Yoga Teacher Of The Month: Luciana Celestine

This month's featured teacher is the one and only Luciana Celestine! Lucy brings a great sense of humor to her classes, which we all appreciate after one too many reps.

Let's get to know her a little better!

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1) Tell us about the first time you took a barre class.

The first time I took a barre class was a barre/pilates hybrid at Home Yoga & Barre. I had long been a fan of Winsor Pilates and have been practicing it consistently for decades. I really wanted to try barre and was amazed to find a studio so close to home!

The class was tough. I moved my body in the most bizarre of ways and hurt more than I ever had before, but when I walked out (barely), I felt amazing. Strong and calm.

2) What made you want to teach barre? What or who inspired you to get your certification? 

My main motivator for teaching barre was that it would force me to go to class. I know, I know. But if you've been in my class then you know I like to eat! So it has been very, very good for me in that sense.

I was extremely nervous to become certified because I am not an avid workout person. Like, I run for 45 seconds and I'm done. So the thought of people looking to me for guidance was intimidating. In a lot of ways it has helped me to gain confidence. 

3) What do you like most about your practice and teaching at the studio?  

Definitely the clients! Class is so much fun because of them. I love that we can laugh and joke. It makes the time go by so quickly. We wouldn't have the studio without them, so when I see a room full of people ready to go, it makes me feel really good.

I can be myself there, and if people enjoy it and respond to it, that's a great feeling.

4) How are you looking to grow more in your practice? 

I think most teachers find that over time, you can start to feel stale in your practice. I am constantly watching videos to learn new moves.

I also need to get back to going to yoga. I love the cross training I get from barre and yoga, so definitely making sure I get to more classes. I would also like to learn more about the meditative aspect of barre and how to incorporate that into classes. 

5) What’s one thing you want people to get out of a barre class?

The one thing I want people to get out of class is to realize you're stronger than you think you are, and that if you stick with it, you'll feel a difference in your body. We always compare ourselves to others and doing that makes us feel like we aren't good enough.

I always encourage people to push themselves and not to worry about what others are doing in class. In barre, if you concentrate on yourself, you will get stronger and feel better. 

6) What’s your favorite barre move?

Since I'm the leg lady my favorite move are seated pretzels. There's nothing like them to tone and shape the thigh area. They are brutal but they work!

And there you have it! Be sure to look for that move next time you're in Lucy's class.

You can take class with Lucy on Wednesdays from 5:45 - 6:30 for Barre Express!

 

Yoga Teacher Of The Month: Joleen Gai

This month, we sat down to talk with the ever-smiling Joleen Gai!

She brings her happiness and energy to every class she teaches, and it just spreads like wildfire. Get to know her a little better in this week’s Teacher of the Month post!

Joleen Gai - Home Yoga & Barre

1) How long have you been practicing and why/how did you start?

I took my first yoga class 12 years ago when I was in college. I thought it would be a good way to get the most of my gym membership and maybe tone up a little. I soon realized there was much more to the practice than staying fit!

2) Tell us about your teaching style?

I like to keep yoga light-hearted and fun. We laugh a lot in my classes! I try to encourage students develop a home yoga practice with what they learn in the studio.

3) What's your favorite thing about practicing and teaching?

My practice keeps me balanced and affords me the opportunity to spread a little bit of light. My favorite thing is at the end of class, when everyone is coming out of shavasana, I encourage students to think of something that they are grateful for and a way that they can be kind to someone. Imagine if only one out of every ten students took that advice and performed an act of kindness! Those small acts add up.

4) What do you look forward to most this summer at the studio?

I can’t wait for yoga on the river Sundays at 10:30. I love practicing outdoors!

5) How are you looking to advance your personal practice this year?

I struggle with the idea of “yoga goals.” Development is encouraging and helps keep people motivated to keep practicing so nailing a difficult asana always feels good.

A year or two ago, I might have enthusiastically said “headstand!” but my personal practice now is more focusing on the eight limbs of yoga and applying it to life off the mat.

