Fall, Boredom, Meditation: Finding Stillness & Inspiration Amid a Pandemic

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer here in Southern New England. You can feel more of a breeze during the day, nights are getting cooler, tree leaves are starting to change colors. Yup, we’re heading into fall. You might be saying to yourself: Where the hell did 2020 go? I am.

Rhode Island, where I live, has been in some form of a pandemic-induced shutdown since March. Businesses closed doors, people working and teaching from home, education moved to a virtual platform. Many thought that being at home would be the prefect opportunity to learn new skills or to revisit old hobbies, perhaps to get back to a home exercise regimen. I thought the same. Key word: thought.

I had spent much time in late 2018 through 2019 in a bit of a state of self-inquiry (more on that another time) so when the pandemic hit Rhode Island and things shut down, I saw it an an opportunity to get back to my physical practices: walking, running, and daily yoga. It was difficult at first as I too was transitioning to teaching yoga virtually. But as I got used to these changes, I began moving more.

It didn’t’ last long, however. Soon boredom set in. As parks and nature trails re-opened they became more crowded, so not a good place to be if you’re trying to social distance. I was doing the same exact thing day after day. Planning dinner at 10 am became the highlight of my days. Pandemic Fatigue is what I have heard it called. I was – and am – tired of the precautions, the COVID-19 data updates, the pro-mask versus anti-mask, the protests and riots, the sense of isolation (despite often seeing a few neighbors as my “pod”), and Zoom. Realizing, at some point, that our day-to-day existence has permanently changed and its time to re-invent what I do and how I do it. And that brings me back to autumn…

I love the fall! Its still warm but cooler breezes make the temperatures not only bearable, but enjoyable. Fall also brings a shift in energy, one that I am definitely feeling this year. Fall is a Vata season (yes, even nature has doshas). It brings movement and change that is visibly noticeable in nature. With this, autumn may be a good time to implement changes in your life or get started on a project.

Vata is also a force of inspiration and creativity. Perhaps that is why I feel drawn toward self-study and contemplation in the fall? Nature is in the process of moving toward stillness (winter season), and humans are drawn toward stillness as well – but only if we allow it.

Meditation is one tool that can be used for introspection and finding stillness. Many meditation practicioners – beginners and experiencd alike – find it difficult because their mind is full of chatter. The intent is not to get rid of the chatter, but to be “still” despite the thoughts. One of my favorite meditation techniques is japa. It is the repetition of a word, mantra, or prayer utilizing a string of beads ( called a mala or prayer beads) to help keep count of the repetitions. The mantra becomes a melodic verse in the mind that can help focus attention away from otherwise distracting mental chatter.

There are other techniques, including simply sitting with eyes closed. They key to meditation practice is as thoughts arise – and they will – to not get caught up in them. Notice them and let them go. If you do get caught up in them don’t worry, just try to let them go at that monent – sort of like watching clouds as they pass in the sky. Another tip is to start with short incremets of time. Start with five minutes (or even less if its difficult) and slowly increase the duration each week. I find the more often I sit for meditation not only do I feel more calm and relaxed, but my creativity increases as well.

To share my love of japa, I will be hosting a free meditation on Facebook the next three Sundays (September 13, 20 and 27) at noon. I will discuss japa, the malas, and introduce a new mantra each week. It is my intent to share a practice that can help alieviate stress and anxiety, bring stillness to a busy mind, and perhaps assist in self-reflection during this period of pandemic fatigue.

With love & blessings, Jai Bhagwan!

Stop Swimming

Last night I felt it appropriate to share one of my favorite stories of my guru’s guru, Swami Kripalu, during my yoga class. I’ll share my shortened interpretation here.

