This morning my dear friend and I woke up early and went to the beach to do yoga and watch the sunrise. The sunrise was incredible. We could feel the energy of the Mother Goddess..
Be open to magic~Yogini Tiff
As a yoga teacher, my students often ask me questions. And a common question is “What type of yoga mat should I buy?”
The Yogi and the Yoga Mat
Lets be honest, we don’t need a yoga mat to practice yoga. We do however (most likely), need a yoga mat if we are taking a yoga class. Often times a yoga studio will have mats students can borrow or rent. But as a yoga practice develops, there comes a time when a yogi, feels the need to acquire their very own yoga mat. The yogi and yoga mat spend so much time together.
When it comes to yoga mats, there are so many choices….
The cheapest yoga mats, are made of synthetic materials, they tend to be slippery and have a texture and smell I don’t particularly like. But I have used cheap yoga mats, I have used them a lot. If you have one and it works for you, continue to use it. And feel good about it. But, if you are thinking of buying a new mat, and you can afford it, remember to think about quality, durability, and of course, think about the environment. The purchase of a good quality Eco-Friendly mat will initially cost more, that is true, but a good quality mat, can outlast a cheaper mat by years!
I celebrated my 36th birthday last week. In the morning, I taught a lovely yoga class, and walked home to a discover a package at the door. A new yoga mat. A Jade Yoga Mat. Happy Birthday to me.
Jade yoga mats, are really good yoga mats. I love the way my Jade mat feels. Jade mats are made with natural rubber and have non-slip properties. I never slip. These mats are long-lasting and the colors are beautiful too. I feel good practicing on a mat made from natural fibers. And I feel good supporting a company that shows concern for the environment and actively helps build a kinder, healthier, and more peaceful world.
Here is a link to their website,check out Jade Yoga for yourself..
Please note:I know there are many good yoga mats to choose from and many great companies too. But I have found a mat I love and have been using for years. Jade makes a very good quality mat. Thank you Jade Yoga…
At nearly 16 weeks pregnant, this yogini is constantly hungry!!!!! Of course I want to eat a nutrient dense diet, now more than ever, but I also want food that tastes delicious.
Always a lover of sweets and a lover of avocados..Here is a recipe, jam packed with both nutrients and deliciousness.
Raw Chocolate Moose
4 medium sized avocados
3-4 Tablespoons raw cacao powder
*** You can substitute with 3-4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (although it technically won’t be entirely RAW)
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup agave (add more to taste), or you can use raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Add all ingredients together in a food processor, blender, or vita mix. Blend until creamy smooth.. chill for 1-2 hours. You can top the moose with fruit (raspberries taste especially good), shredded coconut, or nuts.
There are many variations to this recipe. I suggest you experiment, look at similar recipes and try it several ways. Or, you can slightly alter this recipe and make “Raw Chocolate Ice Cream” by simply adding 3/4 cup of coconut milk and a little more agave, and freezing for a few hours.
Cheers to our health! And cheers to Avocados with Chocolate! ~Yogini Tiff
“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; when diet is correct, medicine is of no need” ~Ayurvedic Proverb
Delicious, nutritious, but certainly not low in calories. Haha..Mmmm…..
I haven’t written in a while. I am sorry. I am at one of those points in my life, where I can’t turn back, and I certainly can’t pretend nothing is happening. My life is in major transition. I have to completely shed an old life, to make space for a new life, and I mean this in many different ways.
If you have followed my blog or my life for a while, you know, my life has never been normal. My friends and family often say “your life is like a really crazy and interesting book, you should write a book!!” So today I will open up a little and write..
I moved from Hawaii to Florida, having never been here. I knew Florida needed school teachers and I happened to have a friend who was living in Florida and needed a roommate. With that, trusting my instincts to guide me, my son and I packed up and were on our way.
Florida has been a place for me where I have learned, grown, changed, cried, and healed. Constant state of transformation.
I started my adventure in Florida, teaching high school at a rough school, which taught me about some of the grim realities of our system. Poverty, education, crime. I know I taught my students a lot (though always a rebel, I rarely followed the curriculum). But even more, was how much my students taught me. How much the experience taught me. I still keep in contact with many of my former students, and it always feels so good, to hear how I impacted their lives..it truly was mutual.
