Moonflower Yoga
2093 Bellmore Avenue
Bellmore, NY 11710
Phone: (516) 557 2206
Email: moonfloweryoga@optimum.net

The Return of the School Year by Nancy Weshkoff

September 16, 2021 by  
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The Return of the School Year

By Nancy Weshkoff

September is always a stressful month with the return of the school year.  For teachers, you are meeting your new students for the year and ascertaining how you can help them grow and learn. Similarly for students, it is beginning a new curriculum and becoming comfortable with your new teachers.  Parents need to help their children become adjusted to the new grade level.  In 2021, this stress seems to be amplified even more. The COVID pandemic has added more complexity: should there be mask mandates, vaccine mandates for those who are eligible, remote learning or in-person learning, etc.

At Moonflower Yoga, we have many schoolteachers and parents who attend classes and events.  I see the stress and worry start to build in mid-late August and continue through September and October as they try to cope with the onset of the new school year.

For the teachers, the parents, and the students, they all agree that taking even just 30 minutes to RELAX can you help feel better.  A great yoga or meditation class, available via Zoom, can help you do that.  Yoga can release muscle tension from the day.  By doing pranayama (breathing techniques), the mind and body begin to relax.  When you are relaxed, you can think more clearly and feel better, and your blood pressure can be lowered creating less stress on your heart.  Guided meditation takes your mind away from your worries and anxiety and helps you channel it in a more positive direction.   Come give a yoga or meditation class a try with a great Moonflower Yoga teacher who can help you learn ways to relax and cope!   With Zoom, you do not need to live in Bellmore, Long Island, New York to attend a class, and we  have people attending online yoga or meditation classes from neighboring Nassau County towns such as Merrick, East Meadow, Wantagh, Levittown, and Seaford, as well as out of state from Pennsylvania, Florida, Vermont, Arizona, and California.   Take 30 minutes for yourself and begin to feel better!  And have a great start to the new school year.

 

It is Moonflower Yoga’s 9th anniversary by Nancy Weshkoff

September 8, 2021 by  
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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!

 

My Favorite Yoga Pose by Nancy Weshkoff

July 9, 2021 by  
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My Favorite Yoga Pose

By Nancy Weshkoff

 

I have been practicing yoga for many years, and through those years have engaged in many different yoga poses.  Like most things in life, you find yourself enjoying some things more than others.   While I encourage students to try a wide variety of poses because this enables your body to use different muscle groups, I am indulging myself for today by settling on one pose that I always enjoy and love to do when I roll out my yoga mat.  That pose for me is Warrior 2 pose, also known as Virabhadrasana 2 in Sanskrit.

Warrior 2 helps me feel strong.  It requires concentration as you focus your Drishti (gaze) towards the outreached palm.  With the concentration on your outstretched hand, other worries disappear.  I feel powerful and strong as the strength of my physical body enables me to hold the pose and stretch.

Here are some of the overall benefits of Warrior 2:

  • It builds strength in your legs.
  • It is a great stretch for many muscles in the body.
  • It helps improve your balance and stability.
  • Tight muscles can be slowly stretched to improve flexibility.
  • The shoulders and upper body also are stretched.
  • May help with osteoporosis or sciatica issues.
  • Improves your stamina.
  • You feel good after doing it!

Do you have a favorite yoga pose?    If you are new to yoga and are not sure about Warrior 2 or other yoga poses, then come and try a great beginner-level yoga class at Moonflower Yoga with one of our great yoga teachers and discover which yoga posture makes you happiest!  There are beginner-level yoga classes available 6 days a week from which you can choose.  You do not need to live in the Bellmore, Long Island area of Nassau County to attend a class.  ALL of the yoga classes on the schedule are available via Zoom so you can try a great online yoga class from the comfort of your home.   Join us and discover YOUR favorite yoga pose too!

A New Beginning and the Launch of “Yoga Your Way!” by Nancy Weshkoff

June 4, 2021 by  
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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!

 

 

 

Spring: New Beginnings by Nancy Weshkoff

April 13, 2021 by  
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Spring: New Beginnings

By Nancy Weshkoff

Spring is my favorite time of year.   We shake off the remnants of winter.  All around you, life is starting to come alive gain.  The trees start to bloom, lawns and shrubs are turning green, spring bulbs are blooming, and the weather is warmer.  We have more daylight and start to feel more alive than when it is dark before 5 PM.

