kitchen tables. There is also “An Evening of Guided Meditation and Relaxation” with Bhante Sujatha, the loving kindness monk, who offers his words of wisdom from all over the world. We have witnessed the sun rising over the mountains of Sri Lanka as Bhante taught his relaxing meditation. There is also “Yoga Nidra” with Jackie who helps you completely chill out and get ready for a good night’s sleep. There are special yoga-related workshops from Moonflower Yoga’s great roster of yoga teachers where you can more deeply understand each pose to help improve your practice.
I cannot say there have been no bumps in the road. The onset of COVID and the forced closure of the studio for in-person activities for over a year has been very difficult. With every cloud there is a silver lining, and online classes via Zoom were formed. The online classes enabled Moonflower Yoga to remain open, albeit virtually. But it also did something great too which is it allowed us to connect to students who lived geographically away from the studio. We now have students who live in Florida, Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, etc., who regularly attend activities. And some teachers who we missed because they moved out of state can once again teach for Moonflower even though they live hundreds of miles away from Long Island. Last year, I launched “hybrid” yoga classes which are the best of both worlds: up to 4 fully-vaccinated students are attending in person at the studio while there are simultaneously students attending online via Zoom.
So what does the next year bring? It brings a great variety of yoga and meditation classes that students can attend on a weekly basis. It also brings special workshops and other activities. Most importantly, it brings people together to feel physically better and stronger but also mentally by providing a de-stressing environment where you can relax and feel better.
For those of you who have never tried an activity at Moonflower Yoga, we welcome you to give it a try! Check us out in Bellmore (Nassau County, Long Island). If you do not live near the studio, online classes are available 7 days a week. There is NEVER a contract to sign. You can register for just one activity of your choosing from the Schedule tab on the moonfloweryoga.com website, following the simple registration steps, and see how you like it.
To those of you who have supported Moonflower Yoga through these 10 years, THANK YOU!! You have helped the studio grow and created a very special community. And to those great teachers who join me every week to teach amazing yoga classes and workshops, THANK YOU to you as well. Dozens of students have discovered the benefits of yoga through your great yoga and meditation classes.
With much gratitude!
Enjoy the total relaxation of Shavasana and why it is so important
By Nancy Weshkoff
Shavasana is the final relaxation pose that is part of a yoga practice. It is also referred to as “corpse pose”. Of all the poses that comprise your yoga practice it is the most important one. Why is it is so important?
Let’s begin by thinking about what a normal day is like for most people these days. We are often multi-tasking. In today’s environment, you may find yourself juggling your work responsibilities with helping children with their school responsibilities. Have a family member or friend who is home bound? Perhaps you are also doing shopping for that person. Are you multi-tasking in a work meeting, reading and answering text messages while trying to also concentrate on the meeting. Our bodies are tense from all these responsibilities, and our minds are racing a mile a minute thinking about things that need to get done.
As a yoga student for many years, and later as a yoga teacher and the owner of Moonflower Yoga, I have seen it happen where a student attends a yoga class and when it is time for that final relaxation on your mat in Shavasana, the student leaves because they have so many things to do. I am so sad when this happens. You are missing the most important part of your practice when you skip this!
Most yoga classes begin with some breathing exercises and then move immediately into “asana”, which is yoga movement. These movements can be seated or standing. This is also important because it enables you to release muscle tension in your body and stretch your muscles. By focusing on alignment and working on your breath, you should find some joy in the movement of your body.
But asana (movement) is that steppingstone that opens the door to the loveliness of Shavasana. The great yogi sages put the movement first so that you could release tightness and relax in Shavasana. Shavasana is where you let everything go. In a traditional Shavasana, you are reclining on the floor on your back resting on your yoga mat. It is important that you be physically comfortable, so you can add some comfort by placing a blanket or folded towel under your head or perhaps a rolled blanket or towel under the knees. In the cooler months, you may wish to cover part of your body with a blanket. For some people, having the weight of a blanket can also help you feel more grounded. If you are attending one of the great chair yoga classes offered at Moonflower Yoga, you are relaxing in the chair to enjoy your shavasana.
Once you are in your set up, you then begin to scan your body and let everything go. In the classes I teach, we start slowly scanning each part of the body to release muscle tension. If anything is still tight, you can send a signal to your brain to relax that area. Just sink into the ground and let the ground support you.
