3 Key Principles for Good Posture…. #1 Engaging the Core

For many of us, good posture has become quite elusive due to our sedentary lifestyles.  Human beings weren’t meant to spend as many hours in a seated position as we do today…. at work, in the car, watching TV, at the computer, etc.

In working one-on-one with my wellness coaching clients, I have seen time and time again how they have greatly benefited simply by improving their posture!  “How have they benefited?”, you ask?

They have…

  • reduced, and in some cases eliminated, chronic back and neck tension and pain
  • improved their breathing by expanding their chest cavity and thus allowing for deeper, longer breaths
  • strengthened their core muscles by regularly practicing their good postural principles
  • facilitated movement in their bodies so they move more efficiently and with greater ease
  • increased confidence and self-esteem when they experience ALL OF THE ABOVE!

It’s NOT rocket science!  It just takes some awareness, knowledge and discipline for ANYONE to experience good posture and the benefits that go along with it.  To get you started, I’ll be posting 3 video clips, each one introducing a key principle for good postural alignment.  These clips are from my Yoga Essentials DVD series and are the foundation on which you can build good postural habits.

Here’s the first one… Body Geometry:  Engaging the Core 

Stay tuned for the other two…

Open Your Heart! With a Heart-Opening Meditation

With Valentines Day approaching, I was inspired to create a little heart opening meditation that focuses on the heart chakra.  watercolor_heart

For those that may not be familiar with the chakras (one of the energetic systems of our bodies), there are 7 main chakras — 5 exist along our spine, one is at the “3rd eye” on the forehead, and one is at the crown of the head.

The heart chakra is located – yes, you guessed it – behind the sternum at the heart center!  It is the area that resonates the frequency of feelings such as love, compassion, self-acceptance and joy.  Throughout our lives, there may be times when the heart chakra feels “closed”.  When this happens, we may often feel as if we’ve lost the capacity to feel one or more of these emotions.

And even if you don’t feel as if your heart chakra is “closed”, connecting to it’s energy and “opening” it can bring us an even greater sense of love, compassion, self-acceptance and joy.  And who wouldn’t want to feel more of these feelings!  🙂

So I invite you to click here and experience this 9-minute Heart-Opening Meditation:

Heart Opening Meditation

Living with “AHA”!

As we gear up for the season of holidays and festivities, there is so much for which to be grateful and to look forward!  And along with that, there is also the reality of additional tasks to complete, meals to prepare, shopping to do, etc… which can potentially create added stress.

How do we prevent ourselves from riding the roller coaster of emotion during this time?  How can we maintain our “grounded-ness” and stay “heart-centered” despite the feverish energy that may surround us?

This Sunday 11/24 (TOMORROW!), I hope to help answer these questions during my Living with AHA! workshop at West End Yoga in Allentown.

“AHA” stands for ‘A’wareness, ‘H’onor and ‘A’cceptance… 3 key principles of any yoga practice… ON and OFF the mat!  On Sunday, we will explore these principles through movement, breathing, experiential exercises and open discussion.

And to provide a little more explanation of these principles, I’ve included here 3 video clips introducing each principle.  Each of these clips comes from my Yoga Essentials: Fundamentals DVD and hopefully gives you a taste of what we will delve into much further on Sunday!


HONOR Video Clip


I hope you enjoy the clips!  And if the material moves you…. you may want to check out my Yoga Essentials DVD set!  On SALE now for the HOLIDAYS… these DVDs make GREAT gifts! 🙂

$15 for one, $20 for any 2 and $25 for the full 3-DVD set… Contact Me to order!  ENJOY! 🙂


Spring Cleaning for Your Inner Being!

Spring Painting - Butterflies in FieldYesterday, we “sprung ahead” by setting our clock forward by one hour.  For me this action is a form of preparation for spring time itself… and I don’t know about you, but I am very excited for spring to arrive!

And as the spring season approaches, so does the anticipation of spring cleaning… in my “inner” world as well as my “outer” world.  It feels good to rid our closets of old things and clean out areas of our homes to prepare our environment for a more open, sunny, “fresh-air” experience.

Equally important, though not as often considered, is the “sweeping of cobwebs” out of our inner environment to allow for new energy and thoughts to flow through us!  To that extent, I’m happy to offer a good way to do just that… “spring clean your inner being.”

