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

News

News about yoga, health, stress management, mindfulness – featuring Princeton Center for Yoga and Health

Merry Martin: Yoga guided by Grounding and Cosmic Wisdom

After completing a Master’s in Piano Pedagogy and Performance, a desire to understand the inner workings of life led Merry to Costa Rica to pursue a YT 200 certification training. Greatly influenced by her teachers, along lineages of Hatha, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Restorative and Saraswati, Merrys belief, ‘who we are on the mat is directly related to who we are in the world’, is ever present in her teaching. Merry is a passionate student of yoga, new thought, moon-based wisdom, and the creative process. You can expect her classes to be skillfully woven with Dharma (moon-based wisdom and yogic/Buddhist philosophy), and infused with the things that inspire her most, namely, the power of a focused practice, the wisdom of nature, and the wonder of living an ordinary life lit up with the power of intention.

Merry, tell us a bit about yourself!

I love teaching others! After spending the larger part of my career teaching private piano lessons and classroom music to elementary grades k-8, now, yoga.

I first came to the mat in 2003, with Hatha. I love how asana grounds, and helps me to harmonize the inner and the outer.

I’m a natural in the kitchen and in the garden, and with most things creative. I love to cook healthy meals and eat healthy food, I love to design gardens and landscapes, and redecorate homes.

My mother was a practicing Astrologer, and so, we all grew up, ‘speaking astrology’ at home. I tagged along with my mother to her classes and enjoyed it as much as she did. I’m amazed at how this aspect of my life has come full circle and I love being able to share this part of myself with others.

Who should come to your yoga class?

Seekers who want to experience a well-balanced and nourishing journey- both physically and spiritually

What are you focusing on right now in your practice?

Lots of things, haha! I’m always wanting to be better at holding poses longer. Strengthening my core. Creating interesting sequences. Expanding my arm balance repertoire.

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

I hope to pique my students’ curiosity about the power of their focus and intention.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

I am a long-time practitioner, and whenever I am passionate about something, I always want to be the best at it, that I can be. A 200-hour, yoga teacher training seemed like the first step toward achieving that.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I love creating an experience for my students and taking them on a journey through dharma and storytelling, inside a holistic and well- balanced, physical practice.

Who are your greatest influences?

My greatest yoga influences would be my own teachers, Rae Ann Banker, Gabrielle Whitewolf, Joe Miller, and Edward Jones.
I also like Schuyler Grant, a lot. She has a very beautiful, smart, and thoughtful practice. Right now, I’m on day 11 of a 21-day challenge with her- it’s the second one that I’ve done. I always take away something new and valuable from Schuyler!
Tara Brach, Esther Hicks, and, if course, many spiritual masters (spiritual)
Frances Clark (musical)
My mother (personal)

Come and meet Merry during her weekly classes:

Tuesdays, 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm Flow (Moderate)
Thursdays, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm $5 Hatha (Gentle)
Fridays, 4:15 pm to 5:30 pm Community Class: Flow (Moderate) – By Donation
Sign up here

Daunted by Meditation? Try Eating a Raisin!

by Deborah Metzger

If the thought of meditation conjures up sitting in a lotus position for hours or chanting something unintelligible with knees screaming and legs falling asleep, let’s dispel that myth right now!

The fact is that most of us cannot sit still for even a nanosecond without time traveling in our minds – concerns about the future, or lingering thoughts about the past or that itch that comes up within seconds that just won’t quit….so, let go of any notion that you ‘can’t” meditate.

One technique that we teach at the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health (PCYH) is Mindfulness Meditation, which is really about training the mind to focus so that we can live our lives more fully. It’s about doing things and noticing that you’re doing them.

Mindfulness practices aid us in stopping and focusing our minds. Mindfulness helps you turn down all the noise in your head- the guilt, anger, doubts, and uncertainties that upset us moment to moment. It is a technique that encourages you to stop and smell the roses. Developing our ability to stop helps us reduce the amount of stress in our lives and be more available to the present moment – an opportunity to see reality as it is and to experience life in its fullness.

Though it sounds simple, mindfulness takes practice, and the longer you practice, the easier the process becomes.

We typically begin our Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness Based Habit Change (MBHC) programs at (PCYH) with a raisin eating exercise. It’s an easy introduction to the practice.

Try it now!

Take a raisin (yes, just one!) and hold it in the palm of your hand or between your finger and thumb. Imagine that you have just dropped in from Mars and have never seen an object like this.

Look at this raisin. Let your eyes explore every part of it, examine the highlights where the light shines, the darker crevasses, the folds and ridges, and any unique features.

Feel the weight of it. Turn the raisin over between your fingers. Notice its texture, its ‘topography’. Hold the raisin to your ear. Squish it a bit. Does it make a sound?

Hold the raisin beneath your nose, with each inhalation drink in any smell, aroma, or fragrance that may arise, noticing as you do this if there is anything interesting happening in your mouth or stomach.

With awareness, slowly bring the raisin up to your lips, noticing how your hand and arm know exactly how and where to position it, perhaps noticing that saliva starts to get secreted just as you bring the object towards your mouth. Gently place the object in the mouth, without chewing, noticing how it gets into the mouth in the first place. Spend a few moments exploring the sensations of having it in your mouth, exploring it with your tongue.

