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Dear Yogis...

Dear Yogis,

Tomorrow is Empower Yoga’s one year anniversary and I wanted to take an opportunity to reflect and share some of the thoughts I have going into year two. I opened Empower Yoga a year ago for a few reasons. First, to have a heated power studio in Central Jersey because there wasn’t one before now, but more importantly to create a safe place that people could come to learn and grow- physically, emotionally, & spiritually. I named this space Empower Yoga because I want you to feel empowered every time you walk out the door. I want you to know that you are so much more than what you sometimes believe and I hope through our classes at the studio, you truly start to see that and you begin to discover your most powerful self.

I started teaching yoga as a way to give back to a community that gave me so much. I believe that we all have the capacity to feel healthy and strong, and I want to help you feel that too. When we allow our bodies and minds to move freely, when we let go of our ego, when we quiet the chatter in our heads, and join together in community and breath, we begin to experience a profound sense of being truly awake and alive.

We live in a crazy world and sometimes all of life’s circumstances can weigh us down and hold us back. We are constantly bombarded with information about how we should live or what we should do. It can be intimidating and very overwhelming, but I hope that through your yoga practice, you can get a glimpse into the space beyond your busy mind; where you’re already calm, clear and where all your answers lie. A place where you can let go of some of the emotional baggage and just be.

Now being a yoga teacher does not make me an expert on life and all things spiritual. I can only authentically share what I have learned from my own experience. It’s your job to put your yoga into practice in a way that fits with your daily life. I can instruct and inspire, but you must do the work.

Just remember, the days you feel like skipping your practice are the days you need it the most. Keeping yoga a consistent part of your day and/or weekly routine will help you to thrive both on and off your mat. Yoga will help you in those challenging moments you face. Once you’ve been practicing a while, you’ll notice a calmer, happier, and less anxious version of you.

I can promise that I will always be here to support you in anyway I can. Come sweat, move, and breathe with me! Come discover what you’re truly capable of.

Thank you for being a part of this amazing Empower Yoga community and allowing me to guide and instruct you.

Much love,

Keri

Nurture Yourself

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Are you feeling a little tired and rundown? Then it is time to take a day out of your busy schedule to nurture yourself and show yourself a little self love. It’s good for the mind body, and soul.  So turn off your cell phone, cancel your plans, and make some time for the most important person in your world – YOU.

A day for YOU:

Steps to having a great day!

  1. When you get up, start your day with a big smile and thank the Universe for the gift of another day, another chance and new opportunities. Then start your day with a little mediation or mindful breathing- slowly inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.  Imagine your breath nourishing and renewing your body. Let go of stuck energy and anything that isn’t serving you and then imagine all the toxins leaving your body.

  2. Opt away from coffee and instead squeeze some lemon in a mug of hot water.  This further helps you to eliminate toxins in your body and gives your skin a healthy glow.

  3. Now either roll out your yoga mat (visit Empower Yoga), go for a run (or walk) outdoors, or go for a swim. This is your moment to connect with your breath and your mind. Exercise is a great way to clear the mind and gives you energy.

  4. After your morning exercise enjoy a delicious smoothie. I love going to my favorite juice place (Tico’s Juice Bar) for one or I’ll make one at home. I like to add greens (kale or spinach), banana, pb, chia seeds, hemp seed, and coconut water to my smoothies and then blend it all up!! Yum!

  5. Take a bath, maybe add some bubbles, light some candles, and/or relax with a good book. Enjoy the simple pleasure of just being in the moment.

  6. Dress in comfy clothes and plan a leisurely walk in the park. When there, maybe stop to journal on a bench (start a new gratitude journal)  or just stop to look around and appreciate all the beauty that surrounds you.  

  7. Lunchtime make yourself a nourishing salad that will feed your mind, body and soul. My personal favorite is spinach or baby kale; avocado, baby tomatoes, cucumbers, and some grilled chicken with a little oil and balsamic vinegar.

  8. Spend the afternoon in self love. Burn your favorite essential oils, play some of your favorite tunes, and set your creative inspiration free. Maybe create a vision board, setting some goals for yourself, create a bucket list, or just start to declutter an area of your home you’ve been putting off. Get rid of what you don’t need and make room for good things to come.

  9. In the evening, enjoy a delicious meal- maybe some hearty soup. After, unwind with a cup tea (my favorite is raspberry) and climb into bed.

  10. Before you fall asleep, revisit your new gratitude journal and write down three things that you are grateful for. Close your eyes, take a mindful breath, and get lost in your dreams.

 

Thank You To My Family & Friends

I wanted to dedicate this week’s blog to you; my friends and family. If you're a new reader to my blog, you may not be aware that last weekend, my husband and I opened our very first business, a yoga studio- Empower Yoga.  I have been talking about starting this business for over two years and now my dreams have finally come to fruition.  I have so much to be grateful for in my life, particularly for all of the wonderful people in it; who have been a part of my journey, helping me get to this point. This letter/blog is for you!

