88 Orchard Road
Skillman, NJ 08558
609-924-7294

Mukunda Chandra Das: Balancing the Physical and Mental Challenge of Yoga

Mukunda Chandra 02Mukunda’s well-rounded asana classes incorporate creative Vinyasa sequencing along with meditation, clear intention, and uplifting music. Michael’s asana classes are infused with devotion and aligned with the spiritual teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Master Patanjali. He strives to embody the qualities of yoga – humility, compassion, devotional service and non-violence, and he believes his role is to serve others through the practice of yoga, enabling students to become steadfast in their yoga. He believes that in serving others, we come to realize our true purpose.

Mukunda is a Certified Health and Lifestyle Coach and a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher who works with others to help them restore balance in their lives by helping them to make healthier and more conscious lifestyle choices.

Check out what he has to say!

Who should come to your yoga class? 

Anyone with an open mind and a willingness to work hard to achieve their goals and dreams

Mukunda Chandra 03What are you focusing on right now in your yoga practice?

Combing the spiritual practice of yoga , mindful living and devotion to that infinite source of all creation that has many names, and an alignment based therapeutic yoga

As a big picture, what do you hope to teach your students?

Combing the spiritual practice of yoga , mindful living and devotion to that infinite source of all creation that has many names, and an alignment based therapeutic yoga

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

The ability to help other unlock their potential in life.

What do you enjoy most about teaching yoga?

Having fun with the students.

Who are your greatest influences? 

Mukunda Chandra 07H.H. Radhanatha Swami , Sharon Gannon, Jousha Greene, Yoga sutras of patanjali, Bhagavad Gita, Jivamukti Yoga School, Dig Yoga School, Ragunath Cappo, Sandra Loring, Sue Elkind, Niame Jennzy, Way of a Peaceful Warrior.

What is your favorite yoga pose and why?

Any Arm Balance – the physical and mental challenge

Want to learn more visit his website: YourWellnessYogi.com


 

Come and meet him at his weekly class:

Vinyasa Flow
Tuesdays, 7:30 to 8:45 pm – Sign up here

This vinyasa flow yoga class is a combination of dynamic poses designed to tone, and detoxify your body and mind. The yoga class is for all levels from the beginner to most advanced student. Be prepared to move, sweat and smile.

Dan Fernandez: Facing life’s challenges with joy and YOGA!

Dan Fernandez 01Princeton Yoga teacher Dan focuses on yoga as the “middle-path” in life, specifically on the long-term benefits of yoga as a lifestyle that helps regulate the nervous system, reduce stress, bring mindfulness, and tone the body. Dan was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2005. Because of this potentially debilitating disease, he began exploring yoga to improve the health of both his body and his mind. Now, through daily practice of yoga, he has found that he continues to improve both physically and spiritually. It is his wish to share these benefits with others so that they too can learn how to heal and grow.

Check out what he has to say!

Who should come to your yoga class? 

Most people start coming to my yoga classes because of an injury, tightness or weakness in the body, or a mind that is over-active. Whatever the initial motivation, please stay to experience the joyful awakenings that go well beyond the initial physical reasons.

Dan Fernandez Pose 2_originalWhat are you focusing on right now in your yoga practice?

Simple, useful messages that help get us through this day  – a new asana every week with detailed instruction along with noting the healing benefits.

As a big picture, what do you hope to teach your students?

The joy of becoming nothing.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

“FEAR!”. I really enjoy being mobile – so I found a way of being through yoga and meditation that keeps Multiple sclerosis far away.

What do you enjoy most about teaching yoga?

Everyone’s face.

Dan Fernandez Pose 4_originalWho are your greatest influences? 

Rama Ramanathan (my initial teacher), Michael Visnov (a living buddha),  Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema, Jack Kornfield, each practitioner

What is your favorite yoga pose and why?

Right now, Starfish, which I have renamed Ronasana after one of my good friends from the Thursday night sangha. This is a low-risk pose that improves balance and focus, and is perfect for those of us with limited movement in the knees, legs and feet.


 

Come and meet him at his weekly classes:

Tuesdays, 9:30 – 10:45 am Mixed Level Hatha YogaSign up
Thursdays, 7:45 – 9:00 pm Yoga for BeginnersSign up
Sundays, 10:30 – 11:45 am Yoga for Stress ReductionSign up

Also join him for one of his workshops:

Yoga for Veterans and individuals dealing with stress and anxiety disorders

Sunday, November 6, 2016 – 12:00 to 2:00 pm

A multi-layered yoga practice designed to relieve the debilitating effects of stress. Experience these clinically tested tools developed for coping with PTSD and for support for transforming into a life of strength and resilience.

