beautique … c’est magnifique !!

Usually I am a total planner and like everything to be scheduled but at times I also love being spontaneous and to just live in the moment. I have to admit that those spur of the moment outings tend to result in some amazing times. My last minute dinner at Beautique restaurant last week did not let me down at all.

I am a creature of habit — my ‘going out’ routine consists of the all important choosing an outfit and doing recon on where I’m going – check out the website, look at the pics and do a scan of the menu – doing so makes my night out complete. So I did a quick visit to the restaurant’s website prior to heading there, and I must say the pictures are very nice but seeing the space in person is so much better. The interior designer in me loves going to new spaces for inspiration. Beautique is one of the most luxurious spaces I have seen in awhile, each design element ties into and complements the other allowing for a lovely dining experience. And if being in such a beautiful space isn’t enough, the food is so delicious. Each plate was like a piece of artwork – elegantly setup and prepared, and let me say it again it was so delicious. The service was superb as well, they were very attentive and helpful in choosing a dessert (they all looked great!!)

beautique

Just in case you want to know, here’s what we had at the table — for drinks the Maison Martini and Beautique Bellini, for appetizers the Matchstick Salad and Rocky Nook Oysters, for dinner the Branzino and Halibut (which was the special for the night), and for dessert the Mango Panna Cotta.

After dinner we sat at the bar for a final after dinner cocktail, and midway thru Roberto the manager was kind enough to come over and see how our night was going. He then offered us a tour of the restaurant, which gave me the opportunity to get a better look at the intricate design. However my favorite part of the night was the last stop of the tour where we ended up in the back lounge and enjoyed a couple more cocktails before we had to head home … yoga was calling bright and early the next morning!


This info will come in handy for making your reservations …

Beautique 8 West 58th Street New York, NY 10019  | 212.753.1200 (www.beautiquedining.com)                                                                                     Facebook – facebook.com/BeautiqueDining  |    Twittertwitter.com/beautiquedining

 

Guest Blog: The Power of the Myths of Yoga by Alanna Kaivalya

The Power of the Myths of Yoga

by Alanna Kaivalya

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The myths of yoga are captivating and timeless. Practitioners who have been drawn to the stories of the monkey god, Hanuman, or the destroyer, Shiva, know that yoga’s mythology is rich, complex and evocative of the human condition.

These myths have always captivated me in my years of study in yoga. Initially, I started studying the myths in college. I’d never heard such a magical plethora of stories and I was immediately hooked. There was something about the flawed characteristics of the characters I was learning about — Shiva’s temper, Hanuman’s forgetfulness and Kali’s passion for destruction — that intrigued me and made me feel better about my humanness. This seems to be the clincher that draws yoga practitioners to the myths — that through the illumination of the flawed aspects of divinity, we see the power of our own humanness through this lens. If gods can be flawed, can’t we then express divinity through our own humanity?

And, like yoga, these myths are very flexible, changing in response to the audience that needs them. They can be presented in a modern context to speak to real life and our present day condition. The stories of yoga are not exactly canonized, and so we find different stories of all the gods that vary not just from region to region, but sometimes from town to town. No one is “right” and yet every telling of the story reveals the brilliance behind these fantastic myths.

Different versions are often told based on the teller’s own experience and understanding of the myth. As they share their version of the story, we learn a different perspective, and we also learn something about what is important to the narrator. Their telling of the story will reveal the relationship they have to it, and in turn, it will influence the kind of relationship we build with the character in that story, too.

Through the mythology, yoga practitioners find they begin to cultivate a different relationship with the practice that goes far beyond the physical realm. Though many yoga practitioners begin yoga for the physical benefits, yoga is quick to reveal that there is something deeper going on here.

A little inquiry reveals the rich tradition of what yoga has to offer. But where to begin? The sutras may seem too scholarly. Pranayama may feel too austere. But, stories? Stories are embedded within the human psyche and help to illuminate every aspect of our lives. Stories allow us to connect to the tradition, to our teachers, our fellow yogis, and allow us to connect to deeper parts of ourselves. And they’re fun. It’s kind of a win/win. The mythology of yoga gives us access to the deeper realms of our psyche and brings our beloved yoga practice to life.

