Welcome to “My Better Day” November newsletter!
Each month, “My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more! It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!
In this issue: Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Featured Card Deck and Quote, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.
Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC
As the daylight hours shorten, we are reminded of seasonal changes, the approaching Winter Solstice, and the Holidays around the corner. For many it is a season of giving and receiving. Which do you get the most joy from? Giving or receiving? The St. Francis prayer says “For it is in giving that we receive.” So perhaps we can view giving and receiving as two sides of the same coin—the reflection of each other. Kahil Gibran has said “You give little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Please allow me to humbly share my stories of both:
For those who know me, it may not come as a surprise to you that I like jewelry. I am not alone in this passion. I notice other’s jewelry constantly, giving compliments out whenever appropriate. Perhaps I am over-exuberant at times, which has garnered unexpected responses.
Several years ago I was simply curious as to what a cloth, strap bracelet’s “WWJD” meant on our waitress’s wrist. It must have been when that acronym first started, or I was just not in the know yet. Of course, it meant “What would Jesus do?” The waitress promptly took off the bracelet and gave it to me explaining that was the purpose of the bracelet—to give it away when appropriate. I wore that bracelet for a long time, and then it fell off without my noticing. Hopefully it was found by someone who needed its message.
The concept of giving something away when you deem it appropriate, without expecting payment, can be described as the “Pay it Forward” method. “The concept was ..described by Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Benjamin Webb dated April 22, 1784:
I do not pretend to give such a Sum; I only lend it to you. When you […] meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another opportunity. I hope it may thus go thro’ many hands, before it meets with a Knave that will stop its Progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money.
“This song captures its meaning: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/wm-A10302B0000062755H/clay_walker_the_chain_of_love_official_music_video/
The refrain makes me cry every time:
You don’t owe me a thing,
I’ve been there too
Someone once helped me out,
Just the way I’m helping you
If you really want to pay me back,
Here’s what you do
Don’t let the chain of love end with you.
There’s a “Pay it Forward” foundation, http://www.payitforwardfoundation.org/ and movement: http://www.payitforwardmovement.org/; as well as a “Random Acts of Kindness” foundation: http://www.actsofkindness.org/.
Sometimes the situation presents itself and you know what you have to do. I took a jewelry class once and my fellow classmate forgot to bring an appropriate stone to wire-wrap. I had brought my favorite lapis stone, among others, fully intending to use the deep blue lapis for myself. I knew if I didn’t give her my favorite one, it would nag at me later. She was very appreciative. (I’ve always loved blue stones. Blue stones activate the throat chakra of communication. My March newsletter had highlighted a wonderful yoga teacher/consultant that also happens to be able to see chakras, TeriLeigh. She had informed me that my throat chakra was my dominant chakra. Perhaps that’s why blue stones are my favorite. How about you? What’s your favorite colored stone?)
While the examples I share below aren’t examples of someone being in dire need of anything—it’s only jewelry—they are examples of random acts of kindness that warmed my heart. I hope you enjoy them.
It would be several more years before the unexpected generosity of a waitress happened to me again. This time we were eating at the now closed, Sydney’s restaurant on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, MN. Our waitress wore the most exquisite earrings. They were Damascene jewelry from Toledo, Spain. Damascene “Damasquinado de Oro or “Damasquino” is the art of decorating non-precious metals with gold. It has roots in the Middle Ages and originates from the oriental-style artisan work done in Damascus, Syria. The craft, perfected by the Arabs and brought with them to Spain, has remained virtually unchanged over the centuries.
The earrings she wore were of the “Renaissance motif” since they had birds and flowers on them. After a wonderful meal, she presented the bill and asked for my address so she could send a second set she’d purchased explaining that she’d bought two pairs when she was in Spain, and feels guilty she never wears them both. She was hoping I’d give them a better life so to speak, and expected no money for them. Needless to say I said I simply couldn’t, and that the compliment wasn’t given in the hopes of her giving her earrings to me. She persisted and insisted. So I likewise asked her to include her address so I could please at least send her some money for them. After much back and forth, she agreed and I subsequently sent her appropriate payment after receiving the stunning earrings in the mail. They’re beautiful earrings, and I still wear them to this day.
Fast-forward a few years and my husband and I are, again, eating at a wonderful restaurant, Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano, that offers a full, fantastic gluten-free menu (we are both gluten-sensitive). We tend to get attached to good waiters and waitresses, and this location is no exception. The waitress, “Cat” has become our favorite and we request to be seated in her section whenever we go there. She watches out for us like we’re family, and has the personality of the sister you wish you had.
As I already confessed in my October newsletter, I like big, honking costume jewelry rings. Cat, being the perceptive waitress that she is, took note. One time when we came for dinner, she presented me with a black onyx ring she hadn’t worn very much since big rings just weren’t her thing. Again, I argued that I couldn’t take the gift, but she insisted explaining that the ring wasn’t getting the wearing it deserved. She simply hoped I would like it and that it would bring me “good energy”.
We’d discussed the “metaphysical” meaning of stones in a previous conversation, so she was worried that black onyx might not bring good energy! I explained that all stones have good qualities. Black onyx happens to be a good grounding stone—see the Chakra section highlighted next for more on grounding! It also enhances self-mastery, steadfastness, and determination—setting one’s mind to a task. It actually absorbs the negativity of others and is a good protection stone from negative forces and influences. http://www.gemstonegifts.com/stones/onyx.htm. (Another great book on the subject is Love is in the Earth, A Kaleidoscope of Crystals, by Melody.) So she had nothing to worry about! This was an excellent ring to pass along! (Was the Universe telling me I needed some protection?)
We added to the tip to cover what we thought would be a good value for the ring. She tried upon our next visit to repay us. You have to love her warmth and generosity, as well as her attention to detail when it comes to serving our food!
Yes, it happened again within the last year and involves yet another wonderful waitress at the Claddagh Irish Pub—really I’m thinking I should write a book on how to acquire jewelry by the compliment method; or better yet, perhaps a book about the waiter/waitress profession attracting the most generous, kind souls I’ve ever run across.