During that time, I met and married a ‘punk seeming artist’ from Palm Beach, the grandson of a very famous celebrity. He was sweet and handsome, and a strong advocate for organic foods and a healthy diet, I thought I had found the perfect partner.
Being in a relationship with someone from Palm Beach, and teaching in the ghetto, I was being exposed to two extremes. During the day, I was in the poor side of town teaching History. Yet, oddly enough, often during my evenings, I was having a glass of wine with some of the high-society’ folks of Palm Beach and Jupiter. Did I fit in? No. Did I want to? NO!! Keep your fancy clothes and wine. Give me trees, a campfire, and a cup of herbal tea..
One thing I learned from my glimpse into ‘society’ world, is that money often creates a whole new set of problems. It truly does not buy happiness. And I also saw way too many people with terrible plastic surgery! Reminding me once again, that nature does it better and that true beauty radiates from the inside.
Soon after I married, my ex’s mental health began to rapidly deteriorate. I had ZERO experience with mental illness, so with his illness, I was in a nearly constant state of confusion and fear. After my ex’s first psychotic episode, I developed shingles. I had shingles severely on two lines of nerves. It was so painful. I lost 25 pounds. I was very sick. I quit my job as a teacher. I tried to dedicate my life to healing my own body and healing my partner. My body recovered. His illness kept coming and going. It was heartbreaking.
A little over a year after our marriage, and after some very scary moments and events, my ex finally moved out, and left the state. As soon as he left, I felt lighter. But I still had so much trauma to try to process. Legally, to this day, we are still married. But it has been over two years since I have seen him. And to this day, I have been living in a house we bought. But I know that to create and open up to a new life, I have to let this old life go. I have to cut all ties. I am ready. Beyond the anger and sadness, I truly wish him the best. Mental illness is very painful.
It was yoga, meditation, and Reiki that helped me stay sane during some pretty stressful experiences. I was able to shut my mind off, and tune into the present, and let go of all the pain, and fear. I was able to tap into a healing power, and tune into an energy of trust. I found comfort. I found tools to help me cope with life. I learned how to breathe.
It was also through amazing friendships, support from my family, my awesome radical community, performing, singing, playing ukulele, laughing, and skinny dipping in the ocean that helped keep me lit, glowing, and growing…
BUT, I had still closed my heart. And I had closed off my Sacral chakra too. I was done with relationships. I had no desire to be touched (no hanky-panky was going on). I had no desire to even let anyone near me. I was done with love, well, at least the romantic kind.
And then I had a weird dream, and it sent me to the Azores. I had no idea why I was called there. I know now, I was called there to heal and to help heal. I have so many magical stories and experiences that happened there. But one of the most beautiful stories, involves a beautiful, kind and funny man from a small village in Santa Maria. It was him who slowly, helped open my heart. So much magic and romance…There have been songs written about our love (seriously).
So now, here I am, in love with a beautiful Portuguese man, trying to figure out where to go from here. I feel my Florida chapter is coming to an end. My life is in major transition.I have to let go of my old life. It doesn’t fit anymore. What will my new life look like?? I don’t know. I take slow deep breaths. I feel my body expand. Miracles…
In gratitude, I shed the old and create space for the new.
Cheers to Spring Rituals…~Yogini Tiff
“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.” ~Paulo Coelho
I know that healing work, especially energetic, can bring up issues, memories, and cause detoxification (sometimes severe). And with this chakra therapy I have been doing, I feel it.
During the week my class and I focused on the throat chakra, I really felt challenged. I felt tired. I felt irritated. I felt like I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I knew I needed to be in nature,away from the computer, away from the freeway, away from the city.
So on a whim,I booked a campsite in the Florida Keys, and went on ‘retreat’. I told my family and friends,” I will not be talking on the phone for the next two days, or responding to messages. I am going on retreat. ” My ‘retreat’ was an essential part of my healing.