When you are ready, prepare to chew the raisin. Then, very consciously, take one or two bites into it and notice what happens in the aftermath, experiencing any waves of taste that emanate from it as you continue chewing. Resist the urge to swallow it. Notice the sensations of taste and texture in the mouth and how these change over time, as well as any changes in the object itself.

When you feel ready to swallow the raisin, see if you can first detect the intention to swallow as it comes up, so that even this is experienced consciously before you actually swallow the raisin.

Finally, swallow the raisin – see if you can feel the raisin going down towards your stomach and even entering your stomach. Perhaps noticing what it feels like to be one raisin heavier.

Sense how the body as a whole is feeling after completing this exercise in mindful eating. Notice your thoughts.

Notice that there is nothing magical about mindfulness. Most of us do a lot of different things when we’re eating—read, talk, watch television. Notice how slowing it down and really tasting your food helps bring you into the present moment and can really change the nature of your experience.

Often, when we do one task, we are already thinking about the next task.

So, relax, slow down. Stop and smell the roses – or taste a raisin!

About Deborah Metzger
Founder and director of the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, Deborah Metzger, is a certified 500 Hour Professional Level Kripalu Yoga teacher and certified Dharmic Yoga Teacher and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist, 500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance, and a Body-Centered Therapist trained in the Hakomi Method and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. She is a graduate of the 2 year comprehensive Hakomi training and has taken advanced Hakomi training modules. Deborah is a licensed social worker and holds an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed the Yoga of the Heart: Cardiac and Cancer Certification Training, and additional courses in Structural Yoga Therapy and Reiki, trained with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli and completed the Practicum in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program at UMass Medical Center.

Perinkulam Ramanatha (Rama): Yoga is Life. Life is Yoga.

Yoga has been a integral part of Rama Ramanathan’s life since his late teens. He truly lives and breaths yoga and he loves sharing his deep knowledge in his classes.

Who should come to my yoga class? 

Anyone wishing to meet the goals they have set for themselves; it could be “discovering one’s true potential,”  overcoming stress in life; how to face life’s challenges; how to attain calmness,  to improve one’s physical and mental health; or to discover the true purpose of yoga, and so on.

My classes are suitable for all ages and levels.

As a big picture, what do I hope to teach my students?

That the application of yoga is universal.   Yoga empowers one to reach asana siddhi (mastery of postures) and thereby facilitates body stillness thus aiding meditation.  Yoga takes one beyond the physical into the subtle and spiritual.  It is a path to freedom from misery.  Yoga is far beyond any dogma or doctrine.  It is the perfect system of self-development.  Yoga can be as gentle as you want it to be. It is not the performance of magical feats.  Neither is yoga a religious cult.  Ultimately, yoga is founded on true science.  Truly yoga is the experience of oneness with the true Reality.

What inspired me to become a yoga teacher?

I became passionate about yoga ever since my uncle taught me when I was 16 years of age.  After spending a few years practicing yoga, I found it invigorating and I thought by becoming a yoga teacher I will also help others and at the same time understand the deeper aspects of yoga.

What do I enjoy most about teaching yoga?

When I find that a student by attending regularly has improved considerably in his practice as well as in his demeanor and well being, it is a great satisfaction.  A few students who learned under me have become yoga teachers and are contributing to society.

What are my greatest influences?

I received a letter from Swami Sivananda when I was 16 years of age and in it he accepted me as his disciple.  Then later on I was able to meet his senior disciple and Guru Swami Vishnu Devananda who founded the Sivananda Yoga in North America.  I also had the opportunity to study under great masters of yoga who include the late 125 year old Swami Bua and  Srivatsa Ramaswami, who spent 33 years studying under Guru T. Krishnamacharya.

What is my favorite yoga pose and why?

Sirsasana –  This is the king of all yoga poses with a great deal of benefits. My teacher Srivatsa Ramaswami, and many other yogis, say that gravity and increased blood flow to the head benefit the brain, aiding memory and increasing the intellect. The pose is also meant to slow the breathing, giving a sedative effect that might cure insomnia. Famed yogi BKS Iyengar claims headstand can ease tonsillitis, bad breath and constipation.

Come and meet Rama at his weekly classes:

Mondays
10:00 am – 11:15 am Yoga for Complete Health & Peace
11:00 am – 11:45 am Beyond Asana: Pranayama and Meditation
Sign up here

The Non-Yogi view of Yoga: So far and yet so close

by Franziska Raeber

Tuesday is my yoga class day. My time out. Just me and my yoga mat and, well, a bunch of other people doing yoga in a room. An all level class, so you have the ones that go into a head stand as their ‘relaxing’ pose and the commoners like me, that just want to flop on the back and rest. Finally we all have worked through our ‘standing ovation’ poses and are down to floor work. Forward bends… who doesn’t like those, right? Well, there is always that one pose where we have our legs straight out and lean over our legs to reach for your feet and rest your head on our legs. All level means that some can reach waaaaaaaaaaaay beyond those toes. And others like me, have tremendously long legs and our arms seem T-Rex sized and resting the head on our legs is just wishful thinking. So what do you do, lift your head. Sure enough you hear that voice of your former yoga teacher Deborah in your head: “Don’t look up, don’t check on what others are doing. That will just destroy your ‘contentment’.” So you lower your head and reach for those toes. Little by little, breath by breath you can relax. Yes, I was able to hold on to my feet and what was far at the beginning felt closer the more I let go.