REGISTER NOW

The Full Mooji: Yoga Practice followed by a complete Mooji guided meditation

Friday, November 11, 2016 – 7:30 to 9:00 pm

Experience a gentle-moderate level Hatha Yoga practice followed by a guided meditation developed by Mooji, who has many devoted followers around the world. Dan has been offering portions of this meditation practice in his popular Sunday morning Yoga for Stress Reduction classes and people have asked for more!

REGISTER NOW

Princeton Center for Yoga and Health is marking 20 years of healing

By Susan Van Dongen,
Published

2016_07 Labyrinth walking (6)Deborah Metzger, founder and director of the Princeton Center for Yoga and Health, has a special connection to a certain line from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring” — the first book in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

”Not all those who wander are lost,” is part of the poem in a letter from Gandalf the wizard to Frodo the hobbit, which goes on to have layers of meaning within the book and trilogy.

Ms. Metzger has taken this particular line to heart, because the idea of “wandering with meaning” not only resonates with her journey watching PCYH evolve over the last two decades, but connects beautifully with the new labyrinth that was built on the center’s grounds this summer.

”The labyrinth is part of that same idea,” Ms. Metzger says. “In the labyrinth, you’re wandering around and there’s no ‘right’ place to go, there are just circuits.”

Because the labyrinth had its inaugural event in late August as the sun was going down, the participating walkers had to trust in the carefully laid paths to find their way.

2016_08_24 Walking the labyrinth Picture by Chris Gabaly 15   ”I myself had a tiny moment of panic,” Ms. Metzger says. “Sometimes you think you’re getting close to the center, and then you’re on the outer rim again — but you can’t get lost. The labyrinth is a wonderful metaphor for living, because sometimes you’re also meandering around in your life.”

All those years ago, Ms. Metzger’s idea behind PCYH was that it would be a place for mindful experimentation, where you could “try things on for size” — like labyrinth walking, meditation, drumming and dancing, and any number of yoga styles and practices — and ultimately see what fit your personal journey, your heart’s desire.

Even if something was not a perfect fit, however, at least coming to PCYH and discovering all there was to offer might point you in the direction of balance, healing and mindfulness.

”I believe everybody has the knowledge inside themselves, and all we need is a quiet place where we can access our intuition and get the answers,” Ms. Metzger says. “I wanted to create a space where people would do that, would join me in this experiment.”

On Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 PCYH — located on Orchard Road in Skillman since 2012 — will celebrate 20 years in the Princeton area with an afternoon and evening of yoga, dance, drumming, chant, food, community and connection.

The free festivities begin at 3 p.m. with a special one-hour Hatha Yoga class led by Denise Corsini, and capped with a guided relaxation/meditation. A little later, there will be a drum and dance session, featuring percussionist Mark Wood and Arielle Wortzel, yoga teacher and JourneyDance facilitator.

Celebrants can nourish themselves with a pot luck supper, and then, at 6 p.m., head over to PCYH’s new labyrinth, for a special group “walk” and blessing, guided by Deborah Ketter, a labyrinth facilitator who led the building of the labyrinth earlier this summer.

”There were things I had envisioned from the beginning, and this labyrinth was one of them,” Ms. Metzger says. “Ours is the classic design of seven circuits, but we made the center a bit larger and we put a big boulder in there so people could gather.”

2016_08 Labyrinth the box of intentions (3)  ”It was wonderful to work with Debbie, she really has studied it,” Ms. Metzger says of Ms. Ketter. “We picked out the materials, including many, many river stones, but we also used found objects that have come to us from time to time. We also have a box in the center we call ‘The Heart Box,’ and you put your intentions in there.”

The culmination of the anniversary jubilee will be an evening of kirtan chant, featuring kirtan artist Suzin Green, with Daniel Johnson and David Freeman. These master artists of the tradition — rooted in ancient Sanskrit mantras and rhythms — weave rapturous kirtan, the focus of mantra, and the exhilarating rhythms of the drum.

Ms. Metzger says Ms. Green essentially got her start at PCYH, and that she had moved to the Princeton area in 1996, around the time PCYH was opening its doors. The physical practice of yoga was just starting to take root, and yogic mantra, kirtan chanting and meditation were still on the fringes of the mainstream.

