Solstice in Times Square 2016


Every year thousands of people from all over the world travel to NYC to participate in the annual Solstice in Times Square Mind Over Madness Yoga event. As an avid yogi, I have been wanting to attend this event for some time but it often falls on Father’s Day so I am always out of town with my dad.

As I was heading back to the city the day after Father’s Day, I saw photos online about the Solstice event only to discover that it was taking place on the day of my return. I just happened to pack a set of workout clothes in my bag so made my way straight to Times Square upon my arrival.

In yoga, we work to find peace amidst chaos which for many people can be quite a challenge to do in a place that is often packed with tourists, giant Elmo’s, a naked cowboy, and city traffic with honking horns. During the hour long class however, I felt a sense of peace, calm, and it seemed as if I were in a quiet space. I believe the feeling was simply the result of me focusing on my breath, closing my eyes, and absorbing the energy of the large group of yogis surrounding me. I don’t remember even hearing a single horn, siren, or people yelling until after the class had ended.

So skip ahead to my favorite part…the free food!! I went from vendor to vendor getting samples of snack bars, smoothies, “skinny” popcorn, and gluten free crackers that taste like tree bark and rabbit food (not that I know what either tastes like). There was also a section where participants could have their photos taken doing their favorite yoga poses. I enjoyed watching people trying to figure out which poses to do and friends laughing with each other as they took photos practicing together. 

Just then a photographer looked at me and said, “I love your hair. Would you mind if I took a few pictures of you?” “Ok,” I responded. Good thing I was prepared with a cute outfit and a mani pedi! Before I leave the house I always think if I were in an accident of some sort and the paramedics had to remove my clothing, my legs should always be shaved, bikini waxed, I should be wearing sexy undies, and have a fierce mani pedi. I mean, what if I’m sent to a hospital to see a hot doctor?? I can’t be seen wearing sweat pants and sneakers…absolument pas!!

So anyway, I start flowing through a sequence of poses for the photographer while tourists on the sidelines stop to take photos as well. Suddenly, this random guy starts yelling at me about how he loves my hair etc. I politely thank him and continue with my impromptu photo shoot but he continues yelling obnoxiously until security guards eventually tell him to leave. Then I remembered… I’m in Times Square!

*Fin

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Pilates Angel x Beyond Classically Beautiful 

  
Sitting hunched over at a desk all day? Here are 5 Moves to Improve Your Posture that I shared with Beyond Classically Beautiful:

5 Moves to Improve Your Posture

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Pilates Angel x Refinery29

  
Click on the link below to see a full body Pilates Mat workout that I shared with Refinery29 Wellness that you can do at home. All you need is a mat!

http://www.refinery29.com/pilates

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Reflection: Good Friends

  
|| L I F T || Build positive relationships and surround yourself with friends that support, encourage, celebrate, inspire, and lift you higher!

In the past few weeks while nursing an overuse injury, I have been reminded of how fortunate I am to have such wonderful friends. Two of my physical therapist friends have worked on me and helped me to recover. One of my yoga teachers gave me massages, let me borrow a portable massager that I use everyday, and also gave me a book with restorative poses to practice.

As I have regained strength and my pain has decreased, another friend and personal trainer gave me a boxing lesson that was just the right level of intensity for a workout that would not injure me.

How lucky am I?? I am not in luck though honestly because I picked these people to be my friends! Just as we can make healthy diet and exercise choices to take care of our bodies, we can also decide who we surround ourselves with that will enhance our lives.

It is no surprise that studies show that good friendships have a positive impact on our health. Look around you and make sure that you are in good company. The best friends are those that boost your mood, self esteem, and encourage healthy behaviors.

Get rid of negative and toxic people in your life asap! Kick them to the curb! There is absolutely nothing mean or selfish about eliminating people and relationships that do not serve you well. Love yourself enough to make the choices that are best for you.

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Photo by Masha Creative for Nóli Yoga 2015

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Move of the Day: Développé 

  
|| DÉVELOPPÉ || This ballet inspired variation of the Pilates side kicks is a great exercise to tone the booty!

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1 — Begin lying on your side with your shoulders and hips stacked and legs slightly forward on angle, one or both hands behind the head. Have the heels together and toes apart in a Pilates “V.”

2 — Bend the top knee dragging the toes up the inside of the bottom leg and be sure that the knee is pointing up, keeping the turnout of the hips.

3 — Extend the top leg up towards the ceiling and lower it to meet the bottom leg in the starting position. Repeat 4-10x and perform this exercise on the other side.

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Tips: Keep the torso still while moving the legs by pulling the belly button in towards the spine. If having both hands behind the head feels too challenging to keep the body still, place the top hand on the mat in front of you for support.

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Tights: BodyLanguage Sportswear

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Move of the Day: Hundred

  
|| HUNDRED || Hundred is my move of the day and is a classical Pilates exercise that helps to tone your abs! Adding a set of 2lb dumbbells makes this move even more challenging for the core, and it will help to create lean, sexy arms too!

Benefits:

• Strengthens and tones the abdominals.

• Warms up the entire body and increases blood flow.

• Tones the arms and upper body.

• Coordinates breath with movement.

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1 — Start by lying supine with arms by the sides holding the dumbbells, and knees into the chest. Engage the abdominals by pulling the belly button in and curl the head and shoulders off the mat.
2 — Extend the legs out to a high diagonal with the heels together and toes apart in a Pilates “V.” Lift the arms above the level of the hips and begin pumping up and down vigorously, as you inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts.

3 — Repeat x10 and that makes 100!

4 — Hug the knees into your chest and lower the head and shoulders onto the mat. Move the head from side to side to relax the neck.

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Tips: Keep the body still as you pump the arms by engaging the abdominals throughout the exercise. For more of a challenge, lower the legs closer to the floor, but only as far as you can keep the abdominal engagement without arching the back.

Modifications: If you are a beginner, practice this exercise without dumbbells and start with the legs in a tabletop position, knees bent above the hips and feet lifted as high as the knees. If that is too challenging, you can also perform the exercise with the knees bent and the feet flat on the floor. 
If you have any neck issues, do this exercise with the head down and use a small pillow or towel for extra support if needed.

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Photo by Sherry Dubash at KZP

Tights by Splits59

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Reflection: Balance

  
|| B A L A N C E || Finding balance can be a challenge especially when you live in NYC. There is so much to take in as we walk and run through the city, that we sometimes have to block out the constant noise and chaos to find peace. 

Pilates and yoga help me to find balance amidst the chaos. In these disciplines I focus on my center, my breath, and I take time to be still. Less can indeed be more as my focus allows me to find a much needed balance.

Photo by Masha Creative for Nóli Yoga 2015 Collection http://www.noliyoga.com

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