Swami Kripalu was in a deep meditation one evening. It was monsoon season in India, and he was warm while still in this meditative state, Swami Kripalu jumped from his meditation cushion and ran toward the Narmada River and jumped in to cool off. Being monsoon season the river has rushing and Kripalu was soon pulled into the raging river. He was shaken from his meditative state and immediately began to attempt to swim to shore. There was one problem: he couldn’t swim. After struggling and struggling to swim to shore, Kripalu was just about to give up and accept the fate that he would drown. He heard a voice say to him “Stop swimming.” He must be hallucinating , Swami Kripalu thought. Then he heard it again, the voice of his teacher instructing “Swami, Stop swimming.” Confused because if he stopped swimming he would surely drown, but he followed the command. And lo-and-behold his body began to float effortlessly upon the waves of the river. He continued floating in this manner for the remainder of the night, eventually coasting toward the shore where the villagers came to help rescue him.

Why do I share? This story illustrates that sometimes we get stuck in the struggle. This keeps us from being able to see solutions or to get out of a situation. It is like we can’t see anything but the struggle. Although this applies to just about everything in life, it feels particularly poignant as our country begins the phases to reopen businesses and schools.

In my home state of Rhode Island, there is currently great debate over schools -do we go back to in-person learning or not? There’s a lot of debate, especially while social gathering limits remain low, restaurants and businesses are operating under restrictions that greatly limit building capacity (and therefore limit sales). And there are many business that are still not able to open within the current guidelines (the yoga studio I teach at is one of such businesses). The one thing that is consistent through all of this: we are struggling with what to do.

We, as individuals and as a state, are focused on the struggle. We are focused on making the right choice, doing the right thing. We are swimming through this crisis, and in the process of this struggle we are realizing we can not swim. We need to let go of the struggle – to stop swimming. Once we are no longer focused on the struggle, the answers will come to us. Just as when Swami Kripalu stopped struggling, he discovered that he didn’t need to try to swim because his body could float. It’s the same for a difficult life decision, like reopening schools, as it is for a difficult yoga pose. The moment we stop struggling we find a sense of ease, and in that ease answers come.

So, take a moment today to notice where you are “struggling.” It might be something big, it might be something minor. See if you can let go of the struggle, even if only briefly. Stop swimming.

The most difficult yoga pose

My students sometimes ask me what I find to be the most difficult yoga pose. I’m quite sure they expect me to say some crazy arm balance or inversion (going upside down) . Secretly I think they are trying to ascertain my level of strength or flexibility. Imagine their surprise when I simply simply say “anything that the mind gets overly involved with.”

Our minds love to tell us how good or bad we are doing, often comparing us to others. Comparing our performance today to our performance yesterday. Often students are surprised to discover that their minds get overly involved in the simplest of poses – simply sitting comfortably or lying in shavasana (the rest pose often at they end of yoga class). The mind doesn’t like to be idle, so when it doesn’t have anything to do it finds something.

Often this shows up as mental conversation. It might be the comparisons or judgements about your yoga poses. It might be a running list of what you need to get at the grocery store on the way home. The more we give our attention to these mental conversations, the more they continue. This is why many find meditating difficult: as soon as you are still and quiet the. I don’t goes on overdrive to the point it becomes distracting.

In class, on our yoga mats, we practice observing thoughts show up, but letting them pass. I use the analogy of clouds in the sky: the clouds show up, maybe take a form, then continue to float past your area of perception. When you become aware of thoughts observe them, but let them pass by. No comments. No story about the thought. No engagement. It takes a lot of practice, as I am sure you can imagine.

Meditation isn’t about having no thoughts (a common misconception). It is about finding stillness amid those thoughts. When we first begin meditation practices (of which I consider physical yoga part of meditation as well) our mind gets overly involved. We haven’t cultivated the skill to allow the thoughts to pass without getting involved with them, so we get frustrated and maybe even quit. As we practice however, each time we meditate we get a little bit better at allowing thoughts to come and go. When this happens, we begin seeing the benefits of yoga and meditation: greater relaxation, better sleep, feeling less stressed.

In the seven years I have been teaching yoga and meditation, I have tried to help my students see how these practices are helpful even when they are not on a yoga mat. How can you use these practices at home, at work, in traffic on the highway? How can you use these practices when you are afraid, overwhelmed, or enraged?