So here I am today: In desperate need of that box of pasta on the very top shelf in my cupboard. So far up. On my toes, arms up and I reach… still too far… inhale, exhale and I get closer I can touch it! YES! I can do this. Breath by breath, I inched closer to that box of pasta. Finally I was able to grab it! Yes, I made it! Applied Yoga 101! So cool! That very moment my son looks up from his book and says: “Mom, you should just have used the step stool.”

Conclusion: Sometimes it is hard, but trying can be worth it and sometimes you might just get the stool.

 

 

Franziska Raeber took her first yoga class in 2005 and soon join the team of Princeton Yoga as SEVA. When she moved to Florida in 2010 she couldn’t quite let go of Princeton Yoga and is now manager for all things marketing and business. Next to working and being a busy mom of three, she enjoys photography, yoga, gardening, cooking and being involved in the community.

Viki DeSalvo: Teaching with intention, purpose and prayer into movement and breath

Viki expresses the intention of yogic philosophy with the art of creative movement in her classes. She has studied Thai Massage and threads elements of hands on assists and anatomical adjustments while she teaches.

Who should come to your yoga class?

Anyone with a body and a brain. People of all shapes, sizes and experience are welcome. Whether an advanced practitioner or brand new to yoga, you will find something you can take away from the class.

What are you focusing on right now in your practice?

My focus is ever changing and transforming, the season, the weather, the energy of the students all impact a practice. In general, I have come to find intentional, controlled movement is most beneficial. Combining elements of slow moving, strengthening postures with fluid transitions.

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

That when we focus and still the waves of the mind, we can see our perfectly divine nature more clearly.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

I knew I wanted to live in service to others but was in a job that was making me unhappy. During that time, I started going to yoga regularly and fell in love. It was an escape from my reality, from my lack of direction in my life. It sparked something in me that gave me purpose. I jumped right into a teacher training and the moment I embarked on that journey in 2012, I knew that I had found my dharma (life’s work). Even in the moments when my ego crept in and I doubted myself or the path I had chosen, there was something that remained stable and unshaken. The more I rested in the deep knowing that I was living my life authentically, the more confident I felt in myself as an individual and as a teacher.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I enjoy connecting with people and witnessing the evolution of them connecting with themselves. I like knowing that yoga and bodywork have the power to alleviate people’s suffering, whether it be mental, emotional or physical. Being able to facilitate a sense of relief in the body and mind is the greatest gift.

Who are your greatest influences?

My parents who both dedicate their lives to serving others. Children have also impacted my life greatly, their innocence and bright perspective on life inspires me to celebrate simple joys.

Come and meet Viki at her weekly classes:

Fridays, 9:30 to 11:00 am Hatha (Moderate)
Fridays, 12:00 to 1:00 pm $5 Hatha (Moderate)
Sign up here

Thai Yoga Massage Privates with Viki

By appointment

Thai Yoga Bodywork is an ancient healing modality where the receiver has the opportunity to surrender as the practitioner actively stretches and mobilizes them through assisted and supported yoga-like postures. There are elements of traction, energy work, accupressure, compression and deep breathing. The practitioner uses their own body weight and leverage to create pressure and effectively support the receiver in deep muscular release. This practice is ideal for anyone who is looking for increased range of motion, enhanced flexibility and it is beneficial and gentle enough for someone with tightness, previous injury and physical limitation. Thai Yoga is done on a futon on the floor, the receiver must wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes. Come prepared and ready to relax and reconnect.

Please call (609.439.8390) or email Viki to schedule an appointment

 

 

Merry Martin: Yoga guided by Grounding and Cosmic Wisdom

After completing a Master’s in Piano Pedagogy and Performance, a desire to understand the inner workings of life led Merry to Costa Rica to pursue a YT 200 certification training. Greatly influenced by her teachers, along lineages of Hatha, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Restorative and Saraswati, Merrys belief, ‘who we are on the mat is directly related to who we are in the world’, is ever present in her teaching. Merry is a passionate student of yoga, new thought, moon-based wisdom, and the creative process. You can expect her classes to be skillfully woven with Dharma (moon-based wisdom and yogic/Buddhist philosophy), and infused with the things that inspire her most, namely, the power of a focused practice, the wisdom of nature, and the wonder of living an ordinary life lit up with the power of intention.

Merry, tell us a bit about yourself!

I love teaching others! After spending the larger part of my career teaching private piano lessons and classroom music to elementary grades k-8, now, yoga.

I first came to the mat in 2003, with Hatha. I love how asana grounds, and helps me to harmonize the inner and the outer.

I’m a natural in the kitchen and in the garden, and with most things creative. I love to cook healthy meals and eat healthy food, I love to design gardens and landscapes, and redecorate homes.

My mother was a practicing Astrologer, and so, we all grew up, ‘speaking astrology’ at home. I tagged along with my mother to her classes and enjoyed it as much as she did. I’m amazed at how this aspect of my life has come full circle and I love being able to share this part of myself with others.

Who should come to your yoga class?

Seekers who want to experience a well-balanced and nourishing journey- both physically and spiritually

What are you focusing on right now in your practice?

Lots of things, haha! I’m always wanting to be better at holding poses longer. Strengthening my core. Creating interesting sequences. Expanding my arm balance repertoire.

