Ahimsa for the Holidays

4da8995ccfcbcd860944b2b77dfa9078It all started with a beautiful Michael Khors bag in TJMaxx I just ‘had’ to have. (Yes, I know. I am working on my five Yamas, too.) As a admire the bag a woman, probably mid-thirties, snatches it out of my hands. No joke here. This woman literally takes the bag right out of my hands and proceeds to tell me, very defensively, that she was looking at this bag earlier and she just decided she was going to buy it. She stood there, waiting for me to fight back I think, but I honestly couldn’t find words. Really, I thought?

Granted I was a little upset. I wanted this bag. But after a ten second brain process I realized the humor in this situation. Here I was coveting this bag that I didn’t need, nor could afford, and feeling slightly guilty about my desire, when all of a sudden a stranger ‘steals’ it right out of my hands. It was like God came to earth in human form to say “No bag for you!!” I took it as a sign, and let them woman have the bag. (As if I was going to fight her for it?! I am sure some people would have. Good deal, people!)

Anyway, the point I want to make is that very often the holiday shopping season is littered with acts of violence, aggression, and covetousness. Does this sound appropriate for a season supposed to be about thankfulness, giving and life? Maybe it is sadly expected, but it doesn’t mean you have to spread it around like a disease yourself. It starts and ends with you.

“Non-violence is unconditional love, it is true compassion. We achieve that non-violence by learning to love and be loved; but how is it possible to love and be loved if we choose to escape or ignore some aspects of  ourselves?” – Unknown

Thoughts of guilt (buying too much), shame (buying more), resentment (crap, I didn’t have money for that), and disappointment all have a seed of violence within them. Now I am not saying boycott all holiday shopping, but perhaps after reading this you can take the values of Ahimsa with you to the mall this year.  When you buy something, do it with gratitude because you can afford it. Buy it with love for someone else.

This year don’t just buy gifts for family and friends,  give the gift of peace to the world. Minimize the violence you inflict on others and yourself.

Because of my ‘awakening’ at TJMaxx, I want to spread the gift of yoga and Ahimsa a little further this season. I am continuing the Unique Yoga Events special on at home personal yoga sessions – buy four, get one free – until December 31st. So perhaps this is an opportunity to buy a gift certificate for yourself or a loved one. Unique Yoga Events, LLC aims to bring yoga to more people outside the studio space. We work with children, senior citizens, couples, singles, people with disabilities by offering personalized yoga sessions in the comfort of your own home or studio rental. Everyone can benefit from yoga – especially during the holiday season!

Eat well. Give. And do more yoga.

Namaste.

Jamie L. Taylor, Founder Unique Yoga Events, LLC

uniqueyogaevents.@yahoo.com

973-820-8904

 

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124 Yoga Lane, Nirvana, USA – A Place to Call Home

It is commonly accepted that our teenage or adolescent years are when we blossom into the person that we are meant to be. That during these times we begin to see things in a more mature, educated manner in order to develop a more realistic view of the “way things are”. But for me, this mindful, life altering change is happening now, in my late twenties.

I owe this growth and realization to yoga. I have been practicing and teaching yoga for many years, but it isn’t until recently that I’ve honored the practice of yoga enough to truly adopt the theories into my thought process, and essentially my life. Yoga is not about the stretching, or funny poses (headstand, backbends, eagles…I still can’t do), but instead is about honoring the body and finding the place inside ourselves that we can call home.

I truly believe, upon talking to people, that a lot of the restlessness we feel in life is due to the fact that we don’t feel at home in our bodies. When things go wrong, or when things are turned upside down, we feel lost. This is a place we have all visited and can relate to – where do I go, what did I do wrong, what could I have done differently? But when we feel at home in our bodies, that is security. When things go wrong we are okay because we are home and we feel that love for ourselves, life and the people that decorate it.

Yoga teaches that no matter where you are or what your obstacles, you can find union – you can find yoga in your breath, body and mind. This is your home. Yoga is home. I have heard others call it an addiction, a fad, a religion, the easy way to exercise (hah!), but it has nothing to do with how my muscles look or how thin and flexible I am. In reality it is about building confidence, love, admiration and strength. Through Unique Yoga Events I am trying to share this truth.

Jamie Taylor | Owner and Founder | Unique Yoga Events, LLC

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FREE YOGA! Why Small Businesses Should Give Back

Today I posted on Unique Yoga Events’ Facebook wall that we would be holding a free pop-up class at a local state park today. Intrinsically I know that giving back it good. It is something we are taught as children. However, I don’t feel many businesses are involved in giving back to their communities. This is a shame considering that small businesses represent about 98% of all employers and employ 50% percent of the labor force. Imagine what we could accomplish if every small business in the state gave back to their community?

The reasons for giving back are abundant, but here are mine:

Appreciation of Community and Customers

Unique Yoga Events supplies the entire state of New Jersey with quality teachers, yoga events and more. We have many, many people to thank for this. If it weren’t for the local businesses that allow us to promote Wedding Yoga and Children Yoga in the stores, there wouldn’t be nearly as much awareness about these services. Our customers are a huge reason we remain successful as they refer us to their friends. I am also thankful for the family, friends and instructors of Unique Yoga Events that promote us. These free classes are an honorary tribute and thanks to these branches that make up our success.

Promotion of Yoga

One of the fundamental reasons for establishing Unique Yoga Events was the desire to provide yoga for everyone, despite age, gender or physical capabilities/limitations. Free classes encourage individuals to get out and experience yoga without risking the financial investment of joining a studio. Many of our complimentary events will be outside as well. And you know how UYE is a huge promoter of outdoor yoga!

Inner Satisfaction

I give back because it makes me feel good. And I like teaching yoga. Running the business prevents me from teaching as often as I would like, but by giving back I open up opportunities to meet the community myself and teach.

Spread the Love!

Finally, I give back because I really feel there isn’t such a thing as too much yoga. I’ve discussed the benefits of yoga in previous blogs before. Yoga promotes over well being while strengthening our minds and bodies. Who couldn’t use more of that?

My last thought for small businesses: Figure out what you have to give, who you are thankful for and GIVE BACK! What are you waiting for?

“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

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.