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By Teresa Dornellas

I was driving down Route 17 the other day, with the usual Saturday afternoon traffic, when I noticed some commotion: drivers honking their horns nervously, there was some unrest. The red light turned to green and we moved. Just a few feet ahead, one of the drivers threw a cup of ice on the windshield of the other car – I suppose these were the two drivers who were upset with each other before.

The ice flew all over and almost hit my car also. That was a very angry and dangerous move, and it got me thinking, what could have someone done to justify such an aggressive response?

At the time, I was on my way to teach a yoga class, and that became the theme of my class.

I asked myself this: how out of control our emotions need to be in order for us to completely lose it and do something so dangerous to someone we don’t know and may never see again? That act could have caused an accident, people could have been severely injured, other people not involved in their disagreement could have been hurt too. And why?

One of the greatest gifts of Yoga is that it teaches us to pause. Pause to breathe. Pause to shift from one pose to the next. Pause to watch our breath and observe what it does to our bodies and minds. Pause to decide if we want to react or let go…

I do believe we are all born with the ability to pause before we act. But in the haste of life, enveloped by the aggression of our culture and our need to always be right, we often skip it. We may be quick to judge, condemn and often punish those who we believe did us wrong, without pausing to think of the possible consequences of our acts.

There are some questions that may help us in that moment of pause: How important is it? Will I even remember this incident tomorrow, a month from now, a year from now? Is this worth my peace of mind? What am I trying to accomplish by reacting? Where’s my reaction coming from?

The great author and Buddhist Monk, Pema Chodron, says this: “It all comes through learning to pause for a moment, learning not to just impulsively do the same thing again and again. It’s a transformative experience to simply pause instead of immediately filing up the space.”

Pause. Breathe. Dive in. Move on.

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!