As calendar pages turn and seasons change – we use the rear view mirror to gauge distance traveled, shifts made, triumphs measured, and losses endured.

The gradual exit from autumn and entrance into winter provides us that vantage point in a year none of us could have predicted.

A basic, expected approach to the season of autumn or fall is one of letting go. Nature provides us this cue where to take our gaze. Leaves brilliantly assume gloriously bright hues, then fall and fade to brown, returning to the very earth below the tree that gave it life. The cycle repeats.

Autumn is also the time of harvest – so one could take that letting go idea and contrast it with the collecting, gathering, and storing that must come before winter. Survival depends on it.

Winter. The dark, dead, cold time of the year. Just survive it. Hold on to the things that will get you through it. Use them sparingly, wisely, lovingly.

Consider what you’re taking with you into winter. How does it sustain you? How can it nourish you?

I’m choosing to take my list of the “gifts of quarantine”. The things made possible by the restraints and caution. The opportunities and experiences – joyful and sorrowful alike – have all been gifts in that they’ve been lessons. 

There are so many, I could fill pages and page of this blog if I sat and wrote them out. But there’s one in particular that stands out at this moment. 
I got to witness the beautiful, loving, sibling energy and bond between my daughter and bonus daughter, up close. We all got to be together as a family in a way I never imagined could have been possible, given our blended origins.

I need nothing more than that and I’ll not only survive winter, I’ll thrive in it.

There’s still time to add to your gifts of quarantine list – even if you have not listed the first thing. As a suggestion, write: “I’m here” at the top of the list. That is a gift that cannot be wrapped and placed under a tree – and yet it is the most valuable gift of all. I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad you’re taking what you need into winter with me. 

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!