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Skillman, NJ 08558
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News about yoga, health, stress management, mindfulness – featuring Princeton Center for Yoga and Health

New Year’s Resolutions are you in or out?

Resolutions Humans have been making – and breaking – New Year’s Resolutions for thousands of years. Improvements in health are perennial favorites: losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising more, and taking time for relaxation, are likely to top many people’s lists.

Unfortunately, research and surveys show that a small minority of resolutions last even one month. According to Deborah Metzger, Director of the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, the problem is not in the resolutions themselves, but in our mindsets as we make them.

Metzger explained that – from a yogic lens, most people make three serious errors as they set their resolutions. First, they judge themselves harshly. This leads to the second error, choosing unattainable goals. They magnify the gap between where they are and where they want to be. That causes the third error, thinking that the only way they can climb such a tall mountain is by beating themselves up until they reach the top.

So inspired by this understanding regarding the challenges associated with resolutions, fail we came up with a list of 31 items to inspire you a or to simply explore a new perspectives. Call it a trail of resolutions. Make some choices and see what happens!

Follow us on Facebook for your daily ‘Resolution Inspiration’ all they way to the end of January! Or read them all here.

  1. Start Somewhere

The New Year stands before us like a fresh chapter in a book. What will you write for the next chapter of your life? It’s entirely up to you.

Thought about starting a list of resolutions? Why not? Not all at once, but one at a time. Follow us for the next 31 days as we give you some inspiration on how you can fill the 2018 chapter with new, old, simple, complicated, easy, hard resolutions to make 2018 a special one.

So let’s start somewhere. Right here. Right now. Nowhere else just here. So for today set the intention to start somewhere. Just the set the intention!

  1. Say Your Oms.

Say OOOOOOOOOOOO MMMMMMMMMMMM and feel the vibrations. Close your eyes and say it again. OOOOOOOOOOO MMMMMMMMM. Guess what you just did a quick meditation.

Taking up meditation will help you to reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, and even improve your ability to concentrate.

Need a place to start or want to learn more?  Check out our Mindfulness-Based Programs at Princeton Center for Yoga and Health:

https://princetonyoga.com/mindfulness/

  1. Learn something new

What have you always wanted to learn to do? Do you want to learn to play an instrument, code, knit, whittle? The possibilities are endless. Take advantage of all of the information that exists out there on how to learn new skills. Get inspired to try something new.

Applied to yoga this can be as simple as choosing a yoga pose or better yet, choose that practice and resolve to approach it with ‘beginners’ mind’. Talk to your yoga teacher and ask her/him to give you tips and options to move toward your goal.

  1. Take one deep breath

A breathing exercise for calming both the nervous system and the overworked mind is a timed breath where the exhale is longer than the inhale – so that your exhale is even a few counts longer than your inhale.

Start with 2 counts in, and 4 counts out, with a one count pause at the top of the inhale and a one count pause at the bottom of the exhale.

Try it! Right now, before a speech, entering a meeting, at a traffic light or as a calming exercise after work, see what happens. Just one deliberate breath!

  1. Laugh

Laughter is great medicine. It helps you reduce stress, lower blood pressure, even boost your antibodies. It can be a workout. Can’t make it to the gym? Try watching/reading something funny and just laugh. And finally who can resist a good laugh and who doesn’t like to see someone laughing?

  1. Play a game

Play is an important source of relaxation and stimulation for kids AND adults. In addition, it can make you more creative and productive. Bring more play into your life and discover your playful and maybe your competitive side! So bring out a board game and find a friend to play with.

  1. Pick Up a Hobby.

Did you know that having a hobby is good for you? Hobbies can lower your stress levels, boost your brain power, improve your ability to focus, and more.

How about Yoga? Need a place to start! Check out our schedule – or not sure where to start, contact us!

  1. Make a healthy choice

Pick the apple instead of the chips. . Park the car further away and walk. Take the bike or stairs.  Try it once a day. One conscious healthy choice a day, worth a try, right?.

  1. Move More

It doesn’t matter what you choose to do: join a sports team; get a pedometer and take at least 10,000 steps a day; get up every 20 minutes and stretch; or join a dance class, start a yoga practice. Just move!

Think of the following quote from the movie “Madagascar“: “Move it nice and sweet and sassy, alright!”

  1. Read

One of the benefits of reading is that it’s one of the activities that produces the state of flow. When you’re fully engrossed in a book, all of your attention is placed on its pages. This means that there’s no attention left over to listen to the little voice in your head, which is absolutely blissful.

Psychologists believe this is because the distraction of being taken into a book’s world eases the tension in muscles and the heart. Cognitive neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis, who conducted the research, said: “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation.”

Reading is a lot more than just a pleasant pastime. Reading sharpens comprehension, teaches your mind to focus, and improves your vocabulary. It also boosts your brain power: just like jogging gives your body a workout, reading gives your brain workout.

Furthermore, studies show that reading can reduce stress by 69%. Since reading also helps you sleep better, a good time to practice this hobby is right before bedtime.

Check out your local library. Many now have online books so there is always a great book just a couple clicks away.

  1. Be Grateful.

Did you know that studies have shown that gratitude can make you 25% happier? Being grateful will also help you to overcome adversity, improve the quality of your sleep, and allow you to get along better with others. For next year, resolve to be more grateful. Try once a day to pick something for which you are grateful. Write it down, take a picture… so by the end of the year you can revisit and you might realize that often the smallest things/actions have the greatest impact.

  1. Do it now.

What is it? This only something you will know. But here is a clue: it is what you keep putting off till tomorrow, or next week, or next year…. Just do it now.

  1. Call someone and just say hi!

With all the many ways we can connect with someone, we often don’t just call and say hi. So why not do it today. Pick someone whose voice you would like to hear and just say hi and that you are thinking of them.

  1. Spend More Time In Nature.

Humans were not made to be cooped up inside all day. Spending time in nature makes you happier, it boosts your immune system, and it even makes you more creative. Instead of eating your lunch at the desk choose to go outside and sit on a bench. Take a walk and listen. 15 minutes stroll through a forest can be your meditation. Skip the tread mill and go for a run in your local park.

  1. Don’t rush

There are days you might feel that you are always behind and are playing catch up. Let this not be one of them. Try deliberately to not over schedule yourself. Leave 5 minutes before you intended to go. Not rushing, means you are less stressed and maybe even have time for more than just a “hi”.

  1. Enjoy the Little Things.

Living life to the fullest doesn’t just mean setting big goals like going bungee jumping or learning to scuba dive. It also includes learning to enjoy the little things. That is, learning to appreciate life’s simple pleasures, such as the following:

  • Going outside at night to look at the stars.
  • Going to a pet shop to “ooh” and “aah” at the puppies and kittens.
  • Walking barefoot in the grass.
  1. Bring More Peace Into Your Life.

Who couldn’t use some more peace in their life? Mainly inner peace and serenity is what we all need and desire. Aim to bring more peace into your life by accepting what is, practicing non-judgement, and teaching your mind to become still. Set this intention for today.

Sounds too ambitious? Need some more guidance on how? Check out Princeton Yoga’s Mindfulness-Based Programs:

https://princetonyoga.com/mindfulness/

  1. Be Kinder to Yourself.

You may not be able to control how kind other people are to you, but you can always control how kind you are to yourself. Give yourself some credit. Believe in yourself. And treat yourself with respect and be kind to yourself. All too often we are ours own worst critics. Time to appreciate yourself!

  1. Be positive.

Having a positive attitude opens your mind to new possibilities, it makes you more resilient, and it can even help you to live longer. Take a moment to consciously greet this day with smile and resolve to stay positive, no matter what happens.

 

  1. Tell joke

Remember a few good jokes. Everyone loves to laugh. Having a few good jokes up your sleeve can help break the ice when you meet new people.

Need some inspiration? Look up online or here some of our favorite yoga jokes (yes yogis can tell jokes too):

Q: Why didn’t the yogi buy the vacuum cleaner?
A: It came with too many attachments!

Q: What do Yoga meditation and an apple peeler have in common?
A: They both take you to the core.

Q: What do Yoga meditation and a fudge cake have in common?
A: They each bring you a piece or peace of heaven.

In yoga, it’s just one thing after another — breath, breath, breath

  1. Tame Your Monkey Mind

Life isn’t easy when there’s a monkey in your head. Especially if that monkey won’t stop screeching and jumping uncontrollably from one branch to another. Taming your monkey mind is to know that it is possible to do so. Your thoughts don’t rule you. You don’t have to believe them or react to them. Acknowledge the thoughts, but don’t let them become loud or wander into ‘bad neighborhoods’.

Yoga and Mindfulness are great practices to learn to tame you monkey mind.

  1. Keep a Journal

Journaling is a powerful life tool. It can help you to organize your thoughts, plan how to achieve your goals, and get in touch with your true feelings and wants – or simply see and affirm the progress you’ve made. While handwriting your journal can also serve as a meditation practice, with today’s technology a journal can take on different forms. For example take a picture every day that represents that day, in form of an activity, a dream, goal, or feeling.

