Happy Habits

This month we dive deep into our habits. Studies show that our habits are the single biggest predictor of happiness levels. Everything from eating, sleeping, topics of conversation, to even how we think, is a habit of some sort. So if we want a leap forward in life satisfaction, it’s worth while shedding light on the habits and how we can sweeten the deal... Read More



Photo May 09, 3 56 08 PM
by Holly Stephens (Right)

While I don't believe in god, I do believe in my connection and devotion to the earth and other beings, and sharing my energy with each. I certainly feel this in July, considering the warm weather and celebrations with friends. Yet in the winter, we sometimes forget to appreciate both. We'd rather neglect our friends and coop up with a blanket, resenting the city shrouded in snow and dismal, gray skies. I'm taking July to appreciate weather for all it brings, even as rain falls outside while typing this. I'm also going to strengthen my bond with friends. I've felt rather lonely lately, as my family lives far and both my friends and I are wrapped up in our careers. But that's within my power to change, and a simply hurdle along the way. Even sharing devotion and energy with strangers is transformative. I feel that sweet bliss in the studio, connected by breath and movement with those I practice and teach with. We're all there for the same reason, and to share that bliss equally. Reveling in devotion is free and to be found everywhere.


Bhav, or Bhaaaaav means just like how it sounds, a delicious yogic mood.  It’s the quality of living in a divine state. We often think of our mood as something we have little control over. Like the weather, we are subject to the things around us, what happens to us, how much sleep we get, hormonal fluctuations and well, yes, the weather itself. I remember when I first moved to the city, I think I always surprised the local deli workers with my positive excited mood. They looked at me like I was anomaly simply because I was smiling as I ordered my sandwich. I can only imagine what they were thinking: ‘Something good must have happened to her today.’ In truth, I was actually riding on the wave of excitement at having moved to the city the upbeat pace, the opportunity and creativity abound, were all feeding my mood. Even on a day when I had a lot going on, the overtone was excited positive, happy. Read More

Three Poses for INNER STRENGTH

Feeling tossed around by the world? 
Here's Three Poses to develop your Inner Strength...

Navas edited

1.  Navasana (Boat Pose)

Navasana gets deep within our core strength muscles: Psoas, and the abs. Practice going from Navasana to updog three times in a row, to stretch and then engage these muscles.

Vira2 Edited


In Warrior 2 we practice having calm strength. the upper body should be relaxed, drop the lowerback and shoulders down so they are not tense, and let the legs fire up to support your super warrior. Last thing is the drishti: give a steady gaze on a single spot straight out infront of you to get the full laser strong focus of this pose. 

Favorites Gallery-0013

3. BAKASANA: (Crow Pose)

Crow is the ultimate flying pose. In this pose engage Uddiana Bandha "The flying up lock" by drawing the navel back into the spine. To get flight  draw our energy upward toward the heart.

My favorite teaching tip in Bakasana:

Instead of resting the knees "on" the arms, wrap the legs around the outside of the arms and squeeze inward. This engages even more inner strength, but is twice as likely to give you flight as trying to balance on the elbows. 

Tell me below what your favorite inner strength pose is! 


Inner Strength (June Theme)

Inner Strength!

Inner strength grows when you start to believe whole heartedly that absolutely no one or nothing has the power over your happiness but you.

When life feels off balance in some way, it's natural to look at our external circumstances and check to see if any change needs to be made. While it's true, making changes to our external lives can reflect intuitive direction toward continued growth, what happens when you've tried all the changes you could, externally, and something just still feels wrong?
Favorites Gallery-0013

This is the time to dig into your inner strength. Strength comes in many forms. One particular form is the strength to make deep internal shifts of thought and perspective. Look at where you feel unfulfilled and be honest with yourself as to what really needs to shift to attain the sense of "wholeness" you desire. Making changes from the inside will manifest bigger changes on the outside, than any externally driven changes could produce.  

I spent the last few months focusing on a lot of external forces. The things that stress me out, the lack of certain things, the heavy burden of other things I could not control... I kept looking outside and planned for big changes to fix this feeling inside that everything was wrong. 

But the external shifts I was proposing to myself were not helping me to feel more confident, happier or whole. So I started then to look within. I did some deep inner work, as to the nature of what I was looking for, and what was really getting in the way of it. As it turns out, the biggest obstacle wasn't all of these external things I thought they were. They were blocks inside: Doubts of my own power, worth, abilities, and potential.   I got underneath those doubts and held compassion for them, while systematically dissolving these untrue, unfounded thoughts.

