Opening Your Heart … When It Wants To Close

Valentine’s Day is coming up! Most of the time many of us will relish the focus on love and romance, with all of the heart imagery that goes with it. But …what if– for whatever reason–your heart is broken? What if life’s up and downs have plunged you into a place where being open is the very last thing you are inclined to do? Life coach and fellow yoga Stephanie Lazzara has a few words for us on this topic.

Heart opening, opening to love and caring for a broken heart….

How do we keep going when the heart wants to close instead of open? How do we fully feel the pain of a love-loss or the intensity of a growing, deepening love and still stay open?

Instead of trying to resist, contract or pull away, what if, instead, we take this an another opportunity for opening further, deeper, wider to love? It means staying in the uncomfortable present moments. We feel our hearts break and swell and mourn and ache in all of the pain and beauty we hold inside. And then it happens, we crack open, release and push up against all of our edges so that every cell of us becomes love.

Each place we are pushed emotionally or physically out of our comfort zones brings us to a greater awareness of ourselves, to our infinite capacity to love and loving, and towards the radical acceptance of ourselves as the vehicle for this love-light to burst out of every pore of our beings, touching the hearts of all we meet. Our hearts may yearn for a deeper loving, a deeper knowing, a deeper being seen. When we are open, we can access parts of ourselves that are hidden or that we hide in the shadows that make us whole and wholly lovable–just as we are.

How can you gently push yourself to expand further into love? When your body is at a limit of a pose, when your heart is breaking, where can you go deeper? While you are there, notice all the parts that come alive, even the parts that are hurting, and then ask yourself:

What does your deepest heart yearn for? Then go in further into this yearning …

Stephanie Lazzara is a certified professional coach, dancer, dance educator, and a regular BYPS practitioner. She specializes in helping her clients navigate through difficult life and relationship transitions and find more ease, clarity, and possibilities in the process of change.


Tocando la Luz

Join South Slope yogis Jen and Tim for the NY premiere of their film Tocando la Luz (Touch the Light) at DOCNYC next Sunday 11/15 at 4:45PM! The film will be followed by a Q&A with filmmakers Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger and a reception hosted by PBS’ DOC WORLD.

Trailer & Tickets: http://bit.ly/1ScNVR6Indiewire exclusive clip of a baseball game for the blind: http://bit.ly/1Sdqrfq

Synopsis from the DocNYC catalog: Havana, Cuba. An up-and-coming singer searches for confidence, a young woman in love longs for motherhood and a veteran of the Revolution comes to terms with the death of her husband. Three women, united by blindness and a desire for independence, guide us through Cuba’s current economic and social landscape while pursuing their dreams and breaking through personal and societal limitations.


The Chicken Soup Remedy

Mom was right! Chicken soup really is good for you, and just in case you thought this idea is merely an old wives’ tale or the placebo effect, science is now proving it.

Just as yoga has been practiced for thousands of years but has only recently begun to be scientifically studied to discover the how, what, and why of its benefits, so it goes with chicken soup. Isn’t it great that lots of things that we know from generations of experience are good for us are finally being taken seriously by the medical community as having real, measurable benefits?

According to recent research, a compound called camosine aids the body’s immune system fight the early stages of the flu. Blood samples also demonstrate that there is something about chicken soup that affects the movement of the common white blood cell type, the neutrophil, which defends against infection–aiding the reduction of upper respiratory cold symptoms. What exact ingredients or combination of them makes this happen? Well, they haven’t quite gotten that far yet, but these are scientifically-verifiable results, and we can be sure they’re delving ever-more deeply into the issue. Just so you know, the tested soup contained chicken, onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery, parsley, and salt and pepper.

And now for a deep dive into the science:

What is better understood is that organosulfides  (garlic, onions) in concert with Vitamin D stimulates macrophage immune cells. Vitamin C affects the afore-mentioned neutrophils plus your naturally-occurring interferon. Vitamin A and carotenoids boost antibodies. Your lymphocytes (yet another type of white blood cell) are helped by the Vitamin E and zinc. All these nutrients are in chicken soup and they’re absorbed very easily in a soup setting, which may be more appealing to a person who is under the weather.

