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A blog post by Mary Moscarello. Read all of Mary’s posts here.

Even the mundane can be lovely if you pause to give gratitude for it. Sure, these flowers bathed in early morning sunlight on my kitchen table are especially lovely.

There’s something lovely, too, about our goofy dog Bongo, laying on his towel by the back door, wanting to snooze, but watching to see if I’m going to stay in one room for a while since he follows me everywhere when I’m downstairs.

Peaceful ordinary-ness is what I see in the above photo of our cat, Blossom. Unlike the dog, unconcerned with any of the human movements throughout the house – she shields her eyes from the light so she can sink deeper into what is probably her tenth nap of the day though it is only noon.

I’ve noticed these mundane, ordinary things.

I’ve found joy in them.

You may have seen where this post is going. The idea of being “in love” with each moment came to me after listening to an On Being podcast. The guest was David Steindl-Rast – an American Catholic Benedictine monk, author, and lecturer. In his discussion with host Krista Tippet, he said so many things that I could just post the transcript here and it would serve you, dear reader… yet I want to pick a few highlights and apply them to yoga philosophy and how Steindl-Rast’s perspective is so refreshing and helpful during quarantine.

Joy is the happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.

Read that again.

Joy is the happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.

Have you felt that? Joy? Maybe not recently – but I hope so. Today, I sat in the backyard with my daughter and enjoyed the sunshine, the cool spring breeze and just talked. The grass needed mowing and our yard is not looking very presentable, but it was joyful just to sit and talk with her. Nothing mattered except that we were together. I fell in love with that moment.

How was I able to do that, in a pandemic?

The klesha (obstacles on the path of yoga) known as abinivesha (attachment and fear – sometimes translated as fear of death) can be described as a clinging out of fear. When we encounter this klesha, we cling to fear of loss as a byproduct of change.

If I had given in to abinivesha during today’s sun-soaked daughter chat, I guarantee I would have blocked the joy of the moment which brought me to love it. Holding on to things we hope never change prevents us from experiencing life.

In no way am I saying that fear is an unreasonable response to what’s happening around us, now or before the days of quarantine. You don’t need me to tell you things are bad all over. I offer this method of coping instead. Following the wisdom of “simply noticing things for which I am grateful causes me to have more things about which to be grateful” has prompted me to pause and do just that. I am working on my gratitude response in all ways I can possibly lately and in sharing my gratitude for the sunny backyard time, I am practicing thanksgiving.

Important to note that Steindl-Rast considers it a two-part practice, feeling gratitude and then expressing it. He advises us first to stop, and come into the present moment. Very yogic!

You may be relieved to hear that the pause need not linger long. He says, a split second is enough — “stop.” Once you stop, you then seek what the given moment has to offer. Be in the moment and tap into that immediate feedback loop of joy.

Theresa Conlon

Theresa is a Yoga Alliance certified instructor (200-hour RYT) who has been teaching since 2013. She is skilled in various yoga styles including Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative, and Meditation. Theresa also brings an extensive dance background to her yoga practice, which includes teaching both modern dance and ballet. She has over 40 years of dance/theater performing experience and currently showcases her choreography as part of Bergen Dance Makers, a dance collective in northern New Jersey. Theresa’s yoga classes offer a calming mix of traditional asana postures and creative movement flows, supported by energy-moving breath. Students of all skill levels are invited to find ease and peace in their bodies/minds/spirits through the joyful bliss of yoga movement.

Carrie Parker Gastelu

Carrie Parker Gastelu, E-500 RYT, has been teaching yoga since 1993. Carrie began her journey when Yogi Raj Mani Finger initiated Carrie into the ISHTA Yoga lineage after training with Mani’s son, Yogi Raj Alan Finger. In addition, she has studied many other yoga traditions as well as anatomy, physiology, movement, and awareness practices to create an eclectic style all her own. She is known for her honest, non-dogmatic yet passionate approach.

Carrie is a regular speaker and contributor at conferences, websites, and print publications and has been featured in Fit Magazine, the Yoga Zone Book, and in the Yoga Zone Video, “Flexibility and Stress Release.”

Lisa Podesta-Coombs

When Lisa found yoga in 2008, she started to find herself again and it set her on a path of health and healing. She received her 200HR RYT certification from Raji Thron of Yoga Synthesis, and her 30HR Chakra Yoga Teacher Training certificate with Anodea Judith and holds a Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) certification. She is also a Holistic Health Coach (certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition). Lisa believes we’re all on a journey of learning how to trust ourselves; she helps her clients build that trust by supporting them in creating better habits for a better life through various functional movement modalities like yoga, barre, Pilates & strength training, mindset, and whole food nutrition.

Forever a student with a passion for people, holistic health, and self-actualization, Lisa is always embracing opportunities to advance her education to better serve; Ayurveda workshops & immersions have been of particular interest as she continues to deepen her knowledge of and experience with food as medicine and she recently completed Unleash Her Power Within, a transformational program of rediscovering our truest selves, powered by Tony Robbins.  

As she continues to give herself space and grace to nourish her natural self and actualize her potential, Lisa continues to share the gift of movement as medicine to inspire authenticity & health in body, mind, and spirit. You can expect mindful, accessible, dynamic, playful, and uplifting classes from Lisa.

Tanisha Sutton

Tanisha’s yoga journey began when she was an undergraduate student studying at university. Changes in her health coupled with anxiety over grades, relationships, and life in general, forced her to search for healthy lifestyle choices she could implement to help manage the stress that she was experiencing as a new adult. A friend of hers suggested that she attend some community yoga classes to help with the anxiety and increase her daily physical activity. Initially, she was reluctant and filled with all these false ideas about yoga and the people who practiced yoga. Like many others, she was concerned that her body type and lack of flexibility automatically excluded her from being a student. Curiously yet hesitantly, she journeyed on to her first class and began laying the foundation for a home and public practice that has supported her over the years.

On this journey, she has discovered that yoga has nothing to do with appearances nor is there anything, but an open mind needed to begin. She intends to provide you with a gentle yoga session that is safe, inclusive, and accessible. Her classes are an expression of self-love and are a deliberate choice to tend to ALL the parts of our being that are neglected, ignored, or disregarded during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Through meditation, deep breathing, and gentle movement we will collectively share space to observe, rest and re-set. Tanisha is honored to share her practice with you and looks forward to seeing you on the mat!