  1. Put yourself in a timeout

Today, set aside 30 minutes of nothing. Turn off the phone, the TV, the computer. Lock your door, and go to a quiet place and just be. Don’t try to meditate, but just sit and see what kind of thoughts come to your mind, don’t judge, just sit, be in a timeout. You might be surprised where your thoughts wander, what ideas come to your mind.

  1. Go on a journey.

Plan a vacation, trip, retreat. Plan to see something close by that you haven’t seen before (example: that park that you pass every day on your commute). Visit a country/place you’ve always wanted to see. Plan a time away to learn a new skill, be adventurous or just relax.

Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose, increase your self-esteem, and make you happier. Once or regularly, contact a local organization and see how you can help.

  1. Grow Something. 

Gardening is a surprisingly beneficial hobby. There’s the obvious benefit of growing your own fruits and vegetables, as well as pretty flowers, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It also does all of the following for you:

  • It reduces your levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone.
  • Nurturing a plant from seed to fruit-bearing reinforces your ability to cause positive change in the world.
  • Studies show that gardening reduces incidence of dementia by 36%.
  • Gardening allows you to be outside and you can reconnect with nature.
  1. Cook

Reacquaint Yourself With Your Kitchen. Studies show that those who cook their meals at home are healthier and live longer than those who regularly eat out.  When you pick out your own food at the grocery store, you tend to buy less processed foods, less sugary foods, and less fat. Instead, you make healthier food choices (and can help you save money as well).

  1. Treasure a memory

Flip through your pictures and pick one that you truly treasure. Share it with your friends and tell them why that moment was special to you. Honoring our past, (no comma) lets us live in the today and makes us hopeful and excited for the future.

  1. Meet someone new.

When we get stuck in a rut, we usually end up staying at home most of the time, missing out on a lot of interesting opportunities for networking and having fun. Meeting new people can be beneficial to your mental well-being and help your career, so don’t be afraid to get out there and make some friends. Overcome your shyness, get some knowledge and go and get to know new and interesting people.

  1. Be kind

Being kind will make you feel happier, doesn’t cost a cent and it is contagious. In making others feel good, you inspire them to want to do something kind for you or for someone else.  When you commit a kind act, those around you will take note and your kindness can have a ripple effect. Start that ripple now by being kind to those around you.

  1. Look back and smile

The month comes to end. And now our resolutions have either failed or are well on their way. Knowing that no matter how big or small that resolution is/was trying to change isn’t easy, but always worth a try. !

And, remember, you are always in a position to make a course correction – so perhaps modify some of those resolutions into more bite-size pieces or ones you know would be more do-able!

Visit our blog if you are looking for simple ideas to make a change in your life, in a non-judgmental and laid back way.

But for now: Look back, smile and march into 2018! May we all be happy, healthy, kind and come together to make this world more peaceful!

Press Release: Princeton Center for Yoga & Health Hosts Labyrinth Program Marking 21 Years

(Skillman, NJ) On Saturday, October 14 (1:00 – 3:00 pm) Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, (Princeton Yoga) 88 Orchard Road, Skillman, welcomes Deborah Ketter, a certified Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator for a special program – Step into the Labyrinth and stoke the Fire of Creativity. Participants will be guided to create their own finger labyrinth, stoking the fires of creativity by first walking the labyrinth together as a group. Fee is $35/$30 if pre-paid by 10/12/2017.

What is a labyrinth?  The labyrinth is an ancient symbol seen in cultures around the globe. Exactly when it became a walking path is a bit of a mystery, but today they are popping up in schools, hospitals, community centers, and places of worship world-wide. 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.

Says Deborah: “We are all endowed with a certain fire at birth. Call it soul, talent or genius. If you stoke it, it flourishes, though you may never know the secret from where it came. Long before the Labyrinth was a walking meditation it was seen as a symbol, its identity unknown. There is speculation that a small carving on an ancient tomb might have been a finger labyrinth placed for the deceased to use as a map to find a way back after reincarnation. Other carvings seen on cave walls may have been finger labyrinths meant to be traced.”

In speaking about the impetus for creating the labyrinth at Princeton Yoga, Director Deborah Metzger notes: “This year marks our 21st anniversary of the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health. My early vision for the Center was to create a haven for people to follow their unique path to health, well-being and self-actualization. As Maslow taught, this need for self-actualization does not always follow a standard progression. Part of my vision for the Center included having a labyrinth (initially metaphorical) as a way to support people on their path. Though it seems that one meanders along the circular walking pattern, the labyrinth has one path which leads to the Center. In fact, one of our early ‘tag lines’ was Find your center at the Center. This year (now fully settled into our new home, a scenic 5-acre campus at 88 Orchard Road, Skillman), seemed the perfect time to bring the labyrinth into being.

“In contemplating the labyrinth, one phrase which came to me again and again was -”Not all those who wander are lost.” ~J. R. R. Tolkien.  There is no right way or wrong way to walk the labyrinth. You make a choice to go in, go around and around its circuits, yet always find your way to the Center. For some, it represents a journey to our own center, a meandering but purposeful path that always leads back out into the world. A perfect metaphor!”

“I searched for someone to help with its implementation and found a Kripalu colleague, Deborah Ketter, who is a certified, advanced Veriditas labyrinth facilitator, Kripalu Yoga teacher and artist. She and I together choose and modified a classical 7 circuit design to allow for extra gathering space in the center and came up with a plan to make it so. She completed the project beautifully with heart and intention – from initial layout/measuring, finding organic materials like the stone and mulch, recruiting the people to help build it and together, with some of our teachers, students and volunteers, worked for days in the hot sun yielding the what you now see. We envision adding additional landscaping and other features to the project (benches, found objects and the like) over time – this too will grow organically as there is no rush and no “ending” to the circular path!”

REGISTER HERE FOR Step into the Labyrinth and stoke the Fire of Creativity

About Deborah Ketter, BFA, E-RYT 500, is a certified, advanced Veriditas labyrinth facilitator, Kripalu Yoga teacher and artist. She presents nationwide, including Kripalu, North America’s largest yoga training center, and has been building labyrinths and facilitating labyrinth walks at yoga studios, schools, community centers and hospitals for 15 years. Trained by Lauren Artress at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Debbie also studied labyrinth design with master builder Robert Ferre. As a yoga teacher, she uses a creative and therapeutic approach to teach the art and science of yoga, with a focus on guided relaxation. www.deborahketter.com

Princeton Yoga is the Greater Princeton area’s first and longest running yoga Center. Now at 88 Orchard Road, a bucolic 5-acre campus and its third home in Montgomery, the Center is known for its innovative programs, charitable classes, offerings for all ages, levels of fitness, busy schedules and budgets  – featuring local talent and nationally acclaimed yoga educators and special guests.  Free parking. Schedule and details can be found at www.princetonyoga.com or by calling 609-924-7294. The labyrinth is open to the public during regular business hours. In honor of the Center’s anniversary, new visitors are welcome to sample classes with a $20 for 20 days’ unlimited class pass

The Non-Yogi view of Yoga: I am a ‘Yogi’

Part of our series “People of Princeton Yoga” we asked students, teachers and employees to write some of their thoughts on yoga. Meet Franziska Raeber, she has been part of what we call the ‘experiment of Princeton Yoga’ since 2005. First as student and as SEVA, later as manager for all things marketing and business. Even after she moved to Florida in 2010, she remains part of our team.

“So this is me…  Marketing Manager for Princeton Yoga. But not a Yogi. My only yoga qualification is to like yoga. I am neither a yoga teacher nor vegan nor do I practice yoga/meditation daily. Nope, I am just person that works from home, handles 3 grade schoolers, chases after way too many pets, gets engaged in excessive amount of committees/projects and tries hard not to fall asleep before the kids do… Yoga is more often NOT on my mind than on it. But still I believe I am a ‘Yogi’.

Yoga has been part of my life for over 12 years. I have always attended classes, some I really liked and some I choose never to go back to. To be able to represent ‘my’ Princeton Yoga Center I do read or come across loads of articles about yoga, what it is, what it is not, with goats, beer, heavy metal, standing, lying down etc. I admire all the dedicated yogis that are passionate about their practice and I applaud them for their dedication of living the yogic life. Often I hear my thoughts whispering: “You should do/be that!” But then I face my real and often chaotic life and know that meeting those lofty goals isn’t me. But still I think I am in my own way a ‘Yogi’.

This morning while I was walking my dogs, I challenged myself to write up for fun my thoughts on how yoga is part of my life, off the mat … in my life. Write those thoughts down out of the perspective of one of those yoga students that only shows up to class once a week, can’t do any fancy poses and is far from elegant while holding any pose and couldn’t repeat a Sanskrit word if her life depended on it. Well someone like me!

Taking on this challenge feels like doing that crow pose in last week’s class, I knew how it was supposed to look, but then my knees wouldn’t want to go on the elbows and my mind told me that I will fall flat on my nose… and still I tried and yes I failed, but I intend to try again and so here I am writing my first blog. I am taking my practice off the mat and even if I fall flat on my nose I am trying this. Yes, my life is Yoga and I am Yogi.”