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

I hope to pique my students’ curiosity about the power of their focus and intention.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

I am a long-time practitioner, and whenever I am passionate about something, I always want to be the best at it, that I can be. A 200-hour, yoga teacher training seemed like the first step toward achieving that.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I love creating an experience for my students and taking them on a journey through dharma and storytelling, inside a holistic and well- balanced, physical practice.

Who are your greatest influences?

My greatest yoga influences would be my own teachers, Rae Ann Banker, Gabrielle Whitewolf, Joe Miller, and Edward Jones.
I also like Schuyler Grant, a lot. She has a very beautiful, smart, and thoughtful practice. Right now, I’m on day 11 of a 21-day challenge with her- it’s the second one that I’ve done. I always take away something new and valuable from Schuyler!
Tara Brach, Esther Hicks, and, if course, many spiritual masters (spiritual)
Frances Clark (musical)
My mother (personal)

Come and meet Merry during her weekly classes:

Tuesdays, 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm Flow (Moderate)
Thursdays, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm $5 Hatha (Gentle)
Fridays, 4:15 pm to 5:30 pm Community Class: Flow (Moderate) – By Donation
Sign up here

Daunted by Meditation? Try Eating a Raisin!

by Deborah Metzger

If the thought of meditation conjures up sitting in a lotus position for hours or chanting something unintelligible with knees screaming and legs falling asleep, let’s dispel that myth right now!

The fact is that most of us cannot sit still for even a nanosecond without time traveling in our minds – concerns about the future, or lingering thoughts about the past or that itch that comes up within seconds that just won’t quit….so, let go of any notion that you ‘can’t” meditate.

One technique that we teach at the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health (PCYH) is Mindfulness Meditation, which is really about training the mind to focus so that we can live our lives more fully. It’s about doing things and noticing that you’re doing them.

Mindfulness practices aid us in stopping and focusing our minds. Mindfulness helps you turn down all the noise in your head- the guilt, anger, doubts, and uncertainties that upset us moment to moment. It is a technique that encourages you to stop and smell the roses. Developing our ability to stop helps us reduce the amount of stress in our lives and be more available to the present moment – an opportunity to see reality as it is and to experience life in its fullness.

Though it sounds simple, mindfulness takes practice, and the longer you practice, the easier the process becomes.

We typically begin our Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness Based Habit Change (MBHC) programs at (PCYH) with a raisin eating exercise. It’s an easy introduction to the practice.

Try it now!

Take a raisin (yes, just one!) and hold it in the palm of your hand or between your finger and thumb. Imagine that you have just dropped in from Mars and have never seen an object like this.

Look at this raisin. Let your eyes explore every part of it, examine the highlights where the light shines, the darker crevasses, the folds and ridges, and any unique features.

Feel the weight of it. Turn the raisin over between your fingers. Notice its texture, its ‘topography’. Hold the raisin to your ear. Squish it a bit. Does it make a sound?

Hold the raisin beneath your nose, with each inhalation drink in any smell, aroma, or fragrance that may arise, noticing as you do this if there is anything interesting happening in your mouth or stomach.

With awareness, slowly bring the raisin up to your lips, noticing how your hand and arm know exactly how and where to position it, perhaps noticing that saliva starts to get secreted just as you bring the object towards your mouth. Gently place the object in the mouth, without chewing, noticing how it gets into the mouth in the first place. Spend a few moments exploring the sensations of having it in your mouth, exploring it with your tongue.

When you are ready, prepare to chew the raisin. Then, very consciously, take one or two bites into it and notice what happens in the aftermath, experiencing any waves of taste that emanate from it as you continue chewing. Resist the urge to swallow it. Notice the sensations of taste and texture in the mouth and how these change over time, as well as any changes in the object itself.

When you feel ready to swallow the raisin, see if you can first detect the intention to swallow as it comes up, so that even this is experienced consciously before you actually swallow the raisin.

Finally, swallow the raisin – see if you can feel the raisin going down towards your stomach and even entering your stomach. Perhaps noticing what it feels like to be one raisin heavier.

Sense how the body as a whole is feeling after completing this exercise in mindful eating. Notice your thoughts.

Notice that there is nothing magical about mindfulness. Most of us do a lot of different things when we’re eating—read, talk, watch television. Notice how slowing it down and really tasting your food helps bring you into the present moment and can really change the nature of your experience.

Often, when we do one task, we are already thinking about the next task.

So, relax, slow down. Stop and smell the roses – or taste a raisin!

About Deborah Metzger
Founder and director of the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, Deborah Metzger, is a certified 500 Hour Professional Level Kripalu Yoga teacher and certified Dharmic Yoga Teacher and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist, 500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance, and a Body-Centered Therapist trained in the Hakomi Method and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. She is a graduate of the 2 year comprehensive Hakomi training and has taken advanced Hakomi training modules. Deborah is a licensed social worker and holds an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed the Yoga of the Heart: Cardiac and Cancer Certification Training, and additional courses in Structural Yoga Therapy and Reiki, trained with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli and completed the Practicum in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program at UMass Medical Center.

Perinkulam Ramanatha (Rama): Yoga is Life. Life is Yoga.

Yoga has been a integral part of Rama Ramanathan’s life since his late teens. He truly lives and breaths yoga and he loves sharing his deep knowledge in his classes.

