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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Publisher's Letter for September 2021

Aug 31, 2021 01:30PM ● By Marilee Burrell
Yoga is a light, which once lit  will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter your flame.
 — B.K.S. Iyengar

Every September in honor of Yoga Month, we spotlight yoga and the local yoga community. Even though studios across the country have faced big obstacles this year, I’m happy to report that our yoga community is resilient. We’ve got all the details for you here.

Although my yoga practice isn’t consistent, the mornings that I do take the time to dive in, I wonder why it’s not. I get so much out of it, especially since I finally learned to “listen to my body”—something I heard a lot in yoga classes, but didn’t really get. Now, instead of rushing through a yoga practice, I move slowly and mindfully, linking my breath to the movements. Just starting the rhythmic breathing brings on bliss for me. Honestly, that’s why I do it. I discovered this how-to-get-bliss-quickly phenomenon during a slow flow class, when the teacher had us repeat Standing Half Forward Bend over and over again. First it helped me link my breath with the movements, and then it helped me breathe deeper, filling and more completely emptying my lungs. As I tend to be a shallow breather, especially while I’m working at the computer, I’ve found that establishing this breathing pattern in the morning is another excellent reason to start my day with yoga. The big carrot, of course, is the feeling of peaceful bliss that lingers afterwards.

Another practice I love is restorative yoga—the one that looks like you’re napping, with blankets and props that allow you to stretch and unwind through passive postures. It’s a super stress reliever. Simple, gentle-on-the-body yoga classes like this make it possible for anyone of any age to do yoga. I have my mat and all the props in my living room, so I can pull them out easily when I need some additional relaxation or stretching in the afternoon. 

I’m grateful for all the teachers who have shared their love of yoga and open-hearted practices with me. I’ve collected so much wisdom from them that I’ve now incorporated into my own practice. One of the things I’ve learned about yoga over the years is the value of making it your own. 

If you’re looking to start or to continue with a practice, dive into our special yoga section on pages 28 to 37, where you’ll “meet” our local community of yogis and studios. Outside yoga is still booming this month, and there are new in-studio and online classes as well. You’ll find more info about yoga classes in our calendar section on pages 46 to 50. And if you missed the July and August editions, you can find additional local yoga news and classes at — or just type “yoga” into our search bar.

This month we also discuss equine-assisted therapy, another healing modality that’s big in our area. It’s proven helpful for individuals with anger, anxiety, depression or PTSD. Please read “Horses as Healers: Equine Therapy Has Physical and Emotional Benefits,” on page 42. You’ll find local resources on pages 12, 13 and 43. 

And if you’ve ever wanted to go on a mushroom walk and create something special with the finds, this is the month. To learn how, read “Forage for Mushrooms with the New York Mycological Society,” on page 18, followed by “Foraged Fungi Fare: Cooking with Wild Mushrooms,” on page 20.

As we head into fall, enjoy the beauty of the season and find your inner peace. From a calm center, everything is better.