Check in and follow the thoughts of a Non-Yogi talking about Yoga or not.

Franziska Raeber has been part of Princeton Yoga since 2005. Today she manages Princeton Yoga’s marketing, website and contracts all the way from Gainesville FL.

There from the Beginning: Shelly Yedlin

As we continue our series of “People of Princeton Yoga” we like to introduce Shelly Yedlin. In 1999 – 21 years ago – she was one of our very first students and to date we love seeing her walk through our doors.

“In 1999, when I decided to begin a yoga practice, there was virtually only one center in the Princeton area offering it. PCYH was located off Route 206 near the airport at that time. A larger studio in a nearby location followed shortly thereafter, until PCYH landed at its current, beautiful campus. It has been exciting to watch the changes and growth of the studio, and also of it’s expanding roster of teachers, classes and workshops.

One of the best attributes of PCYH, in addition to the calming, welcoming and attractive environment, is that the teachers and classes are experienced and varied enough to provide a class for all types of students. Classes are open to everyone, and it’s always exciting to have a student walk into a class for the very first time. A beginner can place their mat next to a seasoned practitioner and feel confident that they are in a safe and inviting place.

Although the classes, interests and backgrounds of the teachers are varied, there are a few common and salient themes that run through every session at PCYH. No matter what type of yoga you are practicing, as one of my teachers likes to say, “Your breath is the soundtrack to your yoga practice.” Whether you find yourself in a restorative, gentle, moderate or challenging flow class, you will be encouraged to start from where you are, and to practice with compassion.

Like many, I came to yoga in part to seek physical and emotional healing. Several years after I began my practice, I underwent open heart surgery to repair a congenital valve problem. Another physical challenge presented itself later on. When I was finally able to return to PCYH, I was encouraged to begin anew with gentle classes. I found as I regained my strength, I was rather quickly able to incorporate more moderate classes. I learned to relax into, and enjoy the concept of, “beginner’s mind.” 

I recently learned that I will soon need to undergo a second open heart surgery, this time to deal with a related cardiac issue. My teachers are working with me to stay strong and healthy—the best way to enter into any type of surgery or demanding situation. Moreover, I find that my almost daily attendance at PCYH, reminds me that the key to peace of mind is to stay in the present moment, one inhale and one exhale at a time. Another teacher suggests, “Breathe in what you envision for your life, breathe out that which does not serve you.” During meditation in a recent class, a new mantra came to mind—“I am a warrior, not a worrier.” 

If you are like me, you realize that there is much in this world that is out of our control. Especially in these times of division, incivility and uncertainty, it is wonderful to have a place that offers a way toward expressions of unity, kindness and gratitude. It is liberating to work with the idea that the only thing we can be sure of is the present moment.  A longtime PCYH teacher says that yoga is not a workOUT, but a workIN. At PCYH, there is always an opportunity to explore the union of mind, body and spirit, and to discover how that can be shared with others both on and off the mat.”

Alisa Rose: Yoga to integrate body, mind and heart

Alisa was classically trained and certified as a yoga teacher in India at the Vivekananda Ashram. She has been continuing her extensive studies in the US, integrating modern bio-mechanics and tantric philosophy into her teachings. Through alignment cues, breath awareness and philosophy her nurturing classes provide a deep connection to the sanctuary within.

Who should come to your yoga class?

Everyone is welcome, classes combine Asana (poses), with Pranayama (breathwork) and Meditation. Our Yoga practice is a sanctuary and safe place.

What are you focusing on right now in your practice?

Classes mostly restore, nourishing to body and spirit. I enjoy poetic metaphors inspired by mythology and chanting mantras: the Arts and travel also inspire me and I share my passions with students. Meditation, has always been essential to my daily practice.

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

That no matter the range of motion – when the body heart and mind are in alignment – a deep sense of peace is experienced.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

My first experience of yoga was in London in 1988. I was on a break from a 3 year performing arts conservatory at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. Spontaneously, I visited Ananda Ashram where I first encountered Sri Brahmananda Saraswati. It was this powerful meeting that propelled me to dedicate myself to the science and practice of yoga. In 1996 I traveled to India where I lived for almost a year intensely training at the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Ashram SVYASA.

I completed my dissertation and certification in Yoga Therapy in 1997 by working with participants who enrolled in the Ashrams Arogyadhama Health Care Center. This center is a holistic research base in tune with traditional holistic health care by yoga therapy and modern medicine for the treatment of stress related ailments. For several years I was the director of yoga at the Chakra Institute in the US and Europe, where I studied chakra psychology, mantra and meditation for over a decade. I co led pre-dawn sadhana and 3x yearly 5 day silent purification retreats. It was an honor to counsel participants through this delicate process and witness a process of self recognition. Yearly visits to temples and places of pilgrimage in India were part of this lifestyle. From 2008-2012, I trained extensively in the US studying biomechanics and tantric philosophy. I am an E-RYT 500 registered with Yoga Alliance. Engaging in an adventure of selfdiscovery –yoga– and experiencing the psychospiritual benefits of the practices, inspired me to teach and help others.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

It is the privilege of a lifetime to share teachings that have been life transforming to me. It is inspiring to see people all lit up, consciously working toward freedom. Being fully present so I can best serve.

Who are your greatest influences?

The power of revelation and silence.

Coming Soon with Alisa Rose:

Yoga and Meditation Retreat: Return to Center

Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm – Register Now
Our Return To Center day will include a gentle asana class followed by a walking meditation practice. These practices will help prepare us for a led seated mindful meditation practice. Mindful meditation has been scientifically proven to restructure the brain and trains it to concentrate, feel greater compassion, cope with stress and more. Afterwards the class will be dedicated to restorative yoga which deeply nourishes the nervous system and invites deep relaxation to the body.
REGISTER NOW

Alisa teaches the following weekly classes:

Hatha (Gentle): Slow paced with less weight-bearing postures
Thursdays, 10:30 to 11:45 am

Hatha (Moderate): Medium pace with fairly long holds for each pose.
Saturdays, 10:15 to 11:45 am

REGISTER HERE

New Year’s Resolutions are you in or out?

Resolutions Humans have been making – and breaking – New Year’s Resolutions for thousands of years. Improvements in health are perennial favorites: losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising more, and taking time for relaxation, are likely to top many people’s lists.

Unfortunately, research and surveys show that a small minority of resolutions last even one month. According to Deborah Metzger, Director of the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, the problem is not in the resolutions themselves, but in our mindsets as we make them.

Metzger explained that – from a yogic lens, most people make three serious errors as they set their resolutions. First, they judge themselves harshly. This leads to the second error, choosing unattainable goals. They magnify the gap between where they are and where they want to be. That causes the third error, thinking that the only way they can climb such a tall mountain is by beating themselves up until they reach the top.

So inspired by this understanding regarding the challenges associated with resolutions, fail we came up with a list of 31 items to inspire you a or to simply explore a new perspectives. Call it a trail of resolutions. Make some choices and see what happens!

Follow us on Facebook for your daily ‘Resolution Inspiration’ all they way to the end of January! Or read them all here.

  1. Start Somewhere

The New Year stands before us like a fresh chapter in a book. What will you write for the next chapter of your life? It’s entirely up to you.

Thought about starting a list of resolutions? Why not? Not all at once, but one at a time. Follow us for the next 31 days as we give you some inspiration on how you can fill the 2018 chapter with new, old, simple, complicated, easy, hard resolutions to make 2018 a special one.

So let’s start somewhere. Right here. Right now. Nowhere else just here. So for today set the intention to start somewhere. Just the set the intention!

  1. Say Your Oms.

Say OOOOOOOOOOOO MMMMMMMMMMMM and feel the vibrations. Close your eyes and say it again. OOOOOOOOOOO MMMMMMMMM. Guess what you just did a quick meditation.

Taking up meditation will help you to reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, and even improve your ability to concentrate.

Need a place to start or want to learn more?  Check out our Mindfulness-Based Programs at Princeton Center for Yoga and Health:

https://princetonyoga.com/mindfulness/

  1. Learn something new

What have you always wanted to learn to do? Do you want to learn to play an instrument, code, knit, whittle? The possibilities are endless. Take advantage of all of the information that exists out there on how to learn new skills. Get inspired to try something new.

Applied to yoga this can be as simple as choosing a yoga pose or better yet, choose that practice and resolve to approach it with ‘beginners’ mind’. Talk to your yoga teacher and ask her/him to give you tips and options to move toward your goal.

  1. Take one deep breath

A breathing exercise for calming both the nervous system and the overworked mind is a timed breath where the exhale is longer than the inhale – so that your exhale is even a few counts longer than your inhale.

Start with 2 counts in, and 4 counts out, with a one count pause at the top of the inhale and a one count pause at the bottom of the exhale.

Try it! Right now, before a speech, entering a meeting, at a traffic light or as a calming exercise after work, see what happens. Just one deliberate breath!

