Gratitude for Full Moon Yoga

After already feeling gratitude for my Full Moon Yoga class last night, I was extra pleased to come outside and see the moon between the clouds. We had tapped into our divine feminine energy and filled the indoor space with such beauty. Now the sky was gorgeous as well.

Rarely do I capture a decent shot of the moon, but these aren’t too shabby. At every stop light on my way home, I took a few shots. The street lights often got in the way, but some views were spectacular. Of course, the camera never does it justice.

It really never seems to matter how my day has unfolded. I can be frustrated, uptight, sad, angry, discouraged when I arrive at the studio to teach. But, a mere five minutes in, it all melts away. It is the sacred space, the people, the breathing, and the energy that soothes and restores me. Gratitude.

Here is a wonderful article by Jen Reviews about the Benefits of Yoga.

gratitude

One Way to Approach the New Year

As this new year approached and I was inundated with suggestions to leave my troubles in 2017, look ahead to 2018, come up with a resolution for the new year, and be excited about it, all I could feel was the need to be left alone.

The last six months of 2017 were horrendous for my family. My 86-year-old father underwent heart surgery on August 1st and due to medical malpractice, suffered a brain injury. Before this, he was a healthy, strong, intelligent man who went to the gym three times a week, completed the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle, and rode a tractor almost daily through acres of farm land. His heart is now as healthy as can be. His brain is not. Although he has progressed a great deal from being unable to walk, talk, eat, and control his bodily functions, our family has been through pure hell taking care of him. He and my mother now live with my family.

So, when faced with the anticipation of a new year, I simply felt stuck in the hardship of 2017. How can I not be? It’s still happening. So I wanted to put this off.  Could we just wait another six months for a new year? I’m just not ready.

So I turned to thoughts of yoga: love, light, peace, and truth in body, mind, and spirit. And that was my turning point.

New Years Day passed without a thought. I celebrated without the need to have discovered my resolution. Daily tasks were carried out in plenty of time. The house was transitioned back to normalcy from all the decorations, baked goods, and Christmas music.

What I had to remember is that this year has been difficult for me. And 2018 will continue to be the same, at least for the time being. In addition to the events surrounding my father’s injury, I have lived with anxiety and depression since the age of 19. I turned 50 last year. In fact, my 50th birthday celebration was brought to a screeching halt by what happened to my father. It’s been a struggle to keep my anxiety and depression at bay.

So I gave myself a break. A big one. I removed this huge need to identify what I desired for 2018 and gave myself the time and space to let it come to me. I created an opening to allow its entrance.

On January 1st, while scrolling through my Instagram feed, it flew right in. I saw a word I hadn’t seen in a while and had forgotten about: Sankalpa. This is a Sanskrit word in yogic philosophy that refers to a heartfelt desire. It is an intention or a resolve to do something. It comes from deep within and is often an affirmation.

new year

On January 2nd, I taught a yoga class using this idea as my theme, informing my students that they had one of four options:

1.) Use a resolution you’ve already created and transform it into a Sankalpa.

2.) Create your Sankalpa during class today.

3.) Be open to receive your Sankalpa if it is not easily coming to you.

4.) None of the above.

I had already chosen number three and I still haven’t been able to put it into a concise phrase, but I now know what I want this year. I want yoga. Not just the physical practice of yoga but all of the spiritual healing and connection that comes with it. I want to feel as much love and peace as possible every day, in every moment. I want to be able to surround the sadness I feel for my father with light and transform it into joy. I want to be true to myself and allow the time and space needed for all of this.

I can do it. I know I can. And I’m in no hurry.

 

Wonderful Places Where Yoga Heals

Project Balance

“Our Mission is to bring mind-body wellness to the children and families of our community through partnerships, education and outreach.”

Yoga 4 Change

“Yoga 4 Change is a non-profit organization that achieves meaningful change for veterans, incarcerated individuals, vulnerable youth, and those dealing with substance abuse. Our purpose-driven yoga program enables us to heal and empower these under-served populations, creating healthier, safer communities, one class at a time.”

The Recovery Village 

“Our patients reside in beautifully designed, private and semi-private rooms with comforting accommodations and amenities. We provide a rare retreat for our patients with a serene landscape and top-notch amenities to promote a healthy recovery environment.  Our full continuum of care reaches past your stay at our residential facility, ensuring continued success in your future.”

 

 

How I Deal with the Naysayers

How I Deal with the Naysayers

My husband and I picked up my parents last weekend and moved them to Florida.  Our five-year-old daughter stayed with a friend. It took us two days and about 20 hours of driving.  We made it safely and without any major incidents.

My father suffered a brain injury on August 1st and has been through ICU, additional surgeries, Rehab, Therapy, and pure hell since then. The injury was caused by a grave error made during heart surgery. His heart is perfect. The rest of him is not. He is not the strong, sharp, healthy 86-year-old man he was when he walked through those hospital doors almost three months ago. My mother, age 78, and quite healthy, is not the same either. She is exhausted, discouraged, frustrated, and sleep-deprived.