This waitress had on a gorgeous glass bead bracelet in beautiful green colors strung on elastic for easy wear. Similar to other examples, when she presented the paid bill, after we already charged it to our credit card, she enclosed the bracelet within the black vinyl folder containing our receipt and card. I rushed up to her explaining, yet again, that I didn’t intend for her to give me the bracelet! She insisted. I looked first at my husband and then down to the three beaded bracelets I’d recently bought (twice—more on that in a moment), and he nodded. I promptly removed my three bracelets and handed them to her asking her to accept my bracelets as an exchange. She was thrilled.
The three bracelets I’d given her were hand-painted beads made of organic material that I can’t recall. I think they were seeds of some sort, or perhaps wood. I’d recently purchased them at the St. Croix Winery spring festival. The three strands were one each of red, orange and yellow. Being the Chakra lover that I am, I was attracted to all three colors that were available since they represent the base Chakras, Grounding (root) Chakra, Creativity (sacral) Chakra, Will-power (solar plexus) Chakra. I had only just purchased them and was browsing the rest of the booths when a little girl of about five or six in another booth was admiring them on my arm. I noticed they matched her cute outfit and I pulled them off and put them on her hand. She ecstatically showed her mother, who was watching and gave me a big thank you. Still attached to them, I went and bought another three bracelets. Little did I know the Universe did not intend for me to own these for very long either, as it was only a short time later that I gave them to the waitress at the Claddagh Irish pub!
You know I’m always looking for messages from the Universe. I was in amazement that the red, orange, yellow “Chakra-colored” bracelets kept flying off my arm even though I thoroughly adored them. Then it hit me. The bracelet I traded my second set of Chakra-colored bracelets for was green. Green is the color of the next Chakra up the Chakra ladder. It’s the color for the heart Chakra and is considered the bridge between the lower Chakras and the upper Chakras. According to Caroline Myss, author of Energy Anatomy, because the lower three chakras all relate to our physical experience and the upper three chakras relate to our higher levels of consciousness and spirituality, the heart connects our physical self and our spiritual self.
The heart Chakra is the largest Chakra in my logo because it is my commitment to teach yoga from my heart to the hearts of my students. It is said that we ascend up the Chakra ladder clearing energies as we go. At the time I received this green bracelet, I had recently quit my full time job to teach yoga and meditation techniques full time. Just prior to that I’d had a talented graphic designer create my vision of the logo you see for Better Day Yoga. I secretly wondered if the Universe was acknowledging my intent and I was humbled by the thought.
It is always a thrill to receive an unexpected gift. Most of my examples were from waitresses I’d just met. The most precious part of these stories is that someone who just met me felt enough warmth and kindness toward me after only a few brief exchanges. What aura am I putting out that I will give a good home to unworn jewelry? Why choose me instead of a well-known friend or relative? I am humbled and honored to be the recipient of these random acts of kindness and beautiful gifts.
The manner of giving was worth more to me than the gift, as the opening quote says. Of course, I love the jewelry. I wouldn’t have complimented them if I didn’t! But it was the manner in which they were given to me that still brings tears to my eyes when I recall the stories. For those of you who can remember the actress, Sally Field’s, acceptance speech for her Oscar as best actress in 1985, it was like that for me each time I received the unexpected jewelry—“They like me. They really like me!”
The kindness of strangers touches our hearts in a unique way. Doesn’t it? We all intuitively know this. Consider the last time you presented someone with an unexpected gift. Wasn’t the joy of giving enough to make you want to do it again and again? Being on the receiving end is obviously wonderful. My husband and I have also been secret gift givers which has brought us much joy.
Those who know us know that Christmas is our most favorite time of year. We simply love the magic of this season! I have believed in Santa Claus since I can remember. I even gave a speech in college about believing in Santa and quoted The Statler Brothers. “There are those who don’t believe in miracles or Santa Claus, but I believe what I believe and I believe in Santa’s cause.” –The Statler Brothers:
Most especially during the holidays my husband and I find ourselves out and about either gift buying, or traveling to relatives. So we end up eating out while we’re on the road—which is where we meet all those wonderful waitresses! We usually like to find either an older couple out enjoying each other’s company, or a young family with a child or two. We’ll ask our waiter or waitress if we can pay for whatever they order so long as it’s kept a secret, and promise to give a good tip to the attending waiter or waitress. We ask them to tell the couple or family that it’s from their Secret Santa, and we “hightail” it out of there before they wonder why they aren’t getting a bill.
Each time we do this we giggle like little kids as we leave the restaurant wishing we could be a fly on the wall to see the reaction. Sometimes it’s better just to imagine it whatever way you want.
Over the years, I’ve dwelt on the random acts of kindness I’ve just shared. They are different than pre-planned gift giving. They are magical. I give a compliment and receive a gift; I give a bracelet and receive the smile of a child’s thanks. We give a free meal and receive a warm fuzzy feeling and a smile from the waiter or waitress about to put our plan into action. Giver or receiver—Who is luckier? Who feels the most joy?
“By receiving you replenish yourself and balance the male and female energies within and around you. By allowing yourself to receive, you swim in the flow of life, which washes away stagnant energy, bringing in new forms of abundance, creative ideas, and all types of opportunities. Even the simplest act of receiving is healing, and it is a powerful step in the manifestation process.” Guidebook for Magical Mermaids and Dolphins, Doreen Virtue, PhD.
“Numerous scientific studies show that acts of kindness result in significant health benefits, both physical and mental. Here are some key points:
Please refer to http://www.actsofkindness.org/benefits/1 for more.
Perhaps Leo F. Buscaglia said it best: “The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.” I wish you a season of magical gifts both given and received.
Warrior III (Sanskrit terms: Virabhadrasana III)
September and October’s newsletter featured Warrior I and Warrior II, respectively. This month’s practice pose completes the “Warrior ensemble”. September opened with a reference to the meaning of the Sanskrit word for Warrior Pose as well as a warrior reference in regard to the Solar Plexus Chakra. October quoted Renee LeVerrier from Yoga for Movement Disorders regarding Warrior I and Warrior II and how the back arm and leg represent the past and the front limbs symbolize the future. Please refer to the archives for more—I have these two newsletters archived on my new Website!