So, we were on our way to the Florida Keys. Just me, my son, my dog, and my sweetheart. As soon as we got to Key Largo, I could really feel the energy change. I started to relax. And about 70 miles south of Key Largo was our campground. Bahia Honda State Park. Bahia Honda is my favorite place in the Keys. The park is beautiful. There are trails, a nature center, nice bathrooms, and hot showers. The park is popular, so Reserve early (or check for cancellations). By the way, there are three campgrounds in the park. My favorite campground is called Sandspur..And it has some campsites with amazing ocean views.
As soon as we arrived and set up the tents,I felt so good. The entire weekend was spent relaxing, healing, cleansing. Yoga on the beach, walking on nature trails, long meditations, good food, camping under the stars. The stars were magical….
Sometimes the best therapy, is turning off the phone, getting out of the city, looking up at the stars, and taking a retreat.
Relax and Breathe~Yogini Tiff
It has been awhile since my last post. Sometimes I think I should become more disciplined with my blog. But most of the time, I think I should just relax and flow:
The weather is warm here in South Florida. All the windows are open. I am thankful for the breeze. I have been teaching a lot of yoga, both private and group classes, and more than ever, I have been giving Reiki treatments.. sometimes a few times a day.
The yoga and chakra therapy series I am teaching is really amazing.. Every week we focus on a different chakra, and every week we are processing, healing, and growing. Through Asana (poses), Pranayama (breath work), mantra (chants), and guided visualization, we are on a chakra journey. We are all learning so much.Sometimes there are tears, sometimes there is laughter. During the week we worked with the Sacral chakra, one person in the group discovered a new and unexpected pregnancy, and one in our group began menstruating again after menopause. Energy work…
This week we have been studying, healing, and strengthening the heart chakra, the Anahata Chakra. For me, it has brought up events, issues,and memories that I haven’t consciously thought about in years. I know I am working through some deep wounds and healing my heart.
And as for healing my heart, my Portuguese sweetheart has been here visiting for nearly a month now (I lived in the Azores for 6 months). Our time together has been beautiful. Dancing, swimming, painting my house, exploring, theatre, yoga, friends, family, and good food. We speak Portuglish. Our own combination of Portuguese and English. We understand each other…. but when we don’t, we laugh, play a bit of charades, and slowly figure it out….. ahahahaha, the language of love.
Love in all forms is the most powerful healer.
To our Chakras and our healing~Yogini Tiff
I have a group of yoga students who have been studying and practicing with me for a few years now. We are all friends, and before class starts, we all laugh and ‘bitch’ a little, we help each other process stuff, we keep it real. Then class starts, we quiet our worries and thoughts, and focus on the breath. Then we begin to flow, linking the body and the breath in movement.
Anyways, after several years practicing together, everyone is able to do their asanas, listen to their bodies, honor their bodies, and comfortably meditiate. Everyone is becoming more sensitive. Last week, I felt intense amounts of energy,while teaching. I opened my eyes during our final seated meditation, looked at my students (friends) and I saw that everyone was really in a deep meditation. Blissed out, connected, and healing. After class ended, nobody moved. For about 20 minutes after class, no one spoke, no one moved. I decided then and there that it was time, to week by week, teach in depth, about the chakras. So starting today, with this particular class, I am going to add a new element to our practice -Yoga and Chakra Therapy..
Focusing on the Chakras while practicing yoga helps activate, cleanse, and heal the Chakras and it helps encourage the energy to flow , upwards and towards the crown of the head. This is often referred to as awakening the Kundalini. Kundalini is often described as a coiled energy that lies dormant at the root chakra, and as people ‘awaken’ the energy activates and starts to move.. I have experienced major surges of energy and felt the power. It is intense. When you are able to truly feel the energy, there is no turning back, it is undeniable, it is life changing. It opens the door to a new path. A path of healing, connection, wisdom, and magic.
Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means spinning wheel or vortex. There are seven major chakras in the human body and over 72,000 nadis, smaller energy centers. The study of chakras and the human energy system is over 5,000 year old and various religions, ethnicities, and cultures in the past and present share the core belief of chakras.
Chakras are usually invisible to the human eye but practicing yoga and other healing arts and sciences helps bring the bring the practitioner into awareness of the subtle (or not so subtle) energies of the chakras, the nadis and the entire energetic system.
The seven major chakras in the human body run parallel from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Chakras are centers of prana (life force energy).