2016_10 Celebration (4)”Suzin Green started coming to our yoga classes, and came up to me and said ‘I do kirtan chanting, do you think the community would be open it?’” Ms. Metzger recalls. “So, basically, we brought kirtan to the area.”

While looking back, Ms. Metzger is simultaneously planning for the future at PCYH, and is especially pleased to present guests such as Dr. Larry Payne, the author of “Yoga for Back Pain,” “Yoga Therapy RX,” “Prime of Life Yoga” and more, who will be at PCYH in November.

”He usually only appears in Hawaii and California, but he loves coming to see us,” she says.

In the spring of 2017, PCYH will welcome Dr. Mala Cunningham, who developed “Yoga for Cardiac Care,” a therapeutic modality of working with people who suffer from heart disease and related ailments to incorporate the practice of yoga. As Ms. Metzger notes, Western science is catching up with what the ancients knew about yoga’s physiological and mind-body benefits.

”There’s been so much research about how the brain changes with yoga, how blood pressure goes down, how issues of aging are helped through yoga,” Ms. Metzger says. “It’s being used for veterans and other people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These are all benefits of the mindful yoga practice, and it doesn’t matter if you’re doing yoga from a seated position or you’re doing all these dramatic poses.”

”We’re really happy that we’ve been able to host nationally and internationally acclaimed yoga educators, and bring deeper understanding of yoga and meditation practices to yoga teachers and our community,” she says.

Ms. Metzger reflects that PCYH is the first place of its kind in the area and is the oldest, at a time when there seems to be a yoga studio opening every week. Interestingly, many of the people in the area launching their own studios once practiced or took classes at PCYH.

”There are a lot of new things out there, but we remain here,” Ms. Metzger says. 2016_07 Building it Labyrinth  (1) outdoors“But, it’s not about us, it’s about this beautiful space where people can try things, and we’ll support them. I still have ideas, I still don’t know exactly where it will go.”

”(When I started PCYH), I wasn’t attached to what it was supposed to be,” Ms. Metzger continues. “The whole center is my practice, and part of my practice is not to be attached — which is a paradox. How do you have a goal and not be attached? Yes, we all have aims, we all want ‘to get to California,’ but you never know what might happen along the way. You don’t have a clue, you just enjoy the journey.”

The Princeton Center for Yoga and Health will celebrate “20 Years of Commitment to Yoga and Health,” at PCYH in the Orchard Hill Center, 88 Orchard Road, Skillman, Oct. 1, starting at 3 p.m. Free, but reservations are required for planning purposes. For more information, go to princetonyoga.com/20thanniversary/ or call

 

Princeton Center for Yoga & Health Celebrates its 20th Anniversary with Reflection and Celebration

Princeton Center for Yoga & Health Celebrates its 20th Anniversary with Reflection and Celebration

