πŸ’– New Holiday Tradition?πŸ’–

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Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of visiting the Wilton Town Hall Theatre for their annual showing of "It's A Wonderful Life". I had never experienced this Wilton tradition myself and thanks to a good friend going along with me (my husband was working) I decided to make the trip. When I pulled into town, the street was lined with luminaries being lit and there wasn't a single parking space on Main Street! After parking at the police station I carried my box of canned goods, the price of admission, to the theater, met my friend and we both exclaimed we had no idea how much of a *thing* this was! When we entered the theater the line for the concession was down the stairs and more chairs were being brought in to the theater to accommodate everyone. After grabbing my popcorn and lemonade and finding my way to my seat the experience began.

I've watched this movie many times, but never on a BIG screen and never with such a crowd filled with enthusiasm. People were laughing at every joke and just generally having a great time. And the thing I thought was most amazing, people brought bells to ring when Clarence got his wings! Had I only known I would have brought the bell from the studio!

So why am I telling you all of this? Two reasons really - the first is that it reminded me of how much mindfulness can change your experience. I think every other time I've ever "watched" this movie I was also doing something else. Wrapping presents, on the phone, talking to someone in the room... whatever. This was the first time I ever really put all those iconic pieces that we see about this movie all the time together. And what a story! A man who has done nothing but serve others finds himself in a bind and his kindness is remembered and then some.

I was really struck by the part in the opening dialogue when Clarence is asking about his assignment.

Clarence: Is he sick?

Joseph: No worse, he's discouraged.

Discouraged is worse than sick? Wow!

Which leads me to my second point - while this time of year is a joyful time for many, it can be much less than that for many as well. I say this from personal experience. Many of you know my grandfather passed away on Christmas Day 2011. He had lived to a ripe old age, and while that was some comfort, it was still a loss for me and my family. This year is the first year in a long time (my holiday spirit was less than high before that for a variety of reasons) that I've felt even the slightest inkling of holiday spirit. In many ways, I didn't think that would be possible for me again given my associations with Christmas. But somehow that spark is letting itself be known again.

So how did it happen? I'm not really sure. But I think something that is helping cultivate that spark is finding the joy in the small things. If you're struggling this holiday season, can you find one small thing that means joy to you? Whether that's as simple as a hot cup of coffee or the purr of your cat or the smile of a stranger on the street? If you find you're full of Christmas cheer but you know that someone else you care for doesn't have that in them right now, can you just give them a hug and tell them you understand? Can you take a moment to listen to them instead of dismissing them? Your open ear may be all they need to find some small piece of joy.

When I got home last night I told my husband that next year he simply MUST take the afternoon off work to go with me. And he agreed while wondering what alien had kidnapped his wife. ;-) We're starting a new holiday tradition that I hope we might share with others. What about you?

2015 Gratitude Challenge!

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2015 Gratitude Challenge!

It's that time of year again! Time for our annual Gratitude Challenge.

We do this every year at this time for so many reasons. Here are just a few:

  1. Cultivating Gratitude this time a year is a great way to help us navigate the busy holiday season. A time when there can be great joy as we are surrounded by family and friends while we celebrate, and yet can have great challenges as we navigate those relationships and often times miss those that can't be with us.
  2. Cultivating Gratitude is being proven by science as another way to increase your health and well being. Grateful people are shown to have more energy, be generally happier over longer periods of time and take care of themselves better. You can read more of these benefits here.
  3. The end of another year is a great time to check in with ourselves and see where we are in our lives and on our path. The Cultivation of Gratitude is a great way to take a little time out of your day to see what your day was like, what your mindset is like and how it might be changing.

Why 40 days?

Many of you have had the opportunity to join some of these 40 day practices before, but if you haven't, 40 days is a key number for a practice as outlined in many of the great spiritual traditions. You may remember the story of Jesus wandering the desert for 40 days. In the yoga traditions, 40 days is the recommended amount of time for a spiritual discipline. This video also outlines how the energy of our practice is deeply imprinted on the physical body over this period of time.

How this Challenge will Work

Find a lovely journal.

Starting November 22, write down the date and 10 things you were grateful for that day, before you go to bed. I find this timing works best for me, but if you prefer to do it when you wake or mid day, that's fine.

Continue this EVERY DAY through December 31st.

In January, bring in your journal for one of our teachers to just briefly check through to make sure that you did it every day. We won't read each item as we know these things might be quite personal. We just want to see that you did the practice. Deadline to submit your journal is JANUARY 10, 2016.

