Yoga After A Year's Absence: Back To My Future
"Do not stop trying just because perfection eludes you." -- B.K.S. Iyengar
"Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured." -- B.K.S. Iyengar
"When I practice, I am a philosopher. When I teach, I am a scientist. When I demonstrate, I am an artist." -- B.K.S. Iyengar
As my never-alas-met, always-kept-in-mind, and ever-inspiring late master-Yoga-teacher, B.K.S. Iyengar, said: "Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In Yoga, they come together in the present." Like every good koan, Mr. Iyengar's seemingly simple statement requires more than a little time to unpack. In my own case, that unpacking has now gone on for the 32 years I have spent mostly on but sometimes (due to illness, injury, or the wild, fey vicissitudes of life) off my Yoga mat. My most recent hiatus from my chosen discipline, my favorite art-form, has lasted a full calendar year, and I have just returned to my practice (but not, yet, teaching) at Teaneck, New Jersey's Stone Center for Yoga & Health, the very first studio I found when I moved north from South Carolina in 2001. In fact, Charlotte Chandler Stone, the studio's founder, had moved about a block from her original location near Teaneck's Queen Anne Road, and I had simply thought she'd closed, like so many other businesses in Bergen County, during our Great Economic Depression. Not so: She'd enlarged her space, and had thrived... three blocks from my home.
For me, the studio where I choose to practice (and its teachers, students, and physical and spiritual space) comprises "my Yoga home," its composite elements as important as family members and friends, treasured paintings and recordings, books, long-used pots and pans, clothes, and the skin on my back. For me, a studio has always been a chapel, a temple, a dojo, a pilgrimage site, a constellation of altars. If it is not all those things, and most Yoga studios in America are not, it isn't a place I want to spend time, remove my street-armor, and lay open my body, mind, and spirit to the contemplation-in-motion that is Yoga. Anywhere I hang my hat is patently not home; and anywhere I may lay down a mat is not, either. If a studio isn't a sacred community, the practice within it will not accomplish Mr. Iyengar's goal: to bring body, mind, and soul together in the present. One must choose well and mindfully when one chooses a studio, and here, at the very, very end of my time in Teaneck, as I prepare for a move to another part of the country altogether, I have chosen to return to Stone Yoga, and to Charlotte, Ellen, Nancy, and Sue, the four teachers who have all, very, very gently and lovingly, brought me back to my mat, exactly as I find myself today.
Begin where you are.
Where I was, after a year of serious family illness, multiple surgeries, and various and sundry economic blows, was depressed, de-conditioned, and completely derailed, as far as my Yoga practice went (and as far as living in the present tense, as well).
At the very end of 2013, as I stopped teaching Yoga at various gyms and studios in northern New Jersey, and prepared for the coming physical and financial siege, I had neither the free time nor the disposable income to take class in Bergen County.
I took several Gentle Yoga classes in Englewood, and looked into studios farther afield, but lacked all motivation to commit to my mat, either at home or in any of the places I investigated.
Like Goldilocks and Cinderella, I was looking for a perfect "fit"... or none at all.
As well as a Yoga-home, I needed other like-minded Yoginis and Yogis as much as I needed Yoga. I required well-seasoned teachers who had never bought into the smorgasbord of "Show-Biz Yogas," fad sub-genres of the grand old Sub-Continental vernacular which have taken on the coloring of America's culture, and which feature competition, commercialism, and crass gimmickry.
I needed the opposite of Hot Yoga and Ashtanga-one-sequence-for-all. Cinderella here needed a bespoke glass slipper, and a group of fellow travelers wearing comfortable, well-worn duds.
I needed less, not more. I needed eyes-closed Yoga. I needed someone to keep this old racehorse from bolting out of the gate at full gallop. I needed... the real deal.
Finally, informed by my friend and fellow-Huffington-Post-blogger, Kathryn Livingston (Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman's Quest for Balance, Strength, and Inner Peace), that Stone Yoga was still very much a thing, I called Charlotte, and told her about my fallow year, disheveled psyche, and rusty joints. She welcomed me back to the discipline, but insisted I start slow and easy, taking class with only her, herself, Ellen, Nancy, and Sue. I was happy to put myself in her hands, and theirs.