When Deborah Metzger opened Princeton Center for Yoga & Health back in 1996, it was the first yoga studio in the area. On a recent sunny afternoon, sitting in the serene setting of the studio in the Orchard Hill Center on Orchard Road, the founder and director reflects on her journey to open her own yoga studio and the evolution of it over the past 20 years.
“We were the first studio in the area,” she says. “We’re proud of planting the seeds of yoga in the community. We set the tone. We are a more traditional studio, not the latest fad.”
When Metzger first envisioned her studio, she wanted to create a place where she could be surrounded by likeminded people, learn about herself, and give back to the community. Trained at the renowned Kripalu Center in Massachusetts, Metzger saw that there was nothing like that kind of facility in the community. After teaching at various area locations, she wanted her own yoga home and opened her doors at the current location in 2012. She used Kripalu as her model for a peaceful serene place, a place where she could learn and grow and help others to do the same.
Today, the studio is housed in part of a vintage farmhouse on Orchard Road. The two-story studio is modern, peaceful, and warm; light woods and windows light the space. There are artifacts and artwork at every turn, many brought in by clients and some from local artists who lend their work to the studio. Several outside spaces are used for classes, gatherings, and reflection. All of these combine to emit a feeling of quiet serenity and welcoming.
Princeton Center for Yoga & Health offers something for every “body,” every age, and every lifestyle. The myriad of class offerings range from classes for children through older adults, cross the various yoga specialties, and include every fitness level. All instructors at the Center are certified with extensive experience. According to Metzger, they love what they do and each brings special gifts and teaches from the heart, “in that place of passion,” and with the intention to share and pay it forward.
Metzger wanted to learn more herself, so she started a program to bring in internationally-known master teachers to run teacher trainings and workshops. The classes range from children’s yoga to restorative yoga to prime of life yoga and beyond. Bringing in these masters, she explains, offers the Center’s teachers, as well as others, the opportunity to train.
“We know how to teach people how to teach,” says Metzger. “We choose (the masters) very carefully and are very excited about our teacher trainings. People have come here from all over the country to train with them.”
The underlining theme in all of it, explains Metzger, is mindfulness; it is the key behind yoga. It teaches to listen to your body. The body, she says, gives messages, from illness to anxiety to injury; many signs that will whisper. You just need to listen.
“When you get quiet,” she says, “you can get your answers and your special gift. Research is showing what the ancients knew — there are health benefits to it, even changes in the brain. It’s a way to come back home to yourself. It’s about finding yourself. All these tools bring you into the present moment and that’s where wisdom is. Here (at Princeton Center for Yoga & Health), we give you the place to do it.”
Metzger is all about giving back, which is part of yoga’s tradition. The Center supports local artists, does fundraising, and offers special classes as part of their outreach. Their Community Class is open to the public for a small suggested donation. Those donations help support local charities and organizations. Past fundraising efforts have helped Womanspace, breast cancer research, local EMS, and area schools.
One of the newest additions is an outside labyrinth. Labyrinths are thousands of years old and found in many different cultures. There is only one path in or out, and following the route is said to balance the hemispheres of the brain. Metzger says she has always been intrigued by them and has wanted one since she first started yoga. She wanted to honor the tradition, so she researched and found a woman who is a certified labyrinth builder. Together they designed and created a classic 7th circuit labyrinth that sits outside on the serene grounds of the Center.

“We offer a lot of fun and different things,” Metzger says. “Come, try something!”
Princeton Center for Yoga & Health is located at Orchard Hill Center, 88 Orchard Rd. in Skillman. For more information and to check on upcoming special events, call 609-924-7294, visit princetonyoga.com, or find on Facebook.

Planting seeds….Deep roots… New pathways

Twenty years for the experiment called Princeton Yoga!

by Deborah Metzger, Owner and Director

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

~J. R. R. Tolkien

2016_10 Celebration (1)Over twenty years ago, following a personal healing crisis which led me to a path of yoga and alternative healing practices, I set out to create a warm, inviting environment for all to explore different paths to health, healing and personal growth. The studio was the first of its kind in our area and we are humbly proud to have trained and/or inspired many other new teachers to follow their own vision to open their own studios, planting even more ‘seeds’ of yoga. Today, thanks to the community’s support, our oasis of calm and comfort has evolved to serve the greater Princeton area, much of Central Jersey and beyond. Now in our third location at 88 Orchard Road, Skillman – a scenic 5 acre campus – our light filled and serene new home offers an abundance of opportunities to fulfill that original vision and mission as we continue to evolve.

 In honor of this milestone anniversary, we’ve created a labyrinth for all to enjoy. Many people find profound effects in walking the labyrinth, often in times of transition or when seeking inspiration – or simply finding a stillness and peace – and so I found it a fitting and meaningful addition to our Center.

As many of you may know, I am intrigued by mystical and Kabalistic symbolism in all the many realms. The Hebrew letter for 20 is Kaf and means ‘palm’ (its early ancient form is represented as an open palm of the hand).  Thus it can be viewed as a symbolic invitation to open to life and activity, or a way to “allow” something.  The number 20 also represents a powerful awakening, bringing new purpose in our ongoing evolution. The essence of the number represents wholeness, inclusiveness and infinite potential. Comprised of two numbers, it realizes itself best while part of a team, or community in our world.

Deborah standingWith much love in my heart, I thank all of you who come through our doors on your journey to health and well-being and appreciate all your support, dear friends. As I look to the future, I am dedicated to keeping the Center the region’s premiere quality yoga studio that our community has come to love.

So on this 20th anniversary of the experiment we call Princeton Yoga, I extend an open palm to each of you in an invitation to continue to wander with me and place my open palms together in deep gratitude for your ongoing support.

Please join us on Saturday, October 1st, 2016 for an afternoon and evening of celebrating, yoga, dancing, drumming and kirtan.
Click here to learn more.