Off the Mat

Yoga Off The Mat…And Into Your Life!

Ways To Come Deeper Into The Truth of Your Being

I used to own a successful yoga studio with my dear friend and business partner, Erica Taxin Bleznak (click here to see what “Movement and Musings” Erica is up to).  It was a wonderful experience: very vital, very fulfilling and very busy!  As we began to work into the deeper practices of yoga, it became apparent to us that we could no longer teach classes, run a studio, enjoy our families and get deep into the work of getting deep into the Self.  For this reason, we decided to hand our business over to another teacher.

Since that time, I have dedicated my life to getting to know my mind and my Self.  This required my committing to quiet and this quiet has made all the difference.  In quiet, I have been able to hear some of the inner workings of my mind. It is only through hearing the mind that we stand a chance of freeing ourselves from its grip.  Through this process of hearing the mind and not blindly serving it, I have found a greater sense of peace.

On this page, I want to share some of the things that have allowed me to find quiet and, consequently, peace in my life.  Try one or all of them.  Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments.

Start slowly.  Remember, you’re not trying to become a “better you.” Rather, you are trying to get to know the real YOU!


Silent walks (pics of walking with Daisy)

Every day, I reserve at least an hour to take my dog, Daisy, on a walk.  When at home in Philly, we go to Rolling Hills Dog Park for a 2-mile hike.  About half way through the loop, we stop to meditate on a rock by the water.   Actually, I stop to meditate for about 10-15 minutes and Daisy plays in the creek.  Although I love walking with friends, I never do this hike with anyone.  The idea is to leave everyone and everything aside (especially the cell phone) and take in the beauty, the sounds, and the smells of the hike.  I also listen to the conversations going on in my mind…which give me endless entertainment!


Morning Pranayama Practice (pic of me doing pranayam)

Each morning before I have breakfast, I enjoy a 40-60 minute pranayama practice followed by a 20-40 minute meditation. I spend 5 minutes on each breathing exercise.  Of course, you could spend less time on each and/or you could only do one or two.   This is my routine.  Under each pranayama, there is a description.  This is in no way meant to be instructive.  To learn how to do these pranayamas please schedule a session with me or another trained teacher.


5 minutes of Dirga Pranayama

Long deep breaths in three parts-

Inhale into the belly, the ribs and then the chest.

Exhale from the chest, the ribs and then the belly.

5 minutes of Antar Kumbhaks

Deep inhales followed by a long breath retention. Exhale slowly. Repeat.

5 minutes of Kappalabhati Kriya

Sharp exhales through the nose drawing the abdominal muscles in and up each time.

5 minutes of Agni Sara

From standing position exhale completely folding over. Lifting torso to 45 degree angle, hold the exhale as

you lift and lower the abdominal cavity. Breathe in and kapalabhati breath for a count of 20.  Breathe normally,

feel and then begin again.

5 minutes of Ujjayi Breathing

Inhale deeply with a closed larynx making a loud noise. Retain the breath with jalandhara bandha. Exhale through the left nostril.  Repeat.

5 minutes of Sitali inhale and OM exhale

Inhale with tongue out and curled.  Retain the breath with tip of tongue touching soft palette. Exhale chanting OM. Repeat.

5 minutes of Analoma Viloma

Breathe in through left nostril. Retain the breath. Breathe out through right nostril.  Breathe in through right nostril.  Retain the breath.  Breathe out through left nostril.  Repeat.

5 minutes of Dirga Pranayama

Repeat step one.

Meditation-                              (pics of me meditating)

My meditation technique is to bring my attention to my breath.  When I realize that my mind has wandered away from the breath, I redirect it to the breath once again.  That’s it.  Remember, that each time you sit down (or lie down, if that’s better for you) to meditate it’s a perfect meditation no matter how many times the mind wanders!

Cooking with intention                   [pic of me cooking]

Cooking is one of my favorite heart opening meditations.  I give myself plenty of time so that I am not rushed to produce something quickly and stressfully.  Rather, I engage in each part of the cooking process slowly and mindfully.  I put on music that opens my heart.  For me this can be anything from Jean-Philippo Rykiel & Lama Gyurme to Kirtan to Opera to Carol King to Aerosmith, depending on the day. I begin with a prayer for those for whom I’m cooking.  I think of each person and set an intention to pour my love for him or her into the food preparation.  I take a moment of gratitude for the abundance of food before me. I look at all the dynamic colors and smell the various scents laid out before me.  Then, I begin.