Who should come to my yoga class? 

Anyone wishing to meet the goals they have set for themselves; it could be “discovering one’s true potential,”  overcoming stress in life; how to face life’s challenges; how to attain calmness,  to improve one’s physical and mental health; or to discover the true purpose of yoga, and so on.

My classes are suitable for all ages and levels.

As a big picture, what do I hope to teach my students?

That the application of yoga is universal.   Yoga empowers one to reach asana siddhi (mastery of postures) and thereby facilitates body stillness thus aiding meditation.  Yoga takes one beyond the physical into the subtle and spiritual.  It is a path to freedom from misery.  Yoga is far beyond any dogma or doctrine.  It is the perfect system of self-development.  Yoga can be as gentle as you want it to be. It is not the performance of magical feats.  Neither is yoga a religious cult.  Ultimately, yoga is founded on true science.  Truly yoga is the experience of oneness with the true Reality.

What inspired me to become a yoga teacher?

I became passionate about yoga ever since my uncle taught me when I was 16 years of age.  After spending a few years practicing yoga, I found it invigorating and I thought by becoming a yoga teacher I will also help others and at the same time understand the deeper aspects of yoga.

What do I enjoy most about teaching yoga?

When I find that a student by attending regularly has improved considerably in his practice as well as in his demeanor and well being, it is a great satisfaction.  A few students who learned under me have become yoga teachers and are contributing to society.

What are my greatest influences?

I received a letter from Swami Sivananda when I was 16 years of age and in it he accepted me as his disciple.  Then later on I was able to meet his senior disciple and Guru Swami Vishnu Devananda who founded the Sivananda Yoga in North America.  I also had the opportunity to study under great masters of yoga who include the late 125 year old Swami Bua and  Srivatsa Ramaswami, who spent 33 years studying under Guru T. Krishnamacharya.

What is my favorite yoga pose and why?

Sirsasana –  This is the king of all yoga poses with a great deal of benefits. My teacher Srivatsa Ramaswami, and many other yogis, say that gravity and increased blood flow to the head benefit the brain, aiding memory and increasing the intellect. The pose is also meant to slow the breathing, giving a sedative effect that might cure insomnia. Famed yogi BKS Iyengar claims headstand can ease tonsillitis, bad breath and constipation.

Come and meet Rama at his weekly classes:

Mondays
10:00 am – 11:15 am Yoga for Complete Health & Peace
11:00 am – 11:45 am Beyond Asana: Pranayama and Meditation
Sign up here

The Non-Yogi view of Yoga: So far and yet so close

by Franziska Raeber

Tuesday is my yoga class day. My time out. Just me and my yoga mat and, well, a bunch of other people doing yoga in a room. An all level class, so you have the ones that go into a head stand as their ‘relaxing’ pose and the commoners like me, that just want to flop on the back and rest. Finally we all have worked through our ‘standing ovation’ poses and are down to floor work. Forward bends… who doesn’t like those, right? Well, there is always that one pose where we have our legs straight out and lean over our legs to reach for your feet and rest your head on our legs. All level means that some can reach waaaaaaaaaaaay beyond those toes. And others like me, have tremendously long legs and our arms seem T-Rex sized and resting the head on our legs is just wishful thinking. So what do you do, lift your head. Sure enough you hear that voice of your former yoga teacher Deborah in your head: “Don’t look up, don’t check on what others are doing. That will just destroy your ‘contentment’.” So you lower your head and reach for those toes. Little by little, breath by breath you can relax. Yes, I was able to hold on to my feet and what was far at the beginning felt closer the more I let go.

So here I am today: In desperate need of that box of pasta on the very top shelf in my cupboard. So far up. On my toes, arms up and I reach… still too far… inhale, exhale and I get closer I can touch it! YES! I can do this. Breath by breath, I inched closer to that box of pasta. Finally I was able to grab it! Yes, I made it! Applied Yoga 101! So cool! That very moment my son looks up from his book and says: “Mom, you should just have used the step stool.”

Conclusion: Sometimes it is hard, but trying can be worth it and sometimes you might just get the stool.

 

 

Franziska Raeber took her first yoga class in 2005 and soon join the team of Princeton Yoga as SEVA. When she moved to Florida in 2010 she couldn’t quite let go of Princeton Yoga and is now manager for all things marketing and business. Next to working and being a busy mom of three, she enjoys photography, yoga, gardening, cooking and being involved in the community.

Viki DeSalvo: Teaching with intention, purpose and prayer into movement and breath

Viki expresses the intention of yogic philosophy with the art of creative movement in her classes. She has studied Thai Massage and threads elements of hands on assists and anatomical adjustments while she teaches.

Who should come to your yoga class?

Anyone with a body and a brain. People of all shapes, sizes and experience are welcome. Whether an advanced practitioner or brand new to yoga, you will find something you can take away from the class.

What are you focusing on right now in your practice?

My focus is ever changing and transforming, the season, the weather, the energy of the students all impact a practice. In general, I have come to find intentional, controlled movement is most beneficial. Combining elements of slow moving, strengthening postures with fluid transitions.

