Morning Rituals

lily pad


In the Ayruvedic Tradition, it is recommended to start one’s day with a morning ritual.  These rituals can aid in firing up digestion, bringing about a feeling of groundedness and are overall balancing.  After attending a mini workshop on Ayurvedic Morning Rituals, I made a commitment to  myself to begin more of a routine in the morning.  I decided out of the list of Ayurvedic rituals I would start my morning with a glass of warm lemon water, oil pulling and meditation.  Previously I tried a morning meditation practice and would end up very frustrated as I would sit and worry about packing lunches and getting everybody out of the house so, I just gave up on morning meditation and started meditating in the evening.  I decided to make this work, I needed to restructure my morning.   I Pack lunches first while doing my oil pulling then, after my daughter  leaves for school,with the house still dimly lit and quiet, I meditate.  Just after 2 days, I felt more grounded and centered and, grateful for the time I gave to myself.  I look forward to my morning rituals.  I also wanted to take a moment to share that the Yoga Studio that I teach at, Yoga on High, is opening a School of Ayurveda.  Please follow the link if you are interested in learning more about this.

What are your morning rituals?  How do you start your day off feeling centered?

When diet is wrong medicine is of no use.
When diet is correct medicine is of no need.
~Ayurvedic Proverb

Sabbath Moments

Sabbath Keeping

Recently in our final days of onsite training for Urban Zen at Wexner Heritage Village, the Rabbi Cary Kozberg joined us to deliver a most inspiring maybe even, life changing speech.  He commented that Urban Zen offers people “Sabbath moments” in their daily busy, stressful lives.  He spoke about the Sabbath as a time to “just be”.  I then received a book recommendation from a dear friend and co-worker; ‘Sabbath Keeping’ by Lynne Baab.  She too mentions “Sabbath moments” but encourages us to take an entire 24 hour period to really receive the benefits of the Sabbath.  I did not grow up in a religious family.  I sometimes attended church with friends’ families.  My family and I currently do not attend church however, I do believe in God and would like to encourage my children to have a reverence for God and his creations.  After listening to the Rabbi and reading ‘Sabbath Keeping’, I’m setting an intention to have a day where my family and I unplug, take a walk together and, enjoy a meal together.  We may create certain rituals around this Sabbath day as well to remind us of our relationship to God and this world and, to remind us of the gifts that we receive.

How do you and your family celebrate and enjoy the Sabbath?

“Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.”
Mark Buchanan






Ahhhh!  Doesn’t that feel better?  This is a time of year when our ‘to do list’ gets longer and longer and we run around practically holding our breath.   Sometimes in Urban Zen we advise a patient/client to notice their exhale.  This can often slow their breath rate and relieve feelings of anxiety.  When we exhale we release CO2 and other toxins and, create space for fresh oxygenated air which feeds our cells.  As we exhale consciously, we can release thoughts that are not serving us in that moment creating spaciousness for the present.   I invite you to take time to exhale.  Maybe you pause several times a day and take 3 conscious breaths allowing your mind to focus on each exhale and feel your feet on the ground.   I wish you and yours a healthy, happy Holiday Season!

Living with Intention

I’ve really missed being here!  I hope this finds you and yours well!  This past summer I set an intention to spend quality time with my kids and I did just that.  We had a wonderful summer together!  My kids for the most part got along.   We didn’t go on any extravagant vacations, we simply enjoyed each others presence, visiting local attractions, enjoying  trips to Jeni’s for delicious ice cream, and hiking through our local parks.


photo Elise and Liam

Intention according to the dictionary is: An aim that guides action.  At the beginning of many of the yoga classes I teach and attend, the teacher offers a moment to students to set an intention for their practice.  Often this intention comes from asking oneself, “why did I come to yoga today?”.  This intention creates an “aim” or focus for one’s practice, and, maybe even one’s life off the mat.