Now, as I move forward, these deep inner changes are manifesting on the outside as well. It's really amazing how the way we see the world and ourselves in it, really does define reality. You can change the movie all together from a tragedy to a comedy, but not without being courageous and humble, and conjuring up your deepest inner strength.


Fortunately Fortunate.

In an article called "The Luck Factor" Richard Wiseman writes:
"My research revealed that lucky people generatearticle-2525602-1A2B2A3600000578-553_634x408
their own good fortune via four basic principles.
They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities,
make lucky decisions by listening to
their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via
positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude
that transforms bad luck into good.
Take the case of chance opportunities. Lucky people
consistently encounter such opportunities
whereas unlucky people do not. I carried out a very
simple experiment to discover whether this was due
to differences in their ability to spot such opportunities.
I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper,
and asked them to look through it and tell me
how many photographs were inside. On average,
the unlucky people took about two minutes to count
the photographs whereas the lucky people took just
seconds. Why? Because the second page of the
newspaper contained the message “Stop counting –
There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” This
message took up half of the page and was written in
type that was over two inches high. It was staring
everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people
tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot
it. Just for fun, I placed a second large message half
way through the newspaper. This one announced:
“Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen
this and win $250.” Again, the unlucky people
missed the opportunity because they were still too
busy looking for photographs. 
unlucky people miss chance opportunities
because they are too focused on looking for
something else. They go to parties intent on finding
their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to
make good friends. They look through newspapers
determined to find certain type of job advertisements
and as a result miss other types of jobs.
Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore
see what is there rather than just what they are
looking for.  
Click here for full article



I remember resisting gps navigation when first came out. I was used to taking a moment to looking at a map before I started my route, capturing a picture of it in my mind, plotting the turns and imagining the intersections. Giving myself a "feeling" of how long certain portions of the drive would be, and what landmarks to look out for that would precede turns. intuition
With gps, an external guide, there was something that felt strange about not carrying the bigger picture in my head. Not planning the whole route from beginning to end, mapped out in my mind and plugged into my own memory for guidance. I didn't want to let go of the process and be told what to do in the moment just as a turn was approaching. I wanted to know the next step, anticipate it, and be keenly aware of every moment of the journey.
Gps, felt lazy and out of control, but most importantly, made me feel like I wasn't creating a memory path in my mind. So that I could learn it, and over time rely on my internal computer to guide me with out my conscious mind having to think too much.
I think there's something to be said for exercising the muscle of the mind to create internal maps. There something intelligent that goes on in the process of tightly focusing on the intricate details of your life's journey for periods of time, as you learn the way, and develop a sense of the bigger picture of your world map.

The twists in plots, the dynamics of relating, the powerful moments of self expression, the humble moments of self reflection. All as you manifest your dreams one step at a time.

As learners and shakers on a soulful living path, this process is intentional and sweaty, AND it must eventually fall away. Just as in the driving scenario, where your mind over time of intent focus, learns a map of a city and eventually you could be dropped on any block of it, and find your way to where you want to go; so too, does your muscle of intuition get developed by skillfully witnessing yourself and your balance with the universe.
Watch what seems good, forward moving and on your best path, and learn to recognize the feelings associated with these subtleties. See the times you are in tune or out of tune. Then, and only then, you can let go during the moments of dis-tunement, and trust that though you may be lost, your internal Gps will right you again. You will have worked it enough to let go and be guided from within.

Its nice to be guided by a source greater than ourselves. But that source is not simply an external hand of God. It is a partnership of the world and you in it, learning each other's nuances, and perfecting your dance together. More and more over time, despite big challenges, the mind can step out of the way, and trust in the relationship your highest soulful self has created with the big picture of awesome outcomes.

Let the map and the traveler be one.


Self Care

This month's theme is

With all the sniffles and coughs going around, and the totally insane state of the country, it's time to step up your self care routine big time! It's amazing how our mental state can affect our health, so here's
3 tips for better self care!
1. Get better sleep: install blue light filters on phones and computers, eat your meals earlier in the day so your stomach is empty for sleep, and just plain go to bed earlier. You'd be surprised what an extra hour of rest can do for you!
2. News diet. Seriously people, we have to stay informed but it reaches a limit where watching this level of insanity as it plays out in the media and on our fb pages is just wreaking havoc on our nervous systems. Stay informed, take action where you can, and then take a break from it. It's stressing everyone out, and stress is our biggest health killer.
3. Meditation routine. Steal 10 minutes twice a day for a little "Mind-Cleanse." Simply close your eyes and watch your breath. You can even do this on the subway. To learn more, check out Ella's 4 day course starting next week! Or just drop on on Monday nights 8:30pm.