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

That when we focus and still the waves of the mind, we can see our perfectly divine nature more clearly.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

I knew I wanted to live in service to others but was in a job that was making me unhappy. During that time, I started going to yoga regularly and fell in love. It was an escape from my reality, from my lack of direction in my life. It sparked something in me that gave me purpose. I jumped right into a teacher training and the moment I embarked on that journey in 2012, I knew that I had found my dharma (life’s work). Even in the moments when my ego crept in and I doubted myself or the path I had chosen, there was something that remained stable and unshaken. The more I rested in the deep knowing that I was living my life authentically, the more confident I felt in myself as an individual and as a teacher.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I enjoy connecting with people and witnessing the evolution of them connecting with themselves. I like knowing that yoga and bodywork have the power to alleviate people’s suffering, whether it be mental, emotional or physical. Being able to facilitate a sense of relief in the body and mind is the greatest gift.

Who are your greatest influences?

My parents who both dedicate their lives to serving others. Children have also impacted my life greatly, their innocence and bright perspective on life inspires me to celebrate simple joys.

Come and meet Viki at her weekly classes:

Fridays, 9:30 to 11:00 am Hatha (Moderate)
Fridays, 12:00 to 1:00 pm $5 Hatha (Moderate)
Sign up here

Thai Yoga Massage Privates with Viki

By appointment

Thai Yoga Bodywork is an ancient healing modality where the receiver has the opportunity to surrender as the practitioner actively stretches and mobilizes them through assisted and supported yoga-like postures. There are elements of traction, energy work, accupressure, compression and deep breathing. The practitioner uses their own body weight and leverage to create pressure and effectively support the receiver in deep muscular release. This practice is ideal for anyone who is looking for increased range of motion, enhanced flexibility and it is beneficial and gentle enough for someone with tightness, previous injury and physical limitation. Thai Yoga is done on a futon on the floor, the receiver must wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes. Come prepared and ready to relax and reconnect.

Please call (609.439.8390) or email Viki to schedule an appointment

 

 

Merry Martin: Yoga guided by Grounding and Cosmic Wisdom

After completing a Master’s in Piano Pedagogy and Performance, a desire to understand the inner workings of life led Merry to Costa Rica to pursue a YT 200 certification training. Greatly influenced by her teachers, along lineages of Hatha, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Restorative and Saraswati, Merrys belief, ‘who we are on the mat is directly related to who we are in the world’, is ever present in her teaching. Merry is a passionate student of yoga, new thought, moon-based wisdom, and the creative process. You can expect her classes to be skillfully woven with Dharma (moon-based wisdom and yogic/Buddhist philosophy), and infused with the things that inspire her most, namely, the power of a focused practice, the wisdom of nature, and the wonder of living an ordinary life lit up with the power of intention.

Merry, tell us a bit about yourself!

I love teaching others! After spending the larger part of my career teaching private piano lessons and classroom music to elementary grades k-8, now, yoga.

I first came to the mat in 2003, with Hatha. I love how asana grounds, and helps me to harmonize the inner and the outer.

I’m a natural in the kitchen and in the garden, and with most things creative. I love to cook healthy meals and eat healthy food, I love to design gardens and landscapes, and redecorate homes.

My mother was a practicing Astrologer, and so, we all grew up, ‘speaking astrology’ at home. I tagged along with my mother to her classes and enjoyed it as much as she did. I’m amazed at how this aspect of my life has come full circle and I love being able to share this part of myself with others.

Who should come to your yoga class?

Seekers who want to experience a well-balanced and nourishing journey- both physically and spiritually

What are you focusing on right now in your practice?

Lots of things, haha! I’m always wanting to be better at holding poses longer. Strengthening my core. Creating interesting sequences. Expanding my arm balance repertoire.

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

I hope to pique my students’ curiosity about the power of their focus and intention.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

I am a long-time practitioner, and whenever I am passionate about something, I always want to be the best at it, that I can be. A 200-hour, yoga teacher training seemed like the first step toward achieving that.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I love creating an experience for my students and taking them on a journey through dharma and storytelling, inside a holistic and well- balanced, physical practice.

Who are your greatest influences?

My greatest yoga influences would be my own teachers, Rae Ann Banker, Gabrielle Whitewolf, Joe Miller, and Edward Jones.
I also like Schuyler Grant, a lot. She has a very beautiful, smart, and thoughtful practice. Right now, I’m on day 11 of a 21-day challenge with her- it’s the second one that I’ve done. I always take away something new and valuable from Schuyler!
Tara Brach, Esther Hicks, and, if course, many spiritual masters (spiritual)
Frances Clark (musical)
My mother (personal)

Come and meet Merry during her weekly classes:

Tuesdays, 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm Flow (Moderate)
Thursdays, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm $5 Hatha (Gentle)
Fridays, 4:15 pm to 5:30 pm Community Class: Flow (Moderate) – By Donation
Sign up here

Daunted by Meditation? Try Eating a Raisin!

by Deborah Metzger

If the thought of meditation conjures up sitting in a lotus position for hours or chanting something unintelligible with knees screaming and legs falling asleep, let’s dispel that myth right now!

The fact is that most of us cannot sit still for even a nanosecond without time traveling in our minds – concerns about the future, or lingering thoughts about the past or that itch that comes up within seconds that just won’t quit….so, let go of any notion that you ‘can’t” meditate.

One technique that we teach at the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health (PCYH) is Mindfulness Meditation, which is really about training the mind to focus so that we can live our lives more fully. It’s about doing things and noticing that you’re doing them.

