Nothing Says “I Love You” Like the Gift of Yoga!

Sharing the love of yoga is a wonderful way to show someone you care about their well-being. BAMBU Yoga offers an array of treats to satisfy yogis no matter where they are in their journey.  And now through December 24, we’re offering  special savings on the items below to help you wrap up your final week of holiday shopping.

  • Mat & Eye Pillow Gift Set. Receive a free Eye Pillow (lavender or unscented) with the purchase of a Hugger Mugger Para Rubber Mat.  Constructed of eco-friendly natural rubber this premium mat provides excellent cushioning and a non-slip surface that will last for years.  Available for just $75 (a combined savings of 28% over the MSRP).

>>Available in studio only though 12/24 while supplies last.

  • Aromatherapy Balms and Bath Salts. Savasana balms in tins and tubes are available in a variety of scents like lavender, citrus, and mint and make great stocking stuffers! Pair with bath salts for a gift of stress-relieving bliss.

>>Available in studio only. Save 10% through 12/24.

  • Events and Workshops.  Gift cards for special events and workshops provide the yoga lovers in your life an opportunity to deepen their studies.  Gift cards are available in every denomination.  Buy them online and email them to the recipient or let us know if you’d like to have certificates made up for pick up in the studio.  Gift Cards can be used for in-studio merchandise and class cards.

>>BUY ONLINE! Save 10% on all gift cards through 12/24 with Promo Code: HOLIDAY

  • Absolute Beginner Series. The perfect gift for someone who wants to get started with yoga but doesn’t know where to begin. They’ll receive six weekly classes designed to give them a solid foundation in vinyasa style yoga, a yoga mat, and 30 days of unlimited classes. Gift them an Absolute Beginners Series and they can choose the schedule that works best for them in the upcoming year.

>>BUY ONLINE! Save 10% on Absolute Beginners Gift Card through 12/24 with Promo Code: HOLIDAY

  • Private Sessions. Delight any beginner or experienced practitioner with one-on-one lessons with a BAMBU teacher.  Each 60-minute sessions is tailored to the individual goals and needs of the student. Privates are ideal for getting the individual attention to further master or modify poses, develop a home practice, or address specific therapeutic needs.

>> BUY ONLINE!  $75 per session, $200 for 3-session pack, $300 for 5-session pack

  • Monthly Membership. For the ultimate in year-round giving,  set up a flexible monthly membership gift plan. We offer 4x, 8x, and unlimited monthly levels. Please email us for details.
  • Create a Custom Package. Still not sure what to get someone on your list? Email us and we’ll set up a time to work with you on selecting the perfect gift.

(We’re pretty sure your friends and family won’t mind if you shared this guide with them- they may be hoping for some hints on what to buy for you!)

Rebecca Bartuska first started yoga as a way to keep dance in her life. After dancing through college, the thought of giving it up entirely was terrifying. It wasn’t until the summer of 2014, doing teacher training at Zen Den in Margate, NJ, that she realized yoga was so much more than just a replacement for dance. Meditation and pranayama calmed thoughts, asanas instilled confidence and yamas and niyamas provided a way to evaluate one’s values on and off of the mat. Through yoga, she has grown tremendously as a person and she hopes to share that with her students. Through assisted poses and modifications, she believes each student can achieve the same bliss. With strong Iyengar influences instilled in her through her mentors, Rebecca’s style of teaching focuses on flowing through poses while building towards a peak pose. Proper alignment and meditation are stressed in all of Rebecca’s classes.  Meet Rebecca during these upcoming classes

Having lived in several places and practiced yoga in many studios since 2000, Brooke Weinert has always found her place on the mat, and is now so grateful to be at home in Bucks County, PA.
In 2012, she completed a 200 hour vinyasa flow teacher training as a means to re-boot her personal practice. Along the way, she discovered greater self-acceptance and the joy of teaching!
Yoga has brought her focus, strength and confidence, benefits that Brooke would like to share with as many others as possible. With a strong hatha yoga base and additional training in Restorative Yoga, Brooke stresses proper form, as well as honoring one’s body and limitations. Meet Brooke during these upcoming classes. 

Ready to Let Go?

LETTING GO TAKES LOVE
~ author unknown

To “let go” does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To “let go” is not to cut myself off,
it is the realization I can’t control another.

To “let go” is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To “let go” is to admit powerlessness,
which means that the outcome is not in my hands.

To “let go” is not to try to change or blame another,
it is to make the most of myself.

To “let go” is not to care for,
but to care about.

To “let go” is not to fix,
but to be supportive.

To “let go” is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.

