Wednesday, November 30, 2011

15 Day Gratitude Challenge: Day 8 - Christmas Trees!

Past by the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree yesterday! They were setting up for the tree lighting happening tonight!!! I'm a sucker for a good Christmas tree!
So grateful for the holiday season!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

15 Day Gratitude Challenge: Day 7 - Making a Change

I'm grateful today for people who want to make a change in the world. I had the pleasure of spending most of my day in the city with the Yoga Freedom Project Planning Committee and representatives from the Somaly Mam Foundation. It was an inspiring brainstorming session for the month long initiative that will culminate in an inspirational Yoga for Freedom practice led by NYC's leading yoga teachers. The evening will be a celebration of the yoga community's commitment to the eradication of slavery in this world. To learn more about this event and how you can get involved, visit:

Monday, November 28, 2011

15 Day Gratitude Challenge: Day 6 - My Art

With the Alluem "Art of Yoga" Workshop coming up this Saturday (Dec. 3rd) and the Art Auction Gala Event (Dec. 10th), I've been diving into my art head first! (Watercolor image above done today.) It's been so great taking time to unleash my creativity - painting, drawing, collaging! So much fun!! I'm so grateful for my art!
My recent inspiration has been Nadine LaFond...she is an accomplished singer, songwriter, visual artist, teaching artist and friend. She is an amazing light in this world and will be helping us with these 2 great events at Alluem!!! I can not wait! To learn more about Nadine, visit: Nadine LaFond - Kickstart

Sunday, November 27, 2011

15 Day Gratitude Challenge: Day 5 - Time to Restore

Restorative Yoga is one of the best gifts you can give to your body. I remember the first time I took a Restorative was hard! Although it is not a physically challenging practice, it is a challenge for the mind. Restorative Yoga forces you to relax. In a world of do this, do that and go here, go there - and as fast as you can - it becomes a challenge to relax and let go. Our minds spin and our bodies wear down...we need to restore! During Restorative Yoga you are brought to a point of deep relaxation. During deep relaxation, all the organ systems of the body are benefited, and including the reduction of blood pressure and blood sugar levels, the increase of the "good cholesterol" levels, as well as improvement in digestion, fertility, elimination, the reduction of muscle tension, insomnia and generalized fatigue. The class is designed to relieve the effects of the chronic stress that our bodies hold on to. Through deep and relaxing stretching, our bodies release toxins that we unnecessarily store and hold onto because we rarely give ourselves the chance to slow down and release.
It was a rare occasion for me to be able to reap the benefits this morning during class with Leigh! Leigh teaches Restorative at Alluem every Sunday at 8:30am and Tuesday at 7:30pm. And this Sunday morning, Restorative was just what I needed! And for that I am grateful!
Learn about the benefits of Restorative Yoga for Kids: click here

Saturday, November 26, 2011

15 Day Gratitude Challenge: Day 4 - Fresh Air and Sunshine

I'm so grateful for days like today. Fresh air and sunshine were in abundance today!

Friday, November 25, 2011

15 Day Gratitude Challenge: Day 3 - Leftovers

I am blessed.
Thanksgiving leftovers have filled our fridge. In fact, our fridge is always full...and for that I am grateful. There has never been a time that we have been hungry. And there are times that we can even share our wealth of nourishment with others who do not have enough.
I'll never forget the Food Drive we held while I was in school at Marywood University. I helped deliver Thanksgiving Dinners to families in need with the collegiate volunteers. I'll never forget their faces and the joy in their eyes. They were so grateful.
I pray for the families that don't know where their next meal will come from.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

15 Day Gratitude Challenge: Day 2 - Thanksgiving

Here it is, kids...Thanksgiving - it is THE DAY to think of all the things and people you are thankful for. I started my Thanksgiving day bright and early at the studio prepping for our biggest class of the year. We had 46 shining students filling all 3 rooms of the studio - so much energy! It is really something special to experience!! Every year the money from this donation based class goes to a charity near to our hearts...this year was for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and in honor of MOvember! During November each year, MOvember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men's faces in the US and around the world. With their Mo's these men raise vital funds and awareness for men' health. Gina dedicated this class to her father who is undergoing treatment for glioblastoma - an aggressive form of brain cancer. And when we were asked to set our own intentions, I set mine for my dad, too.
Over the past two years, my dad has been undergoing treatment for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Lymphoma. It has been a wild ride and hard to watch at times, but I am happy to say that last month, the doctors stopped chemo treatments after positive blood test results and reported him to be in remission. His spirits seem to be lifted, his energy is up and is hair has grown back, but no moustache. :) So this morning in recognition of the men in our life who have battled cancer, I bowed my head, held my hands at hearts center and silently sent prayers of thanksgiving to my dad.
I'm so thankful to have spent this morning with my beautiful Alluem Family - always so moving and always so fun (as seen in the video below!!). And I'm thankful to have spent the afternoon with my family at home around the Thanksgiving table. We are so blessed to be together.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

For more pictures of our Thanksgiving Class, visit our Facebook page: Alluem Yoga

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

15 Day Gratitude Challenge: Day 1 - Staying Young at Heart

“Everyone is the age of their heart.” ~ Guatemalan Proverb
Day one of the Gratitude Challenge and I couldn't be more grateful to be someone who is young at heart. I love when the kids ask how old I am...I always make them guess. Not too long ago, a 4 year old asked me if I was 15. I was tempted to say yes...because to be honest, sometimes that's how old I feel! And yes, sometimes that's how old I act! Yup, I said it!
I believe how you act when you're around kids has a lot to say about how old you are at heart. The hearts of children are playful, honest, and pure. They are full of imagination and joy. Some say our hearts harden as we get older IF we forget how to have fun, how to let go, how to dream, how to laugh, how to be free. To keep our hearts young, it's good to take a look at our own inner child - laugh, play, be silly!
Tonight I spent the evening with some of my oldest friends. Where did we go on this night before Thanksgiving?? To the movies of see The Muppets!!! Laughter filled the theatre with applauding at the end - the movie was GREAT! Jason Segel = hilarious!!! Want to stay young at heart - go see The Muppets!!
My favorite part...right here:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The 15 Day Gratitude Challenge!!!