We are experiencing unprecedented events right now. A global pandemic, economic shut downs, protests and violent riots. No matter your opinion on police violence and the Black Lives Matter movement, you likely have a whole bunch of mental dialogue happening right now. When we engage in that dialogue – repeating it over and over and over – it feeds our fears, our opinions no matter how right or misguided they may be. This can cause us to feel more anxiety, more fear, more helplessness.

So how can you alleviate some of this? The same thing we do on the yoga mat: practice not engaging in the thoughts. Let those thoughts pass by like clouds as much as you are able to. Remember, if you have never done this before it will be difficult. Be gentle and easy with yourself. With practice thoughts about BLM, the pandemic, and social unrest won’t be as disturbing.

Why do this? First, for your own health and mental wellbeing. Secondly, when you are able to disengage from the stories running in your mind, you will be in a position to better look at information and discern fact from fiction. And when you can discern fact, you are in a better position – a calm, still position – to take appropriate actions. This is one way to be an ally, one way to care for yourself and others. Be safe, be well. And may thoughts that don’t serve your greatest good simply continue to float by.

Tips to Help Prevent COVID-19 Weight Gain

If you’re like me these days, you’ve been spending a little extra time of social media. And as such, you’ve probably seen some of the memes joking around about the extra weight we’re going to gain due to social distancing and staying home. So here’s a few ideas on how to avoid the “COVID 19 (pounds).”

  1. Get up and move! Take the family for a neighborhood walk. Check out all the things we’ve overlooked. Flowers starting to bloom, a neighbor’s garden, even the cracks in the pavement. If you have younger children, perhaps even making a scavenger hunt where they check off items that they find or see. Or, pile in the car and head to the park or woods. Just remember to keep a distance from others.
  2. Don’t need to skip the snacks, just be mindful of portions. In these uncertain times while being cooped-up inside, many of us crave our favorite “feel good” foods. This is okay. Have the chips, cookies, or ice cream if it feels good. Just don’t eat them all in one sitting. If that’s not easy for you, divide them out into snack-sized bags. You can even label them with the days of the week so that you only eat Tuesday snacks on Tuesday.
  3. Don’t forget the fruits and vegetables. The natural starches found in fresh fruits and veggies can hold hunger pangs at bay between meals. Veggie sticks and hummous, apples and nut butter are just a couple of my favorite combos. Concerned about buying fresh produce right now? Look for items that are bagged versus loose. You may not get the perfect pear, but they will have been kept free from other’s hands.
  4. Meditate. Or at least take some quiet time. Find at least 10 minutes to just sit in stillness, not thinking about anything. Simply allow thoughts to come and go without getting involved in their story. If you can, close the eyes. Before you know it, ten minutes may not be enough.
  5. Drink water, lots of water. Maintaining proper hydration is necessary for a well-functioning body, including our immune system. For a healthy person, aim to drink half your weight in ounces of water. So if you weigh 165 pounds, aim for 83 ounces. that’s about 5 standard (16 oz) water bottles. If you are sick, drink more. Added benefit: sipping regularly washes the throat, bringing bacteria and viruses hanging out there a quick ride to the stomach. This may help to prevent virus like COVID-19 from getting into the lungs.
  6. Bored of plain water? Change it up. Add lemon or lime juice (fresh squeezed is best, but if you are concerned grab a bottle juice). Slices of cucumber or frozen berries work too. Try some herbal teas, and even hot broths.
  7. Shrink portion sizes. If you’re not moving around as much, you don’t need to eat as much. Try cutting your meal portions a bit. You can always have seconds if you’re still hungry.

Most of all, stay positive. Do the things that bring you joy. And, yes, you can eat some of those chips.

Precautions for Preventing the Spread of Disease: Stay Well, Wash Your Hands

As a health & wellness practitioner, I feel it is important for me to weigh in on the COVID-19 pandemic. First, and most importantly: STOP PANICKING!