This month’s I found a reference which combines all three warrior poses in what Nancy Gerstein refers to as “the peaceful-warrior flow series” in the “Asana and Peace” section, Chapter 3, from her excellent book, Guiding Yoga’s Light: “Those of us who practice yoga benefit from nonviolence and a peaceful spirit. Our asana practice brings about a peaceful frame of mind because it asks us to become more sensitive, more conscious, and more aware of ourselves as bodies, minds, and spirits. This awareness makes us clearer and calmer, more awakened to truth and thus better able to handle life’s endless challenges.
As we become more awakened, we move away from forcing and controlling events, and we move toward letting the universe take care of many of our daily dilemmas. In turn these changes influence the consciousness and actions of everyone we meet. The sensitivity we develop on our yoga mats affects everyone around us. You soon begin to see and notice that slowly, yogi by yogi, we can shift the direction of the world.”
She then goes into the “Asanas for Deepening” and within that section she introduces the peaceful-warrior flow series: “..moving from Virabhadrasana II to Virabhadrasana I to Virabhadrasana III. Practice using the intuitive feeling of courage. Be bold. Feel the fortitude, the firmness, the determination it takes to practice the postures. Dare to confront the difficulties of life with a peaceful intent to face internal conflicts head on.” Her “Practice off the mat” focus for this section, advises us to “Breathe thoroughly and look for peace in every situation”. Her “Wise Words” ending for this section suggest you “Spread peace wherever you go. The surest way to be happier is to do all you can to improve the lives of others.”
Now for the pose:
As a recap from the tips on balance covered in my June newsletter: A useful tip for all balance poses: Find a spot in the room that doesn’t move to focus on. It really helps! The Sanskrit word for this focus point is “dristhi”. Regularly practicing balance poses will help you focus both on and off the mat cultivating concentration skills.
Preferably, balance poses are best done on a firm, hard surface. If your yoga floor is carpeted or cushioned, it will make your balance poses that much harder. Sometimes even the thickness of your mat can be too unstable. So proceed with caution.
I learned this pose starting in Mountain Pose, so let’s begin there with feet hip distance apart. I like to keep my hands at heart center in prayer or “Namasté” position. Next you’ll want to have contact with the floor with all four corners of the feet (big toe mound, little toe mound, and both sides of the heel) with the weight on the feet evenly distributed between the inner and outer foot and the heel and ball of the foot. You’ll want a wide base, as in all yoga poses. So lift the toes, spread them wide, and plop them down. This really activates those arches, which is also important.
We’ll start with balancing on the right foot. As you focus on your spot in the room and start to kick your left leg back, notice the toes of the grounded foot and concentrate on keeping them relaxed vs. gripping the floor. Just as you don’t want gripping, in a balance pose, you also don’t want the toes lifted. You want even, relaxed weight distribution across the whole foot.
I also like to tell my students as they’re balancing that each day is different. Each side is different. Depending on how flustered your life has been, or if you have a cold—any disturbance mentally, emotionally, or physically—all elements can affect balance.
As you start to kick the left leg back, think of your body as if it’s a stick. Hinge at the hip and lower the upper body, as the left leg goes back and up in unison—like the body is a stick. Drop the torso no further than parallel to the floor, and keep a slight bend in the standing leg. “Nose and toes to the mat” which also keeps the back knee facing the floor.
Arm Options: The classic expression of this pose has both the torso and back leg parallel to the floor with the arms stretched forward like superman. YogaFit® teaches to always cue airplane arms with arms out to the side to protect the low back by shortening the lever length of the body. You can also reach the arms back behind you, palms facing up, along the sides of the torso.
I tell my students to go as far forward as they wish, no further than parallel. It’s all about how the pose feels in your body. As you hold the pose, extend out from the hip socket of the standing leg, lengthening the body. Keep the top ribs pulled in resisting the urge to sink into the low back so your abs are strong and your back is flat. Keep the neck happy by keeping your gaze on the floor in front of you, which also aides balance. Lastly, keep the hips aligned horizontally, squared to the mat.
See the beginner’s pose section for other options on both the arms and legs. See advanced options below for other ways to come into the pose.
Beginner’s tip: Still unsure on your form or new to yoga? You can try a practice pose.
For less intensity, you can add more of a bend in the standing leg, bending or straightening the standing leg as needed for balance. You can also rest your arms lightly on the standing thigh. Your hands can also stay at heart center in Namasté (prayer hands) position, (not pictured).
Add a chair: For those who have trouble supporting yourself in this pose, you can place your hands on the back of a chair Make sure the chair is fully on your sticky mat! Similarly, you can place the hands on the wall in front of you for support (not pictured).
Another option to aide in balance, but not necessarily “beginners”, would be to stand with your back facing the wall behind you at a distance where kicking the back leg back will land the back foot onto the wall’s surface for support.
Another option for going into the pose: Stand with right foot forward and left foot back, both legs straight, torso facing forward, and arms raised overhead. Bend your right knee as you go into Warrior I. Keeping the bent knee directly over the heel, extend your torso forward as you straighten the right leg and lift the back leg, shifting your weight onto the forward leg, and keeping a slight bend in the standing leg. Try not to let the momentum of the shift forward swing your weight onto the ball of the front foot, as this will affect balance negatively. Resist this by focusing on slow, controlled movements, on grounding the heel of the standing leg into the floor, and on flexing the back heel toward the wall behind you.
For more challenge, you can come into Warrior III from the bottom up:
Start from Pyramid Pose—briefly described here as right leg forward and left leg back, toes facing forward, torso folded forward over front leg, head toward shin. Bend the front leg as you shift your weight forward on the front foot and place your hands to the floor in front of the right foot, shoulders stacked directly over wrists. Simultaneously lift the back leg up, parallel to the floor, pausing in three-point pose, “nose and toes to the mat”. Engage the quadriceps of the standing leg, lifting the kneecap up. Then use your core strength as well as the grounded front leg to lift the torso up to parallel to the floor while straightening the front leg, keeping a slight bend in the standing leg.
Similarly, you could start this pose from a low lunge with hands framing the right foot, simply shift your weight forward on the front foot and follow the instructions above.