What are you grateful for? What are the things in your life you most appreciate? The people in your life that you most love? The feelings in your life that make your heart want to burst?
When you sit a group of kids down and ask them what they are grateful for you may often hear the usual toys, dolls, or the latest piece of electronic entertainment. While hearing that they appreciate these things is nice, it's even bigger when children can look deeper and find gratitude in more then just the material.
After a class of moving down our bodies being grateful for every part of us - our eyes that can see the beauty in the world, our arms that can reach out and hug the ones we love, our hands that can lift up a friend when they fall, our core that houses our important organs that we need to take care of to keep us healthy, our legs that help hold us up, and our feet that take us where we want to go. When we appreciate our bodies for all it does for us, we want to take care of it so that we can continue to do the things we love and go the places we want to go. The Alluem Kids know that when they come to yoga class they are doing just that. Taking care of themselves so they can be the best kid they can be!
After class, the kids were introduced to the 15 Day Gratitude Challenge! Over the Alluem Kids Thanksgiving Break, the kids are challenged to take their yoga off the mat and think of one thing every day for the 15 days of Thanksgiving Break that they are grateful for.
Day One was completed in class and I'm proud to say they have shown me that they get it.
Some examples:
- "Yoga. It helps me to find peace in my heart." (Why I Practice)
- "My house. Some people, like the people in Haiti live in tents." (Hope for Haiti Day)
- "My home. Because it's still standing after the flood." (Natural Disasters)
- "My Mom." (Bonding through the Tween Years)
- "My Best Friend." (Fall with Friends)
- "My bed." (Time for Bed)
- "My shoes. Some people don't have shoes." (One Day Without Shoes)
- "Peace in my life." (Create Peace Project)

I told the kids I would also be taking the 15 Day Gratitude Challenge and posting each day on the blog! So for the next 15 days...15 things I'm most grateful for!!
Please note, during the Alluem Kids Thanksgiving Break, the following classes are canceled for Kids, Teens and Babies:
- Wed, 11/23 - Alluem Little Kids - 3:45-4:45pm
- Wed, 11/23 - Alluem Teens - 6:00-7:00pm
- Thurs, 11/24 - Alluem Kids - 3:45-4:45pm
- Thurs, 11/24 - Storytime Yoga - 1:30-2:00pm
- Fri, 11/25 - Baby & Me - 11:30am-12:45pm
- Sun, 11/27 - Alluem Little Kids - 10:00-11:00am
- Sun, 11/27 - Alluem Tweens - 11:15am-12:15pm
- Sun, 11/27 - Alluem Kids - 12:30-1:30pm
- Mon, 11/28 - Alluem Tweens - 3:45-4:45pm
- Tues, 11/29 - Alluem Kids - 3:45-4:45pm

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gregory's Paper Airplane

I just ordered my copy of Gregory's Paper Airplane and I can not wait to share it with the Alluem Kids! This book was written by 8yr old Ben Sherman after attending church one week and listening to his pastor speak about human trafficking in Cambodia. That night he went home and wrote a book for the children. It is simply beautiful. For Ben, it's not about how many books are selling or even his accomplishments at such a young's about how many girls he is saving through the sales of his books. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will go towards Agape International Missions, a not-for-profit organization who's mission is to prevent child trafficking in Cambodia and to restore hope to its victims through holistic aftercare; and to International Justice Mission, a not-for-profit human rights agency that secures rescue and justice for victims of slavery and other forms of violent oppression, and helps them heal within their own communities in Cambodia and other countries in the developing world.

Gregory's Paper Airplane from 121 Community Church on Vimeo.

Soon the Alluem Kids will be happy to learn that in January they will be part of a movement to bring smiles to the faces of girls in Cambodia through the Somaly Mam Foundation's Post Card campaign...much like Gregory does when he flies his airplane all the way to Cambodia with a message for the girls inside. I recently learned of the Somaly Mam Foundation through Off the Mat NYC (a division of Off the Mat Into the World). I attended a beautiful yoga class and kirtan in the city to help raise funds for the work Somaly Mam tirelessly does everyday to save women and children who are being trafficked against their will. It is truly a global crisis. After the class, I picked up Somaly's book The Road of Lost Innocence (The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine) and was blown away. She is a hero. It inspired me to create my latest art video to help raise awareness (seen here on my art blog), and to also get involved with the Yoga Freedom Project that will be happening this January in yoga studios around the world including Alluem Yoga (details to come)!! If you can, please help Off the Mat NYC raise funds for Somaly Mam through the Yoga Freedom Project by clicking the link below:

Thank you!!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Given a chance to change the world, I would...

" to all countries in need and stay for 2 years each. I would teach children to learn and bring food to all in need of food. And provide shoes for everyone without shoes." - age 10

" broke people and families on the verge of breaking. Also, I would make food for people who need help. Plus, I would get homes and better places to live for poor families." - age 11

" parks and playgrounds for underprivileged children and sanctuaries for endangered animals." - age 11

"...put the movie Pay it Forward into action!!" - age 12

"...donate money to Japan and Haiti. I would also be as nice as I can." - age 10

"...become a vet to help endangered animals." - age 10

"...get rid of money and make it a you need/I need environment." - age 12

"...try to solve all problems, like world hunger." - age 10

I'm so proud of these Alluem Kids!!!