Nancy Fader, like me, a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, is also a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer, and teacher, a professional Tarot reader and teacher, and a Yogini specializing in Yin and gentle/restorative Yoga. Nancy and I hit it off right off the bat, and, if she's not teaching, she's usually next to me on her mat. Woman's a fool for Yoga. Sue Pearly, in addition to practicing Yoga (most particularly, Structural Yoga) for 23 years, has studied shamanism for the past seven years and has become a Medicine Woman and a Reiki practitioner. Sue also begins every class with a poetry reading (her latest included a line from one of Dana Faulds' poems: "Leave something somewhere," and says she has only two speeds: slow and slower, which suits her students just fine. (By the way, I can attest to the fact that Sue has yet another speed: infinite.) Ellen Mendelsohn, at 72 my only elder on the Stone Center faculty, and 40 years a music educator, began studying Yoga a year before I did, in 1981, and teaches without a shred of self-consciousness or drama. She focuses on proper alignment which I, long-accustomed to Iyengar's rigor, settled into as second nature, but she also teaches to the student, not the asana: before her, we are all individuals, all individually-abled, and she focuses an eagle eye on each of us, tailoring her instruction for the Yogini with poor lymphatic drainage in one arm, the Yogini with osteopenia, the Yogini back on her mat after a year's absence. Charlotte Chandler Stone, founder and director of the Stone Center for Yoga & Health, began her practice in 1973 while a student at the University of Zurich. Charlotte holds many, many certifications in Structural Yoga Therapy, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, Cardiac Yoga, Wellness Coaching, the clinical management of osteoporosis, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and teaches both students and Yoga-teachers-in-training, and Yoga therapists, blending the techniques and wisdom of Structural Yoga, Viniyoga, Ayurveda, and Feldenkrais. Passionate about teaching the person, not the pose, she boils it all down to one mantra, however: "Love. Only love." Charlotte expands a bit as regards that special mantra. The words were those of her primary teacher, Mukunda Stiles, who developed Structural Yoga Therapy. His student and assistant, Charlotte attended Mukunda wherever he went over the course of the '90s and 2000s. "He was very powerful," she says, softly, "and he empowered me, calling on me to find what my own purpose was on this earth, and to go and fulfill that dharma." Says Charlotte, "Every morning, I wake up and know what I'm supposed to do that day... and go and do it." As I speak with her, and take class with her now, at the end of my sojourn in New Jersey, I can attest firsthand to Charlotte's remarkable growth and blossoming as a teacher and mentor since first we met, back in 2001. A charismatic and vivid presence in the classroom -- I like to think of her as a "maternal warrior of Yoga" -- Charlotte is surrounded by other strong students who have morphed into teachers in her presence and under her tutelage. But as highly-qualified as my three new (and one re-found) teachers are, they are first and foremost humble-at-the-head-of-the-class, and all display great good humor and joy in Yoga. There is no judgment here, no emphasis on rigid conformity to the perfect asana. There is, in fact, no past or future in their classes, just lots and lots of the present.
I am precisely where I need to be, right here and right now, and it feels -- as I leave New Jersey for good -- as though I've come full circle, and home.
A Waldwick singer-songwriter who performed on a Hoboken train platform for two and a half years considers himself fortunate that he wasn't there the morning of a deadly crash.
A group of pedestrians cross as a car stopped at the crosswalk at Broad St. and Prospect St. in Westfield in this file photo. (Tim Farrell | The Star-Ledger)
HACKENSACK — Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino asked police in the county to ticket anyone breaking pedestrian laws in October—including for jaywalking, The Record reported.
County officials announced the crackdown Tuesday in Hackensack after the pedestrian death toll reached 24 in 2014, the highest in 16 years. While only eight pedestrians have died in 2015 in Bergen County, the last three months of the year are typically the deadliest for walkers throughout New Jersey.
Billboards will warn motorists over the next two weeks to focus on pedestrians, not their phones.
Paramus alone saw two serious pedestrian accidents earlier in the week.
A Garfield man died Monday night after he was struck by a car at Garden State Plaza, police said. Anna Bello, 74, of Haledon, struck Anthony Marchese, 59, while turning her Subaru into a parking aisle.
On Tuesday afternoon, Janis Vahanian, 60, of Paramus, struck an 11-year-old girl with her Hyundai, police said. A crossing guard was controlling traffic as the girl crossed Spring Valley Road.
HACKENSACK, N.J. – The Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders on Wednesday approved a resolution to apply for and accept nearly $1.5 million in state grant money that will be used to fund early intervention services for young children with developmental disabilities, according to a statement.
The grant, which totals $1,480,493, is from the New Jersey Department of Health, according to the statement, which adds that it will be used to aid children ages 0-3.
According to officials, the grant has risen dramatically in recent years (from $1.2 million in 2014), in part because of an increasing caseload that risen from 1,132 active cases in 2014 to over 1,300 today.