I want to study more mythology too and learn the stories behind the poses.

6) Favorite yoga pose and why?

Garbha pindasana in the Ashtanga primary series. I love rocking and rolling! It’s perfect to help find energy and direction mid-practice.

If you haven’t taken one of Joleen’s classes, you can find her in the studio on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm for Level 3 yoga and at 6:00 am on Thursdays for Level 1 yoga.

Stay tuned for our next teacher spotlight next month!

Yoga Teacher of the Month: Kayla Wolthoff

Welcome to our Teacher of the Month series! Each month, we’re going to feature one of the studio teachers so that you can learn a little more about them.

Our first featured teacher is Kayla Wolthoff!

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1) How long have you been practicing and why/how did you start?

I have been practicing since 2013 and I started because the studio I lived by was offering a free week of classes... 7 days later I was hooked!

2) What is your teaching style?

My goal for every class is to be as authentic as possible. I want students to know the poses or exercises that I too struggle with so it's more relatable. I would also say I try to keep it fun!

3) What advice would you give to someone who has never taken a yoga or barre class but wants to?

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Try it out and ask questions!

4) How are you looking to advance your personal practice this year?

Honestly, I just want to make it to more classes. Specifically, for yoga, I really want to work up to a handstand.

We’re with you there, girl!

5) Tell us a about your favorite way to practice, train, or teach!

My favorite classes are ones where I feel extremely connected with the entire class. Whether that's through laughing, cracking jokes are even crying, my number one goal is that connection. It's what drove me to teach in the first place.

One thing is for sure—Kayla certainly brings a lot of passion and excitement to her classes. Her style of teaching reflects her personality so well, and we know you’ll love her!

If you’re interested in taking class with Kayla, you can find her teaching Barre on Sunday mornings at 9:15 am.

Stay tuned for our next teacher spotlight next month. If you have any questions for our future spotlights, let us know in the comments below and we’ll ask!

A Morning Routine & Anxiety

So I began an early morning routine. Basically, due to my anxiety, or maybe my messy sleep patterns caused the anxiety - who knows - I decided to make it a regular routine to go to bed at 10pm and wake up at 5am.

Now, I am still transitioning, but even when I awake around 5:30am, I am able to leave for work at 7:30am refreshed, focused, awake, and ready to take on the day!

I made this decision after doing much research on the topic of self-care and observing my own habits and productivity.

Here's how it goes...

  • 5:00am - 5:30am Wake Up
  • 5:30am - 6:00am Workout/Yoga/Coffee and Read a Book (Depends on the Day)
  • 6:00am - 6:10am Meditate
  • 6:10am - 6:20am Journal
  • 6:20am - 7:00am Shower and Get Ready for Work/Tidy Up
  • 7:00am - 7:30am Eat Breakfast and Relax before Leaving

Much of this is self-care. I used to do meditation, yoga or workout, journaling - in the evening and wouldn't feel grounded for the majority of the day. This way, I ground myself first thing and feel refreshed so I can tackle work tasks efficiently and in a more balanced way.

Studies have shown that people who wake up earlier are more productive and more focused. This time in the morning also helps us to feel free to express creatively for a few hours. After reading Big Magic, I know this is much more important than most of us think - to live creatively. It's something we need to do to get back into our skin every day. It keeps us grounded and secure. We are aware of our priorities when we are creatively living and just going with the flow. 

I am grateful for this routine, because it has helped me to go with the flow once more after several months of battling much more extreme anxiety than I have in over 5 years.

Give it a try! 

Relationships and Anxiety

A few months ago I was dealing with my most serious bout of anxiety and panic attacks yet. The attacks were happening almost daily, with confusion about my purpose in life, feelings of not being good enough according to society's standards, and more - but then I stood in front of my Saturday morning yoga class to teach some of my favorite faces after several days of feeling "out of place". I felt comfortable. I felt confident. I had a place. With you. 

And it reminded me how to feel love. That I have so much of it in my life, but where I was somehow able to feel it the most when I needed it the most was in the community we've all created - together. 