The next part is a challenging one for some people: quieting the mind. Thoughts might pop up about things on your “to do” list. Here is where the practice of pranayama – breathing techniques – can help. Focus on your breath to shut off the chatter in your head. Something as simple as saying to yourself “I breathe in, I breathe out and relax” while performing these breathing techniques generates relaxation. For some people, they may find it helpful to replace a negative thought or worry that is popping up in your mind with a positive mantra. Examples of positive mantras are “I love myself” or “everything will be okay”, “I am beautiful” or simply the word “relax”. Once you are settled, then spend at least one minute of Shavasana for every 10 minutes of asana movement, i.e., 50 minutes of asana movement should be at least 5 minutes of Shavasana. If you can stay longer in Shavasana, that’s great.
When you are ready to move out of Shavasana, you should do so slowly. Bring some gentle movement back to the body. If you are reclining on the ground, then ever so gradually roll over to one side into a fetal position. Take several breaths in fetal position, and when you a ready, you will slowly come into a seated position for several breaths. Take this time to continue be in the present moment and enjoying this lovely feeling of relaxation before slowly starting to “return to the room” and end your yoga session.
By taking these several minutes of Shavasana for yourself, you are doing positive things for your mental and physical health. It brings you relaxation and can help to balance the right and left sides of the brain. The practice gives you a clearer perspective and helps you better cope with challenges that come your way. You can feel so much calmer from those few minutes of Shavasana.
In the yoga classes that I teach at Moonflower Yoga, I make sure that we focus on this important part of your yoga practice.
If you cannot join us in person for one of our hybrid yoga classes at the Moonflower Yoga studio located in Bellmore, Nassau County, Long Island, New York, you can join us for our daily offering of great online yoga classes! EVERY class on the schedule is available to attend online through Zoom so you can relax at home and not worry about driving. Attending online and relaxing at home is a great way to enjoy your yoga practice and discover that total relaxation that you receive from shavasana. Once you are ready to come out of shavasana, you do not need to get in your car and drive in traffic back to your home, losing some of that quiet relaxation. Instead, you can continue to enjoy that relaxation from a great online yoga class in your home to give you a more peaceful remainder of your day or evening.
I hope you will join me or one of the great yoga teachers at Moonflower Yoga for a wonderful online or hybrid beginner-level yoga class and always remember to take time for YOU to reduce your stress in your yoga postures including Shavasana. Namaste!
Tags: beginner yoga, Bellmore, de-stressing, de-stressing yoga classes, great instructors, great online yoga classes, great yoga classes, great yoga teachers, Long Island, meditation, Moonflower Yoga, Moonflower Yoga studio, Nancy Weshkoff, Nassau County, New York, online yoga classes, remote yoga classes, Shavasana, stress reduction, what is Shavasana, Yoga, yoga classes, yoga studio, zoom classes, Zoom yoga classes, hybrid yoga classes.
November: A Time for Giving Thanks
By Nancy Weshkoff
It is hard to believe that November is here and that Thanksgiving and the holiday season are not that far away.
Thanksgiving has always been a special period of time to me. It is not the hectic period of December with its holiday shopping. It is a time to reflect and be THANKFUL and GRATEFUL for the blessings in our life.
I would like to start with a message of gratitude to all who have supported Moonflower Yoga through the years, and especially in this crazy pandemic period in which we are now living. I am grateful to those who continue to attend online yoga and meditation classes via Zoom, including students from out of state, as well as those living on Long Island. THANK YOU for helping to keep the studio alive. I am grateful for the technology that has also enabled Moonflower Yoga to introduce “hybrid yoga classes” that began this summer where we can have 4 fully-vaccinated students in the Moonflower Yoga studio in Bellmore, while simultaneously running the class through Zoom for those who are more comfortable attending remotely. And for those who join us in the studio for the classes, it has been so nice to see your smiling faces walk through the creaky front door of the Bellmore, Long Island studio and enjoy a class with us. Thank you for walking through the Moonflower Yoga doors to practice with us!