Officials said the increase is also due in part to increased technology needs, noting that the grant money is funding upgrades as the state moves toward a “more centralized coordination across the state as well as mobile technology that will eventually allow coordinators to immediately input data from the field.”
“Early Intervention is so important, not only for the 1 in 41 children born in New Jersey being diagnosed with autism, but for all children who experience other developmental disabilities or delays,” said Freeholder Vice Chairwoman Tracy Zur, who serves on the Human Services Committee. “We know that the earlier we can help these kids, the better the outcomes. I’m glad that Bergen County continues to receive increased funding from the state to help us deal with the ever increasing numbers of cases.”
The grant is administered by the Bergen County Department of Human Services’ office of Special Child Health Services, which uses the funding to serve as service coordinators for the New Jersey Early Intervention System, according to the statement.
The Special Child Health Services service coordination unit is the single point of contact for families in Bergen County, according to the statement, which added that service coordinators arrange, coordinate and monitor a continuum of services for children and families of children ages 0-3 with developmental delays or disabilities.
Children are evaluated for eligibility on several different criteria, and the office then works with families to develop assessments and individualized plans that enable several comprehensive community partner agencies to ensure delivery of service, according to the statement.
Service coordinators also work with the 70 Bergen County school districts to facilitate a smooth transition for these children into preschool.
“We recognize that no one agency can tackle these issues alone and our early intervention service coordinators do incredible work bringing all these agencies together,” said Freeholder Joan Voss, who chairs the Human Services Committee. “This is something that more and more of our families deal with and I’m proud that Bergen County is on the forefront of making sure our kids get the best start in life as possible.”
Referrals to early intervention can come from doctors and medical professionals, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, child care and social service agencies or self-referrals from parents.
Families who are interested in learning more about Early Intervention Services are urged to call the State’s hotline at 1-888-653-4463. The office can also be found online .
Back in my 20s I was young and pretty in New York City. It was the life I'd worked for and the life that I wanted. Nobody I knew had kids and nobody, it seemed, wanted them. Near the end of my 20s I found myself unpartnered and pregnant. It wasn't the path I would have chosen but I decided to make the best of it. Finding a bigger apartment and child care was a challenge.
Finding great mom friends felt impossible!
By the time my son was three I was married and living in the burbs. My white picket dreams came into focus while my fun girl dreams faded away.
A few short years into suburbia it was time for me to start dating again -- dating for mom friends! Looking back, it seems crazy that I didn't think of it sooner! Why not apply the skill and savvy I'd learned from dating to finding cool mom friends?
Just like with regular dating I created a mental "must have" list. I wanted to be a part of a group of moms more than a one on one situation. I wanted social and economic diversity and basically fun loving people. What I really wanted was moms who were just like me -but not. (One of me is plenty!) How hard could that be to find?
Turns out is wasn't that easy, but it also wasn't too hard. I trolled for mom at the playground and in churches. There were online meet ups and mommy circle at daycare. I still love the sisters of the Red Tent but that's not really a mom's group.
I finally found "my people" in the Mocha Moms. Mochas offered diversity of experiences and parenting philosophies and it's also just fun. It's the first mom's group I've come across that's not about the kids! We have spa days, wig parties and wine tastings. There are family events a couple times a year, but basically it's by moms, for moms! My group puts me back in touch with the non-mom me but leaves room to honor family life. Fun time apart from the kids allows me to be better with the kids!
I have no desire to go back to being the single version of myself but I also don't want to put her on a shelf. I need to find ways to be foot loose and fancy free while honoring the family person I've grown into. My mom's group allows me to be every part of myself and that's a real gift. On June 4th I'll celebrate my 17th year as a mom! It's a tremendous accomplishment and the hardest job I've ever loved. My only regret is that I didn't shop for mom friends sooner. The Longest, Shortest Time podcast is hosting an event called Speed Dating for Mom Friends. It's exactly what it sounds like and it sounds totally fun! If you're a new mom, or a lonely mom, I say get on out there girl! Start dating for mom friends! Whether you prefer groups, one on one mom friends or something else, I hope you find "your people" in the ocean of mommies out there. As we honor and are honored as mothers this Sunday, take a moment to raise a glass to your great mom friends! They love us, care for us and keep us sane! Happy Mother's Day mamas! Now go on out there and get yourself a girlfriend!
SHOUT OUT: Fort Lee merchants have banded together to help the residents of the Avalon apartment complex in the wake of last month’s devastating fire.