For example, when we first see an image of Kali — skin the color of night, tongue dripping blood, sharp teeth and necklace of skulls — the image can be overwhelming. Though, when we understand that she represents not just death and destruction, but the slaying of the ego and the power of the feminine to act with passion and urgency, we suddenly have a context for what that might mean to our lives.

Maybe it makes us think of our mother who went to hell and back to protect us. Maybe we think of an image we’ve seen on the National Geographic Channel of a mother lioness fighting for the safety of her cubs. Or, maybe we think of the Greek tale of how Orpheus had to go to the underworld to save Eurydice. Ultimately, Orpheus could not save the girl, but in making that journey, he was able to make the most beautiful music the world had ever known and so her death revealed a new power in him. Stories of all kinds give us deeper access to the things we cannot describe accurately, but that we can feel and understand on an innate level as human beings.

Because every myth illustrates some kind of human truth, every myth calls out to what is enlivened inside our own psyche. Every myth helps us to realize and bring about our true potential. This is the power of mythology. We find some kernel or ultimate truth in every story — a lighthouse that guides us home. The myths that speak to us are the ones we should listen to and follow… no matter what version we know. If it calls to our soul, we should follow it.

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Alanna Kaivalya is the author of Sacred Sound. She is the yoga world’s expert on Hindu mythology and mysticism. Her podcasts have been heard by more than one million people worldwide, and her Kaivalya Yoga Method melds mythology, philosophy, and yoga.Visit her online at http://www.alannak.com.

 

 

Based on the book Sacred Sound © 2014 by Alanna Kaivalya. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. www.newworldlibrary.com

‘pick your yoga practice’ book review

One of the things I love the most about yoga is that there is always more to learn, whether it is in my asana practice or in the more philosophical sense with the sutras and history of yoga. I have to admit that I do pay a lot more attention to my asana practice, than my general knowledge of the sutras and such. I always tell myself that I will re-read them as well as other yoga must reads when I have time, but time is so precious and reading has never been my favorite pastime. Alas, I came across Meagan McCrary’s book – ‘Pick Your Yoga Practice’, and I was hooked in. It is everything you need to know about yoga all in one book. The first few chapters explain yoga, its history and philosophical foundations, then it delves into the myriad of styles of yoga. My personal practice as well as teachings is in the style of Ashtanga and Vinyasa. I have taken and tried other styles of yoga but never could quite grasp what it was all about. It was great to know the background and meanings of the other styles more in depth than a brief class description at the studios. I highly recommend this book for yogis to get a better understanding of yoga, and for non-yogis to find a newfound interest. Maybe I am a little biased with my obvious love for yoga but I truly believe that there is a yogi in all of us, and this book might just unveil it.

check out more about the author at http://www.meaganmccrary.com

Guest Blog: Doing Yoga With Your Kids (Balini Sports)

Yes, because yoga can be for kids too. Children are natural yogis and yoginis. Though many people will think that kids doesn’t need the breathing exercises, we fail to remember that kids do also have their own kind of stress that steams from school, sports, lessons, etc.

balini kids

image credit by: yogawellbeing.com

Yoga isn’t just for grownups! These may be the reasons you can rank on to jumpstart that yoga classes for your kids. Yoga poses are natural with kids; they do and exhibit it when they play around. When doing yoga, there are things you can incorporate to make it more meaningful and enjoyable for them.

Tips for a Fun Yoga
1. Incorporate play with yoga. While kids do poses, you can ask them to for various animals pose. You can also ask them to accompany it with sounds, animal sounds at that.
2. Practice 1, 2, 3’s in their poses. Let them do the counting while posing. It keeps them practicing plus they are holding their own time during the session.
3. Narrate A, B, C’s as well. The alphabet can be a good idea to incorporate in classes. Narrate them while holding poses.
4. Talk about benefits as well as the principle of non-harming if doing it with other kids.
5. Break down classes into shorts span. Because kids are naturally having short attention span, make sure that you are offering different things after some time.
6. Focus on balancing techniques. Do it gradually and according to the kids pace.
7. Play games like name a yoga pose. This is for advance practice already when kids are already familiar with poses and has long yoga practice at hand already.
8. Tyr some fun music in the background as well.
9. Emphasize on the importance of breathing.
10. It is best to do it at home together with you as a parent and with the instructor.