Home made food is always better, of course, but commercial soups do have similar effects. If you do make your own soup, don’t skim off all the fat; leave some so that your fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, & K) can be absorbed. And by all means, leave the bones in, as they are rich sources of those fat-soluble nutrients as well as minerals. The longer you cook the bones, the more you get out of them; just be sure to use care when eating, in case there are small pieces.

We all know that ample hydration is crucial for recovery from illness, and any form of liquid is helpful; hot fluids in particular do a good job of clearing airways and easing congestion, and chicken soup certainly does this, plus–and this really interesting–it has the benefit of improving the function of the protective hairlike projections in the nose, helping to prevent contagions from entering the nose. Again, it’s not yet known why chicken soup has an edge over other hot liquids in doing this job, but it does.

Every day we’re learning how much more complex our immune system is than we ever thought possible and how it interacts with the other systems of the body. One thing remains the same, though: generation after generation, century after century, chicken soup is still good for you, and makes you feel better. Don’t you want to make some right now?

My Basic, Unsophisticated Recipe

  • 10 – 12 pieces of chicken, or the equivalent. (I like legs and thighs, as they have large bones that are easy to handle and keep track of, but you use whatever you prefer)
  • About half a bunch of celery, chopped medium
  • One onion (I use yellow), chopped medium
  • Half a carrot or so, shredded
  • A small handful of parley (any variety) chopped small
  • One large blob of chicken bullion paste
  • A teaspoon or so of vegetable bullion paste
  • A clove or two (or more) of fresh garlic (optional)

Fill your favorite stock pot with about 4 quarts of water and heat it on the stove. As the water heats up, gently rinse the chicken pieces and put them in the pot. Chop the vegetables and add them.  Add the bullion at any time. Once the pot is boiling, turn it down a bit. Once the vegetables are in, use a pair of tongs to fish out the chicken pieces a few at a time an place them in a separate dish. Once they are cooled just enough to work with, place one piece on a cutting board and take the meat off the bones using a sharp knife and fork and cut the meat into the size you like, returning all of the parts to the soup as you go. (By the time you get to this step, the chicken will probably have been boiling for a bit, making it easier to work with.) For safety, I remove and throw away those sharp, long bones that are on chicken drumsticks. You may wish to discard some of the skin as well.  After the chicken has cooked thoroughly enough to safely eat, (about 20 minutes of boiling/simmering), remove some of the broth and taste it so that you can adjust the bullion to your preference. Partially cover and allow to simmer as long as you can, adding water if necessary.

DO adjust the ingredients to your taste, and add things that appeal to you. This is just a framework for you to start with, in case you don’t have a favorite family recipe. Like all home-cooked basic foods, every batch is slightly different. Enjoy!


Non-hydrolyzed in digestive tract and blood natural L-carnosine peptide (“bioactivated Jewish penicillin”) as a panacea of tomorrow for various flu ailments: signaling activity attenuating nitric oxide (NO) production, cytostasis, and NO-dependent inhibition of influenza virus replication in macrophages in the human body infected with the virulent swine influenza A (H1N1) virus.

Management of the virulent influenza virus infection by oral formulation of nonhydrolized carnosine and isopeptide of carnosine attenuating proinflammatory cytokine-induced nitric oxide production.

Advances in the Diagnosis and Management of Influenza

Effects of drinking hot water, cold water, and chicken soup on nasal mucus velocity and nasal airflow resistance.

greece gorge viewWeb

Blissful Warrior Yoga Renewal In Greece: OCTOBER 17 – 24

We know you’re dreaming of the Blissful Warrior Yoga Renewal in Greece in October, so we’re removing your two biggest obstacles in one fell swoop:

Time:   As Rhonda Uretzky, author of The Blissful Warrior says, “You have all the time in the world; it’s called Your Life.” Once you stop measuring your days in deadlines, you’ll remember that life is about living your dreams.   We’re giving you the gift of time by pushing the Yoga Renewal in Greece two weeks later – Oct 17 – 24 – enough time to settle your kids in school, give your employer a months’ notice, and tell yourself  you’ll be a better parent, partner, and contributor once you experience this renewal that begins in Greece and lasts for a lifetime….