In March, April & May, I’ll be conducting my 3-part “Yoga Self-Care” workshop series with one workshop each month at West End Yoga Studio in Allentown.The goal of my “Yoga Self-Care” concept is to teach, support and motivate you to Move Well, Breathe Well and Think Well each and EVERY day!

Here’s a quick listing of dates and topics  (for more details, see below):

March 17th:  Posture Perfect (Move Well)

April 14th:  Just Breathe… (Breathe Well)

May 12th:  Living with AHA! (Think Well)

I hope to see you in March to share in some fun and important learning about how to move with more ease, comfort and grace by simply ‘tweaking’ our posture.

Be Well and ENJOY your Spring Cleaning! 🙂


Stop and Smell the Pine!

Here’s your friendly reminder to allow yourself to fully ENJOY the experiences of this season and NOT get caught up in the “holiday hub bub”.

The energy of the season can be full of distraction and overwhelm.  I find that the key to staying present and focused amidst this chaotic and sometimes challenging time is to PAUSE and BREATHE!  I do these “Daily Breathers” several times throughout the day as needed.

Every time I notice my mind wandering and being pummeled by way too many thoughts, I simply…

  • become aware and stop what I’m doing (or thinking of)
  • close my eyes (if my environment allows it) or focus on a specific point/object (if I cannot close my eyes at that time) and

As I’m taking these breaths, I make a point to really FEEL the breath moving in and out of my body.  This very basic, simple exercise of mindful breathing is very grounding and will bring you calm and greater focus.  Like anything, the more “Daily Breathers” you take the easier it gets and the more effective they become!

And in case you need a helping hand with this I’m sharing with you a 4-minute Mindful Breathing Meditation audio for you to follow:

Mindful Breathing Meditation

Some of you may have received this meditation from me before, but I’m re-posting it as it’s short and sweet and does the trick.  You can even save the link in your Favorites on your web browser to use it regularly!

During this time of year, it can be easy to forget our most basic yet powerful tool:  our BREATH!

Make good use of it so that as you are getting presents…. you’re also getting present! 🙂



Remake Yourself…

As human beings, our greatness lays not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.   ~Mahatma Ghandi


What a thought-provoking and powerful statement!  I think it’s especially applicable in today’s world where so much change and so many challenges are presenting themselves.

It can feel overwhelming sometimes when we are bombarded by so much negativity and tragedy in our (so-called) news, politics, and current events.  Even if you want to help bring about a positive change, you may ask yourself, “Where do I begin??!!”

Exactly where Ghandi has directed us… with ourselves!  Instead of getting bogged down and worrying about things outside of us that are beyond our control… if we focus our intentions on how we can help ourselves feel healthier and think better… we can each as individuals make a positive impact not only on our own beings… but on our families, communities and our world!

The only things we have complete control over are our own thoughts, intentions and actions.  If we each commit to improving and elevating our own well-being — that is how we feel physically, how we think and how we interact with others  — we initiate our own little ripple effect.  When you start feeling better in your body, thinking with more clarity and calm, managing your emotions and stress with ease… you indirectly affect others by example and energetic interaction.

We’ve all experienced something of what I’m describing before… If you’re in a room full of people and someone who is carrying a lot of negativity walks in, everyone feels it.  It drags everyone else down as well.  But if someone who is uplifting comes into the room, it elevates everyone in the room.

Now imagine if you are working to feel the best that you can each day… Your positive ripple effect collides with my ripple effect which collides with someone else’s… get the picture?!  And soon… the similar positive energies converge to effect larger and larger populations over longer periods of time… this is how movements are started!

If you are tired of feeling like a victim or a bystander… if you want to be a participant in something positive, then I challenge you to commit to yourself and your own well-being!!!  If necessary, start with small simple steps that only require 10 – 15 minutes every day.  For example:

–        take a walk outdoors

–        read something inspirational or educational

–        spend time by yourself to journal or reflect

–        take multiple “Daily Breathers” (just pause from what you are doing and take 3- 5 deep, slow breaths)!

The key is to take some action for YOURSELF every day! And if you are ready to learn even more powerful self-care techniques or just need some support and motivation, come talk to me… I would love the opportunity to help you!

