“We Are Already Free” – A Yoga Story

By Kristen Brunello, Guest Writer and Unique Yoga Events, LLC Teacher

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of freedom. Ever since a life-changing yoga retreat I took at the Kripalu Center in Massachusetts, I haven’t been able to let go of the meaning of the word. When I used to think of “freedom” it simply meant “not captive”. And yes, I don’t believe anyone would argue with that. But one thing that the leader of the retreat (Coby Kozlowski – she’s amazing, look her up) said to the group was “we are already free, we put ourselves in jail.”

That blew my mind. You would probably look at me and say with certainty, “Yes, she is free. I see no chains. She can move as she pleases, go where she wants to, do as she feels.” Yet, inside I felt stuck.

Perhaps the idea of not truly being free despite what it appears on the outside isn’t new. I’m reading the book, “Taming Your Gremlin” right now and the author, Rick Carson, touches on the same idea: “I free myself not by trying to be free, but by simply noticing how I am imprisoning myself in the very moment I am imprisoning myself.”

There are times in my life where I feel my internal freedom is limited; I am so grown and independent but go to a high school reunion and put on the same fake mask I wore ten years ago.

Why is it that I stand in a corner at a wedding with people I have known for years because I am too embarrassed to get on the dance floor, yet on a yoga retreat I can dance my heart out and scream out loud on top of a mountain with a bunch of strangers?

Or, why is it that at times in my life where I have actually had limited external freedom (I spent 6 months in an eating disorder rehab where I was told what and when and how much to eat, how much I was allowed to walk, where to be at what time and with whom) I felt more free to express myself creatively, verbally, emotionally, and physically than I ever had before?

The answer I came up with is this:

I guess it can be argued that there are varying degrees of freedom. But true freedom, at least from my own personal experience, comes from breaking the chains constricting your heart. It comes from taking a deep inhale and giving your mind permission to loosen the grip it has on your heart with your next exhale. You experience true freedom when you believe you are perfect as you are, despite the opinions of others. I believe freedom has nothing to do with how much room to move you have around your body, but how much space you allow yourself to dance inside the boundary of your skin.

Love, love, love. Jai! You’re perfect. ❤

Kristen Brunello Photo

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Promoting Health and Having Fun: Children’s Yoga Parties

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One of the major benefits of yoga is stress-relief. The focused breathing and deep stretching have a calming effect that reduces tension and brings peace of mind, even to children. Now before you say that yoga is not a discipline for kids, consider the following:

Yoga is a low-impact, safe form of exercise. All children can benefit from this kind of activity that promotes flexibility, coordination and overall health. When practiced correctly and under close supervision, yoga is safe, fun and physically rewarding for children of all ages.

  • Yoga takes place in a non-competitive and welcoming environment. This isn’t to say that competitive sports don’t have a place in a child’s development, but at Unique Yoga Events, we feel it’s important for a child to have a relaxed physical outlet where he or she can have fun without the pressures of winning or losing.
  • Yoga emphasizes peace, tranquility and innercalm. In today’s world, these are things that not every child has the privilege to enjoy. Learning how to channel the body’s energy and calm the mind can have a tremendous impact on a child’s ability to concentrate and focus in the classroom and at home.

Consider a yoga party for your child’s next birthday or special event. In addition to traditional poses and breathing exercises, we also involve games, music and dancing in our children’s yoga classes. Think of what a fun and unique party you could host with one of our themed children’s yoga parties including beach party, pajama party and even yoga tea party!

All of our children’s yoga classes and birthday parties are taught by a professional yoga instructor. We currently serve the North Jersey, South Jersey and Central Jersey areas. For more information about yoga for children, contact us at uniqueyogaevents@yahoo.com or by phone at 973-820-8904.

GABA GABA! Yoga as a Medical Treatment?

I got hooked on yoga because it made me feel good. I could sit here and tell you that my body and soul became one and I went through some great transformational awakening…but it just isn’t true. At times I found yoga class quite annoying, actually. I was stressed. I could barely sit still.  But I kept returning because I always left class feeling happy.  The more often I practiced the better I felt off the mat. And five years later here I am running my own yoga business (happily!).

What is it about yoga that builds occasional practitioners into devotional yogis? Where does this ‘good feeling’ come from?

Let me introduce you to GABA. G-A-B-A is a chemical the nervous system uses to calm down. It stands for gamma-aminobutyric.  In 2007 researchers at Boston University School of Medicine actually did a study that found practicing yoga elevates GABA levels in the brain. So more yoga, equals more GABA, equals more calm, right? Correct!

More and more medical scientists are considering yoga’s immense health benefits and its role in the medical world. Depression and Anxiety Disorders both are associated with low levels of GABA. Medications, like Valium, are manufactured to assist in the simulation of this chemical in the body. If yoga was adopted as a serious medical treatment, could we lessen the use of prescriptions and most of all, their side effects? Better yet, could we use it as a no-drug treatment for sensitive individuals such as rehabilitating addicts or struggling teenagers that wouldn’t do well on prescriptions?

Obviously, I am not a doctor, I don’t have the answers and I know every medical case and individual varies. But if yoga has fostered a greater sense of happiness, contentment and confidence for others, what is there to lose?