Try this flow for added focus on concentration, focus, and stamina development: I learned this flow from my good friend and yogini, Tracey Mortensen, owner/founder Inspiring Actions, LLC in Hudson, WI. From three-point pose (pictured above), engage the front thigh by lifting the kneecap. Using your core-power slowly lift the torso up to parallel—Warrior III. Without stopping, continue flowing the back leg down and the torso up just to where the back toe taps the floor, and then flow back down toward the floor. Doing this flow a few times up and down, increases the benefits of this pose. I favor the “Namasté” position of the hands when doing this pose.
Take a deep inhale with eyes closed visualizing all your scattered energies coming back to you at center, like you’re a magnet attracting back to you what was yours to begin with, and as you exhale, send your breath down your feet into the ground down into the earth like roots of a tree.
Even picture the dirt pushing away from those roots as your breath energy goes down into the Earth. Do this with a few breaths going as deep into the earth as you can, and stay there as long as you need to. If you’re new to visualizing, just know it gets easier with practice. Sometimes I like to hold a natural river stone in the palms of my cupped hands. Natural river stones are especially grounding.
If you found the above interesting, please consider taking my meditation “how to” classes. Visit my Web-site, www.betterdayyoga.com, for details.
If you are familiar with chakras, then you can tell from my logo that I love chakras. The rainbow-colored spheres within my logo are representative of the chakra system within the body.
If you are unfamiliar, here’s a quick lesson: There are seven energy centers called chakras (literally “wheels”) that store energy/life force/prana. They are along the spinal column and correlate to major nerve ganglia branching forth from the spinal column. Each has a different relationship to a gland in the body’s endocrine system. Each stimulates different organs and systems in the body. Hatha Yoga activates these energy centers releasing the energy that flows through the spine. Yoga helps these energy centers/nerve bundles to function correctly clearing blocks that may be there. Each chakra also is associated with a mental/emotional focus. In each newsletter I’ll highlight how you can work with a particular chakra to correspond with the season.
This month, since we are headed into the holiday season and cooler weather, my favorite chakra is the first one, located at what is called the “Root Center” – the base of the spine or tailbone/coccyx. It is associated with the Coccygeal Plexus nerve bundle and with grounding. It vibrates to the color red.
We all need grounding this time of year. Instinctively I think we all know it too. Trying to fit so much extra activity into your normal schedule takes its toll—tension, stress, lack of energy and balance. Lack of balance is another way to say we aren’t grounded. Too much activity and not enough stillness is a recipe for stress. Yet, I don’t think we take the time to do what we need when we need it most because we don’t feel we have the time. It’s a vicious cycle, isn’t it?
The more we don’t ground when we need to, the more ungrounded we feel, and the more we need to ground. This month’s “Meditation to go” and “Hand Mudra” sections offer suggestions for grounding and creating a balance of energy. Those new to the concept of grounding may be wondering just what it is I’m talking about.
Wondering if you need to work on your Root Chakra? Have you ever felt like you are spinning out of control, you can’t focus, or you have too much to do and not enough time to do it in? Maybe important things fall through the cracks and you feel overwhelmed. Maybe you are chronically tired and lacking in energy. Or perhaps you worry about the future and meeting your obligations. Maybe you are nervous, and can’t figure out why. This is a common one for me. That is the opposite of grounding. I can relate to Beyoncé’s quote: “I get nervous when I don’t get nervous.”
Sometimes I just like to acknowledge “nervous” like an old friend—calling it “out” so to speak. “Hi. There you are again. You’re baaaack!” It’s as though by making it seem common place, I can gain a little control. When you figure out ways to gain control of your emotions, you are on the way to being grounded—and having a strong Root Chakra. When you take the time to start your day with a grounding exercise of your choice, your whole day will go better.
I met a wonderful life skill’s advisor, soul mentor and coach earlier this year, Julie Lyden. I am now on her email list, http://movingbeyondyourself.com/?page_id=3. I am always amazed at the synchronicity of the Universe. The email from her I just received says: “Welcome to November!!! The month of Remembering. As I was being with what was wanted to support others in this month, I kept hearing “We do know” it just may not seem familiar! So what I want to offer this month is experiences that will support you in remembering ‘You Do KNOW’”.
Her message is what I’m getting at. We all know what we need to feel grounded. We all know that when we come from a place of “groundedness”, we feel more secure, safe, centered, and at peace. This is where it all starts. Without feeling grounded, all the rest is just that much harder.
So while you may feel you don’t have time to add a grounding exercise to your daily routine, I would contend that you don’t have the time not to. Time expands when you are grounded. You know the old saying—it’s not the stressor, it’s your attitude toward the stressor that creates the stress. When you’re grounded, things bother you less. Going back to Julie Lyden’s comment above—you do know that.
This section contains some of my favorite ways to ground. “You do know” your own. Without even considering it “grounding”, I’ll bet you know what activity always makes you feel at peace, you just never labeled it as “grounding”.
Yoga is my go-to method for grounding. Yes, you’d expect me to say that wouldn’t you? We start each Yoga class by being present in the moment. We come to Yoga for ourselves—as a gift to ourselves. My YogaFit® training encourages “breathing, feeling, listening to the body, letting go of judgment, competition, expectations—just being present”. Don’t you feel more grounded just reading that affirmation?
Yoga relieves back pain, panic attacks, headaches, allergies, PMS, anxiety, arthritis, constipation, high blood pressure, stress, among other thing—as you have read in both my newsletters and my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Minneapolis-MN/Better-Day-Yoga-LLC/495055625435. So do more Yoga!
Even a daily ten-minute practice is a start. Yoga Heals Your Back by Rita Trieger has several 10-minute routines you can try that end back and neck pain. I sometimes use the “Morning Stretch” sequence as part of my warm up in class for the longer 75-minute classes I teach. And for the ultimate grounding visualization, I cue the visualization of sending roots deep down into the earth from your feet—just like the roots of a tree—while standing in Mountain Pose. (See the “Meditation to Go” above for the grounding breath.)
Ten minutes of mindfully practiced poses at the beginning of your day can bring a day’s worth of centeredness and peace—even as simple as sending roots down into the earth as you step out of bed. Then perhaps add the “gratefulness exercise” to your walk from Rhonda Byrnes book, The Secret, by saying “Thank You” with each step you take out your bedroom door to the bathroom.
