Author Archives: fiona

2017 Yoga Teacher Training in Fair Lawn, NJ

Sunshine Yoga Life will be holing a 200-hour yoga teacher training at Bloom Yoga in Fair Lawn, NJ!

I’ve held several Ashtanga and Ayurveda workshops with Jess Klein for her 200-hour yoga program in the past few years, and this year I am very excited to be contributing to the Anatomy training as well!

We’ve had so much fun training small classes of inspiring yoga teachers, and this year will be just as exciting. Our new home at Bloom Yoga is spacious and inviting, and since the program runs on select Sunday afternoons it is ideal for anyone who holds a regular job during the week! Spots are filling up quickly, so if you’re interested contact Jess now!  The training begins on September 17 and runs to June 24.

Here’s what our 2017 trainees will experience:

  • Technique & Yoga Philosophy with Jess Klein, E-RYT 500
  • Ashtanga & Ayurveda with Fiona Andrews, RYT 500
  • Adjustments, Anatomy & Physiology with Jess and Fiona
  • Teaching Methodology workshops including Sequencing, Language, Public Speaking, Leadership Skills & Yoga as a Business with Jess

Please join us on July 9, August 20, or September 10 for a FREE one-hour vinyasa class followed by a Q&A on the Teacher Training program. We’d love to meet you!

Ayurveda Lunch Workshop

Fiona Andrews Ayurveda Workshop

Join us for an authentic home-cooked meal featuring dishes gathered from all over India.
At this workshop, you will:

  • discover your dosha (unique constitution) and how it should affect your lifestyle and eating habits
  • learn about the ancient healing practices of ayurveda, yoga’s sister science
  • uncover the gunas and learn to apply them to your daily life
  • experience all six tastes present in a well-balanced meal
  • savor a full, healthy lunch with gluten-free and vegan options
  • practice eating mindfully and in the traditional Indian way
  • enjoy conversation with new friends as we eat together, family style!

Upcoming Dates:

January 22, 2017 Indigo Yoga
Registration Closed
July 8, 2016 Sunshine Yoga Life
Registration Closed
April 17, 2016 Bloom Yoga
Registration Closed
February 21, 2016 Sunshine Yoga Life
Registration Closed
April 26, 2015 Sunshine Yoga Life
Registration Closed
June 22, 2014 Vida Wellness Studio
Registration Closed
May 4, 2014 Vida Wellness Studio
Registration Closed

Interested in hosting this event at your studio? Get in touch!

 

eating at the golden temple indian thali served on a banana leaf Fiona andrews ayurveda workshop Fiona andrews ayurveda kheer indian spice market fiona andrews ayurvedic cooking workshopFiona Andrews Ayurvedic Eating Workshop

2016 yoga teacher training

2016 Yoga Teacher Training: Sunshine Yoga Life

It’s that time again- Sunshine Yoga Life 200-hour Teacher Training is about to start up! Last year we had so much fun training a whole new bunch of inspiring yoga teachers, and this year is shaping up to be just as exciting with some new program additions. The new yoga studio in Mountain Lakes is a spacious yet intimate setting – and there are only a couple of spots left in the program, so if you’re interested contact Jess now! Continue reading

Deepen Your Practice: Sunshine Yoga Teacher Training

The best way to learn something is to teach it. The same is true in yoga – you don’t have to want a career as a yoga teacher to learn a lot from a teacher training. Learning the theory and philosophy behind teaching yoga will bring your personal yoga practice to a whole new level.

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How to Start Practicing Yoga on the Cheap

Yoga is often thought of as an activity for privileged white chicks with large engagement rings on their fingers, Coach purses on their arms, and venti Starbucks cups in their hands. However, this could not be further from the truth. Yoga is a practice developed in India, passed down through texts that are thousands of years old. One of the oldest texts is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, which was compiled around the year 400 and has been widely used for yoga practice since about 1000. The first phrase of the sutras is Atha Yoga Anushasanam, which translates to “Here and Now is the Time for Yoga.” Yoga is for everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or expendable income. More importantly, everyone can benefit from yoga practice – especially those who have financial stresses and may not be able to afford it.