Sometimes when we find ourselves anxious or struggling with some type of anxiety, we decide to retreat and pull away from people. We stop talking about what is going on inside our minds and we think we are alone and struggling, when, in fact, we are all together.

Many of us struggle with anxiety in today's world of technology and constant attachment to success. We all deal with the same things, and you'd be surprised what can happen when we open up to each other and come together.

For this reason, I am starting a Facebook Group for any "Homies" that wish to join. We can discuss topics we wish to, open up to each other, and provide tips for what helps each of us outside the studio. 

Yoga is more than what we do in class and on our mats, and I think it is taking it off the mat that is the hard part. This is what it is about - coming together and community, and we have a great one with lots of love! I want everyone to be able to feel how I felt that morning. I didn't feel alone. I felt like part of something bigger, and enough. I felt peace for the first time in three months.

Another way to dabble in some of this is to join in on our monthly Women's Circle. This will be a great safe place for women to come and just listen to each other and feel supported by each other. We will trust each other with confidentiality and create a bond. You'll see how easy it is to open up surrounded by the female energy.

Thank YOU for reminding me. Please join me in building a community of love to support each other!

4 Ways To Calm Anxiety

I've dealt with my fair share of anxiety attacks over the years. It's worse depending on what I'm dealing with in my life and if I'm allowing myself to FEEL, or if I'm suppressing things. Having anxiety attacks isn't a bad thing either. It's nothing to be ashamed of, which is something I've been working on accepting, myself. Anxiety attacks will happen to most of us during certain situations, but learning to take a step back, remember where you are at this exact moment, and checking in with WHY you feel this way is what will help to stop the anxiety attacks. 

Thoughts spiral out of control and one simple and small thing turns into a huge scenario and changes the way you think about yourself and your life in a matter of minutes. It takes practice to learn about YOU and get to know yourself to learn that these thoughts aren't usually true and that you are alright. You are alive. Live.

So I wanted to share some things I've been doing everyday or a few times a week when possible to get to know myself again at this moment in my life. 

  • Wake Up An Hour Early And Meditate Daily.
    • This may not come as a surprise here in helping to manage anxiety. I've gone through phases in life where I meditated and journaled every single day and noticed the difference it had on my life, but I always lost this practice somewhere along the way. I also lost most of my self-care routine in the last year and a half dealing with a death in the family, grief, personal guilt, career changes, and more. Feeling guilty for allowing myself to get so far from my own self-love only makes the struggle to recover more difficult. This is something I realized meditating everyday. It gets harder before it gets better. I cried every single day for two weeks while meditating daily. I continued because I knew this is part of the process - breakdown to break-through. Then, one day I felt good again. And a week went by without sadness. But it happened again. And when it happens, I now allow it. In yoga, we aren't stopping feelings. We are allowing the feelings to come and pass so we can be present again. 
    • Something that's helped me to commit to this routine every single day is using the Insight              app on my phone. This is free and it gives you a ton of options for guided meditations,                    sound healing and more.
  • Journal Daily.
    • This is a practice I'm always grateful for. It's something that I've done through many of the transitioning periods I've had over the last few years and it has helped me to realize re-occurring themes and where I need the most work. It allows me to realize which chakras I need to work on and what the root of my problems are - that the thoughts aren't really true. It keeps me present. 
    • I make sure to continuously acknowledge what I am grateful for every day. Some things that help me stay present all day is journaling about the people I love and writing down all of my favorite things about them and what I wish to remember about them, always. Their laughs, the sound of their voices, funny quirks that they hold, etc. When I go back to read these, they help me remember why I am in love with all of these people, because it's easy to forget sometimes.
  • Take A Bath.
    • This is something I've been doing minimum once weekly. Not only is this a nice thing to do for your body, but it helps your mind decompress. I draw a warm bath with epsom salt and sometimes herbs or the Mr. Teal's lavender epsom salt if I'm taking one before bed. I've always been a person that felt the most free in water. I was a kid and you couldn't get me out of the ocean or pool. I itched to be in the water. I'm still this way. It rarely scares me.I can be out there surrounded by this beautiful water that the earth supplies us, knowing there is another country super far away from me and someone else swimming in the same water across the world. It makes me feel free and connected to everyone at the same time. A bath is the closest I can get to this feeling at home. I can let go. The water will support me and I will be okay here. I will also burn a candle to help me feel cozy and relaxed. Sometimes I'll meditate here, read a magazine or a good book, or do a face mask. Sometimes I'll simply allow myself to be. I'll watch the flicker of the flame for 25 minutes and not think of anything else besides that I am okay and my life is good.
  • Don't Look At The Phone.
    • This one took me forgetting my phone at home one day when I went to work. I almost turned around to get it and thought to myself that this was ridiculous. What did people used to do? The phone I have known is a source for my anxiety. I am always reachable and anyone could demand my time whether I am hanging out with family or my boyfriend - answering a phone call from a stranger was more important. This is what we are trained to expect by having cell phones. We are trained to believe that we don't claim our own time. We always have to be "on". This is not healthy. I don't care what anyone tells you - this is NOT being present. I do have a business, and that day I forgot my phone, I thought it was going to go up in flames while I was working, and then I remembered, I'm at work - what can I do about the studio while I'm there? If something happens, I'll find out later. Either way it was out of my control and wasn't something I needed to worry about. Worrying does nothing. So I was 100 times more present that day. I left work and had a peaceful drive home. I got my hair done and had genuine conversations without the worry of "what am I missing". Not only this, but I didn't look at social media all day, so this is something I am making more of a goal for myself. I will look at people I know and post some things, but I won't scroll through Facebook or Instagram anymore. I feel like I have 15 more hours everyday, I'm sleeping better, and I'm more present in my relationships and following my heart. 