I have found  the act of setting daily intentions  allows me to maintain my focus and move through my day with purpose and connection to my family and students.  By no means does this mean that I live a “perfect” life without regrets.  Living with intention provides me a “road map” so, when I take a wrong turn I can find my way back.

As we head into the Holiday Season it is my intention to stay present and to enjoy time with my family.

Shitali Pranayama

Shitali means cooling.  I thought it fitting to share this breath practice as the humidity of summer arrives.  This pranayama practice is great for my MS students to help deal with the heat and, great for my prenatal students to lessen their nausea.  My daughter and I routinely practice Shitali Pranayama when we are feeling nauseous from hormonal changes.


*Activates the liver and spleen

*Improves digestion

*Relieves thirst

*Calm  feelings of anger

*Alleviates nausea

*Can help lower fever



How to:

Find a comfortable seat with the natural curves in the spine.  Stick your tongue out and curl it, if you cannot curl your tongue as this is a genetic trait, make an O shape with your lips.  Inhale through the mouth, feeling the cool air flow over the tongue then, close your mouth and exhale through your nose.  I’ve read that you should do 5 rounds of this breath in order for it to be effective and, I recently read to do no more than 10 rounds in one sitting.   However, you can practice Shitali Pranayama several times a day.

Note:  Please discontinue practice if it does not feel right for you.  Also, if you start to get a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water.

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Balance On and Off the Mat


Ardha Chandrasana has become one of my favorite yoga poses.  By engaging the core and finding the strength of the standing leg, I can open into freedom, into a feeling of bliss.  I often tell my students that by practicing balance poses we can find balance in our life off the mat.  Hmmm….  With my children home for summer and my erratic work schedule, I seek balance on a daily basis.  As I mentioned in my post Disconnecting to Connect, I set aside a day each week to just be with my children fully engaged and present.  This helps me to have some balance between work and family time.   A recent trip my family and I took to Lakeside, Ohio offered me just what I needed to feel firmly planted and open.   At Lakeside, there is very limited access to Wi-Fi, the local coffee shop is the only place that offers Wi-Fi, so I refrained from my daily activity on email, only using my phone to tell my daughter when to return to the cottage.  Our days were spent riding our bikes, walking down to play by the lake and sitting on the porch reading and greeting the passer-byes.  I felt firmly rooted with an open heart and mind to be present for my family and myself.  Returning home I had a busy week of Yoga for Girls Camp yet, I felt so grounded and open to each moment of the week.  I’m still enjoying a sense of balance as a result of this week that my family spent away from the chaos of our modern life fully engaged and balanced.

How do you find balance on and off the mat?

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”  Thomas Merton


Disconnecting to Connect

IMG_1449A Heart of Love made by Gail Spirit Sky



It is etiquette to turn off your cell phone upon entering a yoga studio.  This practice helps us to drop into the present moment and tune into our breath, sensations and the community in the room.  I’ve taken this practice off the mat and into my life.    This summer I’ve dedicated Tuesdays to spending time with both my kids.  During this time, I’m not checking email or Instagram, I’m present to my kids and our experiences together.  Our connections have strengthened from this practice of disconnecting from the digital world and connecting to each other.   We laugh and “play” together.   I get to really listen to my children and bear witness to their hopes, dreams and thoughts on life.  I’ve noticed how my teenage daughter is also able to stay present to us and, not check her phone every time she hears a chime signaling a new text.  I notice I feel less stressed and therefore, my family is less stressed.  I know this time with my kids is so precious and fleeting.  I want them to know that I’m really there for them.  I also want to instill a practice/habit in them that they learn to stay connected to those in front of them instead of the virtual world.    I can’t help but wonder, what message are we sending our loved ones when  they are trying to talk to us and, we are so focused on our phone.

Your children need your presence more than your presents. ~Jesse Jackson

“We’re living in an era where capturing moments using our phones is more important than actually living these moments with whoever is beside us.”  Unknown