Panic is part of our fight-or-flight response, which is designed to keep us safe in extreme situations such as a mass-shooting or being chased by a hungry tiger. When we become scared, stressed, or panicked our body releases chemical – adrenaline and cortisol – to first get us moving out of danger (or ramping us up for a fight) and then to help bring us down once safe. The problem arises because – unlike a real need to get the hell out of someplace – we sort of live in this heightened state all the time: stress at work, worrying about paying bills, feeding the kids, etc. This constant state of stress taxes our immune system making it easier for us to fall ill. Ever notice that you get sick right as you are preparing a big project for work or during your busiest workloads? Yeah, that’s because your system is worn out and its easier to fall ill.

Next, know he symptoms. Runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, up to difficulty breathing. If you have diarrhea, not COVID-19. S

Finally, know how to protect yourself and others, and know actions to take should you feel ill. The absolute BEST protection against COVID-19 and all virus/bacterias: WASH YOUR HANDS. Not with hand sanitizer, but good ol’ fashioned soap and water. Wash frequently for 20 seconds or longer. Sing Happy Birthday twice or check out to create a hand washing poster to your favorite song. Hey, no one said hand washing had to be boring. Save the hand sanitizer for when soap and water is not available; such as when riding public transit, using the ATM, opening doors to public buildings, etc.

Avoid touching people. No handshakes or hugs. Practice “social distancing” by keeping a safe space – 6ft is recommended – around you. If you feel sick STAY HOME. You may not have COVID-19, but you still may have an illness that could be transmitted to others, thus compromising their immune system. Also, if you are sick, avoid contact with at-risk populations: the elderly, the very young (under 5 yrs old), the pregnant, the immuno-compromised, or those with chronic health conditions. If you are concerned about your symptoms, CALL your doctor’s office before going in. If you need to get checked and suspect COVID infection, you want your doctor’s office prepared for your visit to minimize your contact with others.

Clean. Clean surfaces including counters, computer key pads, phones, door knobs, toilets, sinks with increased frequency. Don’t wear your shoes in your house. Change out hand towels more frequently.

KEEP YOURSELF HEALTHY. Continue exercising. If you don’t want to go to the gym, change up your routine. Go for walks outdoors, exercise at home/ Do yoga and meditation. Take time to de-stress each night (remember what i said about stress and the immune system). Drink what my friends call “Magic Tea’ (recipe below). Eat healthy foods. And HYDRATE: drink lots of water.

Still concerned of possible quarantine? Have enough food and supplies on hand to get through 2 weeks of home isolation. This includes soap and toilet paper, any medications that you may need (OTC or prescription). Be prepared but don’t stockpile – remember, other people need these things too.

If we keep our cool, follow recommended guidelines, take care of our helath, and remember to help others we will get through this.



1 pinch turmeric powder

1 pinch ginger powder

1 pinch black pepper

squeeze of 1/4-1/2 lemon

Place all ingredients in a cup of hot water and mix thoroughly. Drink every morning. If ill, enjoy more frequently through the day. Note, as with all natural and homeopathic remedies, if you are in active illness results may not be immediate.

Thankful … and BOGO’s

Thanksgiving. The time of year when we formally give thanks for our blessings. Many celebrate over elaborate dinners shared with family and friends. Others share their time serving others. And, yes, there are those that get up early and run 5K’s as a family (not mine). Being thankful is something we should do all the time, every day. The more that we are thankful for what we have, quite often we find even more things to be thankful for.

To share my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of you, I will be offering deals on both Ayurvedic Nutrition and Therapeutic Yoga sessions at Santosha Yoga Studio through the Thanksgiving weekend. These would make fantastic gifts for your loved ones; and they would be wonderful treats for yourself.

Therapeutic Yoga: Buy One session, Get One Free. A $130 value for $65. Purchase your sessions at Santosha Yoga Studio online, or visit the studio. Use PROMO CODE TYHS19 at checkout. Promotion valid Friday November 29- Sunday December 1, 2019.

Ayurvedic Wellness: Buy One Session, Get One Free. A $150 value for $75. Purchase your sessions at Santosha online, or visit the studio. Use PROMO CODE HNAC19 at checkout. Promotion valid Friday November 29- Sunday December 1, 2019.