 

Dear Friends & Family,

The outpouring of love and support I received not only during the Grand Opening Celebration last weekend, but throughout this journey of life, means the world to me.  Without you all, I may not be where I am today.  I wanted to write you this letter to thank you and let you know how much you all mean to me!

To My Husband-

Thank you for always encouraging me to pursue my dreams. Thank you for always helping me reach my goals and support me every time I make new ones, no matter how crazy they seem. Thank you for always having my back, for reeling me in when I’ve gone too far, for knowing when to push me, but also knowing when to back off, for loving me, for lifting me up when I am down, for tolerating my crazy diets, antics, for always making me smile, for being my shoulder to cry on, and for being my number one supporter and biggest fan. I love our life together and look forward to all of the exciting adventures to come. I love you to the moon and back!

To My Family-

While we may not get to choose our family, we get to choose how much we love them. After everything we’ve been through over the years, I can’t help but choose to love you all more and more every day. We are a unit and we are a strong (slightly dysfunctional at times lol, as most families are) and I wouldn’t wish to have it any other way.

The great thing about family is that you’ve seen me at my lowest, in my most awkward years (four eyed brace face, spiky hair, janko jeans, etc…), but you still love me unconditionally and choose to be my supporters and cheerleaders. I have only had the strength to grow and become more because I knew you were behind me every step of the way. You're the ones that raised me, provided for me, laughed with me, wiped my tears, grew with me, and ultimately showed me how to love unconditionally. You’ve taught me to never back down and to take the world by storm.  The love of a family extends outside of the walls of our home; you have shown me that this love is everywhere, all the time, and it never fades. I love you all so much, thanks for loving me too!
 

To My Friends-

Thank you for not squashing my dreams, but rather encouraging them. Thank you for not judging or criticizing me, or telling me I am wasting my time and money when I told you that Dan and I wanted to open a yoga studio. Thank you for empowering me, helping me know that I was on track, right where I needed to be. For helping me to feel able, in balance and hopeful. Without it, I may not be here today. Thank you for listening to me, even when I talked excessively, for helping me off the ledge when I was feeling anxious, for helping me run off some of my energy and brainstorm  ideas, for pushing me to find my strongest self inside and outside the gym, and for showing me that family does not have to be blood, but that friends are family too.  

I couldn't have asked for better people in my life. Thank you for being their for me, for caring about me, loving me, believing in me, and empowering me to be and do my best.

Sincerely,

Keri

 

Cultivating Gratitude

What are you grateful for? Have you thought about it? Do you show gratitude in your daily life?

At times, I often feel that we take so much for granted and forget about all the good that is present in our lives. Instead, we think about all the things our lives are lacking. However, when we stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing and we have so much to be grateful for.

In an effort to remind myself and others of all the things we should be grateful for, I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s blog to the idea of gratitude! Enjoy :)

What does gratitude mean?

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It’s a conscious awareness of how much we’ve been given. Gratitude shifts our focus from what our life lacks to the abundance that is already present.

What research shows:

Behavioral and psychological research has shown that giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress. Isn't that enough reason to practice gratitude?

What can we do to practice gratitude?

I found a gratitude exercise online by Marelisa Fabrega that I wanted to share.  Start by imagining that you lost some of the things that you take for granted. For example,  your home, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort. How would you feel? Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one of them.  Next, start finding joy in the small things and allow yourself to feel gratitude and joy instead of holding out for big achievements, such as a new job, a promotion, having lots of money in the bank, getting married, having the baby, etc…

How can we appreciate and learn from the difficult times in our lives?

Gratitude can help you put things into perspective, especially during difficult times. When things don’t go your way, remember that every difficulty carries within it the opportunity for an equal or greater benefit. When facing challenges, think : “What’s good about this?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?” See how your perspective can change.

Ways to practice gratitude:

  • Create a gratitude journal
  • Write daily lists of all the things you are grateful for
  • Thank a positive influence in your life
  • Write a letter or note to a family member or friend

A few of the things I am grateful for:

  • My husband, my best friend and my rock, who loves and supports me & always has my back.
  • My family for their unconditional love and support.
  • My friends for their trust, honesty, and keeping me in line when I get a little crazy ;) You all inspire me and make me want to always be and do my best!
  • My 3 dogs who are always happy to see me. They're the best cuddlers around.
  • My health and my ability to run marathons, which I thought I could never do.
  • For my work and the ability to open a yoga studio and share the joys and benefits of yoga with others.
  • Good music that makes me smile, dance, sing-a-long, and lifts me up when I am feeling down.
  • Books, TV shows, & movies that help me unwind and escape for a bit.
  • Holiday lights and the way they sparkle and glow.
  • Family dinners when we share stories of our past and also create new and lasting memories for the future.
  • And of course, my readers, who actually read my blog posts lol ;)

Once you begin looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Remember, gratitude shouldn’t just be a result of getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good, even in difficult times. Start today and begin  bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful.

 

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