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!
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!