I am grateful for the great Moonflower Yoga instructors (Theresa, Rose, Lynn, Jessica, Cathi, Vicky, Dona Dovie, and Rosanne) who share their knowledge and love of yoga and help to create a wonderful space in which students can enjoy a fabulous yoga or meditation class, whether you are a seasoned practitioner or seeking a great beginner yoga class. They enhance the schedule so there is always an interesting class available to attend that can help you stretch, become stronger, improve your balance, and relax. I am also grateful for the monthly workshop presenters: Bhante who leads his meditation evenings from Sri Lanka (even though it means getting up at 3 AM to be with us), Jackie Lee who leads a monthly, relaxing Yoga Nidra for deep relaxation, and Cathi who offers a lovely monthly gong relaxation at the studio.
I am also very grateful to my husband, Bob, who is as much a part of the studio as me. During this year, Bob has led the monthly “In the Kitchen with Bob” online cooking workshops where we have fun cooking delicious and healthy plant-based meals from our kitchen, while simultaneously you are cooking alongside us from your kitchen. We have had lots of laughs (and some yummy wine) as we prepare these meals together, and then all sit down at the end of the event to eat the meal together in our respective homes. And with the transition to the hybrid classes, you may have heard me lovingly refer to Bob as the “IT Guy” because he jumps into the studio room and helps with any technical issues to keep the classes flowing. He also provides me moral support when things are challenging.
I am grateful for the essential workers who are keeping things flowing in these unprecedented times. We have nurses, teachers, and other essential workers who are part of the Moonflower Yoga community. Thank you for working tirelessly to help others!
I am also grateful for my yoga, meditation, and Reiki practice. When things are tough, rolling out a yoga mat or sitting quietly to meditate or do a Reiki self-healing session is what helps me cope. It is why it is so important to me to keep the studio going in these difficult times – yoga and meditation can help you to feel better and cope too!
When things do not go as planned, I encourage you to think of 3 things during the day for which you are grateful. It can be something simple, such as having your morning cup of coffee, a gesture from a stranger such as holding a door open for you, a sunny day, or a smile or hug from a family member, or your family pet offering a paw. When things are challenging, it can help us re-frame the day and put you on a positive path.
THANK YOU for all your support, and I wish you all a wonderful and happy November and Thanksgiving season. Namaste!
It is Moonflower Yoga’s 9th anniversary!
By Nancy Weshkoff
This week marks a happy milestone for Moonflower Yoga – it is our 9th anniversary!
It is hard to believe how quickly the years have flown by. When I embarked on the journey of opening a yoga studio 9 years ago in Bellmore, Long Island, New York, I was not exactly sure how things would progress. I will be the first to admit that some things did not always go as planned. But I am happy to say that many things did.
The vision that I had of building a community where people could come together to practice yoga and meditation but to also make friends and expand horizons through the Moonflower Yoga Clubs such as the Moonflower Yoga Book Club and the Moonflower Yoga Needle Arts Group have all happened. And we have all had fun and learned something new in the great workshops including cooking workshops, jewelry workshops, yoga-related workshops, and much more. Meditation activities to promote relaxation and stress reduction were added to the schedule, and we now have ongoing classes, as well as a monthly evening of Guided Meditation and Relaxation with Bhante Sujatha, a Yoga Nidra evening with Jackie Lee, and a Gong Meditation and Relaxation event at the studio with Cathi. Reiki became an addition to the schedule, and many people have become trained in this calming healing system for stress reduction and relaxation. And, of course, the yoga classes which were just a handful of classes at first but have grown to a wonderful variety of daily classes. I have personally witnessed students of all ages who were not familiar with yoga fall in love with yoga as they become stronger, more flexible, improve balance, take care of themselves, and make friends with their fellow attendees.
There have been challenges too. The onset of the COVID pandemic with a forced closure of the studio doors for in-person classes was a very sad time for me. I missed the sound of that creaky front door opening with students walking into the hallway. Through online Zoom classes, we were able to stay in touch and practice yoga together, as well as still hold online workshops and other activities. This proved to be very important for so many in the Moonflower Yoga community who felt less isolated because of the online activities, while they continued to improve their physical health with a regular yoga practice. With the introduction of hybrid classes this summer, we are now welcoming a limited group of fully-vaccinated students into the studio for select classes, and it is nice to see people in person again.