  1. Laugh

Laughter is great medicine. It helps you reduce stress, lower blood pressure, even boost your antibodies. It can be a workout. Can’t make it to the gym? Try watching/reading something funny and just laugh. And finally who can resist a good laugh and who doesn’t like to see someone laughing?

  1. Play a game

Play is an important source of relaxation and stimulation for kids AND adults. In addition, it can make you more creative and productive. Bring more play into your life and discover your playful and maybe your competitive side! So bring out a board game and find a friend to play with.

  1. Pick Up a Hobby.

Did you know that having a hobby is good for you? Hobbies can lower your stress levels, boost your brain power, improve your ability to focus, and more.

How about Yoga? Need a place to start! Check out our schedule – or not sure where to start, contact us!

  1. Make a healthy choice

Pick the apple instead of the chips. . Park the car further away and walk. Take the bike or stairs.  Try it once a day. One conscious healthy choice a day, worth a try, right?.

  1. Move More

It doesn’t matter what you choose to do: join a sports team; get a pedometer and take at least 10,000 steps a day; get up every 20 minutes and stretch; or join a dance class, start a yoga practice. Just move!

Think of the following quote from the movie “Madagascar“: “Move it nice and sweet and sassy, alright!”

  1. Read

One of the benefits of reading is that it’s one of the activities that produces the state of flow. When you’re fully engrossed in a book, all of your attention is placed on its pages. This means that there’s no attention left over to listen to the little voice in your head, which is absolutely blissful.

Psychologists believe this is because the distraction of being taken into a book’s world eases the tension in muscles and the heart. Cognitive neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis, who conducted the research, said: “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation.”

Reading is a lot more than just a pleasant pastime. Reading sharpens comprehension, teaches your mind to focus, and improves your vocabulary. It also boosts your brain power: just like jogging gives your body a workout, reading gives your brain workout.

Furthermore, studies show that reading can reduce stress by 69%. Since reading also helps you sleep better, a good time to practice this hobby is right before bedtime.

Check out your local library. Many now have online books so there is always a great book just a couple clicks away.

  1. Be Grateful.

Did you know that studies have shown that gratitude can make you 25% happier? Being grateful will also help you to overcome adversity, improve the quality of your sleep, and allow you to get along better with others. For next year, resolve to be more grateful. Try once a day to pick something for which you are grateful. Write it down, take a picture… so by the end of the year you can revisit and you might realize that often the smallest things/actions have the greatest impact.

  1. Do it now.

What is it? This only something you will know. But here is a clue: it is what you keep putting off till tomorrow, or next week, or next year…. Just do it now.

  1. Call someone and just say hi!

With all the many ways we can connect with someone, we often don’t just call and say hi. So why not do it today. Pick someone whose voice you would like to hear and just say hi and that you are thinking of them.

  1. Spend More Time In Nature.

Humans were not made to be cooped up inside all day. Spending time in nature makes you happier, it boosts your immune system, and it even makes you more creative. Instead of eating your lunch at the desk choose to go outside and sit on a bench. Take a walk and listen. 15 minutes stroll through a forest can be your meditation. Skip the tread mill and go for a run in your local park.

  1. Don’t rush

There are days you might feel that you are always behind and are playing catch up. Let this not be one of them. Try deliberately to not over schedule yourself. Leave 5 minutes before you intended to go. Not rushing, means you are less stressed and maybe even have time for more than just a “hi”.

  1. Enjoy the Little Things.

Living life to the fullest doesn’t just mean setting big goals like going bungee jumping or learning to scuba dive. It also includes learning to enjoy the little things. That is, learning to appreciate life’s simple pleasures, such as the following:

  • Going outside at night to look at the stars.
  • Going to a pet shop to “ooh” and “aah” at the puppies and kittens.
  • Walking barefoot in the grass.
  1. Bring More Peace Into Your Life.

Who couldn’t use some more peace in their life? Mainly inner peace and serenity is what we all need and desire. Aim to bring more peace into your life by accepting what is, practicing non-judgement, and teaching your mind to become still. Set this intention for today.

Sounds too ambitious? Need some more guidance on how? Check out Princeton Yoga’s Mindfulness-Based Programs:

https://princetonyoga.com/mindfulness/

  1. Be Kinder to Yourself.

You may not be able to control how kind other people are to you, but you can always control how kind you are to yourself. Give yourself some credit. Believe in yourself. And treat yourself with respect and be kind to yourself. All too often we are ours own worst critics. Time to appreciate yourself!

  1. Be positive.

Having a positive attitude opens your mind to new possibilities, it makes you more resilient, and it can even help you to live longer. Take a moment to consciously greet this day with smile and resolve to stay positive, no matter what happens.

 

  1. Tell joke

Remember a few good jokes. Everyone loves to laugh. Having a few good jokes up your sleeve can help break the ice when you meet new people.

Need some inspiration? Look up online or here some of our favorite yoga jokes (yes yogis can tell jokes too):

Q: Why didn’t the yogi buy the vacuum cleaner?
A: It came with too many attachments!

Q: What do Yoga meditation and an apple peeler have in common?
A: They both take you to the core.

Q: What do Yoga meditation and a fudge cake have in common?
A: They each bring you a piece or peace of heaven.

In yoga, it’s just one thing after another — breath, breath, breath

  1. Tame Your Monkey Mind

Life isn’t easy when there’s a monkey in your head. Especially if that monkey won’t stop screeching and jumping uncontrollably from one branch to another. Taming your monkey mind is to know that it is possible to do so. Your thoughts don’t rule you. You don’t have to believe them or react to them. Acknowledge the thoughts, but don’t let them become loud or wander into ‘bad neighborhoods’.

Yoga and Mindfulness are great practices to learn to tame you monkey mind.

  1. Keep a Journal

Journaling is a powerful life tool. It can help you to organize your thoughts, plan how to achieve your goals, and get in touch with your true feelings and wants – or simply see and affirm the progress you’ve made. While handwriting your journal can also serve as a meditation practice, with today’s technology a journal can take on different forms. For example take a picture every day that represents that day, in form of an activity, a dream, goal, or feeling.

  1. Put yourself in a timeout

Today, set aside 30 minutes of nothing. Turn off the phone, the TV, the computer. Lock your door, and go to a quiet place and just be. Don’t try to meditate, but just sit and see what kind of thoughts come to your mind, don’t judge, just sit, be in a timeout. You might be surprised where your thoughts wander, what ideas come to your mind.

  1. Go on a journey.

Plan a vacation, trip, retreat. Plan to see something close by that you haven’t seen before (example: that park that you pass every day on your commute). Visit a country/place you’ve always wanted to see. Plan a time away to learn a new skill, be adventurous or just relax.

Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose, increase your self-esteem, and make you happier. Once or regularly, contact a local organization and see how you can help.

  1. Grow Something. 

Gardening is a surprisingly beneficial hobby. There’s the obvious benefit of growing your own fruits and vegetables, as well as pretty flowers, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It also does all of the following for you:

  • It reduces your levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone.
  • Nurturing a plant from seed to fruit-bearing reinforces your ability to cause positive change in the world.
  • Studies show that gardening reduces incidence of dementia by 36%.
  • Gardening allows you to be outside and you can reconnect with nature.
  1. Cook

Reacquaint Yourself With Your Kitchen. Studies show that those who cook their meals at home are healthier and live longer than those who regularly eat out.  When you pick out your own food at the grocery store, you tend to buy less processed foods, less sugary foods, and less fat. Instead, you make healthier food choices (and can help you save money as well).

  1. Treasure a memory

Flip through your pictures and pick one that you truly treasure. Share it with your friends and tell them why that moment was special to you. Honoring our past, (no comma) lets us live in the today and makes us hopeful and excited for the future.

  1. Meet someone new.

When we get stuck in a rut, we usually end up staying at home most of the time, missing out on a lot of interesting opportunities for networking and having fun. Meeting new people can be beneficial to your mental well-being and help your career, so don’t be afraid to get out there and make some friends. Overcome your shyness, get some knowledge and go and get to know new and interesting people.

  1. Be kind

Being kind will make you feel happier, doesn’t cost a cent and it is contagious. In making others feel good, you inspire them to want to do something kind for you or for someone else.  When you commit a kind act, those around you will take note and your kindness can have a ripple effect. Start that ripple now by being kind to those around you.

  1. Look back and smile

The month comes to end. And now our resolutions have either failed or are well on their way. Knowing that no matter how big or small that resolution is/was trying to change isn’t easy, but always worth a try. !

And, remember, you are always in a position to make a course correction – so perhaps modify some of those resolutions into more bite-size pieces or ones you know would be more do-able!

Visit our blog if you are looking for simple ideas to make a change in your life, in a non-judgmental and laid back way.

But for now: Look back, smile and march into 2018! May we all be happy, healthy, kind and come together to make this world more peaceful!