Extend your “thank you” walk outdoors and turn it into a walking meditation. I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters that Thich Nhat Hanh’s book written along with Nguyen Anh Huong, called Walking Meditation, is an excellent resource.
No time for a walk? Try simply touching your bare feet to the earth and feel Mother Nature’s energy. Yes, I know us Minnesotans won’t be up for this practice in the dead of Winter…but even putting your bare hands on a snowball can be grounding; and just might add to your laughter quotient for the day when you participate in a fun toss towards your nearest loved one.
My August newsletter talked about the healing aspects of trees. What childhood or adult memory holds your favorite tree? Touching your bare hands to your favorite tree is another way to connect with Mother Nature and feel her energy. It’s also very grounding. Why not try connecting with your favorite tree and use the grounding breath tree visualization in the Meditation to Go section above—whether it’s on your next walk, or the one in your yard if you don’t have time for a walk that day. You can give your tree an all out hug, or simply place your hands to the tree with intention. No trees nearby? Choose your favorite plant. Find a way to connect with Mother Nature. Let Mother Nature nurture.
Planning for some star-gazing complete with winter coat and blanket can ward off the chills and also connect you to nature reminding you that the stars are always there for you as they were for your ancestors. The simple act of looking up to the sky and experiencing nature’s light show will leave you feeling exhilarated—and grounded! The next meteor showers are November 17th and December 13th. http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors.
I’ve recently started a more formal meditation practice complete with mantra as part of a second 200-hour yoga teacher training program I’m participating in http://www.terileigh.com/IATTschedule.html. There’s something to be said for building the energy of a goal or practice by doing it every day. This is a basic principle of manifesting anything you want in life. You begin to look forward to it because it becomes a ritual. The ritual takes on a life of its own; and soon, just like Pavlov’s dog, that time of day and location of your chosen spot becomes the time and place your body naturally prepares for your activity of choice. They say it takes 28 days to create a habit. Why not challenge yourself to add a healthy habit to your life for 28 days? Oh, and mantras can be your favorite prayer, word, phrase, etc. It doesn’t have to be Sanskrit! My November 3rd Facebook entry highlighted the mantra “blue skies”. Try it!
I still like to read from my favorite affirmation books every morning. Here are some books I pick and choose from depending on my mood and time available—some days it’s only a quick affirmation and I’m out the door:
365 Yoga Daily meditations by Julie Rappaport
A Year of Living Your Yoga, Daily Practices to Shape Your Life, by Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, PT.
Yoga in Every Moment, Contemplations of a Yogi in the Midst of Life, by Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati
Meditations from the Mat, Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga, by Rolf Gates and Kathryn Kenison
Yoga Gems, A Treasury of Practical and Spiritual Wisdom from Ancient and Modern Masters, Edited by Georg Feuerstein
Science of Mind Magazine, A Guide for Spiritual Living
Daily Guidance from Your Angels, 365 Angelic Messages to Soothe, Heal, and Open Your Heart, by Doreen Virtue, PhD
Archangels & Ascended Masters, A Guide to Working and Healing with Divinities and Deities, by Doreen Virtue, PhD
The Oracle Within, by Dick Sutphen
The Invisible Force, by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise L. Hay
My books may not appeal to you. So find your own. Believe it or not, the list above is not complete. I love books, and have them scattered throughout the house for easy reading.
If time permits, I also do my own card reading using one of the various decks of cards I highlight in my newsletters. The random readings from the books and cards are my way of opening up to whatever message the Universe might have for me that day. It makes me feel watched and cared for like I’m in good company, surrounded by family—Grounded.
Journaling without a purpose can empty the mind of extraneous thoughts allowing you to ground into the present moment. Julia Cameron’s, The Artist’s Way, is an excellent resource for this type of writing to clear the mind. There’s an online site you can go to if journaling of this kind appeals to you: http://www.theartistsway.com/tools/the-basic-tools?f90a4dac66e2ce578e9b972a5d87c8bc=10593a33f0917e66691dfbe4e8d660d0.
In my June newsletter, I mentioned how a practice from Ayurveda (sister science to Yoga) can be a very simple, but very grounding ritual. One of the easy treatments we can do every day to de-stress is to treat yourself to a foot rub with a natural oil at the end of the day—perhaps one that balances your dosha. Try it. Tell me you don’t feel loved and cared about after giving yourself a foot massage. I’ve been making it a point to do it daily since my May Ayurveda class. It helps me sleep better too. Don’t know what your dosha is? I repeat here from my June newsletter archive, for ease of reference:
Here are a few fun quizzes to help you zero in on what your dominant dosha might be or which dosha might be out of balance. Caution! Ayurveda is like eating potato chips…you can’t stop with just one piece! You’ll want to consume all you can! Remember, you have all three doshas in you so you’ll find attributes of each:
Let’s regroup here. What do all of the above have in common? Being mindful about whatever it is you are doing at the moment. That is being present in the moment. That is the key to grounding. Anything that makes you feel loved and cared about is grounding, and strengthens your Root Chakra. Being mindful lets your body know that you love and care for yourself.
So if you still don’t feel you have time to carve out something new, take something you do every day and do it more mindfully. Even brushing your teeth can become a ritual if you do it while focusing on all sensations as you brush.
I referenced John Kabat-Zinn’s “eating meditation” in my April newsletter, and paraphrase it here. It was designed to remove the idea those of us have that meditation is somehow unusual, mystical or out of the ordinary. We all eat every day. Even those of us who feel we have no minutes to spare must eat! Do it mindfully, as in the eating meditation:
Bring your attention to observing your food “as if you’ve never seen the food before”. Feel the texture of the food if it’s a finger food; roll it around in your fingers. Notice the color and the innuendos of its surface. Notice any thoughts you have about the food or food in general. Do you like what you’re about to eat? Dislike it? Note that. Smell your food. Finally bring one bite mindfully to the mouth—with awareness. Be aware of the movement of the hand to mouth. Be aware of how you position it to your mouth. How it feels on your lips, your tongue. Then chew it s-l-o-w-l-y. Experience the actual taste of the food in your mouth. Notice when you are ready to swallow being aware of that impulse too. Too often we swallow without thinking perhaps swallowing too soon. Now even imagine that your body is one mouthful heavier.