With a year of living with the Covid pandemic that has gripped the world, spring takes on added meaning for me.   I start to feel that we are leaving the darkness of the Covid winter behind us and are moving into the light and to better days ahead.  With spring’s arrival it is time to dust off the cobwebs of winter and start to feel renewed and refreshed.

With the warmer weather ahead, you start to wear thinner clothes.  Wouldn’t it be great to feel toned in those lighter clothes?   A great yoga class can help you tone and stretch your muscles, as well as improve strength, flexibility, and balance.  Yoga and meditation are also wonderful for stress reduction and helping us cope with these challenging times.   If you are a beginner, there are beginner-level yoga classes on the Moonflower Yoga schedule 6 days a week.  And while the studio doors remain closed for the time being, you can still enjoy a great yoga class with one of our great yoga teachers, as you join us online from the comfort of your home using Zoom.

In addition to the daily yoga classes, there are also some great meditation activities on the Moonflower Yoga schedule including a weekly Relax and De-Stress with Guided Meditation class on Mondays at 7 PM, as well as a deep, relaxing monthly Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep) with Jackie Lee, and a fascinating monthly evening of Guided Meditation with Bhante Sujatha, a 30+ year Buddhist Monk who is singularly focused on adding more love in the world.  Bhante teaches loving-kindness meditation to people around the globe for all those seeking the art of happiness and contentment.  Discover how meditation can help you relax, reduce your stress levels, and put you on a brighter path.

Perhaps you would also like to learn something new as part of a spring renewal.   There is a monthly “In the Kitchen with Bob” cooking workshop where you cook in your kitchen, while we simultaneously cook from our kitchen.  We supply the recipes in advance, and have a blast cooking delicious, plant-based, healthy recipes together in our respective kitchens.  At the end, we enjoy sharing our meal together using Zoom.

For the month of April, we also added a “New Beginnings for Springtime” workshop with clinical herbalist, nutrition educator, and author Jovanka Ciares on Friday, April 23rd.  In this workshop, Jovanka will discuss how to use foods and botanicals to support our natural detoxification system and help improve our well being.

Come join us this spring at Moonflower Yoga and take a step towards renewal for yourself!   Using Zoom, you can join us from a wider geographic location and are no longer limited to only the Bellmore, Wantagh, Merrick, Seaford, or East Meadow vicinity of Nassau County, Long Island.    We have people joining us from other parts of the United States, including mothers and daughters from different states enjoying a class together.  I hope you can join us too and have a great start to your spring!

 

March: One Year Later – The “New Normal” by Nancy Weshkoff

March 6, 2021 by  
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March: One Year Later and the “New Normal” 

By Nancy Weshkoff

This March marks the one-year anniversary of the studio closing its doors to in-person classes.   It is hard to believe that one year has passed.

Thinking back to March, 2020, it started to become apparent by the middle of the month that New York was in a bad situation.  People were getting sick all around us.  Hospitals were filling up and beds became scarce.  Health care workers bravely and tirelessly put their lives on the line to help as many people as possible.  And we faced shortages of supplies such as toilet paper, as well as masks to protect us from the virus.   On March 16th, I made the painful decision to close the studio doors due to the pandemic and cancelled the future in-person activities on the schedule.

When I went home that March night, I shed many tears.   What I had worked so hard to build for 8 years just disappeared overnight.   How did we get here?   I went into a depressed state starting that evening and had difficulty getting out of bed.   I could not face what was happening.   The world that I loved had just turned upside down.

After several days of this, I received a phone call from another studio owner who I had met through training programs.   She gave me a jolt to get out of bed and save Moonflower.   She told me about the online Zoom classes that she was starting up at her studio.   I then investigated Zoom and decided to give it a try.  That competitive studio owner, who did not need to help me, gave me some tutorials on Zoom so that I could start offering online classes.  I will always be grateful for her kindness and advice.  I also decided to attend the tutorials that Zoom provided to help me further understand Zoom, and I am blessed to have an amazing partner in Bob who is IT savvy.

Next came the outreach to the great teachers who had supported Moonflower, and we agreed on new online class offerings to accommodate the Zoom technology.   I did test classes with each of the teachers so we could practice working with Zoom.  By the end of the month, I was ready to give online classes a try, and I made the announcement of the new online schedule to the Moonflower Yoga community.