These may not be incredibly surprising things, but they are working for me. I hope they work for you, and if you try them, give them time. Give yourself time to have a break-through. You're alright and you are loved.

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The Sacral Chakra

A few days ago a friend (cough cough; Jen) held a pendulum over me to help me determine which chakra needed healing in my body. 

In this post I’ll be explaining what I’ve learned about the Sacral chakra and why it’s very important for this one, especially, to be clear. 

You see, I have anxiety and have had bouts of depression over the years. This is the first time in over 5 years that I’ve felt “off”. 

What happens for many people like me is we don’t deal with life the right way - we are too busy. Life tries to slow us down and tell us we need to process things, but we make plans and events to work more and keep our to do list going so we don’t have to sit with feelings. 

But as you know, meditation and yoga help us to feel. They help us to process those feelings and still remember we are okay. We are here. We are enough. We are present. 

So as I’m going through my own journey to re-commit to my own practice and find balance again (being transparent here!) I’ll be documenting some of what I learn in hopes it will help you, and we will hold more events at the studio in the coming months to help us all to explore these paths in our practices.

It helps to know we are not alone in this and I know many of you have reached out with similar experiences with anxiety and depression, and I feel this is something I need to share. So thank YOU!

What exactly are the chakras? 

The chakras are these seven energy centers in our body. They are spinning wheels of energy, energy that makes up everything - wheels of energy form matter like wood and fabric and metal. The seven energy centers are from the ground up, the root chakra, sacral chakra, solar plexus, heart chakra, throat chakra, third eye, and crown chakra.

What is the sacral chakra?

This chakra is located in the pelvic area right beneath the naval. It is where our reproductive organs are, it's tied to our emotions, sexuality and creativity. If you're feeling ashamed, jealous, or guilty these are usually signs that this chakra is off balance.

How to Heal?

Yoga helps, but so does anything creative. I've been enjoying writing again, wanting to take up new hobbies, painting, and more. Another thing that helps me is taking an epsom salt bath with essential oils. This chakra is in the element of water, so drinking alot of water or being around or in water is healing. Orange essential oil is one that I use. It evokes feelings of gratitude and the color of this chakra is orange. Also, meditating and breathing into the pelvic area of the body helps to activate this chakra.