Press Release: Princeton Center for Yoga & Health Hosts Labyrinth Program Marking 21 Years

(Skillman, NJ) On Saturday, October 14 (1:00 – 3:00 pm) Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, (Princeton Yoga) 88 Orchard Road, Skillman, welcomes Deborah Ketter, a certified Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator for a special program – Step into the Labyrinth and stoke the Fire of Creativity. Participants will be guided to create their own finger labyrinth, stoking the fires of creativity by first walking the labyrinth together as a group. Fee is $35/$30 if pre-paid by 10/12/2017.

What is a labyrinth?  The labyrinth is an ancient symbol seen in cultures around the globe. Exactly when it became a walking path is a bit of a mystery, but today they are popping up in schools, hospitals, community centers, and places of worship world-wide. 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.

Says Deborah: “We are all endowed with a certain fire at birth. Call it soul, talent or genius. If you stoke it, it flourishes, though you may never know the secret from where it came. Long before the Labyrinth was a walking meditation it was seen as a symbol, its identity unknown. There is speculation that a small carving on an ancient tomb might have been a finger labyrinth placed for the deceased to use as a map to find a way back after reincarnation. Other carvings seen on cave walls may have been finger labyrinths meant to be traced.”

In speaking about the impetus for creating the labyrinth at Princeton Yoga, Director Deborah Metzger notes: “This year marks our 21st anniversary of the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health. My early vision for the Center was to create a haven for people to follow their unique path to health, well-being and self-actualization. As Maslow taught, this need for self-actualization does not always follow a standard progression. Part of my vision for the Center included having a labyrinth (initially metaphorical) as a way to support people on their path. Though it seems that one meanders along the circular walking pattern, the labyrinth has one path which leads to the Center. In fact, one of our early ‘tag lines’ was Find your center at the Center. This year (now fully settled into our new home, a scenic 5-acre campus at 88 Orchard Road, Skillman), seemed the perfect time to bring the labyrinth into being.

“In contemplating the labyrinth, one phrase which came to me again and again was -”Not all those who wander are lost.” ~J. R. R. Tolkien.  There is no right way or wrong way to walk the labyrinth. You make a choice to go in, go around and around its circuits, yet always find your way to the Center. For some, it represents a journey to our own center, a meandering but purposeful path that always leads back out into the world. A perfect metaphor!”

“I searched for someone to help with its implementation and found a Kripalu colleague, Deborah Ketter, who is a certified, advanced Veriditas labyrinth facilitator, Kripalu Yoga teacher and artist. She and I together choose and modified a classical 7 circuit design to allow for extra gathering space in the center and came up with a plan to make it so. She completed the project beautifully with heart and intention – from initial layout/measuring, finding organic materials like the stone and mulch, recruiting the people to help build it and together, with some of our teachers, students and volunteers, worked for days in the hot sun yielding the what you now see. We envision adding additional landscaping and other features to the project (benches, found objects and the like) over time – this too will grow organically as there is no rush and no “ending” to the circular path!”

REGISTER HERE FOR Step into the Labyrinth and stoke the Fire of Creativity

About Deborah Ketter, BFA, E-RYT 500, is a certified, advanced Veriditas labyrinth facilitator, Kripalu Yoga teacher and artist. She presents nationwide, including Kripalu, North America’s largest yoga training center, and has been building labyrinths and facilitating labyrinth walks at yoga studios, schools, community centers and hospitals for 15 years. Trained by Lauren Artress at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Debbie also studied labyrinth design with master builder Robert Ferre. As a yoga teacher, she uses a creative and therapeutic approach to teach the art and science of yoga, with a focus on guided relaxation. www.deborahketter.com

Princeton Yoga is the Greater Princeton area’s first and longest running yoga Center. Now at 88 Orchard Road, a bucolic 5-acre campus and its third home in Montgomery, the Center is known for its innovative programs, charitable classes, offerings for all ages, levels of fitness, busy schedules and budgets  – featuring local talent and nationally acclaimed yoga educators and special guests.  Free parking. Schedule and details can be found at www.princetonyoga.com or by calling 609-924-7294. The labyrinth is open to the public during regular business hours. In honor of the Center’s anniversary, new visitors are welcome to sample classes with a $20 for 20 days’ unlimited class pass

The Non-Yogi view of Yoga: I am a ‘Yogi’

Part of our series “People of Princeton Yoga” we asked students, teachers and employees to write some of their thoughts on yoga. Meet Franziska Raeber, she has been part of what we call the ‘experiment of Princeton Yoga’ since 2005. First as student and as SEVA, later as manager for all things marketing and business. Even after she moved to Florida in 2010, she remains part of our team.

“So this is me…  Marketing Manager for Princeton Yoga. But not a Yogi. My only yoga qualification is to like yoga. I am neither a yoga teacher nor vegan nor do I practice yoga/meditation daily. Nope, I am just person that works from home, handles 3 grade schoolers, chases after way too many pets, gets engaged in excessive amount of committees/projects and tries hard not to fall asleep before the kids do… Yoga is more often NOT on my mind than on it. But still I believe I am a ‘Yogi’.

Yoga has been part of my life for over 12 years. I have always attended classes, some I really liked and some I choose never to go back to. To be able to represent ‘my’ Princeton Yoga Center I do read or come across loads of articles about yoga, what it is, what it is not, with goats, beer, heavy metal, standing, lying down etc. I admire all the dedicated yogis that are passionate about their practice and I applaud them for their dedication of living the yogic life. Often I hear my thoughts whispering: “You should do/be that!” But then I face my real and often chaotic life and know that meeting those lofty goals isn’t me. But still I think I am in my own way a ‘Yogi’.

This morning while I was walking my dogs, I challenged myself to write up for fun my thoughts on how yoga is part of my life, off the mat … in my life. Write those thoughts down out of the perspective of one of those yoga students that only shows up to class once a week, can’t do any fancy poses and is far from elegant while holding any pose and couldn’t repeat a Sanskrit word if her life depended on it. Well someone like me!

Taking on this challenge feels like doing that crow pose in last week’s class, I knew how it was supposed to look, but then my knees wouldn’t want to go on the elbows and my mind told me that I will fall flat on my nose… and still I tried and yes I failed, but I intend to try again and so here I am writing my first blog. I am taking my practice off the mat and even if I fall flat on my nose I am trying this. Yes, my life is Yoga and I am Yogi.”

Check in and follow the thoughts of a Non-Yogi talking about Yoga or not.

Franziska Raeber has been part of Princeton Yoga since 2005. Today she manages Princeton Yoga’s marketing, website and contracts all the way from Gainesville FL.

There from the Beginning: Shelly Yedlin

As we continue our series of “People of Princeton Yoga” we like to introduce Shelly Yedlin. In 1999 – 21 years ago – she was one of our very first students and to date we love seeing her walk through our doors.

“In 1999, when I decided to begin a yoga practice, there was virtually only one center in the Princeton area offering it. PCYH was located off Route 206 near the airport at that time. A larger studio in a nearby location followed shortly thereafter, until PCYH landed at its current, beautiful campus. It has been exciting to watch the changes and growth of the studio, and also of it’s expanding roster of teachers, classes and workshops.

One of the best attributes of PCYH, in addition to the calming, welcoming and attractive environment, is that the teachers and classes are experienced and varied enough to provide a class for all types of students. Classes are open to everyone, and it’s always exciting to have a student walk into a class for the very first time. A beginner can place their mat next to a seasoned practitioner and feel confident that they are in a safe and inviting place.

Although the classes, interests and backgrounds of the teachers are varied, there are a few common and salient themes that run through every session at PCYH. No matter what type of yoga you are practicing, as one of my teachers likes to say, “Your breath is the soundtrack to your yoga practice.” Whether you find yourself in a restorative, gentle, moderate or challenging flow class, you will be encouraged to start from where you are, and to practice with compassion.

Like many, I came to yoga in part to seek physical and emotional healing. Several years after I began my practice, I underwent open heart surgery to repair a congenital valve problem. Another physical challenge presented itself later on. When I was finally able to return to PCYH, I was encouraged to begin anew with gentle classes. I found as I regained my strength, I was rather quickly able to incorporate more moderate classes. I learned to relax into, and enjoy the concept of, “beginner’s mind.” 

I recently learned that I will soon need to undergo a second open heart surgery, this time to deal with a related cardiac issue. My teachers are working with me to stay strong and healthy—the best way to enter into any type of surgery or demanding situation. Moreover, I find that my almost daily attendance at PCYH, reminds me that the key to peace of mind is to stay in the present moment, one inhale and one exhale at a time. Another teacher suggests, “Breathe in what you envision for your life, breathe out that which does not serve you.” During meditation in a recent class, a new mantra came to mind—“I am a warrior, not a worrier.” 

If you are like me, you realize that there is much in this world that is out of our control. Especially in these times of division, incivility and uncertainty, it is wonderful to have a place that offers a way toward expressions of unity, kindness and gratitude. It is liberating to work with the idea that the only thing we can be sure of is the present moment.  A longtime PCYH teacher says that yoga is not a workOUT, but a workIN. At PCYH, there is always an opportunity to explore the union of mind, body and spirit, and to discover how that can be shared with others both on and off the mat.”

