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Are you scratching your head at why I chose that title?

I don’t blame you for that. All around us there is chaos. I am not limiting that to what’s happening globally, nationally, or otherwise. Stuff is messy – and without violating any confidences, believe me you don’t want to know some of the messy I know people are going through.

Yes, yours truly among them. I’m fine. My family is fine. Overall we’re doing better than most so don’t get too caught up in that spiral.

I will say, I have cried more this week than I care to admit because I’d have to actually come up with a tally and I do not want to dwell on that more than this. 

It is BECAUSE of that I am GRATEFUL FOR JOY.

How sad would it be if joy left us? I assure you you don’t want to know the answer to that either.

As much as we love her, Joy can slide into the background. We welcome her when she shows up unannounced – but we ignore her more often than not. Why don’t we seek her out more? 

When the proverbial s*** hit the fan in our nation’s capitol this week, I texted some family and friends, to mark the moment in history and just make sure everyone was okay. The violent and disturbing demonstrations extended beyond DC – guillotines in one city, a bomb threat against another government location, the list goes on.

My message ended by saying I was praying for an end to the chaos.

One family member in particular – she knows who she is – remarked that prayer was a thing more than one person she’d been in touch with had turned to for help through this. 

Earlier that day at a funeral mass I’d attended for a family member who left us too soon – a victim of the pandemic and a heartbreaking loss for everyone who knew him even slightly. What a theft of humanity it has all been. Even now I have angry tears welling up when I think about it. 

The priest at the funeral mass categorized prayer and a prayerful life as a way to tap into joy – not just when consumed with grief, but to get through the messy of life. That stuck with me – though it is not a new concept. 

So I am seeking joy, whether through prayer, hiking, yoga, listening to music, looking at old photos, eating half a bag of M&Ms, or acting silly on a park bench – because I have to. 

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!