Now is the Time for Yoga
अथ योगानुशासनम्
Atha Yoga Anushasanam

Although there are lots of totally legitimate reasons why yoga is so expensive (which I will cover in my next post), the bottom line is that the cost can prohibit people from practicing. As a recent college grad, small business owner, and driver of a vehicle that recently stopped running, I TOTALLY understand that not everyone can shell out $22 for a yoga class. So here are some top tips for how to get the benefits of yoga on the cheap.
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Chakra Balancing Workshop

Learn more about the seven chakras and how chakra balancing will boost your health and energy. We will unblock, awaken, and balance our energetic centers using yoga poses and end with a guided meditation. You will leave with a heightened sense of awareness and understanding of how your body speaks to you. Led by Fiona Andrews, RYT 500.

fiona andrews chakra balancing yoga workshop
Upcoming Dates:

May 29, 2014 Vida Wellness Studio Closed
March 25, 2014 Vida Wellness Studio Closed

Interested in hosting this event at your studio? Get in touch!

Foods to Balance the Chakras

This post inspired by the Chakra Balancing Experience we recently held at Vida Wellness Studio – thanks so much to all of you who came out!

First of all, what are chakras?

You’ve probably seen a diagram of a person sitting in full lotus position with seven rainbow circles superimposed from the seat to the crown. These are chakras – visual representations of the energy centers of the body. I know this can sound like new-agey nonsense. Stick with me – I’m a science-minded person myself, but I have found chakras to be a useful system to assess my health and general well-being.

Let me just start off saying chakras are not my specialty. I always thought of the concept as a hazy pseudo-science, so I only really started to see the value a few years after I had started practicing yoga and I noticed how different asana made me feel. This is not medical advice by any means – I am in no way suggesting that if you have cancer of the throat, eating lots of fruit to balance your fifth chakra will cure you. It is simply a system through which to inquire about your health and mental stability.

If you’re a yogi, you have already accepted that to a certain extent the mind creates the body. The chakra system is built on the converse: the concept that our bodies reflect our state of mind. Each of the seven energy centers represents a system within the body. Their qualities are also manifested in colours, elements, senses, crystals – even in some circles, gods and goddesses. Really, the list goes on.

For our purposes today, we’re just going to talk about the chakras in the physical being. You can see below which emotions, systems, and colours are represented in each chakra and where they are located. What happens is this: When our minds are out of balance, these imbalances manifest themselves in our bodies. For example, if you are heartbroken it is common to feel heavy in the chest and even experience a lowered immune system. If you are suffering from low self esteem, it can be felt in the solar plexus and seen as poor posture collapsing into that area. If you are feeling out of place or without a home, you may experience hip pain or have trouble sitting still.

The converse is true as well – if you have specific aches and pains in your body, it may be telling you something about your subconscious. If you have asthma or respiratory problems, it could indicate you are having trouble communicating, or you may be experiencing a creative block. If you’re having low back pain, you could be suppressing emotions.

How do we balance the chakras?

The idea for this article came about because I came across an article that suggested foods for chakra balancing – but it was just a listing of the different chakras with fruits and vegetables that are the same colour! Well, erm, thanks…but I can visit the produce section myself.

Also, mindful meditation on colours (which is what you’re doing while you eat foods of a specific colour) can be effective, but it is certainly not the only way to balance the chakras. This list is instead based on the functions and qualities of the chakras and corresponding functions and qualities of food.

I’ll go into more detail about the chakras in another post, but I just wanted to share this with you because the type of food you are craving can also be an indication of an imbalance. It’s easier to relate to the chakra system in terms of something simple and concrete like the foods we eat rather than trying to visualise a balanced system right off the bat. Think about this before you reach for your comfort food!

Interested in buying a print of this image? E-mail me!
Fiona Andrews Food to Balance Chakras
Interested in buying a print of this image? E-mail me!