Money: We all wish things cost less, especially the things we want most…wish granted:

  • $1000 DISCOUNT – that’s right; be the first to respond and get a $1000 DISCOUNT – not $3397, just $2397. It’s like earning $1000, only easier.
  • $500 DISCOUNT AND BONUS: Be second and third to respond and get a $500 DISCOUNT, PLUS we’ll buy your dinners – a total $700 Value! Not $3397 plus dinner, just $2897 INCLUDING the most sumptuous Greek dinners you’ve ever tasted.

The time is NOW.

Greece Poster NEW DATE

EMAIL Rhonda Uretzky, and write WINNER in the email subject.

We already know you’re a winner….now claim your prize.

See you in Greece, you lucky yogi!

PS –Speaking of time and money, did you know that you can add a bit of time in Italy onto this Renewal… for under $150? Ask us how.

PPS – Greece in autumn is the world’s best kept secret.   Find out why;  for more information, EMAIL now and you’re instantly eligible for the discount and bonus –  no obligation, no risk, just ask for more details.

photo: Monica Felix

Rebecca Causey Talks About Intermediate Class

How did you come to teach the intermediate class?

I first attended two Advanced Series seminars with Bikram and led the advanced class in Atlanta for several years.  Bikram does not offer a certification to teach the advanced series, but the longer I practiced it, the more I wanted to learn about the postures and how to teach them well; With this in mind I attended Tony Sanchez’s teacher training in Spring of 2014.  Tony was one of Bikram’s first students back in the 70’s and he has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of yoga.  His knowledge of the postures runs deep and his trainings are small which allows the time and space to get into the specifics of each posture. Tony saw the need for a bridge between the Beginner 26 postures and the 84 posture Advanced Series and created what he calls the Core40 class, or what we call the intermediate class.  I learned this series from Tony.  He includes abdominal work in his series, but the specific abdominal work I teach in the intermediate class comes from my Pilates teacher training with Ellie Herman.

How does the intermediate class build on the beginner series?

The intermediate class moves at a bit of a faster pace than the beginner class, and often includes just one set of the posture instead of two.  The intermediate class assumes the the the students have enough familiarity of the 26 postures that much less verbal cuing/instruction is required.  This doesn’t mean you have to perform the postures perfectly– not even close– it just means you have both an awareness of the posture and of your body and how the two can come together to create strength and flexibility.  Many of the more intermediate postures that we do are the “full” (deeper) version of what we do in beginner class. I teach these step by step with verbal instruction. The postures may be different but the way we practice them is the same– we start by building a foundation and add to it, piece by piece.  In the same way that Standing Head to Knee takes time and effort to learn (and years later there is still progress to be had), these postures are no different.

What new areas of the body can students expect to be sore the next day?

Abdominals (rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis), inner thighs (adductors), arms (biceps/triceps), shoulder girdle (deltoids, rhomboids, traps, lats), butt (gluts), thighs (quadriceps and hamstrings) are all at risk of that, “I worked hard and my body is getting stronger and more flexible” feeling.

What would you say to somebody who still feels like a beginner, but wants to try the intermediate?

If you’ve practiced the Bikram series regularly and you don’t have any major injuries, come try it!   Labels are tricky.  Try not to get too tangled up in them.  I know  the word “intermediate” can be intimidating and confusing.  The simplest way I can put it is that “beginning” refers to the basics.  “Intermediate” just means we’re taking the basics and adding a little bit to it.  It means that when I say “Let’s do Balancing Stick,” you have a general idea of what that is going to look like, because you’ve done it several times in beginner class. It doesn’t mean you’re going to do it perfectly, it doesn’t mean your not going to fall out.  And it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll get scolded if either of those two things happen!  The desire your practice a step further is something to be celebrated.  A big part of this class is finding a sense of playfulness and ease– I hope you’ll join us!


‘Rebecca attended Bikram’s teacher training in Spring of 2008 and has been teaching ever since.  She has continued with many senior teachers and attended two of Bikram’s advanced seminars.  Rebecca has studied Pilates for several years and in 2013 she completed instructor training with renowned teacher Ellie Herman. In Spring of 2014, she attended Tony Sanchez’s Core26 and Core40 yoga teacher training.  Rebecca has experience training new teachers, leading posture clinics, and managing yoga studios. She is constantly seeking to learn more and is thrilled to attend weekly Anatomy and kineseology workshops this Fall with Irene Dowd. 

photo: Monica Felix