Things to Remember for Parents and Instructors
• Do not impose on kids. They are just children after all.
• Just have it as a fun experience, do not expect too much.
• Provide them with comfortable hot yoga clothes
• Enjoy it yourself.
• Explain to kids the rules and things to remember prior the session.
• Have them wear comfortable clothes.
• Keep them responsible for their action.
• Be there to guide and never let them feel inadequate.
• Be careful, be quick and be always there to avoid injuries.

Now, pretty good right? If you have kids, channeling the benefits of yoga from you to them is the most fulfilling thing to do. Knowing that they will have the advantage of the practice is rewarding even more than achieving your own personal goal.

So check out kids’ yoga now, start the practice, begin to teach them to live the yoga lifestyle, love this life even more and prepare them for life!

Namaste,
BaliniSports Team
http://www.BaliniSports.com

‘misadventures of a garden state yogi’ book review

Reading books has never been on the top of my to-do list. Let’s just say Cliffs Notes were a good friend to me in school. So basically, it is rare for a book to attract my attention, even then to hold it and to read it in its entirety. ‘Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi’ has achieved both. It is about the yoga journey of Brian Leaf; how he first found yoga and from there discovered its healing powers. Even though, my own journey with yoga is somewhat less exciting as his, it made me reminisce to when I first started yoga. I only wish that mine had involved a cross-country road trip. How exciting it must of been to explore the country and yoga! I felt like I was on this adventure with Brian. I was fully invested in where the next leg of his yogic journey brought him. This is a great read for the yogi or non-yogi. Yogis can find some way to relate and incorporate their own journey in this novel, and non-yogis..well there is a yogi in everyone, maybe this will release it in you! …and with the holidays approaching this would make the perfect gift :)

more about brian and the book — http://www.misadventures-of-a-yogi.com/

check out the trailer on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcYFYjnU9Cw

my yoga essential…

Whether I am teaching a class or practicing, there are a few musts that I just need to have alongside my mat – a towel, block and the all important water bottle. I’m a creature of habit. The towel goes at the top of the mat, the block and bottle on the top left-hand side. The good thing is towels and blocks are provided for me at the studio, however water bottles are not. Instead of getting mad at myself on those days that I forget my bottle at home, I choose to reward myself and buy a new one. So yes, my collection of water bottles is extensive, which allows me the opportunity to try all these different kinds of bottles out. They all have their positive and negatives. The one bottle at the top of my list is the Bamboo Bottle Company (www.bamboobottleco.com). The overall look of the bottle stands out from the rest, with its simple bamboo outer shell design that insulates the glass bottle. The designer in me loves the assembly and design of it all. I love the simplicity of it. It is very easy to care for, unlike some other bottles where you have straws or mouthpieces to deal with. It is a little on the heavy side when it is filled but I look at it as another way to build muscles. Water is an essential part of life, and reusable water bottles are very beneficial for the environment – so if you are in need of or on the hunt for a new bottle, here is one to take into consideration.


I recently took my yoga to Flushing Meadows Park for a video shoot and was sure to have my Bamboo Bottle handy! Check out my video on YouTube — http://youtu.be/q19-BZPBwyo.

yoga got me thru and out of unemployment

It was a little over  year ago when I fell victim to unemployment. I was determined not to get depressed that I had no job or get lazy by having all this extra time in the day, so I turned to yoga. It was kind of nice being able to go to all those morning classes that I wasn’t able to attend due to work. On the other hand I had a feeling of guilt, as if I were cheating on my regularly scheduled yoga classes. So…I found myself going to class 2-3 times a day. Yoga was slowly becoming my life.

I continued to look for a job. However, all these thoughts kept running thru my head. Do I really want to be an interior designer? After all it is what I majored in at college, so isn’t it what I should be doing. BUT, do I really want to go back to the corporate world? That was a definite NO, my last job left me with such bitterness, it was the first time ever where work was work. I felt like I was punching in the hours. They took my passion for design away from me, but thru it all I found my true passion – yoga. It was then that I told myself, ‘yoga will become my life’.

I finally took the advice of my best friend, and went thru with yoga teacher training. It was the best thing I have ever done in my life. Yoga gives me an overwhelming sense of joy, and to be able to share it with others is bliss. I just love the endless possibilities of yoga, there is always more to learn, which in turn – more for me to teach. YOGA is now my LIFE! :)