There were some hiccups at first.  One-on-one Zoom tutorials were offered to some Moonflower clients who needed help navigating Zoom.   But overall the launch was a success.   Once that was in place, I started to offer some online Zoom workshops and relaunch the Moonflower Yoga Book Club and Needle Arts Group.

And here we are one year later.   I never thought I would be spending more than a year in Zoom world – the “new normal” .

Many wonderful things have happened as a result of Zoom.   There is no longer a geographic or size limitation to the yoga or meditation classes.  Students join me from other states, not just from the local Nassau County or Long Island, New York communities of Bellmore, East Meadow, Merrick, Wantagh, or Seaford.   Classes are not limited to 6 people, and several popular classes have more than that number attending.   Most importantly, I can still stay in touch with each of you, the Moonflower Yoga community that I love.   Social distancing is important to prevent the further spread of the virus, but it can create loneliness.   Through the Zoom rooms, we can safely and happily chat before/after class and not feel so lonely and isolated.  And, of course, the Zoom classes provide an opportunity to take care of our physical bodies as well as provide relaxation and enable us to de-stress as we cope with our changed lives as a result of the pandemic.

With all the snow that we received in February, having the Zoom classes was a godsend, as we can still hold classes despite the bad weather and not worry about roads being plowed and parking being available.   And some of the meditative activities such as Cathi’s lovely Relax and De-Stress with Guided Meditation class on Monday nights, or Jackie Lee’s monthly Yoga Nidra work very nicely when done at home as you can be reclining in your own bed as you de-stress and not lose that relaxation by having to drive home after class.  The In the Kitchen with Bob cooking workshop series is a lot of fun, as we connect in our respective kitchens and then enjoy sharing via Zoom the meal we just prepared.  Bhante Sujatha, who offers such wonderful wisdom through his monthly meditations for Moonflower Yoga, teaches these meditations from Sri Lanka or Chicago – something that would not have happened in the physical studio world.  We have witnessed sunrise over the mountains of Sri Lanka during Bhante’s meditation.  Jessica, who taught for the studio for years before becoming a mom and then relocating to South Carolina, can now reconnect with the studio with 2 great weekly yoga classes due to Zoom.

It is also fun to see have some of our furry friends joining the Zoom classes.  Walter, the dog, and Daisy, the cat, and others enjoy the Zoom classes also.

There is sadness too.   I loved the sound of that creaky studio door opening to signal someone was entering, and I loved popping up from my desk to greet people.   I miss giving someone a hug who was having a bad day.  I miss handing out essential oils and cards with messages from the universe when people settled into the Moonflower Yoga studio room.    I miss doing Reiki training which is not safe to do while the virus is prevalent.  And while we do have the Moonflower Yoga Book Club and Needle Arts Group online, I miss the Moonflower Yoga Mah Jongg Club and the new Moonflower Yoga Canasta Club where we had laughs and which must be on hiatus for now.

Like many small businesses, these are challenging times financially.  We are doing everything we can to survive the pandemic and keep our heads above water until the pandemic is behind us.   It is why I ask you to please support a small business if you can.  The dollars that small businesses receive stay in the community to pay for schools, police, sanitation, etc.  Small businesses are the lifeblood of our neighborhood.

So what does the next year hold for Moonflower Yoga?   Well, it is a continuance of online classes, workshops, and the Clubs for a few more months.   I have repeatedly stressed “ahimsa” – kindness.   That means I need to keep the teachers and the students safe from the virus, which I cannot due at the moment if the studio doors reopen to in-person activities.  We need to have more people vaccinated and for the numbers to drop significantly before I will consider reopening the doors.  I do think that will happen but it will take time.

I am so very grateful to those of you who have continued to support Moonflower Yoga through this challenging time.  THANK YOU!   And for those of you who have not yet tried an online class, I encourage you to give it a try.   It is just $11 for a great 30-40 minute online yoga or meditation class with NO contract to sign.   Or join us for a great workshop where you learn something new and have fun.   The Schedule tab on the moonfloweryoga.com website provides the calendar of upcoming activities.  I look forward to seeing you soon!

 

Moonflower Yoga feature on News 12 Long Island: One Year Later By Nancy Weshkoff

February 17, 2021 by  
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Moonflower Yoga feature on News 12 Long Island: One Year Later

By Nancy Weshkoff

 

One year ago, in February 2020, Moonflower Yoga was selected by News 12 Long Island for a piece which aired about Women and Heart Health.  The piece was hosted by Shari Einhorn of News 12, and it focused on the positive benefits of yoga and meditation on heart health, particularly for women.   I was so thrilled and honored that Moonflower Yoga in Bellmore was selected for this piece amongst all the other yoga studios in Long Island, New York.