Members of the Business District Alliance (BDA) of Fort Lee donated nearly $5,000 by purchasing gift cards for area restaurants and other businesses selected on the basis of a priority list provided by the Edgewater Strong charity.
BDAFLlist1111The members then got area business owners and others in town to kick in $2,400 more worth of cards (see list, below).
The cards were being distributed by Edgewater Strong.
“I want to thank our valued business owners in Fort Lee who were quick and happy to help the numerous families impacted by this terrible fire, “said Romina Luppino-Starace, president of the non-profit BDA of Fort Lee.
“Because of their generosity and that of our board members, we can do our part to ensure these families have the basic essentials they need to get back on their feet.”
“It’s about neighbors helping neighbors, “said Stuart Z. Koperweis, Executive Director of the BDA of Fort Lee. “BDA Board members live, work, and own businesses in Bergen County. “Their commitment to helping their neighbors is evident in the selfless service they provide to the BDA by giving countless time, energy, and talent to Fort Lee,” Koperweis said.
“So it came as no surprise when board members voted unanimously in favor of donating funds from the BDA to give to the fire victims, while supporting the local businesses,” he said
Some notes on homeless animals in New Jersey:
• According to the State of New Jersey Office of Animal Welfare, "it is estimated that the number of free-roaming cats in the United States may be equal to that of owned cats, approximately 70 million. If left unchecked, free-roaming cats will breed and their populations increase at locations where they find suitable shelter and food."
The office goes on to note that pet cats that are abandoned will not easily fend for themselves outdoors. Unfortunately, most of these cats and their offspring will suffer premature death from disease, starvation or trauma.
• Among shelters and rescue groups around New Jersey, the top 10 reasons for owners relinquishing a dog are: (1) moving; (2) landlord issues (3) cost of pet maintenance; (4) "no time for pet;" (5) inadequate facilities; (6) "too many pets in home;" (7) pet illness; (8) "personal problems;" (9) biting; and (10) no homes for litter-mates.
Other interesting facts from the Office of Animal Welfare:
• As many as 25 percent of dogs entering shelters across the country each year are purebreds.
• One unspayed female cat and her unaltered offspring can produce 420,000 cats in seven years.
Here is a gallery of homeless animals from northern and central New Jersey. Consider visiting a local shelter or contacting a local rescue group when looking for a pet for your family.
More pets in need of adoption can be viewed here and here
Edgewater businessman Raj Bhatt believes he has found the next big American indulgence: macarons.
The vibrantly-colored cookies propelled Bhatt to invest in Woops!, a confectionery company that specializes in French macarons, in 2013.
The simple product was appealing to the eye and was exactly what the United States needed, he said.
Woops! has since sold some six million macarons and counting.
"The beauty of a macaroon is how the shell and filling react and combine in flavor and texture," he said. "It definitely is not an easy pastry to make."
Woops! offers more than 20 types of macarons including chocolate chip-mint, Nutella, lemon poppy, peanut butter, raspberry, cookies and cream, chocolate lavender, red velvet, passion fruit and old fashioned pistachio.
The product is handmade with almond-flour and meringue based shells and filled with chocolate ganache with natural flavors and ingredients, Bhatt said.
After becoming the Woops! majority investor, Bhatt helped his business expand from Paramus and Short Hills to 22 locations in six different states, including locations in Westchester County and Fairfield County.
"We want to become a known American brand that produces quality products," Bhatt told Daily Voice. "People who want a high quality, more authentic product at a fair price, come to Woops! We are an affordable indulgence."
New Jersey Family ranked every town in the state with more than 1,500 people using an algorithm that took into account tax rates, average home sale prices, crime rates, public school district rankings, median household income, the number of families with children and commuting time, as well as the number of restaurants, hospitals, and convenience stores nearby.
Oradell was the second-best town overall, behind Pennington in Mercer County. Among Bergen County towns, neighboring Closter and Harrington Park placed second and third, respectively.
Oradell and most of the other Bergen towns to top the list are in the affluent northeastern part of the county.
Click through our slideshow to see the top 20 Bergen County communities.
Melissa Lappin of Glen Rock sells her Roxbury Place handbags, keychains and earrings online. Photo Credit: Melissa Lappin
GLEN ROCK, N.J. — Had Glen Rock’s Melissa Lappin not taken in her mom’s old sewing machine, “Roxbury Place” would never be. That’s her online store where she sells the handbags she first learned to make on her mother’s hand-me-down. It started in 2011 with the offer. “My mom was upgrading her sewing machine and she said, ‘If you want my old one, great. If not, that’s fine,’” Lappin recalled. “I took it.”