May you and your family enjoy the holiday, however you choose to celebrate. Thank you for your continued support.  And as we say in my yoga tradition, Jai Bhagwan! Victory to the Divine Spirit that lives within you.


Have you ever had the sense that sometimes life just “gets in the way” of you being able to live your life? A bit of irony, huh. We work hard to have a safe place to live and continue to work hard to save money to do the things we want to do; then we get so busy that we forget about the things we wanted to do and never do them. Its as if we are trying to use this system to our advantage, trying to play by our own rules, and it doesn’t quite work. That is, it doesn’t; work until we are truly ready. At least that has been my experience.

Over the last few months, I have been examining many, many aspects of life – about my own and about life in general, I have been examining some of the yogic teaching in greater depth, exploring how they apply to my personal life as well as to humanity as a whole. It has been enlightening, scary, peaceful, and awe-inspiring all at once. A mentor once told me “the spiritual path is not for the faint of heart.” I believe I am now beginning to understand what she meant.

One practice that has helped me find peace in the unsettled pieces is gratitude. Being grateful, or thankful, for everything. EVERYTHING. The good, the bad; the easy, the challenging; the rainstorms and the sunshine. After all, rainbows only come out after the storm. It is this sense of gratitude that keeps me going. It helps me to see my path, even when there seems to be no path.

One of the parts of my path is to continue sharing thoughts, teachings, and wisdom in person, on this website, and in these newsletters. Though I intend to do so monthly going forward, know that it may be less frequently. To hear more about the fun and exciting offerings Satya Wellness has going on, be sure to sign up for our emails – there is often additional information and email only offers; you don’t want to miss a thing!

As always, thank you for supporting me and Satya Wellness. Jai Bhagwan! Namaste! Peace!


Welcome 2019

Happy New Year!

I don’t know about you, but 2018 sure did pack a punch. And I don’t necessarily mean in a good way. So many people shared with me that it was difficult. Job and family issues, politics, general feeling of sluggishness or being worn-out. And the daily feed of the antics of “45” was enough to drive any social media-surfer insane. How did you do?

Well, I was not immune. As you probably noticed, I went pretty well off the radar for the majority of the year. Early in the year I experienced the loss of someone close to me, and I did not expect it to hit me so hard. I found little to no desire to do much of the things that brought me joy, including these newsletters. I felt generally fatigued (more mentally than physically) and uninspired. 2018 continued to throw wrenches into my daily life right up to the end. And let me tell you, its been quite a bumpy ride!

So, needless to say, 2019 is a welcome visitor. In fact, I am really excited to have the opportunity to begin this year with renewed dedication to Satya Wellness and all our clients and supporters, near and far! Check out the website for updated pages, new opportunities and services. Make sure that you are on our email list because there are going to be some crazy deals and announcements that will only be announced through email in the next couple weeks.

I am so excited for what this year has in store. I wish I could share all the plans with you now, but then I’ll have nothing to surprise you with later. Thank you all for being the wonderful, supportive community that you are!

Cleanse? Detox? What?

I recently completed a 30 Clean Eating/Body Cleanse Program, and the idea of “cleansing” and “detox”is very much at the forefront of my awareness. Some people consider occasional detoxing essential for our bodies, others maintain that our bodies have built-in filter systems -the liver and kidney- so there is no need to do a detox or cleanse. So with this conflicting info, what is the message we are to take away?

I like the Ayurvedic concept of ama. Ama is roughly translated as toxins, but it is really a much broader term than that. Ama in the body is the build-up of undigested foodstuffs. This can happen when an individual’s digestive fire is weakened, or perhaps there is disruption in the functioning of the intestines and other digestive organs, or perhaps there is an underlying disease. Essentially it’s like a freeway: on a healthy freeway the cars are moving at optimal speed. But when something happens, like an accident or construction, the cars slow down and perhaps even stop. More cars get on the highway, then the jam becomes bigger.