Alisa Rose: Yoga to integrate body, mind and heart

Alisa was classically trained and certified as a yoga teacher in India at the Vivekananda Ashram. She has been continuing her extensive studies in the US, integrating modern bio-mechanics and tantric philosophy into her teachings. Through alignment cues, breath awareness and philosophy her nurturing classes provide a deep connection to the sanctuary within.

Who should come to your yoga class?

Everyone is welcome, classes combine Asana (poses), with Pranayama (breathwork) and Meditation. Our Yoga practice is a sanctuary and safe place.

What are you focusing on right now in your practice?

Classes mostly restore, nourishing to body and spirit. I enjoy poetic metaphors inspired by mythology and chanting mantras: the Arts and travel also inspire me and I share my passions with students. Meditation, has always been essential to my daily practice.

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

That no matter the range of motion – when the body heart and mind are in alignment – a deep sense of peace is experienced.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

My first experience of yoga was in London in 1988. I was on a break from a 3 year performing arts conservatory at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. Spontaneously, I visited Ananda Ashram where I first encountered Sri Brahmananda Saraswati. It was this powerful meeting that propelled me to dedicate myself to the science and practice of yoga. In 1996 I traveled to India where I lived for almost a year intensely training at the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Ashram SVYASA.

I completed my dissertation and certification in Yoga Therapy in 1997 by working with participants who enrolled in the Ashrams Arogyadhama Health Care Center. This center is a holistic research base in tune with traditional holistic health care by yoga therapy and modern medicine for the treatment of stress related ailments. For several years I was the director of yoga at the Chakra Institute in the US and Europe, where I studied chakra psychology, mantra and meditation for over a decade. I co led pre-dawn sadhana and 3x yearly 5 day silent purification retreats. It was an honor to counsel participants through this delicate process and witness a process of self recognition. Yearly visits to temples and places of pilgrimage in India were part of this lifestyle. From 2008-2012, I trained extensively in the US studying biomechanics and tantric philosophy. I am an E-RYT 500 registered with Yoga Alliance. Engaging in an adventure of selfdiscovery –yoga– and experiencing the psychospiritual benefits of the practices, inspired me to teach and help others.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

It is the privilege of a lifetime to share teachings that have been life transforming to me. It is inspiring to see people all lit up, consciously working toward freedom. Being fully present so I can best serve.

Who are your greatest influences?

The power of revelation and silence.

Coming Soon with Alisa Rose:

Yoga and Meditation Retreat: Return to Center

Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm – Register Now
Our Return To Center day will include a gentle asana class followed by a walking meditation practice. These practices will help prepare us for a led seated mindful meditation practice. Mindful meditation has been scientifically proven to restructure the brain and trains it to concentrate, feel greater compassion, cope with stress and more. Afterwards the class will be dedicated to restorative yoga which deeply nourishes the nervous system and invites deep relaxation to the body.
REGISTER NOW

Alisa teaches the following weekly classes:

Hatha (Gentle): Slow paced with less weight-bearing postures
Thursdays, 10:30 to 11:45 am

Hatha (Moderate): Medium pace with fairly long holds for each pose.
Saturdays, 10:15 to 11:45 am

REGISTER HERE

New Year’s Resolutions are you in or out?

Resolutions Humans have been making – and breaking – New Year’s Resolutions for thousands of years. Improvements in health are perennial favorites: losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising more, and taking time for relaxation, are likely to top many people’s lists.

Unfortunately, research and surveys show that a small minority of resolutions last even one month. According to Deborah Metzger, Director of the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, the problem is not in the resolutions themselves, but in our mindsets as we make them.

Metzger explained that – from a yogic lens, most people make three serious errors as they set their resolutions. First, they judge themselves harshly. This leads to the second error, choosing unattainable goals. They magnify the gap between where they are and where they want to be. That causes the third error, thinking that the only way they can climb such a tall mountain is by beating themselves up until they reach the top.

So inspired by this understanding regarding the challenges associated with resolutions, fail we came up with a list of 31 items to inspire you a or to simply explore a new perspectives. Call it a trail of resolutions. Make some choices and see what happens!

Follow us on Facebook for your daily ‘Resolution Inspiration’ all they way to the end of January! Or read them all here.

  1. Start Somewhere

The New Year stands before us like a fresh chapter in a book. What will you write for the next chapter of your life? It’s entirely up to you.

Thought about starting a list of resolutions? Why not? Not all at once, but one at a time. Follow us for the next 31 days as we give you some inspiration on how you can fill the 2018 chapter with new, old, simple, complicated, easy, hard resolutions to make 2018 a special one.

So let’s start somewhere. Right here. Right now. Nowhere else just here. So for today set the intention to start somewhere. Just the set the intention!

  1. Say Your Oms.

Say OOOOOOOOOOOO MMMMMMMMMMMM and feel the vibrations. Close your eyes and say it again. OOOOOOOOOOO MMMMMMMMM. Guess what you just did a quick meditation.

Taking up meditation will help you to reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, and even improve your ability to concentrate.

Need a place to start or want to learn more?  Check out our Mindfulness-Based Programs at Princeton Center for Yoga and Health:

https://princetonyoga.com/mindfulness/

  1. Learn something new

What have you always wanted to learn to do? Do you want to learn to play an instrument, code, knit, whittle? The possibilities are endless. Take advantage of all of the information that exists out there on how to learn new skills. Get inspired to try something new.

Applied to yoga this can be as simple as choosing a yoga pose or better yet, choose that practice and resolve to approach it with ‘beginners’ mind’. Talk to your yoga teacher and ask her/him to give you tips and options to move toward your goal.

  1. Take one deep breath

A breathing exercise for calming both the nervous system and the overworked mind is a timed breath where the exhale is longer than the inhale – so that your exhale is even a few counts longer than your inhale.

Start with 2 counts in, and 4 counts out, with a one count pause at the top of the inhale and a one count pause at the bottom of the exhale.

Try it! Right now, before a speech, entering a meeting, at a traffic light or as a calming exercise after work, see what happens. Just one deliberate breath!

  1. Laugh

Laughter is great medicine. It helps you reduce stress, lower blood pressure, even boost your antibodies. It can be a workout. Can’t make it to the gym? Try watching/reading something funny and just laugh. And finally who can resist a good laugh and who doesn’t like to see someone laughing?

  1. Play a game

Play is an important source of relaxation and stimulation for kids AND adults. In addition, it can make you more creative and productive. Bring more play into your life and discover your playful and maybe your competitive side! So bring out a board game and find a friend to play with.

  1. Pick Up a Hobby.

Did you know that having a hobby is good for you? Hobbies can lower your stress levels, boost your brain power, improve your ability to focus, and more.

How about Yoga? Need a place to start! Check out our schedule – or not sure where to start, contact us!

  1. Make a healthy choice

Pick the apple instead of the chips. . Park the car further away and walk. Take the bike or stairs.  Try it once a day. One conscious healthy choice a day, worth a try, right?.

  1. Move More

It doesn’t matter what you choose to do: join a sports team; get a pedometer and take at least 10,000 steps a day; get up every 20 minutes and stretch; or join a dance class, start a yoga practice. Just move!

Think of the following quote from the movie “Madagascar“: “Move it nice and sweet and sassy, alright!”

  1. Read

One of the benefits of reading is that it’s one of the activities that produces the state of flow. When you’re fully engrossed in a book, all of your attention is placed on its pages. This means that there’s no attention left over to listen to the little voice in your head, which is absolutely blissful.

Psychologists believe this is because the distraction of being taken into a book’s world eases the tension in muscles and the heart. Cognitive neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis, who conducted the research, said: “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation.”

Reading is a lot more than just a pleasant pastime. Reading sharpens comprehension, teaches your mind to focus, and improves your vocabulary. It also boosts your brain power: just like jogging gives your body a workout, reading gives your brain workout.

Furthermore, studies show that reading can reduce stress by 69%. Since reading also helps you sleep better, a good time to practice this hobby is right before bedtime.

Check out your local library. Many now have online books so there is always a great book just a couple clicks away.

  1. Be Grateful.

Did you know that studies have shown that gratitude can make you 25% happier? Being grateful will also help you to overcome adversity, improve the quality of your sleep, and allow you to get along better with others. For next year, resolve to be more grateful. Try once a day to pick something for which you are grateful. Write it down, take a picture… so by the end of the year you can revisit and you might realize that often the smallest things/actions have the greatest impact.

  1. Do it now.

What is it? This only something you will know. But here is a clue: it is what you keep putting off till tomorrow, or next week, or next year…. Just do it now.

  1. Call someone and just say hi!

With all the many ways we can connect with someone, we often don’t just call and say hi. So why not do it today. Pick someone whose voice you would like to hear and just say hi and that you are thinking of them.

  1. Spend More Time In Nature.

Humans were not made to be cooped up inside all day. Spending time in nature makes you happier, it boosts your immune system, and it even makes you more creative. Instead of eating your lunch at the desk choose to go outside and sit on a bench. Take a walk and listen. 15 minutes stroll through a forest can be your meditation. Skip the tread mill and go for a run in your local park.