After years of watching her mom, Lappin figured then would be a good time to learn to sew.
She started taking classes and tuning into online tutorials, but it wasn’t long before she realized she had a knack for it… just like her mother. “I clicked,” Lappin said. “It became a great hobby and a creative outlet.” She’s now working on getting the word out on her online store, Roxbury Place, where she sells all of her handmade work. There is no assembly line here. The materials are individually chosen, sized, crafted, and constructed by hand into a high quality product. The business isn’t ready for a Rock Road storefront, but Lappin is more than okay with that.
DV Home Cooking is devoted to readers and their recipes. All we ask is that you're a home cook, not a professional chef. Got a favorite dish you want to share? Send it, along with the story behind it, to DVHomeCooking@dailyvoice.com
Which Garden State eateries made the list of top places to dine?
TERRE A TERRE We won't reveal the secret to chef Todd Villani's gravy (or, as you may call it, red sauce). Here, for publication, you'll get a coy answer: "We owe it to Mom."
Chef Todd Villani, in the dining room of Terre a Terre Cathy Miller But if you want the full story, collar Villani during one of his supper club events — when his guard is down, when he's laughing and joking — and maybe, maybe, he'll share.Those who attended last summer's "Godfather" event already know the answer and it's not a secret you'd expect
Villani is not typically a red sauce guy; he will astonish you with his grandiose, often opulent, cuisine — jewelry on a plate — made with a religious adherence to local ingredients. (He has a 300-mile limit.)
The menu at Terre a Terre is ever-changing, but scallops are outrageous, polenta decadent and the short-ribs a beloved signature. Yet the setting is country French, so it never feels too froufrou.
Short ribs are a signature dish at the restaurant.Facebook page The supper club events offer a chance for a more intimate connection with the chef, says Villani's publicist (and sister) Lisa Meyer. Plus, a chance to meet the farmers, the winemakers, the food artisans (including pasta-maker Sfoglini, from Brooklyn, a company that uses organic, local ingredients).
Should you attend one of these events, you'll be astonished, too, by the chef's humility.
Terre À Terre | 312 Hackensack St., Carlstadt | (201) 507-0500 |terreaterre.biz
New research reveals there is little correlation between exercising and being thin, reports the Atlantic. Americans workout more than people in any other country yet have the highest obesity rate in the world, reports the Atlantic.
Growing evidence suggests exercise could even slow down metabolism, reports the Atlantic.There are plenty of other health reasons to exercise but weight loss may not be the best one, reports the Atlantic.
In the United States, people are working out more than ever, but the obesity epidemic has only gotten worse. A new study shows that from 1988 to 2006, women more than doubled their frequency of exercise, while men upped theirs by nearly 50 percent. The prevalence of obesity among Americans increased from 23 percent to 35 percent in the same time period
Globally, too, there is little correlation between exercise and obesity rates. People in Norway and Japan, for example, are less likely to be active than Americans are—yet they are also much less likely to be obese. On an individual level, the connection between physical activity and BMI is murky: Most studies show that exercise has a limited effect on weight loss, and it’s far less reliable than watching your diet
This might be because the energy you use up isn’t directly tied to how much you move. When scientists strapped GPS devices onto 30 Hadza foragers in northern Tanzania, they found that the foragers walked up to twice as far as Westerners each day—but didn’t burn any extra calories. The same phenomenon has been observed in the animal kingdom: Monkeys in the wild have been found to burn no more calories than those in zoos. Our bodies, it seems, work against our workouts. Recent research found that subjects burned more calories when they started exercising but that energy use plateaued as activity levels kept increasing. Growing evidence suggests that our metabolism might even slow down as we lose weight—perhaps because increased activity triggers the body to save calories, so that an energy deficit doesn’t disrupt important bodily functions This is, of course, no reason to set fire to your Pilates mat. Exercise can still help prevent bone and heart disease, some cancers, and potentially even depression. But controlling your diet appears to be a far better solution to weight woes—if exercise doesn’t undermine that, too: One small study found that people fresh from the gym overestimated their energy use by up to 400 percent and ate more than twice as many calories as they actually burned
The three Whole Foods stores in Bergen County will be raising money for Table to Table. Whole Foods will donate 5 percent of every customer's bill to Table to Table, an organization collects food that would otherwise be wasted and gives it to other organizations who feed the needy.
Whole Foods has three locations in Bergen County:
Content gathered & updated by the Bergen Review Media team.