By showing us your journal you will be entered to win one of these fabulous prizes!

Third Prize - A one hour Private Yoga Session with Jessica, a $50 in value!

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Jessica

Second Prize - A Manduka Yoga mat of your choice from our current stock, up to $80 in value!

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mat strap 2

Grand Prize - A FREE Monthly Membership for the month of February 2016! $100 value!!

So get your journals ready for what is sure to be a transformative experience! Let us know if you have any questions!

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Disclaimer: Not all yoga poses are suitable for all persons. Please consult with your health care provider and obtain full medical clearance before practicing yoga or any other exercise program. The information provided in this blog is strictly for reference only and is not in any manner a substitute for medical advice or direct guidance of a qualified yoga instructor.

Mantras for Safety in Travel

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I was involved in a (luckily minor) hit and run accident on 11.6.15. I was on a busy highway at dusk in an area where the road signs can be confusing. I was traveling in the right most lane and a car in the middle lane sideswiped me. It was one of those things where you can see what's coming but have no time to react. After the hit as I slowed down I suddenly realized that they weren't going to stop! I still don't know what came over me, but with my car still obviously drivable, I followed after them long enough to get their license plate number.  Shocked and shaken, I pulled over to write it down before I forgot it and called 911. The damage to my car is minimal (at least it looks minimal to me but we'll see what the repair estimate says) and no one was hurt, which is the most important thing. However, as you might imagine, I'll be dealing with the psychological effects of this event for some time into the future. Luckily, I have the tools of yoga to help me with this!

After the dust settled, I was reminded that I had been given a sequence of mantras to chant before embarking on travel for protection and to avoid accidents. Needless to say, when this entered my mind I ran to look them up so I could start implementing them more regularly. And of course, it made me think of YOU dear ones.

I'm sharing these with you here in audio form. There are two versions, one slow so you can learn, one faster so you can get it done as you're in a rush to leave the house! You might practice with the slower version to get the hang of it to eventually chant on your own. You might just download the faster one to a mobile device so you can play it before you begin your journey.

I hope these bring you peace and safety as you make your way on your travels.

NamastΓ©!

Halloween fun!

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Thanks so much to these lovely... Um... Ghouls for playing along and dressing up for class today! Can you guess who they are?!? πŸ˜‰# Halloween #yoga #foreveryoganh via

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Malachite and rose quartz mala

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Here's another finished #mala!This one is #malachite hearts with #rosequartz rounds. This combination is great for releasing negative experiences and opening the #heartchakra. Stop by during our spa and #yoga event tonight and you can get it for 10% off! #foreveryoganh via

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Fabulous weekend!

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We had a great time with our Personal Protection #Mantras workshop and #Hanuman #Puja on Saturday! Thank you Bill for sharing the teachings with us and allowing me to assist with the Puja for the first time. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for all of these experiences. Jai Hanuman! via

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Shavasana! Now with more kitty!

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#Shavasana. Now with more kitty! 😺 #yoga #yogawithanimals #yogawithfriends #kirtanthecat via

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Custom Malas Available for the Holidays!

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A recently finished #mala available in the studio now. This one incorporates 3 color variations of #tigereye, a stone known for bringing feelings of sharpness, #grounding & #clarity. My handmade #malas are available at the studio and at times online through the etsy shop. I'll be doing some bead shopping soon so if you're looking for something special for yourself or as a gift for the upcoming holidays let me know! I'm happy to ship within the US too! Just leave a comment and I'll be in touch.

#handmade #meditation #mantra #mantras via

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Kirtan with Girish!

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Sound check with #Girish last night. Always a privilege to play #kirtan with him and the other awesome musicians in the band! #kripalu #harmonium #howdidigetsolucky via

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Thank you!!

It's with deep gratitude that I announce that Forever Yoga has been voted Best Yoga Studio of the Souhegan Valley AGAIN for 2015! Thank you so much to all of you that voted for us and allow me and all the teachers at Forever Yoga to share in your practice. We couldn't do it without each and everyone of YOU! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! As we strive to do even MORE to serve you, check out our expanded September class schedule including the addition of Kundalini Yoga, Friday evening and Sunday morning classes!

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Disclaimer: Not all yoga poses are suitable for all persons. Please consult with your health care provider and obtain full medical clearance before practicing yoga or any other exercise program. The information provided in this blog is strictly for reference only and is not in any manner a substitute for medical advice or direct guidance of a qualified yoga instructor.