For these reasons, my husband and I are now taking them into our home for an indefinite period. Yes, this is daunting. Yes, it required a great deal of discussion and planning. Yes, it will change our lives. Yes, people are saying that I don’t know what I’m getting myself into.

But here’s what I have to say:

  • The next person who tells me that I don’t know what I’m getting myself into will get slapped.
  • I am an extremely positive person. This is the way I choose to live. This puts me at a distinct advantage.
  • I am pissed. Those doctors screwed up my father. I am determined to help fix him. Anger helps motivate me.
  • I adore my parents. They have bent over backwards for me my entire life. It is my turn to do the same.
  • Their granddaughter is the light of their lives. Why not let them bask in her light and soak up some of that youthful energy? And in the meantime, this is an opportunity to teach her compassion, patience, and understanding.
  • Everything is temporary. Accept it. Enjoy it if you can. Move on.
  • I am strong and I can do anything. Why not this?

So, as we move through this new and challenging journey, I will continue to be positive. I will teach yoga. I will use my essential oils. I will cry when I want to. But most of all, as hard as they knock on my door, I will not let the naysayers in.

how i deal

 

Three Savvy Ways to Build Your Yoga Business

Three Savvy Ways to Build Your Yoga Business…

Up until a few days ago, I didn’t think of myself as having a yoga business. But, low and behold, I sure can! Yoga is my favorite thing to do. Apparently, I’m good at it, so why not do more and make it better?

three savvy ways

After meeting with one of my mentors to pick her brain about some yoga business ideas, I came away with much more than I expected. There are licenses, insurance, marketing, networking, taxes, blah, blah, blah. I knew all that from my attorney and have most of that taken care of. What I didn’t know are the three areas from which a yoga instructor can gain the most success and profit.

And apparently, these are important because my mentor repeated this list more than once:

1.) Private and Semi-Private Lessons – This one I can do. This is 1:1 or 1:2 instruction with students who want to improve their practice, have limitations and need modification ideas, or are beginners and want to learn the basics before braving a group class. Really cool stuff.

three savvy ways

 

2.) Workshops – This one I can do too. There are certain subject areas that always make their way into my classes: Chakra Balancing, Prop Use, Modified Postures, Breathing Techniques, Mudras, and Meditation. Doing occasional workshops and diving deeper into these areas would be fabulous!

three savvy ways

3.) Training – Not ready for this one, but I will be. Thinking about Reiki, Eden Energy Medicine, and maybe, just maybe…Kids Yoga.

three savvy ways

So, stay tuned for information on this site about my new yoga offerings. And thank you for your support thus far. After all, a yoga instructor can’t survive without her students. Namaste.

How I Bring Yoga Into My Direct Sale Business

How I Bring Yoga Into My Direct Sale Business…

Yoga is one of my favorite things to do. It makes me feel calm, content, and accomplished. When children are learning, it makes sense that feeling those same three things would only help to make them successful. That’s why I have chosen to focus my efforts as Fundanoodle Libby on the benefits of yoga.

It must have been fate for me to be asked to review a beautiful children’s book about three years ago. Rachel’s Day in the Garden by Giselle Shardlow is a book about Rachel and her dog, Sammy, and what they discover in the garden. Rachel practices yoga poses that emulate what they find…trees, bees, flowers, butterflies, sun, and caterpillars. Sammy happily romps along. The book is designed to be user friendly and accessible to anyone, not just yoga teachers.

One day, soon after becoming a Fundanoodle Ambassador, I decided to compare this book to our Muscle Mover Cards, which have a colorful animal and gross motor action word on one side and a traceable uppercase or lowercase letter on the other side. Much to my surprise and pleasure, I found six cards that correspond to animals and insects in the book and six additional cards that can be used as extended learning. Here is some of what I found.

how I

These Muscle Mover cards relate directly to pages in the book:

  • “Sammy jumped up and down, trying to catch a fluttering purple butterfly”, while Rachel practices Cobbler’s Pose.
  • “Rachel looked up, too. A red bird was settling into its nest.” Rachel is doing Warrior III Pose. (Fundanoodle’s bird is not red, but it only opens up conversation about similarities and differences.)
  • Sammy, just like Fundanoodle’s dog who digs, is doing all sorts of fun things through out the book.

So, I use Rachel’s Day in the Garden and Fundanoodle’s Muscle Mover Cards to teach the following concepts to little learners:

  1. Gross motor activity with a specific purpose.
  2. Basic yoga poses for strength, balance, and concentration.
  3. Letter recognition, sounds, and formation.
  4. Strengthening of hand and finger muscles using Play Doh and Wikki Stix to trace the letters. (The Muscle Mover cards come with a dry erase pen for use by learners who already know how to hold and use a writing implement.)
  5. Science discoveries like habitats, rainbows, the sun, the water cycle, photosynthesis, etc.
  6. Creative and critical thinking skills using comparison, cooperation, imagination, problem solving, etc.