The chakras basically act as pumps or valves and they regulate the flow of energy. Each chakra resonates with a certain color, sound, or frequency. Tuning into the chakras helps bring us closer our true nature.Each chakra gives off one of the seven colors of the rainbow. When all the chakras are open and balanced the person is vibrant, healthy, and all of the colors of the rainbow surround the persons body, which is known as the person’s aura.
There are specific issues, emotions, and energies that correspond with each chakra :
The Root Chakra, the Muladhara represents survival, relationship security, and inner safety. The element is earth.
A little farther up and orange in color is the Sacral or Svadhisthana Chakra. This Chakra represents water and the emotional connections are blame and guilt,money and sex, power and control and relationships.
The next chakra,the solar plexus, or Manipura represents the element of fire. The color is yellow and it said to be the core of our will power. The emotional connections are will power, self-esteem , sensitivity to criticism and care for oneself and for others.
The fourth Chakra, the heart Chakra, also known as Anahata is a vibrant green Chakra located at the heart center. The element is air and the emotions associated with this Chakra are, love and compassion, forgiveness and acceptance,but also hatred, loneliness, grief and anger. These emotions are all connected to the functioning of the heart Chakra.
The fifth Chakra is the Vissuddha, the throat Chakra. The element is ether or space and the emotions are personal expression, judgment, criticism, addiction.The key function of this Chakra is communication.
The sixth Chakra is commonly known as the third eye Chakra. The color is purple, or indigo and it is located near the center of the forehead. The Chakra is associated with truth and intuition. It is said that psychic abilities center around the third eye. The element is light.
The seventh Chakra the crown Chakra is located at the top of the head and is commonly thought to be white, violet, or gold in color. The element for this Chakra is ‘not of this world’ and awakening this Chakra is believed to lead one towards enlightenment.
If one finds they have unbalanced energy they can set their intention for their yoga practice to be on healing and balancing the chakras.
Practicing breathing exercises encourages the energy to balance. Finding time for self-care can have enormous healing effects on an unbalanced Chakra system. Sometimes people have excessive Chakra energy usually one or two Chakras. This can be seen in people with addiction to sex, drugs, alcohol, relationships, food, etc. or it can be seen on someone with a large ego or a “I am better than you” type of personality.
Sometimes a person is so ‘closed off’ that they are deficient in Chakra energy. This sometimes happens after a traumatic events, broken hearts, or health issues. Use of color therapy along with chanting, yoga and meditation will help balance the Chakras.
I have found that Gemstones that correspond to specific Chakras are very useful as well.
The goal is a strong clear and balanced energy system. Consciously and unconsciously yoga works to purify, re-balance and awaken the Chakras, individually and also as a whole. Through the practice of yoga we can awaken and cleanse the Chakras and heal our spirits. Once the Chakras are functioning in a healthy manner we are able to safely raise the Kundalini energy up the spine to the crown of the head. What a ‘trip.’
I know this post is a very basic introduction, but I hope you found it helpful..if you have any questions, or wish to add something.. please contact me..
To our healing, and with love. ~T
I performed my first wedding ceremony on Saturday. It was something I had never even thought of doing, until last October, when my dear friend (and fellow yoga teacher) sent me an email and asked if I would perform the ceremony. I was honored and shocked.
I knew it was fairly easy to become an ordained minister, so I chose Halloween, Samhain, also known as “The day of the Witches” in the Azores, to officially become ordained to legally perform ceremonies. To me, the legal aspect of marriage is minor. The spirit of love, is what truly unites souls. I performed a ritual beforehand, and asked for blessings from my teachers and guides. And then, it took about 15 minutes online, to complete the majority of the legal stuff.
I spent a lot of time thinking of how to create a spiritual ceremony to represent the couple, and the love they share. Together, over several hang out sessions, we discussed ideas, and came up with a beautiful ceremony script that truly fit their relationship.
The ceremony was held on the beach, in South Florida at John MacArthur State Park. Before the ceremony, I snuck away and walked on a trail alone. I practiced my script a few times, and then found a place to sit down. I sat in easy pose (sukhasana), closed my eyes, and called upon the power of my inner Priestess. I asked to be guided during the ceremony.