  1. Don’t rush

There are days you might feel that you are always behind and are playing catch up. Let this not be one of them. Try deliberately to not over schedule yourself. Leave 5 minutes before you intended to go. Not rushing, means you are less stressed and maybe even have time for more than just a “hi”.

  1. Enjoy the Little Things.

Living life to the fullest doesn’t just mean setting big goals like going bungee jumping or learning to scuba dive. It also includes learning to enjoy the little things. That is, learning to appreciate life’s simple pleasures, such as the following:

  • Going outside at night to look at the stars.
  • Going to a pet shop to “ooh” and “aah” at the puppies and kittens.
  • Walking barefoot in the grass.
  1. Bring More Peace Into Your Life.

Who couldn’t use some more peace in their life? Mainly inner peace and serenity is what we all need and desire. Aim to bring more peace into your life by accepting what is, practicing non-judgement, and teaching your mind to become still. Set this intention for today.

Sounds too ambitious? Need some more guidance on how? Check out Princeton Yoga’s Mindfulness-Based Programs:

https://princetonyoga.com/mindfulness/

  1. Be Kinder to Yourself.

You may not be able to control how kind other people are to you, but you can always control how kind you are to yourself. Give yourself some credit. Believe in yourself. And treat yourself with respect and be kind to yourself. All too often we are ours own worst critics. Time to appreciate yourself!

  1. Be positive.

Having a positive attitude opens your mind to new possibilities, it makes you more resilient, and it can even help you to live longer. Take a moment to consciously greet this day with smile and resolve to stay positive, no matter what happens.

 

  1. Tell joke

Remember a few good jokes. Everyone loves to laugh. Having a few good jokes up your sleeve can help break the ice when you meet new people.

Need some inspiration? Look up online or here some of our favorite yoga jokes (yes yogis can tell jokes too):

Q: Why didn’t the yogi buy the vacuum cleaner?
A: It came with too many attachments!

Q: What do Yoga meditation and an apple peeler have in common?
A: They both take you to the core.

Q: What do Yoga meditation and a fudge cake have in common?
A: They each bring you a piece or peace of heaven.

In yoga, it’s just one thing after another — breath, breath, breath

  1. Tame Your Monkey Mind

Life isn’t easy when there’s a monkey in your head. Especially if that monkey won’t stop screeching and jumping uncontrollably from one branch to another. Taming your monkey mind is to know that it is possible to do so. Your thoughts don’t rule you. You don’t have to believe them or react to them. Acknowledge the thoughts, but don’t let them become loud or wander into ‘bad neighborhoods’.

Yoga and Mindfulness are great practices to learn to tame you monkey mind.

  1. Keep a Journal

Journaling is a powerful life tool. It can help you to organize your thoughts, plan how to achieve your goals, and get in touch with your true feelings and wants – or simply see and affirm the progress you’ve made. While handwriting your journal can also serve as a meditation practice, with today’s technology a journal can take on different forms. For example take a picture every day that represents that day, in form of an activity, a dream, goal, or feeling.

  1. Put yourself in a timeout

Today, set aside 30 minutes of nothing. Turn off the phone, the TV, the computer. Lock your door, and go to a quiet place and just be. Don’t try to meditate, but just sit and see what kind of thoughts come to your mind, don’t judge, just sit, be in a timeout. You might be surprised where your thoughts wander, what ideas come to your mind.

  1. Go on a journey.

Plan a vacation, trip, retreat. Plan to see something close by that you haven’t seen before (example: that park that you pass every day on your commute). Visit a country/place you’ve always wanted to see. Plan a time away to learn a new skill, be adventurous or just relax.

Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose, increase your self-esteem, and make you happier. Once or regularly, contact a local organization and see how you can help.

  1. Grow Something. 

Gardening is a surprisingly beneficial hobby. There’s the obvious benefit of growing your own fruits and vegetables, as well as pretty flowers, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It also does all of the following for you:

  • It reduces your levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone.
  • Nurturing a plant from seed to fruit-bearing reinforces your ability to cause positive change in the world.
  • Studies show that gardening reduces incidence of dementia by 36%.
  • Gardening allows you to be outside and you can reconnect with nature.
  1. Cook

Reacquaint Yourself With Your Kitchen. Studies show that those who cook their meals at home are healthier and live longer than those who regularly eat out.  When you pick out your own food at the grocery store, you tend to buy less processed foods, less sugary foods, and less fat. Instead, you make healthier food choices (and can help you save money as well).

  1. Treasure a memory

Flip through your pictures and pick one that you truly treasure. Share it with your friends and tell them why that moment was special to you. Honoring our past, (no comma) lets us live in the today and makes us hopeful and excited for the future.

  1. Meet someone new.

When we get stuck in a rut, we usually end up staying at home most of the time, missing out on a lot of interesting opportunities for networking and having fun. Meeting new people can be beneficial to your mental well-being and help your career, so don’t be afraid to get out there and make some friends. Overcome your shyness, get some knowledge and go and get to know new and interesting people.

  1. Be kind

Being kind will make you feel happier, doesn’t cost a cent and it is contagious. In making others feel good, you inspire them to want to do something kind for you or for someone else.  When you commit a kind act, those around you will take note and your kindness can have a ripple effect. Start that ripple now by being kind to those around you.

  1. Look back and smile

The month comes to end. And now our resolutions have either failed or are well on their way. Knowing that no matter how big or small that resolution is/was trying to change isn’t easy, but always worth a try. !

And, remember, you are always in a position to make a course correction – so perhaps modify some of those resolutions into more bite-size pieces or ones you know would be more do-able!

Visit our blog if you are looking for simple ideas to make a change in your life, in a non-judgmental and laid back way.

But for now: Look back, smile and march into 2018! May we all be happy, healthy, kind and come together to make this world more peaceful!

Press Release: Princeton Center for Yoga & Health Hosts Labyrinth Program Marking 21 Years

(Skillman, NJ) On Saturday, October 14 (1:00 – 3:00 pm) Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, (Princeton Yoga) 88 Orchard Road, Skillman, welcomes Deborah Ketter, a certified Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator for a special program – Step into the Labyrinth and stoke the Fire of Creativity. Participants will be guided to create their own finger labyrinth, stoking the fires of creativity by first walking the labyrinth together as a group. Fee is $35/$30 if pre-paid by 10/12/2017.

What is a labyrinth?  The labyrinth is an ancient symbol seen in cultures around the globe. Exactly when it became a walking path is a bit of a mystery, but today they are popping up in schools, hospitals, community centers, and places of worship world-wide. 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.

Says Deborah: “We are all endowed with a certain fire at birth. Call it soul, talent or genius. If you stoke it, it flourishes, though you may never know the secret from where it came. Long before the Labyrinth was a walking meditation it was seen as a symbol, its identity unknown. There is speculation that a small carving on an ancient tomb might have been a finger labyrinth placed for the deceased to use as a map to find a way back after reincarnation. Other carvings seen on cave walls may have been finger labyrinths meant to be traced.”

In speaking about the impetus for creating the labyrinth at Princeton Yoga, Director Deborah Metzger notes: “This year marks our 21st anniversary of the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health. My early vision for the Center was to create a haven for people to follow their unique path to health, well-being and self-actualization. As Maslow taught, this need for self-actualization does not always follow a standard progression. Part of my vision for the Center included having a labyrinth (initially metaphorical) as a way to support people on their path. Though it seems that one meanders along the circular walking pattern, the labyrinth has one path which leads to the Center. In fact, one of our early ‘tag lines’ was Find your center at the Center. This year (now fully settled into our new home, a scenic 5-acre campus at 88 Orchard Road, Skillman), seemed the perfect time to bring the labyrinth into being.

“In contemplating the labyrinth, one phrase which came to me again and again was -”Not all those who wander are lost.” ~J. R. R. Tolkien.  There is no right way or wrong way to walk the labyrinth. You make a choice to go in, go around and around its circuits, yet always find your way to the Center. For some, it represents a journey to our own center, a meandering but purposeful path that always leads back out into the world. A perfect metaphor!”

“I searched for someone to help with its implementation and found a Kripalu colleague, Deborah Ketter, who is a certified, advanced Veriditas labyrinth facilitator, Kripalu Yoga teacher and artist. She and I together choose and modified a classical 7 circuit design to allow for extra gathering space in the center and came up with a plan to make it so. She completed the project beautifully with heart and intention – from initial layout/measuring, finding organic materials like the stone and mulch, recruiting the people to help build it and together, with some of our teachers, students and volunteers, worked for days in the hot sun yielding the what you now see. We envision adding additional landscaping and other features to the project (benches, found objects and the like) over time – this too will grow organically as there is no rush and no “ending” to the circular path!”