This list could go on and on. The fun and learning definitely does.

One of the beauties of Yoga Play with Fundanoodle Libby is that it can be done anywhere…living room, studio, outside, even on line. Plans are in the works for a podcast. Stay tuned.

how I
Emma practice Warrior III like an Eagle.
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We make trees in Yoga Play!
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We creep like a caterpillar or inchworm in Yoga Play!
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We bloom like flowers in Yoga Play!

 

Be Careful Out There Yogis; Your Body Needs You

Be Careful Out There Yogis; Your Body Needs You…

As I picked up one of my favorite magazines and started to flip through it, I was so excited to see an eight page article about yoga. Wow! It had lots of information, beautiful graphics, and even a map showing all the yoga studios in the area. But as I read it, I became more and more disappointed.

This ‘beginner’s guide’, in my opinion, was actually quite intimidating in itself. The information was overwhelming. The graphics were gorgeous, yet not comprehensive. The map was helpful, yet furthered my concerns.

But enough about the article. I am really not here to criticize the magazine or the article’s author. It really was a nice article and any exposure yoga receives is good. And this magazine has always been one of my favorites and still is.

What I want to do, as a Certified Integrative Yoga Therapy Instructor, is take it back several steps and offer my own ideas about starting or continuing a yoga practice.

be careful

  1. Put safety first. Know your body and it’s limitations. Honor it. Practice the type of yoga that allows helpful and safe movement in your body, not the type that forces struggle and strain. One of the best ways to do this is to use props like blocks, bolsters, straps, blankets, and the wall. Use what you need to stay safe and feel good.
  2. Look for classes with descriptions using words like gentle, modified, slow, and well…beginners. Even if you are returning to yoga after a previous practice of intermediate, advanced, even power yoga, there is obviously a reason you took a break. Enter your new practice gradually and give yourself time to work back into it. And by all means, if you’ve never done yoga before, a gentle class suited for beginners is a must. And what’s even better is a Beginner’s Series, where you can learn the postures in detail.
  3. Do YOUR yoga. Even if you don’t know what that is yet, you do know your body, so honor it. All of your postures will look different from someone else’s and that is perfect. Your yoga. Your mat. Your choices.
  4. Try out a few different instructors and stick with the one who actually gives you instructions, cues, corrections, modifications, and positive feedback. Unfortunately, we are a dying breed. But we are out there and we want to help you.
  5. Breathe. Your body will thank you for it. It will actually move more easily and be open to new postures if you give it oxygen. Inhale deeply to open and lengthen the body. Exhale long and slow to settle into the posture. It will take a few reminders but practice will make it perfect.

be careful

I’ve been doing yoga for 13 years now and have been certified for almost two. I was lucky enough to learn from the very best instructors in this area. When people take my class for the first time, they say things like this:

  • no one ever told me I was doing that wrong
  • you are just what I was looking for
  • I’m so glad you give instructions and corrections
  • I’ve never been sure how to do many of the poses
  • your voice is soothing and makes me comfortable
  • it feels like coming home

This list isn’t for bragging. This list tells me that I’m doing what I was trained to do. Teach yoga in a safe, positive, and friendly environment. Allow my students to practice at a level and pace suited to their needs.

I teach yoga four times a week at three different locations to a variety of ages, genders, levels, physical abilities, and personalities. My job is to serve all of them, as best as I can.

So, I ask all yoga instructors and students…please be careful out there.

And call me if you need me.

Libby Blumberg, RYT 200

904-521-7097

libby@shantimomforone.com

be careful

be careful

be careful

 

More Yoga: It’s Unanimous

One of the goals I set for the new year (and beyond) is to do more yoga. It was nice to find out over the last few weeks that all three of my classes want to do more too! My Chair and Gentle Yoga classes all want me a second time each week. My community mamas want more yoga too. There is certainly enough time to do it and I am all for it. We shall see if schedules coordinate or collide.

Yoga has been a part of my life for about 12 years now. There’s one aspect of it that consistently makes it special: the people. I rarely do yoga on my own. I seem to need my people. And that becomes more and more true as I build clientele. Their feedback, conversations, willingness, and humor keeps me going and striving to be a better teacher.

A woman stopped me after my gentle yoga class the other day and said, “That was a great class. This is just what I was looking for.” Those words are gold to me. She was in search of something and it showed up. The Law of Attraction at its best.

A man in my chair yoga class asked for clarification about how to do a torso twist. I always emphasize that a twist starts at the waist, follows through with the ribs and chest, and finishes with the shoulders and head. He said, “That’s just like a golf swing.” What a perfect analogy. It was an AHA! moment for both of us.

My community mamas were coming to me once a month for Yoga Under the Palm Trees. We do yoga on my back patio surrounded by palm trees, our pool, and the sunny Florida sky. Before I even had a chance to ask if anybody wanted to do it twice a month, one of the moms, who had never done yoga before and has a really hard time relaxing, said, “Does anybody want to do this more often?” It was music to my ears. And now we do it twice a month.

more yoga