Be Well!


Embracing Change

Awesome Extras-0002_copyChange is a constant. It is our privilege and our challenge all in one, but it's never wrapped up neat and pretty with a bow. Anytime one moving part of your life changes, the other parts jostle around to make room for it. So, change is usually messy, uncertain, and filled with both excitement and anxiety. 

Change comes with both gains and losses. Changes we initiate ourselves are in pursuit of our ever evolving story. These changes are in hopes of continuing to increase our happiness, or the happiness of someone we love. 

But some changes are thrown at us without our choice, like the loss of a job, or being left by a partner. While these are harder to digest on one level, there is one stress we are absolved of that that instance, it’s choice. We didn't choose it, our only power is in how we respond. And that is a great power. It's these stories where people turn an unfortunate event into a flourishing one.

I’m thinking of my friend who was bitterly divorced by his partner of 15 years, just a couple of years after their marriage. He was distraught, wounded, anxious, angry and sad. But he had no choice in the matter. Every day he picked himself up, and kept walking on. Only a couple of years later, he was content in a deep and much healthier relationship. His response to a change that he did not initiate, nor could he control, was to keep living. Those two years were excruciating. He was in constant pain, but he kept moving forward. He simultaneously felt the hit of the bomb in slow motion over and over again, while taking one small step toward re-balancing and reshaping his life. I’m so proud of him. I know that part of his resilience came from his ability to be embrace his own vulnerability. He had to let some walls down. Allow his friends to see him in the despair he was in, but he didn’t expect anyone but himself to get him out. Through the purifying fire of his pain, he created a new life.

Changes we make by choice, come with the same upheaval. These types of changes come from a deep down knowing that something different is needed. It doesn't discount or reject our former choices. But the soul is on a long, and constantly evolving journey. These eruptions from deep within can rock your world just as much as the changes we didn’t choose. Added to that, there can be a strange guilt associated with it, as it seems you are tearing down a perfectly great balance and status quo, to make room for something different.

Recently, another friend told me she’s moving her whole family, husband and two kids to another country. Imagine! She’s risking her career, her relationship with her husband may or may not withstand the move, and her kids are going to enter into an entire new world with another language, customs and atmosphere. But she just knows she has to do it. For many reasons, her life needs this change. It’s taking a ton of courage, and a lot of effort, but she’s unstoppable. Again, I’m inspired to watch her listen to her gut and walk down a new road.

Sometimes relationships, or career steps that you'd worked hard for and once brought you great joy, need to be released to realize your next steps in life, and this can be extremely hard. Yet the change is as necessary as any. Our spirit has a deep knowing. When it speaks to us we have to listen.  

There's no doubt such changes bring anticipation of something hopeful. There's also no doubt they will carry a measure of fear and sadness. As we face the unknown, and voluntarily let go of huge elements of our former self.  But resistance to these types of changes is just swimming in our own internal struggle. We have to keep walking forward, even if it means voluntarily walking through a fire to get to another side of ourselves.

Whatever the changes, now or on the horizon: embrace. Embrace the voice of your soul, as it is on a journey unrecognizable to the daily rigidly patterned world. It is a song being sung deep in your heart that gets let out one note at a time, over the long course of life, and each breath is as unpredictable as it is beautiful. Let down your resistance, open up to possibilities beyond your imagination, and embrace change.

- Ella

A New You

Happy New Year everyone...

The first breath: feel the wealth, the warmth and sweetness this life already holds for you...

Favorites Gallery-0029

Second, Third and beyond breaths: Envision all that you want to create this year. Breath life into each and every dream in your soul right now. See it feel it coming to life in the same way you feel the elements what you already have.

Time is circular. Your dreams have already happened in your heart, now your body gets to live them! It will take courage to bring them to life. And you may have to let go of somethings to make room...

Embrace the cool shadows that the warm light ahead of you will create, as some things you formerly cherished, humbly stand aside. A bigger picture is rising up on the horizon. Follow the flow into life's new reality. If you dreamed it it can't be wrong. Release doubt and float down the river. The ocean will catch you, and with its massive abundance, it will whisper in your ear, "thank you for trusting the journey, and welcome to your life."
I Love you. You can do this.