Mindfulness practices aid us in stopping and focusing our minds. Mindfulness helps you turn down all the noise in your head- the guilt, anger, doubts, and uncertainties that upset us moment to moment. It is a technique that encourages you to stop and smell the roses. Developing our ability to stop helps us reduce the amount of stress in our lives and be more available to the present moment – an opportunity to see reality as it is and to experience life in its fullness.

Though it sounds simple, mindfulness takes practice, and the longer you practice, the easier the process becomes.

We typically begin our Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness Based Habit Change (MBHC) programs at (PCYH) with a raisin eating exercise. It’s an easy introduction to the practice.

Try it now!

Take a raisin (yes, just one!) and hold it in the palm of your hand or between your finger and thumb. Imagine that you have just dropped in from Mars and have never seen an object like this.

Look at this raisin. Let your eyes explore every part of it, examine the highlights where the light shines, the darker crevasses, the folds and ridges, and any unique features.

Feel the weight of it. Turn the raisin over between your fingers. Notice its texture, its ‘topography’. Hold the raisin to your ear. Squish it a bit. Does it make a sound?

Hold the raisin beneath your nose, with each inhalation drink in any smell, aroma, or fragrance that may arise, noticing as you do this if there is anything interesting happening in your mouth or stomach.

With awareness, slowly bring the raisin up to your lips, noticing how your hand and arm know exactly how and where to position it, perhaps noticing that saliva starts to get secreted just as you bring the object towards your mouth. Gently place the object in the mouth, without chewing, noticing how it gets into the mouth in the first place. Spend a few moments exploring the sensations of having it in your mouth, exploring it with your tongue.

When you are ready, prepare to chew the raisin. Then, very consciously, take one or two bites into it and notice what happens in the aftermath, experiencing any waves of taste that emanate from it as you continue chewing. Resist the urge to swallow it. Notice the sensations of taste and texture in the mouth and how these change over time, as well as any changes in the object itself.

When you feel ready to swallow the raisin, see if you can first detect the intention to swallow as it comes up, so that even this is experienced consciously before you actually swallow the raisin.

Finally, swallow the raisin – see if you can feel the raisin going down towards your stomach and even entering your stomach. Perhaps noticing what it feels like to be one raisin heavier.

Sense how the body as a whole is feeling after completing this exercise in mindful eating. Notice your thoughts.

Notice that there is nothing magical about mindfulness. Most of us do a lot of different things when we’re eating—read, talk, watch television. Notice how slowing it down and really tasting your food helps bring you into the present moment and can really change the nature of your experience.

Often, when we do one task, we are already thinking about the next task.

So, relax, slow down. Stop and smell the roses – or taste a raisin!

About Deborah Metzger
Founder and director of the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, Deborah Metzger, is a certified 500 Hour Professional Level Kripalu Yoga teacher and certified Dharmic Yoga Teacher and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist, 500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance, and a Body-Centered Therapist trained in the Hakomi Method and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. She is a graduate of the 2 year comprehensive Hakomi training and has taken advanced Hakomi training modules. Deborah is a licensed social worker and holds an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed the Yoga of the Heart: Cardiac and Cancer Certification Training, and additional courses in Structural Yoga Therapy and Reiki, trained with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli and completed the Practicum in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program at UMass Medical Center.

Perinkulam Ramanatha (Rama): Yoga is Life. Life is Yoga.

Yoga has been a integral part of Rama Ramanathan’s life since his late teens. He truly lives and breaths yoga and he loves sharing his deep knowledge in his classes.

Who should come to my yoga class? 

Anyone wishing to meet the goals they have set for themselves; it could be “discovering one’s true potential,”  overcoming stress in life; how to face life’s challenges; how to attain calmness,  to improve one’s physical and mental health; or to discover the true purpose of yoga, and so on.

My classes are suitable for all ages and levels.

As a big picture, what do I hope to teach my students?

That the application of yoga is universal.   Yoga empowers one to reach asana siddhi (mastery of postures) and thereby facilitates body stillness thus aiding meditation.  Yoga takes one beyond the physical into the subtle and spiritual.  It is a path to freedom from misery.  Yoga is far beyond any dogma or doctrine.  It is the perfect system of self-development.  Yoga can be as gentle as you want it to be. It is not the performance of magical feats.  Neither is yoga a religious cult.  Ultimately, yoga is founded on true science.  Truly yoga is the experience of oneness with the true Reality.

What inspired me to become a yoga teacher?

I became passionate about yoga ever since my uncle taught me when I was 16 years of age.  After spending a few years practicing yoga, I found it invigorating and I thought by becoming a yoga teacher I will also help others and at the same time understand the deeper aspects of yoga.

What do I enjoy most about teaching yoga?

When I find that a student by attending regularly has improved considerably in his practice as well as in his demeanor and well being, it is a great satisfaction.  A few students who learned under me have become yoga teachers and are contributing to society.

What are my greatest influences?

I received a letter from Swami Sivananda when I was 16 years of age and in it he accepted me as his disciple.  Then later on I was able to meet his senior disciple and Guru Swami Vishnu Devananda who founded the Sivananda Yoga in North America.  I also had the opportunity to study under great masters of yoga who include the late 125 year old Swami Bua and  Srivatsa Ramaswami, who spent 33 years studying under Guru T. Krishnamacharya.