Are you on this journey to discovering yourself? Feel free to reach out to me to just chat. I'll share my experiences. You matter, and I love you. :)

Top 4 Herbs for Beautiful Skin

by Wellness with Kristen

Whether it's winter or summer, or somewhere in-between, our skin needs to be taken care of. Your skin is your body's largest organ and reflects the overall state of your health.

So what is skin's purpose and why do we have it? For many reasons of course, but the main one being a form of protection from the outside environment. Sunburn, a tan, freckles, and age spots are all results of overexposure to UV rays. These rays are always present, even during a super cloudy day, but do the most damage when we spend more time outside during the warmer months. Since summer is a few weeks away, I thought I'd share some of the best herbs that not only heal and protect your skin, but keep it healthy and beautiful.  

1. ALOE- Aloe has skin soothing properties, after all, it is what you use after getting a sunburn! It is known to heal wounds by increasing collagen production by up to 90%! 

How to use: Aloe plants are available at grocery stores, flower shops and the like. Break off a piece of aloe from the plant, slice it open, and scrape out the inside. Rub it on your skin several times a day. Aloe gel and juice can also be purchased and used accordingly.

 

2. COMFREY ROOT- Comfrey is a connective tissue herb, so it helps heal your skin if damaged in anyway. It's known as a "cell proliferate" which means it stimulates cell regeneration. If you have a bad sunburn with blistering, this is the herb for you!

How to use: Make a strong tea (infusion) of comfrey and use a cotton ball to gently apply it your burn several times a day. 

 

3. HORSETAIL- Horsetail is a herb with a high nutrient content (specifically silica), it builds body tissues, and is an excellent wound healer. 

How to use: Horsetail is available in capsules which can be found at your local drugstore, powder which you can find online or at health food stores, and it can be made into a tea or tincture.

 

4. CALENDULA- By far one of my favorite herbs to use, Calendula is an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. It also heals damaged skin and bruising. 

How to use: Infuse a carrier oil of choice (sweet almond, olive, jojoba) with calendula leaves. Add some beeswax and make it into a salve that can be applied as needed.

Having healthy skin essentially comes down to what goes INTO your body. Eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and treat yourself like you're worth it. It is still important to get a daily does of vitamin D (which can be done by spending 15 minutes outside), but don't over do it. Of course, if you happen to not be paying attention to how long you've been outside, or when you last applied sunscreen, you now have the tools to begin the healing process. Majority of the herbs mentioned above can be purchased at www.mountainroseherbs.com. I also created a Body Balm and Body Whip that contain Comfrey and Calendula which can be purchase at Home Yoga & Barre and www.etsy.com/shop/KsApothecary.

 

 

How Plants Effect Our Health

Spring is here and you may notice a slight shift in your recent day to day life. Maybe you feel you want to become healthier. Maybe you want to learn something new. These are feelings that this time of year brings up. Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. Just as plants die through winter, they begin growing back during the spring. Days become longer and we tend to go through this process with nature. Many of us begin to let go of things we have been holding onto, particularly relationships or jobs that were not allowing us to be the absolute best that we could be.

With nicer weather during this time of the year, many begin to focus on becoming healthier. This may mean beginning a new fitness regimen, beginning yoga or meditation, or maybe it's even simpler. 

Believe it or not, the easiest way to become healthier this spring is to add some plants to your home. There is more to these little guys than meets the eye. Plants can affect a variety of scenarios related to your health.

Improve Air Quality.

Did you know that the air inside is actually more harmful to us and more polluted than the outdoor air? It's true! Most of us work indoors and spend a majority of our time indoors. There have been studies on specific plants to test the levels at which they can cleanse the air. Placing a Peace Lily or some Aloe on your coffee table may work wonders for the air in your space, and they are also decorative.

Stress Reduction.