Here’s to remaking ourselves…


To learn more about yoga self-care and personal wellness programs, visit www.anyonecandoyoga.com… download chapters of my complimentary E-Book on the Home page, check out my 3-Part “Yoga Essentials” DVD set from the Shop or simply contact me.

With Great Responsibility Comes Great Power!

Amidst all the heated talk about healthcare these days, I read a commentary by Dr. Mark Hyman that made a lot of sense to me so I feel compelled to share it.  Read Dr. Hyman’s article.

I share Dr. Hyman’s belief that the majority of the focus in the healthcare debate is misplaced.  I am particularly “on board” with one of his key suggested strategies for improving our wellness landscape…. He termed it “intensive lifestyle therapy.”  To me, this equates to taking charge of our own health as individuals and as communities.

Certainly, making health-care affordable and accessible is important and there is definitely a need and a place for modern medicine.  But that is not what will make us healthier human beings.  Instead, what if we just didn’t have to go to the doctor or emergency room that often??  What if we didn’t have to depend on a gazillion medications??  If we lowered demand of these things, doesn’t it make sense that costs would automatically go down??

Politics is certainly NOT my area of expertise or interest, so I usually stay away from political debates.  That being said, promoting wellness IS my passion and mission and in that regard I will say that so many of us have given up our personal power.  We’ve given up our power to convenient processed foods that don’t nurture or energize us, to “quick-fix” pharmaceuticals that just cover up our symptoms (not to mention they cause many other side effects!) and to the medical community with the mindset that they can somehow “fix us”.

This makes me think of a very profound quote from our pop culture… “With great power comes great responsibility.”  (And yes, for all you comic book fans out there… that is a quote from Spiderman! :-))  While we can debate over whether the great powers in our society are acting with great responsibility, I believe that as individuals we can make a difference by simply following the converse of this statement… “With great responsibility comes great power.”  If we take back responsibility for our health, we take back our power!

How do we do this?  Commit to breaking those bad habits that sabotage your health and in their place create new ones that empower your well-being.  I know… you’re thinking, “This is easier said than done!”  And yes, you are correct… but it is this type of crucial shift made at the individual level that will make a true difference in our society.  As Ghandi said, “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.”

This same week I also came across some interesting tidbits in the latest Yoga Journal that speak to this idea.  The first one was about the CEO of Aetna Insurance who “after a skiing accident left him in constant pain and partially paralyzed, … found relief through yoga and alternative medicine.”

Since then, he’s led the charge to build an evidence base that proves the healing and therapeutic benefits of yoga.  Here are some statistics from these studies:

–        1 hour a week doing yoga resulted in lower stress in individuals

–        33% decrease in stress was found after individuals took yoga stress-reductions classes

–        $2000 in health care costs was saved annually by individuals with the lowest stress levels compared to those with the highest stress levels.

The 2nd piece of interest in the Yoga Journal reported on a new elective course at Boston University School of Medicine that “teaches medical students both the practice and science of yoga.”  A research fellow at the university co-created this program after being inspired by his own personal yoga practice.  He stated “yoga is a way for medical students to take care of their own well-being, allowing them to become better doctors.”

For me, it’s very gratifying and inspiring to see the acceptance of yoga as not just a type of exercise but as an integrative practice for good health in our daily lives.  I know it can seem like an overwhelming task, especially if you have been dealing with chronic pain or stress for a long time… but I speak from experience when I say that you can make a difference for yourself one small step at a time!

If any of this conversation has resonated with you and you are looking for some simple ways to take back your power, allow me to help you with these offers (For more information or to register for any of these, contact Sheetal):

–        Meditation in the Park:  Join me Sun 7/22 from 10-10:45am in Alburtis’ Lockridge Park to learn and practice basic meditation.  If Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, we’ll reschedule. 🙂

–        Complimentary Consultation & Sample Session of my Personal Yoga Program:  This is one-on-one personal training with a holistic approach!  Using yoga, breathing techniques, mediation & mindset practices, I provide a structure that includes education, support, motivation and accountability to help you achieve your wellness goals whether they be physical, mental, emotional and/or spiritual.

–        Yoga Self-Care for LMTs (6 CECs):  In this one-day intensive, licensed massage therapists and bodyworkers will learn practical yoga techniques and principles to not only prevent injury, strain and burn-out but also enhance the massage therapy you provide your clients.

