Reflections On 2021
By Nancy Weshkoff
As we say goodbye to 2021, I am looking back to the year that was. 2021 was another strange year as we continued to battle coronavirus. Coronavirus very much was a part of the year, as the year began with the studio doors closed to in-person classes to keep people safe. The teaching schedule still offered great online yoga classes 7 days a week.
As vaccines become available and the virus numbers started to decline, it was time to return to some normalcy. Hybrid yoga classes were formed whereby we could continue to offer great online yoga classes via Zoom, while simultaneously having the return of in-person classes for a small group of students. It was so nice to finally reopen the studio doors to see people in person again, especially those who have been such an important part of the Moonflower Yoga community for many years.
And then came new and more contagious virus strains which are affecting not just Bellmore in Nassau County, Long Island, but many parts of the United States and the world. Once again, the painful decision was made to close the studio doors to all in-person activities to prevent the spread of the virus and to keep the Moonflower Yoga community safe. Great online yoga classes and workshops continue to be offered.
Through it all, I have felt a sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the students who continue to attend online yoga and meditation classes at Moonflower Yoga, and it is always nice to see their smiling faces in the “Zoom Room” as we chat before and after each class. I am grateful to the great yoga teachers and workshops presenters who teach their classes and workshops online as we offer a very interesting variety of activities. I am grateful for my husband, Bob, who supports me on a daily basis and who joins in the Moonflower Yoga community with his monthly “In the Kitchen with Bob” online cooking workshop where we prepare plant-based, vegan recipes in our kitchen with attendees cooking alongside us in their homes. I am grateful to the Moonflower Yoga community that attends the fun Moonflower Yoga Book Club and Needle Arts Groups where we have some laughs together. I am grateful to the medical community that has discovered treatments that help combat the virus and the healthcare workers who tirelessly aid those in need. I am grateful that we have made it through a challenging year.
As we look ahead into 2022, which begins in a few hours, we are beginning the new year similar to the one we are leaving behind. Yet, I am hopeful that things will be better in the spring and summer. We need to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. It is important to take care of our physical bodies as well as our mental health. Attending a great online yoga class can help with both goals. And attending a meditation class or one of our special monthly offerings such as An Evening with Bhante Sujatha or the relaxing Yoga Nidra deep relaxation can bring you some inner peace. There is no contract to sign and no recurring payments, and you can attend just one great online yoga or meditation class and start to feel better. Come give it a try!
Thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with me. May 2022 bring you good health, happiness and many blessings.
Heart Disease and Women
By Nancy Weshkoff
Heart health is something I take very seriously. And while it is important to focus on heart health year round, the month of February is Heart Health Month and part of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Movement. I am therefore writing this blog to discuss this very important topic.
Let’s begin with these key factors about heart disease in women:
–Heart disease is the NUMBER ONE killer of women in the United States.
–If you stacked up ALL cancer-related deaths for women together (breast, lung, ovarian, liver, skin cancer, etc), all of these cancer-related deaths together would still be number two behind heart disease.
– One in three women in the United States will die every year from heart disease. If you were sitting in a group of women and looked to your right and to your left, sadly one of you will die from heart disease. And of this number, more than 1,800 of these women who die from heart disease will live here on Long Island in New York.
-If you have heart disease, you are at a higher risk of contracting COVID or having serious complications related to COVID. With the spread of coronavirus, it is even more important to pay attention to your heart health.
– Did you know that you can help PREVENT yourself from 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. Spending long hours in front of a computer screen without moving is not good for you. Your body needs to move. Yoga is extremely helpful in helping you with your fitness goals. The postures in a yoga class will build strength and flexibility, stretch your muscles, 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. This can be particularly challenging in this coronavirus period where we might find ourselves multi-tasking. It makes it even more important to notice how you cope with stress. 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 online yoga and meditation classes at Moonflower Yoga can get you on the path to accomplishing your stress-reduction goals. Perhaps you do not have a lot of spare time right now with multi-tasking due to the pandemic. I would suggest that it is so important to take even 30 minutes FOR YOU which helps lower those stress levels and enables you to better cope with life’s challenges. Moonflower Yoga currently has great online yoga and meditation classes which you can do from the comfort of your home to help you lower stress and help your heart health. The Schedule tab on the moonfloweryoga.com website lists the daily options taught by our great yoga and meditation teachers.
– 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 have not 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 great online activities that you can do from home including two fun “Clubs”. In the Moonflower Yoga Book Club, we have fun going on a journey with a new book which helps you discover something new. There is also the Moonflower Yoga Needle Arts Group where you crochet or knit (very meditative!) while enjoying each other’s company. With the Moonflower Yoga Needle Arts Group, we also donate some of our beautiful creations to various charities. And there are great yoga workshops, as well as crafting workshops where we make beautiful jewelry. We have online meditation classes, as well as regular guided meditation workshops. There is also a monthly online yoga nidra evening, which is deep relaxation “yogic sleep”, a wonderful way to de-stress. One hour of yoga nidra = four hours of sleep! These types of interesting and meditative activities can help you on the path of stress reduction, lowering your blood pressure, and having fun – all great things for your heart.
– Fighting loneliness: In this coronavirus period, it is very important to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus. But social distancing often creates loneliness. We need social interaction. Online yoga, meditation, and other activities via Zoom are a great way to combat loneliness and help you feel better. Before and after each online class, there is a Zoom Room where you can safely see and chat with fellow attendees, have a laugh, or share a story. It makes a big difference to have this social interaction and help you feel better, thereby reducing your stress levels.
-Are you eating a healthy diet, or are you eating fast food or other unhealthy foods that are high in fat and cholesterol? Eating unhealthy foods can clog your arteries and increase your risk for heart disease. One fun, new online activity that we offer at Moonflower Yoga is a monthly “In the Kitchen with Bob” cooking workshop where we connect online via Zoom, and we cook healthy meals together during the workshop and then enjoy the finished product at the end of the workshop. These delicious recipes are plant-based, low in fat, and heart healthy. And we have a lot of laughs cooking together – a great stress reducer.
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 online yoga class, meditation, or workshop at Moonflower Yoga. With online yoga and meditation classes offered via Zoom, there is also no longer a geographic limit to Bellmore, Wantagh, Merrick, East Meadow, Freeport, Seaford, Massapequa, or other towns in Nassau County, Long Island. We now have students joining us from states other than New York including Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Vermont. It is great to connect with new people! All are welcome!
Please take care of yourself and reduce your risk of heart disease, or the risk of heart disease for a special woman in your life. I hope we will see you soon for a great online yoga class, meditation, or other activity as you take positive steps to lowering the risk for heart disease!