Upcoming Workshop: Ayurveda Lunch

Join us for an authentic home-cooked meal, featuring dishes gathered from all over India.
At this workshop, you will

    Ayurveda Dosha Types

  • discover your dosha (unique constitution) and how it should affect your lifestyle and eating habits
  • learn about the ancient healing practices of ayurveda, yoga’s sister science
  • uncover the gunas and learn to apply them to your daily life
  • experience all six tastes present in a well-balanced meal
  • savor a full, healthy lunch with gluten-free and vegan options
  • practice eating mindfully and in the traditional Indian way
  • enjoy conversation with new friends as we eat together, family style!


4th may, noon-2 • register by 1 may ~ $60
early bird by 18 apr ~ $50 • with a friend ~ $45
Register now!
PDF flyer

eating at the golden temple indian thali served on a banana leaf Fiona andrews ayurveda workshop Fiona andrews ayurveda kheer indian spice market

Put Your Hands on my Asana

How do you feel about yoga adjustments?

fiona andrews yoga compass pose

 
As a new yogi, I hated being touched during my practice. I slipped into the asanas the teachers described, found comfort in them, and did not want to be adjusted. In hindsight, I realise I resisted adjustments because I was relying on strength and poor alignment to do poses I wasn’t flexible enough for.

 
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Sthira Sukham Asanam: Stop Being Lazy, But Don’t Work Too Hard

There’s a fine line between “honoring your body” and being just plain lazy – but on the other hand, working too hard will usually prove counterproductive. I’m not just talking about yoga – like so many aspects of yoga, this applies off the mat too.

To those who aren’t in the know, yoga usually brings to mind gentle stretching, soothing music, and a general air of peacefulness. Those of us who are in the know expect to feel relaxed after class, but also realise it takes a lot of hard work to get there. You won’t glean all the benefits of yoga just by showing up.

How do you work hard in a yoga class while still feeling relaxed?

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Yoga for Weight Loss

20082012

Chubby in 2008 and bulked up in 2012 – scroll down for post-yoga…

 
People ask me about this all the time, whether they come to class because they want to lose weight or whether they are skeptical of how something so relaxing can help. I can personally testify that yoga can do wonders for your waistline. When I first started exercising about five years ago, I was 30 pounds heavier than I am now. I overdosed on cardio and lifted insane amounts of weights, I kickboxed and bellydanced and ran 25-35 miles a week, and within about a year of exercising at 6 AM every single day without exception, I was 30 pounds lighter. Continue reading

From Exhaustion to Tiredness to Complete and Utter Excitement

Merry Christmas from Fiona Andrews

Well, I have been back in the US for a month now and I’m still enjoying the novelty of hot showers, faucets with potable water, and pizza delivery. As incredible and beautiful as my time in India was, the holidays are a great time to be around those you love. But after a couple months away I feel like I have shed everything that was bad and am only left with the good!

When I moved to India, I was exhausted and thoroughly depleted from three years of constant stress. But when I left India, I was exhausted again. I had spent the first month and a half relaxing and stripping away the negativity I had harbored for the past few years with daily yoga, meditation, and pranayama – but then felt like I undid a good portion of that with eighteen hour train rides and bumpy, nauseating bus trips as I rapidly made my way from the very south of the country to the very north. I was no longer depleted, but I was simply tired – so I thought I would have no problem sleeping, eating, and just enjoying time with friends and family throughout the holiday season.

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Amma’s Darshan: My Encounter with the Hugging Saint

Check out last week’s post about my weekend at Amma’s Ashram- here’s part two! 

Amma's Ashram, The Hugging Saint

After dinner, it was my turn for darshan (a hug!) so I got in the queue by the stage. After not moving for about half an hour, I verified with one of the devotees coordinating the process that I was in the right place. She explained that many Indian devotees just come for the day, so Amma tries to see all of them first so they can catch their trains and buses home. Although I usually would have been mildly irked by such a poorly organised system (why not tell me to come back later instead of sitting and waiting?), I continued to sit and observe. Devotees brought silks, malas, fruit, and cookies for her to bless. Whole families went up at once to receive her sacred hug, often all but carrying their eldest members. 