We can either allow the status quo to pull us down, or we can take responsibility for ourselves and rise above…. With great responsibility comes GREAT power.

I look forward in sharing in your journey!



I’d love to hear from you…. share your comments below!  To learn more about or to register for the programs listed above, contact me.  To learn more about Anyone Can Do Yoga, visit www.anyonecandoyoga.com.

Posture Perfect!

We’ve all heard it at some point or another in our lives… from a parent or perhaps a teacher… “Sit up straight!”  It may have seemed like a nuisance at that time, but that could be some of the best advise we were given as children.  This lesson becomes especially poignant because of the sedentary lifestyle many of us tend to evolve into as adults.

Having good posture has many health benefits:

  • You improve and maintain good core and spinal strength
  • You allow your body to work at maximum efficiency and minimum effort
  • You improve your self-esteem because you feel better and look better (Not to mention taller; I’m 5’ tall and every little bit counts!)
  • You have a more empowering presence

So how did we get to this place where so many of us have such poor posture?  I believe there are 3 key reasons than many of us are no longer able to sit up straight or even stand up straight for an extended period of time:

  1. Lack of awareness of when we are engaging in poor posture
  2. Lack of understanding of what proper spinal alignment is
  3. Weakness in our core region.

Awareness… Awareness… Awareness… Everything begins with having awareness.  Once we gain the awareness of when we are engaging in poor posture, we then need to have an understanding of how it should be corrected.  And after learning how to bring our bodies into a good posture, we then also need to be able to maintain it.

This is where a daily yoga practice can be extremely helpful.  Of course, we are constantly practicing awareness in yoga… we are always paying attention to the sensations and emotions our mind/body experiences.  Thus as our awareness is honed, our ability to recognize poor posture is improved.

Secondly, fundamental to all yoga is knowledge of proper spinal alignment in each pose, stance and movement.  For example, learning and practicing how to align the spine in Mountain pose helps us to stand up straight and steady…. In Easy Pose or Hero Pose, we learn how to sit up tall with no strain on the back… In Standing Forward bend, we learn how to bend forward in the most efficient manner so as to minimize effort and strain.

And finally, our continued practice helps us to retrain and rebuild parts of the musculoskeletal system that allow us to maintain and “perform” good posture.  Gradually, we find ourselves standing up taller and stronger for longer periods of time… we are able to sit longer and with less strain because of our better posture (although we should always take breaks during extensive sitting!)… and we experience more graceful, efficient movements that take less effort because we’re working “with our bodies” rather than fighting against them.

I know that it can sometimes seem overwhelming to think about all the things we could do to improve our health.  I’d like to suggest that by simply focusing on good posture, we can take a BIG first step toward better mind/body health.  It’s never too late to sit up straight!


To begin learning more about how to improve your posture through yoga, visit www.anyonecandoyoga.com… download chapters of my complimentary E-Book on the Home page, check out my 3-Part “Yoga Essentials” DVD set from the Shop or contact me to learn about my yoga coaching and wellness programs.

Tis the Season of Giving… and RECEIVING!

This is the time of year when we are focused on giving – whether it is gifts for our loved ones, charitable offerings, our well wishes, etc.… With the spirit of the season, we even feel more inclined to “lend a hand” to a stranger or give a compliment to someone.

And while learning how to GIVE is an important practice, not only for the holidays but also for our on-going personal growth, learning how to RECEIVE is just as important.  And that, for many of us, is not as easy!

I’ll give you my own example.  There were times in the past when someone would compliment me and I would immediately say something like “It’s not a big deal” or “Thank you, but I really didn’t do much.”  Instead of wholeheartedly accepting the compliment, I would minimize it or even dismiss it.

Or when I received help from someone – whether it was advice, a favor or even a gift – I would immediately think about what I could do to “pay him/her back”.  I always felt like I didn’t want to “owe” anyone.

Then one year, I was attending a course given by one of my yoga teachers and this concept of “receiving” was brought up.   It was then that I realized how I had been doing a big disservice not only to myself, but also to all those people who had tried to give me something.

My teacher explained that some of the reasons that we have difficulty with Receiving are because we feel…

–       guilty or inadequate (I don’t deserve this)

–       entitled and therefore not fully appreciative (I should have received this anyway)

–       afraid of whether we can reciprocate (Now I have to do something in return)

–       unsure of the giver’s intention (What’s the catch?)