I am so grateful to all the wonderful people who have supported Moonflower Yoga through the years – THANK YOU! You have made a dream come true. Your support of Moonflower Yoga and your friendship have created a very special place. I also could not have done all of this without the great yoga teachers who join me in offering an amazing variety of yoga and meditation classes. To those who provide these great yoga and meditation classes and help students improve their practice, as well as lead wonderful workshops, I thank you for your dedication!
These are challenging times for many including small businesses as we cope with the ongoing pandemic. With your continued support, we can weather the storm and look forward to clearing skies in the future. THANK YOU for 9 wonderful years!
A New Beginning and the Launch of “Yoga Your Way!”
By Nancy Weshkoff
We have been through so much with the COVID epidemic. Sadly, thousands have lost their lives. Businesses have closed. School children had to adapt to a new way of learning. Our downtown areas have been dark as there were no patrons to support the business, and it was unsafe to open. We have also missed simple things such as spending time with loved ones.
Through this dark period, I am grateful that there was a “Zoom” which allowed Moonflower Yoga to still be open – albeit remotely – by providing a platform offering great online yoga and meditation classes as well as workshops. It has been a way for me, as well as the other Moonflower Yoga teachers, to stay connected with the students whom we have come to love. For the students, it has been a way to cope with the stress of the pandemic, stretch tight muscles, as well as stay connected and chat in the Zoom rooms with fellow students and the teacher.
Things have been on a positive trend with combating the virus. More people have been vaccinated. Life is starting to slowly return to some of the “normal” things we did pre-pandemic. Better days are ahead. I have given a lot of thought to what this means for Moonflower Yoga, and I have decided to do a partial re-opening of the studio doors for a small group of classes limiting the attendees to 4 fully-vaccinated individuals. This will take place in mid-June, and I am excited for this new chapter!
One of the things people have expressed is they have come to like the convenience and ease of Zoom classes. They also may not feel comfortable yet attending a group class, even if it is limited to 4 students. Keeping these concerns in mind, the idea for the new “hybrid” yoga class was formed whereby EVERY CLASS on the schedule will be available via Zoom, while simultaneously a group of hybrid classes will accommodate a maximum of 4 fully-vaccinated individuals in the studio room for an in-person experience. These great new hybrid yoga classes offer the best of both worlds when deciding to attend a class: you can join remotely via Zoom or select the in-person option if you are fully vaccinated.
I have also come to realize that some classes work better solely as a remote class. Cathi’s lovely Relax and De-Stress with Guided Meditation class on Mondays is an example of this. Students enjoy being comfortable in their home – perhaps reclining on a couch or in their favorite chair – as they listen to the guided 30-minute meditation. One of Moonflower Yoga’s popular teachers, Jessica, lives out of state, but she can continue to teach from her 2 popular yoga classes from her southern home using the Zoom platform. Jackie Lee’s de-stressing, monthly Yoga Nidra, which most attend while reclining at home, also works well in the Zoom environment. And Moonflower Yoga is blessed to have Bhante Sujatha, the loving kindness monk, provide a monthly de-stressing meditation and offer his wisdom and insight with a monthly guided meditation evening for Moonflower Yoga which he offers from various locations around the world using Zoom.
With all these choices now available, it provides an opportunity for a new beginning. I am calling this new chapter “Yoga Your Way!” because it is just that – an opportunity to choose how YOU would like to attend a great yoga or meditation class based on YOUR needs. We are taking some of the things that provided flexibility for our needs, such as online classes, and we are combining that with the in-person experience that so many of us have missed due to the pandemic. For those who are seeking a beginner yoga practice, there are great beginner-level yoga classes on the schedule 6 days a week from which you can choose. It is an exciting new start!
I hope you will take this opportunity to join me, as well as some of the other great yoga teachers at Moonflower Yoga and enjoy a fabulous yoga or meditation class. With the new “Yoga Your Way!” program, you have the choice of deciding which way works best for you. If you need additional information on “Yoga Your Way!”, click on the “Monthly News” or “Descriptions” tab on the moonfloweryoga.com website. The Moonflower Yoga studio doors in Bellmore, Nassau County, Long Island, will start to partially reopen on Sunday, June 13th under the new “Yoga Your Way!” program. We look forward to seeing you soon!