I truly believe that yoga has transformational power. As a professional in the industry I have personally experienced it and witnessed it in others. I founded Unique Yoga Events in an effort to provide the public with easier access to passionate, experienced yoga instructors. Our mission is to bring yoga to more people in more places. By providing classes like Corporate Yoga, Teen Yoga, Senior Yoga, Bridal Yoga and much more, we help our customers find balance in everyday life.  I guess in a way we are spreading the GAMA 🙂

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The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

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As we get older, it can become increasingly difficult to incorporate physical activity into our daily routine. Common exercises such as jogging, biking or weight lifting might not be possible due to the physical limitations that come with age. Or perhaps you (or a loved one) is recovering from a recent heart attack or other ailment that requires rest and minimal exertion. Whatever the case may be, consider yoga for seniors who have the desire to stay active and healthy in body and mind.

At Unique Yoga Events we offer classes geared to benefit those age 65 and over. Instead of focusing on challenging poses, yoga for seniors is a relaxing way to maintain health and prevent injury while engaging in safe, physical exercise. Though some might consider yoga to be for the younger generation, there are plenty of benefits for seniors as well:

  • Increased flexibility– Yoga helps seniors maintain mobility by easing muscle joint and stiffness. Regular low-impact stretching exercises can also help to prevent osteoarthritis, a common joint condition, and ease the pain of existing bone conditions.
  • Improve circulation- Yoga has been proven to lower the heart rate and get the blood pumping. This is an important benefit for seniors with any kind of cardiovascular problems.
  • Stress Relief- No matter what your age, we can all benefit from some quiet ‘me time’ and relaxation. The spiritual and meditative side of yoga can calm the mind and help to re-energize the body.

For our senior students we offer meditation, chair yoga and gentle yoga classes. The staff at Unique Yoga Events is always happy to consult with potential students about the health benefits of yoga and whether or not it’s right for you. We emphasize safety as a top priority in all of our classes and we will customize each class to suit the needs of our students.

For more information about yoga for seniors in the North, South and Central New Jersey areas, contact us at uniqueyogaevents@yahoo.com or by phone at 973-820-8904.

Make Your Next Event a Yoga Event

Attain inner peace and tranquility while throwing a one-of-a-kind party or special event with Unique Yoga Events, located in Northern New Jersey.

We want to help make your next event unforgettable be it a wedding, birthday party or corporate event. Our instructors are all trained, certified and experienced, so you can rest-assured you’re getting a quality yoga session with a certified and trained yoga professional.

In addition to making your next event memorable, Unique Yoga Events provides a fun and safe atmosphere to bond with friends, family and coworkers. These events can take place in the comfort of your home, a professional studio, or even onsite at a wedding or place of business. We are totally flexible and available at your convenience.

Looking for a fun girls-night out? How about a unique baby shower theme? The possibilities are endless. We’re here to provide a healthy, unique alternative to your standard, run-of-the-mill event. Our classes and events will leave you with a feeling of happiness, a sense of calm and overall well-being.

Why yoga? Yoga is fun, relaxing, and great for your health! Yoga incorporates special breathing techniques to re-energize the body, meditation to calm the mind all while improving balance, flexibility and core-strength. We can also match your skill level to ensure everyone has a safe and beneficial workout. Whether your group is full of highly experienced yoga enthusiasts or you’re all brand new to the discipline, our instructors will find the poses and rhythm to match. Yoga (when practiced correctly) is safe for all ages, so everyone in your party can be included.

For more information or to schedule a unique yoga event, contact us at 973-820-8904 or uniqueyogaevents@yahoo.com. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and quote you a price for your next event.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Wedding Yoga: Being Present on Your Special Day

You may be thinking to yourself, the last thing I’m going to have time for on my wedding day is a yoga class. But imagine waking up on the morning of your wedding to discover that your maid of honor is terribly sick. The make up artist is running late. Rumor has it the flowers don’t match and the unpredictable New Jersey weather calls for thunderstorms.

Stressed yet? I am and I’m not even getting married!

Needless to say, things don’t always go as planned – even on a day that has been meticulously planned down to the last knife and fork. Sure, you can check and double check for accuracy, but if no one caught the interns mistake at the flower shop or the limo driver mixed up the dates, there isn’t much you can do to reverse it. When it rains, it pours! What is a tense bride to do?

What you CAN change is your state of mind. A relaxing wedding yoga session with one of our professional instructors can help. This is your day and you deserve to enjoy it. At Unique Yoga Events, we believe that serenity is achievable, no matter how stressful the situation. A gentle pre-wedding yoga class combined with a few simple meditation exercises can bring you and your bridesmaids’ inner peace, tranquility and an open mind before the big event. Consider this a powerful addition to your wedding day tool belt.

Marriage is the universal celebration of commitment and love. Start your big day in the right state of mind and consider an individual or group wedding yoga class and meditation session.

For more information, contact Unique Yoga Events at 973-820-8904 or by email at uniqueyogaevents@yahoo.com. We’ll be happy to speak with you regarding our bridal and wedding yoga party packages available throughout the Morristown, Princeton and Jersey shore areas. Image