As my meditation in April mentioned, if we ate this way all of the time, we’d eat less but enjoy more what we ate. Adding a prayer of thanks before your meal is another way to ground yourself. It can be a simple acknowledgement of all that went into bringing the food before you.
Taking a few minutes to connect with someone you love—be it human or animal—can be very grounding. I know from experience that when I’m the most stressed, just feeling my husband’s arms around me provides the most nurturing, grounding experience. It’s immediate.
Each month in the Chakra section I highlight the gems associated with the Chakra we are highlighting. Holding a Root Chakra gem will connect you to the grounding earth energies contained within the stone. See the gem section below for some good ones to try slipping into your pocket or placing on your desk to use as your grounding stone for the day. Touch the stones throughout the day, similar to the old time “worry stones”.
You can also wear your favorite Root Chakra gem within a favorite piece of jewelry. Wearing jewelry can be an emotionally grounding practice. Not only does your favorite piece of jewelry hold precious memories by association, but if it contains a Root Chakra gem, all the better!
What peace-provoking practice can you fit into your daily realm? Promise yourself ten minutes a day to strengthen your Root Chakra and ground. Ground yourself with your favorite peaceful practice, and watch your life become filled with more of what makes you happy because you’ll approach life with more happiness.
Breathwork and Visualization:
Find a comfortable position, preferably with your back straight. Close your eyes, and begin breathing deeply through your nose without separation between inhalation and exhalation. Feel yourself relaxing. Pay attention to your breathing for the first few minutes allowing it to get deeper and more rhythmic with each breath. Next, bring your attention to your first chakra at the base of your spine. Then begin breathing in and out from your first chakra.
Feel as though the breath doesn’t stop at the bottom of your lungs on the inhalation but goes all the way down to the base of your spine. Again, without separation between inhalation and exhalation, breathe out naturally through your nose. On each exhalation feel as if the energy at the base of your spine is growing stronger. Visualize the energy there as a ball of fiery, red energy. Continue both experiencing and visualizing the energy growing brighter for two or three minutes. Let your consciousness, which for most people is centered around the shoulders and neck, move downward until it reaches the base of the spine and becomes centered in the ball of energy. Become the ball of energy and feel yourself being drawn downward into the Earth. As this happens, pay attention to how you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Source: Chakra Therapy For Personal Growth and Healing, by Keith Sherwood.
The Book of Chakras, Ambika Wauters.
A Handbook of Chakra Healing, Spiritual Practice for Health, Harmony and Inner Peace, Kalashatra Govinda.
Power Thoughts, 365 Daily Affirmations, Louise L. Hay.
Diet and the Root Chakra: Eating in general energizes the base chakra. I’ve compared the chakra system to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. You have to take care of your physiological needs before anything else! “Eating especially high protein foods energizes the base (root) chakra. Taking a good mineral supplement may also help. A shortage of zinc is one of the commonest causes of ‘spaciness’ and lack of mental focus.” Healing with Crystals and Chakra Energies, by Sue and Simon Lilly.
Eating root vegetables like beets, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams, etc., is also very grounding. Beans, legumes, nuts, tofu and soy products are also grounding, comfort foods as are seeds like pine nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Aromatherapy and the Root Chakra: Scents can also be very grounding. I’m sure you all have your favorite scent from childhood. So that may be a good place to start. Some possible grounding scents to try: Sandalwood, patchouli, pine, cedar, balsam fir or frankincense. There’s also the scent that balances your dosha—refer to the dosha references earlier!
If aromatherapy interests you, I use Young Living Essential Oils™ which are therapeutic, food-grade oils. Please inquire if you are interested in purchasing a favorite scent and I can add your request to my personal monthly order.
Gem therapy and the Root Chakra: Gemstones amplify the energy when placed in contact with your chakras. For those of you unsure on this subject, consider that it’s scientifically proven that everything is energy. Nothing is really solid. Why wouldn’t the energy of a stone work effectively with the energy in our bodies just as some research speculates that the energy of computers, cell phones, and microwaves may affect our bodies? At the very least, I find that holding a favorite stone is like a talisman for me, or a “worry stone”. As my favorite author, Wayne Dyer, likes to say, “If it’s a placebo effect, I’ll take two”.
Some Root Chakra gems are: Grounding stones to consider include: Hematite, smokey quartz, garnet, and black tourmaline, black onyx, fire opal, kunzite, red jasper, among others.
If gem therapy interests you, you can find a great selection at www.crystallinelight.com or you can also link to her Web site from my links page at www.betterdayyoga.com. I’ve known Jennifer, the owner, for many years and love her products!
Yoga poses for stimulating the Root Chakra:
All yoga poses are essentially grounding. Warrior poses are all very grounding—see Warrior III above. Warrior I and Warrior II were in my two preceding newsletters. Other grounding poses are:
Forward bend “establishes the link between the root and crown chakras that runs the length of the spine. This is one of the most important chakra connections and it promotes a strong flow of energy.” Chakra Energy Plan, by Anna Selby. Mountain pose (mentioned above with the tree root visualization), chair pose, knees to chest pose, easy-seated pose or lotus pose, seated cat/cow pose, child’s pose, and final relaxation pose, among others.
Please refer to the archives of November 2009, April and August newsletters for more on the Root Chakra. I’ll be working on archiving the old newsletters into my new Website as fast as I can! This newsletter is the inaugural newsletter for my new Website! Thanks for your patience!
Mudra means “seal” in Sanskrit. It’s a symbolic or ritual gesture using primarily the hands. Each position is believed to have a specific effect. Specific positions can lead to specific states of consciousness symbolized by the hand positions. For example, if a person frequently and with feeling does a position of fearlessness, they will also be freed from fearfulness in time. Mudras are said to engage areas of the brain and/or soul influencing them, sometimes physically, by their use—not unlike an affirmation, or reflexology for that matter.
While the holiday season is a time of much joy, it can also create tension in the body and zap our energy as we all try to fit so much extra activity into our daily schedule. This is a great mudra for this time of year—both physically for those of us experiencing sinus issues, and emotionally for those of us experiencing tension during the holidays. The Mahasirs Mudra is used to help give relief for head-related afflictions in particular, and said to relieve all tensions.