To “let go” is not to be in the middle, arranging the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own destinies,

To “let go” is not to be protective,
but to permit another to face reality.

To “let go” is not to deny,
but to accept.

To “let go” is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them.

To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take every day as it comes, and to cherish myself in it.

To “let go” is not to criticize and regulate anybody,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To “let go” is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.

To “let go” is to fear less and love more.

________________________________________________________

Vinyasa, dance,and restore workshop on letting go. Saturday, June 20 from 2-4pm

Courage by Anne Sexton

It is in the small things we see it.
The child's first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

Later,
if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
comver your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

Later,
if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off your heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

Later,
when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you'll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you'll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you'll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. ~Anais

POEM: A Morning Offering

I love this poem by John O’Donahue.  A wonderful reminder that every day is a new beginning. Namaste – K.
A Morning Offering

I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me
Welcome the wonder of this day.
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn,
The quiet loyalty of breath.
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Wave of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But to do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

Make A Date with Destiny this Valentine’s Day

I can’t think of a more appropriate occasion than Valentine’s Day for a lesson on purushartha and the four desires of the soul. Aside from the obvious connection of desires (including kama or pleasure), this workshop is really an exercise in love, specifically self-love (cue Whitney Houston’s The Greatest Love of All).

Rod Stryker creator of ParaYoga wrote an illuminating book called The Four Desires outlining a detailed process for excavating our deepest wants so we can understand and pursue our unique purpose. His rallying cry to modern day yogis is to move beyond asana to where the physical practice prepares us to go. He provides meditative techniques and lessons from the Vedic scriptures to explore the self and answer questions about what it is that we aspire to become.

The goal is to come to know and understand our soul’s desires and to build a life based on those. Imagine the happiness and satisfaction gained when we are able to fully live in accordance with our true nature. It all starts by inquiring within through meditation and reflection practices approached with love and compassion.

This Saturday’s workshop gives an introduction to the four different types of desires and an opportunity to take the first step in exploring what lies within through meditation. Consider this workshop a “blind date” with your soul. As such it may feel a little awkward at times, a bit exhilarating and challenging, and undoubtedly worthwhile. Who knows? You may just find you’re soon going steady with your lovely self and wanting to keep the relationship growing;)

~K

Excerpt from the book The Four Desires. 

 

Discover the Power of Loving Kindness

I close every class I teach with these words from a loving kindness meditation:

May all beings everywhere be healthy
May all beings everywhere be happy
May all beings everywhere be safe
May all beings everywhere find peace.

Meditating on loving kindness (also known as mettā meditation) is a practice intended to develop benevolence. Through this process, the practitioner can experience joy in celebrating the happiness of others. It’s a somewhat simple, yet potent practice. I find reciting just the four lines above – a mere portion of a complete mettā practice – is a powerful reinforcement of my intentions and aspirations for compassionate living.

A traditional mettā practice begins with an offering of loving kindness directed toward oneself. The offering is then repeated several times, each time directing the energy to a specific person or group such as a ‘neutral’ individual, a loved one, an enemy, and then to all beings throughout the universe. In the meditation, the practitioner breathes in suffering and exhales happiness.

Research on the benefits of mettā meditation are mounting and show how mind training in loving kindness impacts the practitioner’s own happiness. The evidence shows that it:

  • Improves Well Being
  • Promotes Healing
  • Builds Emotional Intelligence in the Brain
  • Combats the Negative Impact of Stress
  • Strengthens Social Connections
  • Increases Self-love

Emma Sappalla, Associate Director Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research & Education, provides a stunning checklist of metta meditation benefits along with links to the corresponding research in her post 18 Science-Based Reasons to Try Loving-Kindness Meditation Today.

Mettā meditation is a highly accessible practice. I’ve even used this with my kids as a bedtime ritual to close out the day. As with any practice, the key is to – well – practice.

This 30-minute guided meditation from Sharon Salzberg author of Loving Kindess: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness provides a lovely introduction.

K

Can Yoga Improve A Child’s Education?

More and more evidence points to the improvements yoga and mindfulness training can make in the lives of children and adolescents. Yoga has been proven to decrease anxiety, conflict, and attention disorders. It’s been used to curtail bullying in school settings. Some studies show that teaching kids to manage stress and cultivate compassion can have a profound impact on the overall quality of their education as measured by grades and engagement in activities.

The good news is you don’t have to be a yoga teacher to use yoga in the classroom. You don’t even have to have your own yoga practice. If you’re a school teacher and you want to arm yourself with some simple effective techniques to help your students become caring mindful learners, join BAMBU instructor Lauren Foreman for a special 2-hour workshop Yoga In the Classroom: A Toolkit for Educators on Sunday, February 8. Details here.