In this study from 2008, it was found that in-house plants reduce stress and help us to have a more positive disposition. Our society in America breeds comparison and the need to be "better" at many things. Depression and anxiety are becoming more widespread. Fight these feelings and allow yourself to disconnect when you arrive home from your day job, or at least handle some of these feelings in a more healthy manner. 

Productivity.

We actually become more productive when surrounded by nature. We are more creative and do some of our best thinking, versus those times we are surrounded by so much structure, on the highway or in the middle of a city. Think about it. When you take a mid-day walk during the workday, how does it help you the rest of the day? When you go for a run on a trail or on the beach by water, what comes to mind?

houseplants and health

Thank You!

Home Yoga & Barre is just over one year old. 

THIS.

Above is a photo from our Outdoor Sunday morning yoga classes on the Pittston City Riverfront. One of the treats this community has shared with us. Both myself and the teachers thank YOU for showing up every week or every month or a few times a year - whatever works for YOU. We thank you because we wouldn't exist without you special people. 

I can't tell you how many classes I've taught and immediately felt lighter and more passionate and reminded that THIS is why I teach yoga and why I enjoy creating this space alongside teachers like Tom, Brittany, Christine, Lucy, Katie, Holly, Sam and Liz. Days that it seemed near impossible to teach, you reminded me of this. It may seem impossible, but every "student" that has come to my classes has been a "teacher" to me. I've had some very difficult months ranging from February through August, and many of you know a great deal when it comes to my grandma who was attending classes three times a week at this time last year.

West Pittston is her home, and now that is slowly becoming less of a "home" for her at this time, it is still mine. I have somewhere to grow and find love and comfort thanks to each of you that continue to spend time with me at the studio. I am SO grateful for that and I know our teachers are as well.

So thank you for voting for Home Yoga & Barre as your favorite/best yoga studio in the Greater Pittston area in the Sunday Dispatch. We are still such a young community and I hope that we may all continue to grow and love together!

Love,

Alyssa

Summer Yoga Challenge

We are excited to be hosting our first Summer Yoga Challenge group!

The challenge will run from June 6th through August 31st.

That’s more than 70 days!

It is FREE to enter into the challenge and be eligible for prizes. Some prizes include our NEW tanks that we are currently having designed, and a TOP prize of a SPA OFFER of up to $250 at Theory Salon & Wellness in Kingston!

In order to be eligible, you MUST input your email into the form located below...

*Instructors not included.

Name *
Name

If you’ve ever wanted to be more consistent in your practice, now is the time! Everyone who comes to 30 classes or more over those 70 days will receive a tank. The person with the MOST classes attended all together will win the spa package of their choice. *Barre classes are included.

A scoreboard will be created and kept up at the studio, so you can see how you're doing all summer long!

The cut off for registering is JUNE 3. Sign up before then to be eligible.

What Is Required?

If you’re already a member of Home Yoga & Barre, then this won’t cost anything to enter! Just use your class passes as usual!

If you don’t have a contract, you’ll want to grab our Summer Special – 3 months of unlimited yoga for Adults $230 / Students $199.

Not sure you could make this work? 30 Days out of over 70 means an average of 3 days a week of yoga!

That’s doable, right? ;)

 

The Benefits of a Salt Bath

It may sound strange, especially if you're not a "bath person". Personally, I (Alyssa) enjoy taking showers, but I LOVE epsom salt baths! I mainly enjoy them right after a super long run - ya know, like a half marathon. ;)

Most people are deficient in magnesium. Epsom salt contains magnesium. Being that many things we take orally are in fact not absorbed, when we take an epsom salt bath, the magnesium is absorbed by our LARGEST organ - our skin. 

 

Benefits of salt baths...

  • Better nutrient absorption (being that they help eliminate toxins through our skin while we are bathing.)

  • Muscle ache relief

  • Stress relief

  • Speeds up healing

  • Improves skin hydration

  • Joint pain relief

  • Improves sleep (especially this one! It contains lavender.)

Mixing just one to two tablespoons of this salt into the bath will help you have a nice deep evening of sleep and relaxation. 

Questions?! Ask us!