What is my favorite yoga pose and why?

Sirsasana –  This is the king of all yoga poses with a great deal of benefits. My teacher Srivatsa Ramaswami, and many other yogis, say that gravity and increased blood flow to the head benefit the brain, aiding memory and increasing the intellect. The pose is also meant to slow the breathing, giving a sedative effect that might cure insomnia. Famed yogi BKS Iyengar claims headstand can ease tonsillitis, bad breath and constipation.

Come and meet Rama at his weekly classes:

Mondays
10:00 am – 11:15 am Yoga for Complete Health & Peace
11:00 am – 11:45 am Beyond Asana: Pranayama and Meditation
Sign up here

The Non-Yogi view of Yoga: So far and yet so close

by Franziska Raeber

Tuesday is my yoga class day. My time out. Just me and my yoga mat and, well, a bunch of other people doing yoga in a room. An all level class, so you have the ones that go into a head stand as their ‘relaxing’ pose and the commoners like me, that just want to flop on the back and rest. Finally we all have worked through our ‘standing ovation’ poses and are down to floor work. Forward bends… who doesn’t like those, right? Well, there is always that one pose where we have our legs straight out and lean over our legs to reach for your feet and rest your head on our legs. All level means that some can reach waaaaaaaaaaaay beyond those toes. And others like me, have tremendously long legs and our arms seem T-Rex sized and resting the head on our legs is just wishful thinking. So what do you do, lift your head. Sure enough you hear that voice of your former yoga teacher Deborah in your head: “Don’t look up, don’t check on what others are doing. That will just destroy your ‘contentment’.” So you lower your head and reach for those toes. Little by little, breath by breath you can relax. Yes, I was able to hold on to my feet and what was far at the beginning felt closer the more I let go.

So here I am today: In desperate need of that box of pasta on the very top shelf in my cupboard. So far up. On my toes, arms up and I reach… still too far… inhale, exhale and I get closer I can touch it! YES! I can do this. Breath by breath, I inched closer to that box of pasta. Finally I was able to grab it! Yes, I made it! Applied Yoga 101! So cool! That very moment my son looks up from his book and says: “Mom, you should just have used the step stool.”

Conclusion: Sometimes it is hard, but trying can be worth it and sometimes you might just get the stool.

 

 

Franziska Raeber took her first yoga class in 2005 and soon join the team of Princeton Yoga as SEVA. When she moved to Florida in 2010 she couldn’t quite let go of Princeton Yoga and is now manager for all things marketing and business. Next to working and being a busy mom of three, she enjoys photography, yoga, gardening, cooking and being involved in the community.

Viki DeSalvo: Teaching with intention, purpose and prayer into movement and breath

Viki expresses the intention of yogic philosophy with the art of creative movement in her classes. She has studied Thai Massage and threads elements of hands on assists and anatomical adjustments while she teaches.

Who should come to your yoga class?

Anyone with a body and a brain. People of all shapes, sizes and experience are welcome. Whether an advanced practitioner or brand new to yoga, you will find something you can take away from the class.

What are you focusing on right now in your practice?

My focus is ever changing and transforming, the season, the weather, the energy of the students all impact a practice. In general, I have come to find intentional, controlled movement is most beneficial. Combining elements of slow moving, strengthening postures with fluid transitions.

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

That when we focus and still the waves of the mind, we can see our perfectly divine nature more clearly.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

I knew I wanted to live in service to others but was in a job that was making me unhappy. During that time, I started going to yoga regularly and fell in love. It was an escape from my reality, from my lack of direction in my life. It sparked something in me that gave me purpose. I jumped right into a teacher training and the moment I embarked on that journey in 2012, I knew that I had found my dharma (life’s work). Even in the moments when my ego crept in and I doubted myself or the path I had chosen, there was something that remained stable and unshaken. The more I rested in the deep knowing that I was living my life authentically, the more confident I felt in myself as an individual and as a teacher.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I enjoy connecting with people and witnessing the evolution of them connecting with themselves. I like knowing that yoga and bodywork have the power to alleviate people’s suffering, whether it be mental, emotional or physical. Being able to facilitate a sense of relief in the body and mind is the greatest gift.

Who are your greatest influences?

My parents who both dedicate their lives to serving others. Children have also impacted my life greatly, their innocence and bright perspective on life inspires me to celebrate simple joys.

Come and meet Viki at her weekly classes:

Fridays, 9:30 to 11:00 am Hatha (Moderate)
Fridays, 12:00 to 1:00 pm $5 Hatha (Moderate)
Sign up here

Thai Yoga Massage Privates with Viki

By appointment

Thai Yoga Bodywork is an ancient healing modality where the receiver has the opportunity to surrender as the practitioner actively stretches and mobilizes them through assisted and supported yoga-like postures. There are elements of traction, energy work, accupressure, compression and deep breathing. The practitioner uses their own body weight and leverage to create pressure and effectively support the receiver in deep muscular release. This practice is ideal for anyone who is looking for increased range of motion, enhanced flexibility and it is beneficial and gentle enough for someone with tightness, previous injury and physical limitation. Thai Yoga is done on a futon on the floor, the receiver must wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes. Come prepared and ready to relax and reconnect.

Please call (609.439.8390) or email Viki to schedule an appointment