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A weekend at an ashram with Amma, the Hugging Saint

Last weekend I was privileged enough to visit the Hugging Saint, Amma, at her home in Kerala. Having never met a saint and having never been to an ashram, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

I arrived and was greeted with an “Om Navah Shivayah” by the devotee who was working (volunteering) at the front desk. He told me which room I would be sharing with three other people and directed me towards the laundry where I could borrow some sheets. Seeing the sign that read “Rs. 200 deposit required,” I reached for my wallet – but the volunteer at the desk handed me my linens and, grinning, said not to worry about it and just leave them in the hamper when I checked out. 

Living at an ashram - accommodation

I made my way up to the ninth floor and spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to figure out how to use the combination lock before gaining entrance to my room. Laundry hung everywhere, photos of Amma decorated the walls, there was less than a metre between each of the four mattresses on the floor, and small statues of deities from all religions graced the windowsill. There was a small sink next to the bathroom, which (standard for India) was essentially a tiled closet with a toilet and a shower head. Everything was clean, but definitely well-worn and snug – doubly so since it was the week leading up to Ama’s 60th birthday, and 200,000 guests were expected to come and go throughout the week!

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From Words to Sounds to Silence: a Buddhist Meditation

Meditating is hard. Many yogis who have been practicing for years still have trouble detaching from the distractions of the outer world and silencing their inner voice on command. Simply sitting still and trying to shift into “meditation mode” is extremely difficult. On the other hand, guided meditation can sometimes be effective but it can also become a gimmicky crutch. 

Yesterday, we did a Buddhist meditation that I think is just the right mix of guided and natural. I tried to find out more about it from an online source somewhere so I could share with you, but could not locate anything. Luckily, it is very simple to explain. I found it to be particularly effective because it first allows you to acknowledge the world around you before you sort of transcend, so it is ideal for loud spaces where quiet meditation would otherwise be difficult. For me, it also led to some pretty vivid perceptions in the third phase.

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10 Things to Get You Through 32 Hours of Travelling

Travel tips to get through long trips
 

I travel a lot, and I travel cheap. This often means crazy inconveniences, like 15 hour overnight layovers in Portugal or crazy long journeys to get halfway around the world. I have certainly learned a thing or two about staying sane on the cheap while spending ridiculously long times in transit. Here’s what gets me through.

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The Next Big Adventure

Since graduating last May, I’ve had many adventures including but not limited to sliding on glaciers in Iceland, hitting casinos in Vegas, climbing Macchu Picchu in Peru, buying a car, becoming a certified yoga instructor, riding steam trains, skinny dipping in Croatia, partying with the Scorpions in Prague, stowing away in Geneva, enduring a hurricane, bartending at strip clubs, running a half marathon, completing a tough mudder, baking my first pie, and having a full time job. I met so many awesome people and had so many thoroughly unforgettable experiences that it’s a little difficult to think about what comes next.

I’ve been working at Marketsmith, Inc for over two years now, after starting as an intern in the summer of 2011, telecommuting while at school, and graduating university a year early in order to return for a full-time position. I’ve learned so much and worked with some really special people on the skilled and talented Marketsmith team. I enjoyed my work and am so grateful for the many opportunities offered to me.

However, anyone who knows me (or really has even met me in passing) knows that I am not good at staying in one place for too long. I’ve been seeking out my next big adventure for awhile now, and I think I’ve found it.

fiona andrews yoga teacher
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Vegan Spiced Apple Scones

I make these in the autumn with pumpkin- but toning it down with applesauce and less spices makes them great for rainy, glum spring mornings like today. I’ve made these for many bake sales, but since I basically refuse to measure anything I never thought the recipe was worth sharing. Today I finally worked out how to make them more scone-like and less cake-like while still keeping them vegan :) They’re not the most healthy of things, but they’re definitely better for you than most scones. No matter how health-conscious I am, I can’t resist a good scone…what can I say, I’m English! Continue reading