REGISTER HERE FOR Step into the Labyrinth and stoke the Fire of Creativity

About Deborah Ketter, BFA, E-RYT 500, is a certified, advanced Veriditas labyrinth facilitator, Kripalu Yoga teacher and artist. She presents nationwide, including Kripalu, North America’s largest yoga training center, and has been building labyrinths and facilitating labyrinth walks at yoga studios, schools, community centers and hospitals for 15 years. Trained by Lauren Artress at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Debbie also studied labyrinth design with master builder Robert Ferre. As a yoga teacher, she uses a creative and therapeutic approach to teach the art and science of yoga, with a focus on guided relaxation. www.deborahketter.com

Princeton Yoga is the Greater Princeton area’s first and longest running yoga Center. Now at 88 Orchard Road, a bucolic 5-acre campus and its third home in Montgomery, the Center is known for its innovative programs, charitable classes, offerings for all ages, levels of fitness, busy schedules and budgets  – featuring local talent and nationally acclaimed yoga educators and special guests.  Free parking. Schedule and details can be found at www.princetonyoga.com or by calling 609-924-7294. The labyrinth is open to the public during regular business hours. In honor of the Center’s anniversary, new visitors are welcome to sample classes with a $20 for 20 days’ unlimited class pass

The Non-Yogi view of Yoga: I am a ‘Yogi’

Part of our series “People of Princeton Yoga” we asked students, teachers and employees to write some of their thoughts on yoga. Meet Franziska Raeber, she has been part of what we call the ‘experiment of Princeton Yoga’ since 2005. First as student and as SEVA, later as manager for all things marketing and business. Even after she moved to Florida in 2010, she remains part of our team.

“So this is me…  Marketing Manager for Princeton Yoga. But not a Yogi. My only yoga qualification is to like yoga. I am neither a yoga teacher nor vegan nor do I practice yoga/meditation daily. Nope, I am just person that works from home, handles 3 grade schoolers, chases after way too many pets, gets engaged in excessive amount of committees/projects and tries hard not to fall asleep before the kids do… Yoga is more often NOT on my mind than on it. But still I believe I am a ‘Yogi’.

Yoga has been part of my life for over 12 years. I have always attended classes, some I really liked and some I choose never to go back to. To be able to represent ‘my’ Princeton Yoga Center I do read or come across loads of articles about yoga, what it is, what it is not, with goats, beer, heavy metal, standing, lying down etc. I admire all the dedicated yogis that are passionate about their practice and I applaud them for their dedication of living the yogic life. Often I hear my thoughts whispering: “You should do/be that!” But then I face my real and often chaotic life and know that meeting those lofty goals isn’t me. But still I think I am in my own way a ‘Yogi’.

This morning while I was walking my dogs, I challenged myself to write up for fun my thoughts on how yoga is part of my life, off the mat … in my life. Write those thoughts down out of the perspective of one of those yoga students that only shows up to class once a week, can’t do any fancy poses and is far from elegant while holding any pose and couldn’t repeat a Sanskrit word if her life depended on it. Well someone like me!

Taking on this challenge feels like doing that crow pose in last week’s class, I knew how it was supposed to look, but then my knees wouldn’t want to go on the elbows and my mind told me that I will fall flat on my nose… and still I tried and yes I failed, but I intend to try again and so here I am writing my first blog. I am taking my practice off the mat and even if I fall flat on my nose I am trying this. Yes, my life is Yoga and I am Yogi.”

Check in and follow the thoughts of a Non-Yogi talking about Yoga or not.

Franziska Raeber has been part of Princeton Yoga since 2005. Today she manages Princeton Yoga’s marketing, website and contracts all the way from Gainesville FL.

There from the Beginning: Shelly Yedlin

As we continue our series of “People of Princeton Yoga” we like to introduce Shelly Yedlin. In 1999 – 21 years ago – she was one of our very first students and to date we love seeing her walk through our doors.

“In 1999, when I decided to begin a yoga practice, there was virtually only one center in the Princeton area offering it. PCYH was located off Route 206 near the airport at that time. A larger studio in a nearby location followed shortly thereafter, until PCYH landed at its current, beautiful campus. It has been exciting to watch the changes and growth of the studio, and also of it’s expanding roster of teachers, classes and workshops.

One of the best attributes of PCYH, in addition to the calming, welcoming and attractive environment, is that the teachers and classes are experienced and varied enough to provide a class for all types of students. Classes are open to everyone, and it’s always exciting to have a student walk into a class for the very first time. A beginner can place their mat next to a seasoned practitioner and feel confident that they are in a safe and inviting place.

Although the classes, interests and backgrounds of the teachers are varied, there are a few common and salient themes that run through every session at PCYH. No matter what type of yoga you are practicing, as one of my teachers likes to say, “Your breath is the soundtrack to your yoga practice.” Whether you find yourself in a restorative, gentle, moderate or challenging flow class, you will be encouraged to start from where you are, and to practice with compassion.

Like many, I came to yoga in part to seek physical and emotional healing. Several years after I began my practice, I underwent open heart surgery to repair a congenital valve problem. Another physical challenge presented itself later on. When I was finally able to return to PCYH, I was encouraged to begin anew with gentle classes. I found as I regained my strength, I was rather quickly able to incorporate more moderate classes. I learned to relax into, and enjoy the concept of, “beginner’s mind.” 

I recently learned that I will soon need to undergo a second open heart surgery, this time to deal with a related cardiac issue. My teachers are working with me to stay strong and healthy—the best way to enter into any type of surgery or demanding situation. Moreover, I find that my almost daily attendance at PCYH, reminds me that the key to peace of mind is to stay in the present moment, one inhale and one exhale at a time. Another teacher suggests, “Breathe in what you envision for your life, breathe out that which does not serve you.” During meditation in a recent class, a new mantra came to mind—“I am a warrior, not a worrier.” 

If you are like me, you realize that there is much in this world that is out of our control. Especially in these times of division, incivility and uncertainty, it is wonderful to have a place that offers a way toward expressions of unity, kindness and gratitude. It is liberating to work with the idea that the only thing we can be sure of is the present moment.  A longtime PCYH teacher says that yoga is not a workOUT, but a workIN. At PCYH, there is always an opportunity to explore the union of mind, body and spirit, and to discover how that can be shared with others both on and off the mat.”

Alisa Rose: Yoga to integrate body, mind and heart

Alisa was classically trained and certified as a yoga teacher in India at the Vivekananda Ashram. She has been continuing her extensive studies in the US, integrating modern bio-mechanics and tantric philosophy into her teachings. Through alignment cues, breath awareness and philosophy her nurturing classes provide a deep connection to the sanctuary within.

Who should come to your yoga class?

Everyone is welcome, classes combine Asana (poses), with Pranayama (breathwork) and Meditation. Our Yoga practice is a sanctuary and safe place.

What are you focusing on right now in your practice?

Classes mostly restore, nourishing to body and spirit. I enjoy poetic metaphors inspired by mythology and chanting mantras: the Arts and travel also inspire me and I share my passions with students. Meditation, has always been essential to my daily practice.

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

That no matter the range of motion – when the body heart and mind are in alignment – a deep sense of peace is experienced.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

My first experience of yoga was in London in 1988. I was on a break from a 3 year performing arts conservatory at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. Spontaneously, I visited Ananda Ashram where I first encountered Sri Brahmananda Saraswati. It was this powerful meeting that propelled me to dedicate myself to the science and practice of yoga. In 1996 I traveled to India where I lived for almost a year intensely training at the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Ashram SVYASA.

I completed my dissertation and certification in Yoga Therapy in 1997 by working with participants who enrolled in the Ashrams Arogyadhama Health Care Center. This center is a holistic research base in tune with traditional holistic health care by yoga therapy and modern medicine for the treatment of stress related ailments. For several years I was the director of yoga at the Chakra Institute in the US and Europe, where I studied chakra psychology, mantra and meditation for over a decade. I co led pre-dawn sadhana and 3x yearly 5 day silent purification retreats. It was an honor to counsel participants through this delicate process and witness a process of self recognition. Yearly visits to temples and places of pilgrimage in India were part of this lifestyle. From 2008-2012, I trained extensively in the US studying biomechanics and tantric philosophy. I am an E-RYT 500 registered with Yoga Alliance. Engaging in an adventure of selfdiscovery –yoga– and experiencing the psychospiritual benefits of the practices, inspired me to teach and help others.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

It is the privilege of a lifetime to share teachings that have been life transforming to me. It is inspiring to see people all lit up, consciously working toward freedom. Being fully present so I can best serve.

Who are your greatest influences?

The power of revelation and silence.

Coming Soon with Alisa Rose:

Yoga and Meditation Retreat: Return to Center

Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm – Register Now
Our Return To Center day will include a gentle asana class followed by a walking meditation practice. These practices will help prepare us for a led seated mindful meditation practice. Mindful meditation has been scientifically proven to restructure the brain and trains it to concentrate, feel greater compassion, cope with stress and more. Afterwards the class will be dedicated to restorative yoga which deeply nourishes the nervous system and invites deep relaxation to the body.
REGISTER NOW

Alisa teaches the following weekly classes:

Hatha (Gentle): Slow paced with less weight-bearing postures
Thursdays, 10:30 to 11:45 am

Hatha (Moderate): Medium pace with fairly long holds for each pose.
Saturdays, 10:15 to 11:45 am

REGISTER HERE