The News 12 piece featured 2 classes: one was a traditional, beginner-level yoga class.  The second one was a Chair Yoga class which I taught.   Shari joined us for the Chair Yoga class.  As a Reiki Master Teacher, I also incorporated some Reiki into the Chair Yoga class that I taught, as well as brief meditation.

The response to the piece which News 12 Long Island aired was fantastic, and it was such a great day. We were able to all be in the same room together, enjoying the practice, as well as laughing at the end and even sharing some hugs.  For those who love Bob’s desserts, there was also his delicious homemade lemon lavender cake to share at the end of the filming.

If you would like to see the piece that aired on News 12 Long Island, here is the link:

http://longisland.news12.com/story/41735495/relax-and-destress-yoga-and-heart-health

We did not know at that time what lay ahead of us with the pandemic the next month.

So many of the simple things that happened that day, such as being all together in one room, not worrying about the spread of the virus, no social distancing, no mask wearing – all of these feel so alien at this point in time.

I am feeling nostalgic for that day in February when Moonflower Yoga was featured in the News 12 Long Island piece.

It is hard to imagine how much has changed in one year.   Online Zoom yoga and meditation classes are now the norm at Moonflower Yoga, as the studio doors remain temporarily closed for in-person classes.  Through Zoom, I am still able to stay connected with the Moonflower Yoga community of students, as well as the great yoga teachers who comprise the staff at the studio through daily online yoga classes via Zoom.  Moonflower Yoga was also able to switch to a live, online version of some of the great workshops, as well as the Moonflower Yoga Book Club and Moonflower  Yoga Needle Arts Group.   I am very grateful for this ability to still stay connected with the group of students and teachers who I have come to love, as well as have some fun in the online Moonflower Yoga Clubs.

I am also very grateful to Shari Einhorn of News 12 Long Island and her crew for selecting Moonflower Yoga and coming to the Moonflower Yoga studio in Bellmore to film the piece.

In addition to being grateful, perhaps, most importantly, this one-year anniversary of the News 12 piece is a reminder to appreciate every day that we have.  TODAY is the only day we can control.  As my yoga gurus before me have often emphasized, TODAY is the most important day of your life.   Enjoy and appreciate it.   Namaste.

 

Heart Disease and Women by Nancy Weshkoff

February 9, 2021 by  
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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!

 

What is Shavasana and why is it important? by Nancy Weshkoff

October 20, 2020 by  
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What is Shavasana and why is it 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 that?

Let’s start 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 home schooling responsibilities for your children.   Have an elderly family member who is staying home bound these days?  Perhaps you are also doing shopping for that family member.  Or you are multi-tasking in a a work meeting reading and answering text messages instead of concentrating 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 years, and later as a yoga teacher at 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 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.

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 such as “I love myself” or “everything will be okay”, etc.  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, and 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.   For now, the Moonflower Yoga studio doors in Bellmore, Nassau County, Long Island, New York are closed due to the coronavirus.  Moonflower Yoga is instead offering daily online yoga classes.   Come give one of these great online yoga classes a try!  Online, remote yoga classes via Zoom offer a nice advantage for 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 yoga class and always remember to take time for YOU to reduce  your stress in your yoga postures including Shavasana.  Namaste!

 

It is Moonflower Yoga’s 8th anniversary! by Nancy Weshkoff

September 8, 2020 by  
Filed under Blog

It is Moonflower Yoga’s 8th anniversary!

By Nancy Weshkoff

This week marks another milestone for Moonflower Yoga – it is our 8th anniversary!    When I embarked on the journey of opening a yoga studio 8 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 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, Needle Arts Group, Mah Jongg Club and Canasta Club 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.   Reiki became an addition to the schedule, and many people  have become trained in this calming healing system to help the practitioner learn tools 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.

I 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 each day.   To those who provide these great yoga classes and help students improve their practice, I thank you for your dedication!

Most importantly – THANK YOU to the people who have walked through the doors of Moonflower Yoga and now join us on a regular basis via great online Zoom classes.   Your support of Moonflower Yoga and your friendship have created a very special place.

These are challenging times for small businesses as we cope with the pandemic.   With your continued support, we can weather the storm and look forward to clearing skies in the future.   THANK YOU for 8 wonderful years!

 

 

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