–       inferior when we accept favors (I shouldn’t have to ask for help).

Certainly, we must first be able to discern between what I will call “genuine giving” vs. “gifts with baggage”.  Once that is done, we must recognize the beautiful balance between Giving and Receiving.

Think of how you feel when you give a gift to someone and he/she is truly excited to use it!  Think about when you help or teach someone and he/she shows genuine gratitude for the service or teachings.   How does it make us feel to Give and have it Received wholeheartedly?  It feels GREAT!  In fact, that is why many of us like to give… because it makes us feel good.  Giving allows us the chance to participate in the service of others in our own unique way.

By not allowing ourselves to genuinely receive (receive without attaching any of those added thoughts/emotions listed above), we do not allow others the opportunity to give!  We do them a disservice by quashing their goodwill and their chance to serve.

This lesson hit me like a bolt and I began to reflect on why I could not fully “receive”.  I began to acknowledge my insecurities and fears around receiving, and apply yoga practices of awareness, deep breathing and surrender to come to terms with them.

Over time I was able to release these feelings and allow myself to truly accept and enjoy a compliment or a favor.  I was able to wholeheartedly embrace a gift or the intention behind a gift and share in the giver’s joy of giving!

This season, I invite you to check-in with yourself when you are on the receiving end of a gift, favor, or compliment… and if you don’t feel completely open to the Receiving, take a few DEEP BREATHS and see if you can allow yourself to surrender any judgments around it.  Then, give yourself permission to simply and fully EMBRACE it.  It may take some time, as it did for me, but once you are able to experience that balance between GIVING and RECEIVING, you open yourself to greater depths of enjoyment for both!

It’s Time to Take Charge!

Let’s talk healthcare…. But not healthcare as you hear about it in our media and politics (in my opinion, that debate is about medical care, NOT true healthcare!)  I’ll begin by asking you a simple question:  Do you feel “in charge” of your health?

I ask this, because I find more and more people have the impression that something or someone outside of themselves (a medical doctor, a surgeon, a therapist, etc.) is going to “fix them”.  We as a society have relinquished our responsibility for our own health.

Being a massage therapist as well as yoga instructor/coach, I frequently hear clients say things like “I want you to fix my back” or “Can you fix my neck?”  To these type of questions, I usually reply, “I don’t fix anything…. YOU do your own healing.  I’m here to facilitate and support you in that process.”  That’s what all healthcare and medical care professionals are here to do.

And don’t misunderstand me… when I speak of us healing ourselves, I’m not talking about some “voodoo”.  I am talking about each individual taking responsibility to take the committed actions necessary to be healthy.   And depending on what you are dealing with, that may require having surgery or some specific treatment.  However, how healthy we get or feel goes beyond a surgery or treatment – these are things that come after–the-fact.  I’m speaking more about healing and taking care of ourselves in a preventative way.

I guess my point is that we must take back our power when it comes to how we feel – feeling and BEING healthy in mind, body and spirit comes from our own committed effort to feel GREAT each and every day.  It comes from inside of us when we choose to take daily actions to

  • eat well through nutritious foods
  • move well through physical activity that suits our bodies and
  • think well by keeping an empowered mindset.

Unfortunately, many of us lack the proper knowledge to do one or more of these things.  In my own experience, I felt I wasn’t eating well enough despite the fact that most people would consider my diet to be a healthful one.  I have been learning more and more about the kinds of foods that work best for me – that I can best digest and give me the most energy.  So I’m re-training my body to eat differently.

Similarly, many of us lack the knowledge of how to “move” in ways that suit us best and “think” in ways that are empowering.  Now in these areas, I do have some knowledge and experience! 🙂  Yoga has so many practical techniques to offer us when it comes to learning how to “move well” and “think well”.

To that end, I’ve developed a new workshop called The “ABC”s of Yoga Self-Care.  In this workshop, my intent is to not only teach yoga techniques but to advise on how to practically apply them to our daily lives.  In doing so, we begin to create better habits of moving well and thinking well… we begin to take daily actions to feel good in body and mind… and we begin to reclaim our power for creating our own good health.

So if you answered my question at the beginning with anything but a resounding “YES”… I invite you to contact me and learn more about how to TAKE CHARGE of YOUR HEALTH!

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