Mind clear and calm, I was ready. We began the ceremony with our eyes closed. We invited the spirit of love to join us, in blessing their union. The ceremony was beautiful. Quotes from Paulo Coelho and Gandhi, Persian Poetry, a sand ceremony, part of a Persian Ceremony, and beautiful vows that were shared in both English and Portuguese.
After pronouncing the couple, and after their kiss, we all formed a large circle, held hands and visualized love and blessings. We began our ceremony with love and we closed our ceremony with love.
Although the weather turned chilly as day turned to-night, the warmth of love blanketed us all.
Once again, I truly feel I am being led down the path of magic.
Blessings and Love ~Yogini Tiff
Last night my friends and I participated in a movement called One Billion Rising. The movement was founded by Eve Ensler, an activist, feminist, and the playwright who created The Vagina Monologues.
ONE BILLION RISING IS:
“A global strike.An invitation to dance.A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends.An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers.A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given. A new time and a new way of being” (from official website)
A few months ago, a friend of mine sent me an email about the movement. She sent the short film, and asked if I had interest in learning and performing the dance. The beginning of the film was very disturbing. It was difficult for me to watch. It gave me chills and a feeling of deep sadness. But the energy changes. The film is powerful and beautiful. And it’s message motivated me and people all over the world, to rise up, take a stand, and DANCE!!
There is a song and a dance connected to this movement. The choreography is simple, and there is a youtube video available to help people learn it.
My friends and I (and my son), all learned the dance together. Our initial plan was to flash mob, and perform the dance all over Lake Worth. We set up a moving sound system, a projector and slide show on the back of my friends truck. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate. It was pouring down rain all night.
So we headed indoors, and performed the monologue and the dance at Coasters coffee shop, in downtown Lake Worth. No one was expecting our performance which made it even more powerful.
It was fun to get together with friends and dance. Especially for a movement like this.
There were events and flash mobs all over the world. Take a look at the official website- http://onebillionrising.org/
Rise up and together create change.. ~T
On February 9th, 2013, my son, Marlin Wagner, sang to Burt Reynolds.
My son is a talented performer, it is true. But, we were still completely shocked when asked if Marlin would perform for Burt Reynolds!
The event was called the Diamond Jubilee. It was a fancy Gala that honored both the Lake Worth Playhouse and the talented Burt Reynolds. Burt Reynolds performed and directed at the playhouse when he was very young and starting his acting career.
I offered to work as a volunteer server, so I could both see the performance, and help out my Lake Worth Playhouse family. Let me tell you, serving is exhausting. And I am not sure the clothes are really my style (haha). But it was worth it!!!!
The night began with a silent auction, followed by dinner, performances, and dancing.. When Burt Reynolds arrived, he saw me working as a server, but he stopped, he smiled at me, grabbed a hold of my hand, and said “Hi, how are you?”. I was flattered and completely surprised that he would take the time to stop and say hi to me.. I certainly thought that would be the end of my encounter with the Bandit.. But, I was wrong.
As the evening progressed and after dinner was served, I had a chance to talk to him for a few minutes. I told him my son was going to sing for him. He was so kind. I kissed his cheek.
The performances began, and they were incredible. Talented and beautiful performers. Performers I feel blessed to know.
My son Marlin, was the last to perform. I stood in the corner, a little nervous. With confidence, Marlin walked onto the stage, with microphone in hand, and he sang Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmatians He sang beautifully. Everyone smiled, including Burt.
When the song and the applause finished, Burt stood up, put his arm around my son, and talked to him. He asked Marlin how old he was, Marlin said “13″ . Burt Reynolds replied “I have underwear older than that.” Everyone laughed. He told my son he was handsome, and talented, he asked Marlin if acting was really what he wanted to do. My son said “Yes.” Burt got a little choked up and he gave my son some advice “Don’t ever, ever, let anyone talk you out of it.” It was advice that resonated with everyone in the room. We were all emotional.
It was a beautiful night that will stay with us for a very long time.I am so happy for my son, and I am full of gratitude… ~Yogini Tiff
Thank you so much to the Lake Worth Playhouse. And thank you so much to Burt Reynolds.