Special note for those who want to do more to bring yoga into schools in their area: The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health is bringing educators, researchers and yoga teachers together for the Yoga in the Schools Symposium February 17-19.

Further reading:

 

Meet Ho Tai for Admiration and Inspiration

At the studio we have a tiny statue of what is known as a Laughing Buddha. While not technically the Buddha, the round-bellied bald-headed figure represents a monk whose Chinese name is “Ho Tai.” Our bright orange version shows Ho Tai with hands overs his eyes. This is one of three related statues. The other two include one with hands covering the mouth (speaks no evil) and another that covers the ears (hears no evil). Our version sees no evil.

Our miniature Ho Tai reminds us of the danger when we editorialize what we see and to keep our perspectives in a positive nature. For example, if the person on the next mat is moving easily through the sequence and you’re barely able to breathe, try not to get caught in comparative thoughts like “I’m not as good as she is, therefore, I am not good at yoga.” It’s easy to become discouraged, frustrated, and unmotivated when this happens. We call this type of thinking compare and despair.

Throughout your yoga journey, you will undoubtedly encounter practitioners who are at different points along their path or who have different natural abilities when it comes to asana practice. Maybe that person who took their first yoga class three months ago when you did is now doing hand stands in the middle of the room. What you may not know is how her previous experience as a high school gymnast prepared her for this pose.

So when you feel someone is doing something better than you can, don’t compare and despair — admire and inspire instead. Let their successes remind you of the wonders of the human body and all that is possible. Let their light be a reminder of the equally beautiful light inside you. Trust that no matter where you are along your yogic path, you are exactly where you need to be at this moment.

Namaste.
-K

So You Want to Learn Yoga, Part 2: 12 Tips for Your First Class

Congratulations, you’re starting your yoga journey! These 12 tips will help you prepare and know what to expect with your first class:

1) Wear comfortable clothing. You don’t need anything fancy for yoga. Just comfortable, stretchy bottoms and a fitted top (so it doesn’t ride up during certain poses). Layering with a long sleeve tee or light jacket allows you to adjust your clothing as your body temperature rises during class. If you’re practicing hot yoga, minimal clothing (shorts and strappy tops) will be most comfortable.

2) Remove shoes and socks at the studio. Yoga is best done barefoot. This allows for greater stability in the poses and an opportunity to strengthen and flex the feet.

3) Use a sticky mat. The studio may have mats available for use (sometimes with a rental fee) or for sale. Ideally bring a mat of your own that meets your needs for comfort, stickiness, and size. Mats are readily available for as little as $5 with higher performance mats costing well over $100. It’s fine to start with a low end model and upgrade as you see fit.

4) Allow two hours after meals before practice. Yoga is best done on an empty stomach. Certain poses can put pressure on a full belly causing discomfort. If a two-hour window leaves you light-headed, try a small serving of fruit, juice or yogurt before class.

5) Come to class hydrated. Sip, don’t guzzle, water during class if needed. Drink plenty of water after class.

6) Arrive early to class. If you haven’t signed up online, you’ll need a few minutes to get set up with the studio and take care of any fees and paperwork. Arriving a few minutes before class starts gives you time to find a spot, set up your mat, stow away your personal belongings, and use the restroom.

7) Alert the teacher about any medical conditions. Tell the teacher before class so he or she can properly guide you with specific modifications during the practice. Arriving early to class will enable you to speak to the teacher privately about any health issues.

8) Be open-minded. Your first yoga class may be unlike any other wellness class you’ve taken. It will likely include centering and mindfulness exercises. There may even be chanting. Go with the flow. Be receptive to these types of experiences. The benefits may surprise you.

9) Honor your body. There’s a difference between a pose that challenges the body and one that hurts. If something doesn’t feel right, work with the teacher to find variations for the pose.

10) Watch and listen.   It’s okay to hang back and simply take in what’s going on in the class from time to time. Be sure to take cues from the teacher. Listen carefully for the instructions on getting in and out of poses.

11) Be ready for assistance. Your yoga teacher will verbally explain how to move throughout the practice. She will also provide physical assists to students from time to time. Hands-on-instruction is helpful for learning proper alignment and encouraging deeper opening in a pose.

12) Stay positive. Resist the tendency to compare yourself to what others are doing. Everyone is on their own path and each body is unique. Wherever you are in your practice today is exactly where you need to be.

Once you’ve completed your first class, keep at it. It’s called a “yoga practice” for a reason. Every class offers something new to learn and experiences to expand your path. Just keep moving forward. You’ll be glad you did.

See also So You Want to Learn Yoga, Part 1.