The same thing happens in our gut. When digestion is moving optimally, we digest our food with no issue and absorb all necessary nutrients, eliminating what we don’t need. But when something goes wrong – weakened digestive fire, an illness, eating the wrong foods – then things get, well, backed-up and we have a traffic jam of foodstuffs in our gut. Sometimes things move through, but they leave a residue. To continue with the traffic example, it’s like the oil residue on the pavement left behind from leaking cars. Ayurveda proposes that, though our bodies are great at flushing out what we don’t need, it sometimes needs some help eliminating accumulated ama.

So, it’s probably obvious that a person eating junk food may have a build up of ama in their body. But a person who eats healthy (think vegan, whole food diets) can also have a build up of ama if their digestion isn’t functioning optimally. A gentle cleanse can help alleviate that build up.

The key here is gentle. A simple diet of kitchari, whole (think directly from the plant) foods, introducing complementary spices can help. Eliminating foods that are known to be irritants to the human digestive system, or common allergens is also a good practice. If you are considering doing a regimented program, seek the advice of a professional (modern or traditional) who can guide you to, and through, the best program for you. If you’re looking for something Ayurvedic-inspired, consider a Panchakarma retreat or the program that I cently completed. And, of course, you can contact me here to schedule your appointments.

For information on the program that I completed, click here.

Here’s to your best health!

What is Therapeutic Yoga?

When I tell people I facilitate private Therapeutic Yoga sessions, I am often asked “What’s that?” Because I am asked this frequently enough, I felt it appropriate to address here, in this forum.

The International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) have defined yoga therapy as “Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and practices of Yoga.” Of course, you can make this argument for any form of yoga practice.  So what makes Therapeutic Yoga different?

Therapeutic Yoga is a one-to-one, private session. Yes, you can find yoga therapy classes. But they are often purposely small classes as there may be several times the teacher needs to assist each student individually. I have led classes and facilitated many private sessions. But, for the purposes of this discussion, I will be focusing on the benefits of private sessions.

At the start of all sessions, your facilitator will check in with you. If its your first visit, they will do a more in-depth formal intake with you. The purpose of these check-ins is to see what your needs are. Is there a health issue or injury, what do you want out of your session, feedback of what has happened since your previous session. The answers to these questions (and many others) will guide your facilitator in developing the specific postures for that session. A typical sessions involves simple stretches to loosen your body followed by postures that you will hold for extended periods of time. These postures are assisted – either with props such as blocks, bolsters, yoga straps or by the facilitator themself.  The purpose of this prolonged holding is to allow the student/client to relax fully and allow the stretch to deepen naturally. It takes the client directly into sensations and can lead to a profound releases.

Therapeutic Yoga sessions are performed on a cushioned floor, fully clothed. It has been described as similar to Thai Yoga Therapy, as there is a massage element.

Yoga therapy is a holistic healing art. Rather than prescribe treatments, it invites presence and awareness. Using age-old yogic approaches to deeper presence and awareness, we are able to know ourselves more fully. Out of that knowing, we are more easily moved to embrace the opportunity for change, growth, and enhanced well-being in body, feelings, thought, and spirit.

Therapeutic Yoga utilizes the approach that memories and trauma are held within our body. This “blockage” often manifests as aches, pains, general discomfort and may eventually lead to dis-ease. Stretching the body followed by extended holding of a yoga pose allows the client to move past the initial ache and pain, allowing the deeper trauma to also begin to release.

After sessions, clients report everything from feeling deeply relaxed to feeling a sort of spiritual experience. The majority, however, report that their physical complaints have lessened or disappeared completely. They feel their body has been stretched, massaged, and cared for. Though a single session can yield great results, it is best to have a few sessions over a period of time so as to reap all the benefits of the practice. Just as you may go for a monthly massage, so should you partake of regular yoga therapy.

Ready to book your first appointment? I have partnered with Santosha Yoga Studio in Providence to offer a Buy 1-Get 1 1/2 Off. This BOGO Special is available for a limited time. Follow this Link and enter PROMO CODE TY0418 at check out.