Touch the tip of thumb with the tips of index and middle fingers. Keep your ring finger into the fold of the thumb and stretch the little finger. Do the mudra with both hands. Hold as long as necessary—some recommends 20 minutes, some say three times every day for six minutes.
The following meditation is to be practiced while holding the Mahasirs Mudra. Headaches have a great variety of causes and can hardly be made to disappear once and for all with one single mudra. Frequently, weather influences or tension in the eyes, neck, back, or pelvis are at fault; or there are problems with the sinuses or digestion. All of this can result in too much energy being focused on the head, and this leads to tension that causes pain in the head. In order to release this tension, it is important to direct consciousness into other body parts abdomen, feet, or hands.
Begin with some deep breathing to center and focus. While exhaling, imagine that waves of energy are flowing down from your head through your neck, back, arms, and legs, and leaving through your hands and feet. After a while, imagine that your head is clear, cool, clean, and light. In conclusion, stroke your face with spread fingers and enjoy the feeling for a while.
I have a free, light, clear, and cool head.
I love affirmations and use “oracle” decks to provide a positive boost in the morning or whenever I need a lift. It’s my way of telling the Universe I’m open to listening to their message: “Have at it!” “I’m listening!” “Tell me more!” I hope you enjoy as I introduce some of my favorite cards and quotes in my newsletters! These make great gifts for any occasion as well as can be used as inspirational hand-outs in class if you are a yoga instructor.
Since this months chakra focus is on grounding. I chose this deck, Water Crystal Oracle, for its connection to Earth energy and how our thoughts affect that connection. Our thoughts affect our bodies. This season is filled with hope and prayer, the two cards I feature from the deck. Enjoy.
Dr. Emoto exposed music, words spoken, words typed, pictures and videos to Water. After, it was crystallized. The Waters response was truly majestic. The card deck highlighted this month shows photos of the crystallized water. As the YouTube excerpt highlights: Water makes up 70 percent of our bodies. If thoughts can do that to Water, imagine what our thoughts can do to us.
I purchased one deck and use them in my refrigeratoryes you heard me. I put them under my clear glass bottles containing juice, etc., to energize what goes into our bodies.
Description: The sounds of words and their effect on water crystals is nothing less than a divine gift from nature. When water is frozen, the crystals reveal the concentrated thoughts directed toward them. Water is a medium that receives and understands even the subtlest vibrations. Water captures vibrations naturally. Even when these vibrations are in characters, or letters representing language, water shows us the energy they contain in the forms of crystals. Water is attempting to communicate something to us. Negative emotions prevent the water from crystallizing. Positive emotions allow it to develop in beautiful hexagonal shapes. Water crystals are illustrating this divine gift in their design and the Water Crystal Oracle card deck provides access to this power.
As a companion to the best-selling book Hidden Messages in Water, the Water Crystal Oracle includes forty-eight beautiful water crystal images to enhance your life and balance your well being in many ways. In this deck there are forty-eight cards featuring Emotos dramatic photographs divided into four sets of twelve each:
· Healing Cards · Wisdom Cards · Power Cards · Earth Cards
Use the Water Crystal Oracle to amplify your positive thoughts and feelings and bring to yourself the qualities and emotions you desire.
You can buy your very own deck at: http://www.amazon.com/Water-Crystal-Oracle-Based-Masaru/dp/1571781773
For more information on the movie: http://www.whatthebleep.com/whatthebleep/.
In my first newsletter, I highlighted one of my favorite decksa wonderfully whimsical, inspiring, thought-provoking Enrichuals© deck, created by local author, artist and creativity coach, Suzanne Vadnais Monson. Refer to the November newsletter archive for a sample card. Suzanne has graciously agreed to let me make them available on Better Day Yogas product page online! http://betterdayyoga.com/products.htm
Yoga relieves the symptoms of clinical depression!
Increasing evidence indicates that regular practice of yoga is effective in reducing stress and its effects and even appears to relieve the symptoms of clinical depression. Researchers have found that three sessions of the exercise a week can help fight off depression as it boosts levels of a chemical in the brain which is essential for a sound and relaxed mind.
Scientists found that the levels of the amino acid GABA are much higher in those that carry out yoga than those do the equivalent of a similarly strenuous exercise such as walking. The chemical, GABA, is essential to the function of brain and central nervous system and which helps promote a state of calm within the body. Low GABA levels are associated with depression and other widespread anxiety disorders.
Scientists from the Boston University School of Medicine, USA, spent 12 weeks monitoring two groups of healthy individuals, half of whom walked for three hours each week, while the other half spent the same time doing yoga. Participants brains were scanned before and after the study using magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRS) imaging to measure GABA levels, while they were also asked questions about their psychological wellbeing throughout the study.
Those who did yoga reported lower levels of anxiety and increases in their mood than the walkers. Professor Chris Streeter said yoga participants increased feeling of wellbeing was associated with GABA levels.
Earlier, in 2007 researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School looked at changes in levels of GABA in the brains of experienced yoga practitioners following 60 minutes of yoga practice compared to levels of GABA in the brains of control subjects who completed a 60 minute reading session. The study revealed GABA increased by 27 per cent in the yoga practitioners while it did not change in the reading group. The researchers concluded that yoga could potentially help in conditions that involve abnormally low levels of GABA, including depression and anxiety.
One of my dearest friends cooks, bakes, and grills like a professional chef. She loves to chop vegetables, says things like “ramekins” and has her own tablecloth named after her—The Christine—for purchase at The Palate in Stockholm, WI: http://www.thepalate.net/. Preparing food has been her passion since before my husband and I met Christine and her husband, Mark, over 15 years ago. It has been our good fortune to be the lucky recipients of many delicious meals and absolutely wonderful times in their home. Since I am all about following our passion, this is my way of letting her have an outlet for hers. Enjoy!
This winter, as the cold and flu season comes into full swing, put good foods in your body to nurture seasonal health. Nutrient types and levels vary in foods that grow each season and your body knows how to use each food for strength and immunity. By eating healthy, whole foods that are grown organically and in season, you are feeding your body the highest amount and most necessary nutrients. Food types vary with the seasons for good reason and eating a variety of in season foods will bring great benefits. In the fall and early winter, pumpkins, squash, carrots, beets, and dark leafy greens line the market shelves. Right now, the bounty of these foods will bring you large amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene and antioxidants. Pumpkins and squash help your body clear out excess mucus that can develop during the cold season and help improve circulation that can be constricted by the cold weather.
http://yogaearth.com/blog/winterproduce/. Here is a great soup (from my friend, Christine), that will please your taste buds and fortify your health this winter.
Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium to large squash (either acorn or butternut)
8 cloves garlic unpeeled
4 leaves of fresh sage
3 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 cups of chicken broth
Turn oven on to 350
Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Rub olive oil on cut side of squash. Place 4 cloves of garlic under each piece of squash on a baking sheet. Cover squash with aluminum foil and bake for 45-60 minutes until squash is very soft when pierced with sharp knife.
Remove squash from oven and let cool until you can touch.
Sauté shallot in olive oil until soft, about 8 minutes.
Squeeze garlic out of its peel and add to shallots
Add squash to pan with garlic and shallot. Stir until well mixed.
Add chicken stock and cook soup for 30 minutes on low heat.
Let cool. Use an immersion blender or add soup to blender and blend until smooth.
Reheat if necessary. Serve with Crème Fraiche or sour cream.
Last months CD was one I bought in September at my old stomping ground off State Street in Madison, WI at Mimosas. Ill repeat my sentiment from last month: This is still one of my absolute favorite shops even after living in the Minneapolis area for over 16 years. http://www.mimosaspirit.com/. This CD was one of the free demo CDs they gave me as a gift with purchase. It is the perfect CD to mellow out to and will definitely leave you feeling more grounded and at peace. It includes the most beautiful Hawaiian chanting. It has become one of my favorites.
Description: Let yourself disappear into this gentle, tropical world where a symphony of beautiful instruments plays along with the sounds of nature. Featuring the vocals of famed Hawaiian vocalist Charles Ka’upu.
You can hear the full CD during one of my yoga classes, or listen to clips and purchase it for your own listening pleasure at:
While the above CD is not downloadable from Mimosas, for those of you not near Madison, WI, Mimosa is now selling music downloads. They specialize in New Age music, but also offer a variety of World/International music, Drumming/Percussion music, music for relaxation, guided meditations, and more. Mimosa partners with iTunes and offers downloadable media (music, audio books, and more). To browse visit www.MimosaSpirit.com and browse the Downloadable Media section of their Website.
At Vita Bella we offer a holistic approach to revitalize your whole being by addressing the mind, body, emotional and spiritual self. Services include: aromatherapy; brain gym; emotional release; healing touch; massage; yoga; meditation classes; facial exercise classes; individual, family, couples and group therapy; and poetry therapy.
At The Healing Loft we provide our clients with a variety of complementary healing modalities that can be synergistically combined to address a broad spectrum of physical, mental, and emotional conditions. Therapies and Services include: NSA Chiropractic, Life Coaching, Intuitive Counseling, BodyTalk/AnimalTalk, Energetic Empathy Chakra Healing, Animal Communication, and of course, Yoga!
Breathe out the old and “yoga in” the New Year!
Celebrate YogaDay USA and start your year with focus and clarity. You’ll experience:
• One 75- minute Yoga class suitable for all levels
• Meditation and breathwork practices to use on the go and take home with you for a more peaceful, centered 2011.
• Facial exercises to turn back the hands of time and add muscle tone and a fresh glow to your 2011 complexion—and have a lot of fun in the process! No needles or chemicals involved. Be prepared to touch your own face. Time permitting; I’ll also cover some facial acupressure points and self-massage techniques.
• Journaling for fun, creativity, and insight into how to make 2011 your best year!
Pre-registration required as space is limited. $60 includes lunch!
Payment due by December 15, 2010.
Six person minimum for workshop to be a “go”. Contact Sandyk@BetterDayYoga.com or (612) 708-6900.
TeriLeigh was barely ten years old when she performed her first yoga pose and discovered that her ability to see energy, auras, and chakras was a unique gift. By gaining a deeper awareness of the development and expression of the Chakra System, we can use our mind to create a reality within our body. In yoga, alignment of postures helps to open the energetic channels within the subtle body while at the same time producing physical benefits. Thus, aligning the physical body opens the energetic channels and creates a union between the spirit and body through the mind. Mind-Body-Spirit connection.
In TeriLeigh’s Energetics of Yoga Weekend Intensive, students will develop an awareness of the subtle energetic body through fun and simple energy activities, discussion and lecture, and experience in asana practice. Friday Night: Master Class, Saturday: Chakra Flow Workshop, Sunday: Body Wisdom Workshop.
$250 for the weekend due March 1, 2011
or $15/hour pre-registration and payment also due by March 1, 2011.
(See www.BetterDayYoga.com for detailed breakdown.) Contact Sandyk@BetterDayYoga.com or (612) 708-6900
Restorative yoga, as well as other forms of yoga, helps to trigger the Parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for balancing the body and bringing its response system back into equilibrium. Stimulating the PNS helps to lower heart rate, blood pressure; it helps to healthily stimulate the immune system and keep the endocrine system operating healthily.
Please contact me if you have an interest: call: (612) 708 6900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please refer to my class schedule link http://betterdayyoga.com/schedule for class times.
Yoga Party / Yoga to go?
Yes, a yoga party! Yoga birthday parties, yoga cocktail parties, yoga bridal parties, yoga book-club parties—you fill in the blank! If you have space in your home or group meeting place, all you need to do is show up in comfortable clothes, and I bring everything else — the music, candles, incense (if you like that sort of thing), and mats. After a yoga party, people have so much energy, and they communicate with each other at a totally different level. Please call to discuss your perfect stress-relief package!
Other possible services to add to your yoga party—pending availability and provided by my favorite colleagues—include:
or I can also add my two other class offerings:
Julie Jacky Jewelry
Many of you probably remember Julie Jacky as an exhibitor at our Vita Bella open houses. She has been kind enough to help me grow my yoga business by including free yoga class coupons (for those new to Vita Bella Health & Wellness Center) in her boutique gift baskets. So send your friends who have been meaning to try a yoga class to one of Julie’s many boutiques! Check out the link below for her “events calendar” and the next boutique located conveniently down the road from Vita Bella: