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Posts Tagged ‘Yoga Retreats’

My next retreat IS somewhere beachy. St. Lucia, May 12-19, 2013, to be precise.

My next retreat IS somewhere beachy. St. Lucia, May 12-19, 2013, to be precise.

Wow, it’s really happening! I’m offering a Caribbean Yoga Getaway in St. Lucia with my dear friend and fellow Yoga teacher Charlie Polanco-Ali. For so long, I’ve wanted to host a tropical Yoga vacay AND to team up with Charlie on a Yoga project. Both are happening now. Talk about the power of dreams and manifestation.

I am so very grateful. Especially after some setbacks in the later portion of 2012 that, honestly, were quite draining. After a time of darkness, a progression like this feels that much sweeter.

Lately I’ve been so busy teaching my weekly NYC classes, working on St. Lucia logistics, and being social. There’s been precious little time for recipe development. I miss it!

Ideally, I’ll have some inspiring food for you guys soon. Until then, here’s some info on the St. Lucia Yoga Getaway. Have a great weekend! Dream some tropical dreams!

Mark your calendar for May 12-19, 2013!

Ever dream of an island getaway with perfect balance of fun sun and Yoga? Dream no more! This is the nature lover’s yoga retreat.

Horseback-Riding-St-LuciaCharlie’s last St. Lucia Yoga vacation SOLD OUT! Hop onboard now to secure your spot!

Join Bria Tavakoli & Charles Polanco-Ali for an unforgettable frolic in stunning St. Lucia. We’ll share our creative, intelligent, and healing Vinyasa yoga flow in a relaxing tropical setting.

Get unplugged.  Turn off your alarm clocks and awaken to the sound of song birds.  Turn off your sound machines and TVs and be lullabyed by the sound of ocean waves and the sight of starry nights.  Inhale fresh air, sunshine and renewed energy.  Exhale frustration, aggravation and anxiety.

Banyan-VerandaThe Balenbouche Estate offers an opportunity to step back in time and experience a more natural, simple and traditional St. Lucian way of life, which is authentic and environmentally and socially sustainable.  This secluded 200-acre paradise with its diverse and colorful variety of plants, animals, trails, valleys, views, beaches and waterways, offers an opportunity to get back in touch with our natural environment and ourselves.  We have booked the entire Balenbouche Estate property exclusively for you our guests! A Caribbean cocktail to wind your day down? Cool! It’s your getaway, so make it as chill or as active as you wish. Don’t wait…. Rejuvenate!

Banyan-Cottage-Living-RoomYour Caribbean holiday includes:

  • 7 days, 6 nights accommodation at the Balenbouche Estate
  • Beautiful charming, vintage Cabana accommodations (two couples’/friends’ villas are available on a first come, first serve basis)
  • Daily Yoga practices, either on the beach, the lawn, or in the estate’s indoor Yoga barn
  • 3 Organic Meals Daily (with exception of arrival & departure days)
  • Meditation daily
  • Fun local island activities
  • Beachy time on a lush 200-acre private estate
  • Time to relax, chill, frolic, and dream
  • We have some fabulous group outings planned. Please note that guest cover their own: Airfare
    Optional Excursions (see this page for ideas)
    Spa Treatments
    Individual Car Rentals

???????????????????????????????No need to be a crazy Yoga pretzel type to rock this retreat. Child’s pose more your style? No problem. Never done Yoga? No biggie! Yoga stars, don’t worry…we have plenty of tricks and challenges up our Lulus for you to enjoy, too.

Prefer a Caribbean cocktail to wind your day down? Cool, enjoy it! It’s your getaway, so make it as chill or active as you wish.

Why Wait? Rejuvenate!

May is the PERFECT time to visit St. Lucia. It is far from both the rainy season and hurricane season. The average May temperature is a balmy 83 degrees F.

See tons of pics here.

Rates start at $1250 per person for double occupancy. Single occupancy is $1450 per person.

The last retreat Charlie ran in St. Lucia SOLD OUT. My retreats SELL OUT regularly. Sign up today to secure your spot. Don’t wait…Create…an amazing getaway for yourself and maybe someone close to you.

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My next retreat might be somewhere beachy.
A belated Happy 2013, everyone. Hope the new year is treating you wonderfully. I’m popping up quickly to alert my NYC Yoga students to some exciting schedule changes.
If you practice with me in Harlem, you’re in luck. Starting this weekend two of my weekend classes are now 90 minutes.
Sundays, 8-9:30 AM at the NYSC at 145th and 8th Avenue (Note the earlier start time)
Sundays, 1:30-3 PM at the NYSC at 115th and 5th Avenue
This is so exciting! So many of my Uptown yogis have been practicing with me for years now. Longer classes mean we can spend more time working on seated postures, challenge poses, meditation, breathing techniques, restorative postures, and enjoying a longer savasana. I’m open to requests, always, so if there’s something you want to explore, let me know.
One more thing…I’m working now on finalizing my next retreat. Hint: Looks like it will involve beaches!
Have a great weekend, everyone. Here’s my current teaching sked in case you needed something to tattoo to your forehead ;-) :
Mondays, 10:30 AM at NYSC at 23rd and Park. Format:  Hatha/Slow Flow Vinyasa Yoga
Mondays, 12:15 PM at NYSC at Union Square (14th St near 5th Ave). Format: Vinyasa Yoga.
Tuesdays, 7 AM at NYSC at 145th Street. Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Tuesdays, 1:45 PM at NYSC at Grand Central.  Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Tuesdays, 7 PM at The District. Format: Open Yoga (residential, members only)
Wednesdays, 12 PM at NYSC at Mercer. Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Thursdays, 7 AM at NYSC at 145th Street. Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Thursdays, 12 PM at NYSC at 59th and Park Avenue. Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Saturdays, 12:30-2 PM at NYSC at Union Square (14th St near 5th Ave). Format: Vinyasa Yoga.
Sundays, 8:00-9:30 AM at NYSC at 145th Street. Format: Hatha/Slow Flow Vinyasa Yoga
Sundays, 1:30-3 PM at NYSC at 115th and 5th Avenue. Format: Vinyasa Yoga.

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Homemade almond milk with vanilla. I get a real kick out of using my vintage style milk bottles to bottle up this creamy drink.

My new friend Ellen, who I met in Colorado this summer, taught me how to make homemade almond milk. (I met her via Airbnb when I rented a room in her place for a few nights during a Yoga workshop weekend I was attending. We totally hit it off. She reminds me a lot of my older sister).

Once back in New York, I was out of almond milk one day and pressed for time. So I decided to give her method a whirl rather than running to the store. It couldn’t be a  simpler DIY, and it’s saving me tons of money. Goodbye to buying almond milk for $4 per half-gallon. At Costco, I can get a 3lb/9 cup bag of almonds for around $8. You can really “milk” this one bag, considering you only use a cup of almonds per batch.

Almonds are loaded with vitamin E.

As for the actual recipe: The first couple of batches I made were super rich and creamy. Pretty awesome, actually. When using this milk to make my hot cocoa…oh my LAWD. Amazing! It was foamy, almost like a cappuccino.

Because I made that maiden batch on the fly, I used unsoaked almonds. The milk was a tad grainy. Didn’t bother me, but something to consider.

If you want a thinner milk, just use more water. Soaking the almonds ahead of time will get you a smoother texture, too. I prefer something in between the super rich and super thin (I’m sure there’s a bad joke in there somewhere), so I go with about 5 to 6 cups of water to a cup of soaked almonds. Foamy, creamy, dreamy!

Homemade Almond Milk

Yield: About 8 cups. Recipe can easily be halved.

  • 1 cup of unsalted almonds (soaked overnight in water, if possible)
  • 5-7 cups of filtered water (use the smaller amount of water for a thicker milk)
  • 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract (optional, or use less if preferred)
  • Sweetener of choice (optional; I usually thrown in a couple of stevia packets. Other options to consider: honey, maple syrup, sugar, etc.)

1. If using soaked almonds, strain and rinse. Add all ingredients into blender, and blend, working from low speed to high. Add more liquid if needed. I let this run for a good minute (or more)  in my VitaMix.

2. Taste for sweetness and texture, and adjust and re-blend as needed.

3. Bottle and refrigerate if not using immediately.

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I love hosting Yoga retreats. Seeing my students finding bliss in their Yoga, relaxing, having insights, making  new friends, plus enjoying beautifully prepared food, a roomy vacay house, and outdoorsy stuff…well, it’s  just awesome.

This year, my annual Upstate New York Fall Harvest Yoga4Soul Retreat is October 12-14 (Friday evening through early Sunday afternoon).
Here’s a snap from my last retreat, in Vermont in May.

We had such a blast at the last retreat. This time my Fall Harvest Retreat is in Upstate New York.

Next up? Our beloved Yoga home away-from-home in Upstate New York. Specifically the Grail house, in lovely Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, about 90 easy  minutes from NYC. So close, but yet, a world away from the city bustle. Perfect.

The Grail House in Upstate NY, home of my annual Fall Harvest Yoga4Soul Retreat.

I got back recently from Colorado, and I can tell the difference that taking some time out for self-care and reflection has made in my own life. Maybe this is why I so enjoy creating these retreat experiences for others…because I know how powerful and important taking time out and taking care of ourselves is.

Maybe this is why many retreaters who go away with me once return again and again. Because, they, too, know the power of these getaways and immediately see the benefits in their own lives.

Fresh seasonal food will star in the retreat menu.

Besides Yoga, we have a trip to an apple orchard and a winery on tap. Plus lots of great food prepared by Chef Dave, who is new to “cheffing” my retreats, but has been studying Yoga with me for years. Did I mention he has culinary training and an amazing Yoga practice? Niiiiceeee.

Maybe we’ll get our asana on outdoors. (Weather permitting, of course!)

Early bird rates are available for the retreat for a few more days. We’re talking rates starting at $300 for the entire weekend, which includes all classes, all meals, and outings. This is a ridiculously affordable rate, so bring some friends, your love, or some fam!

Newer to Yoga? No problem, I’ve had absolute beginners at retreats numerous times, and, if needed, I’ll lead special Yoga sessions for those who are newer.

Click here for more details on retreat rates and house pics.

Click here for a sample itinerary (from a past retreat)

FAQ page is here.

Ready to book? Use this link and scroll down for the PayPal button.

If you have any questions, please drop me an email. Shanti, shanti, shanti, and I hope to see you Upstate.

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Hey there, everyone.  I hope you’ve had a great week. Any big plans for the weekend? Planning my next Yoga weekend getaway has been taking up a lot of my time lately. This time we’re retreating to the Green Mountain State, a.k.a. Vermont, from May 4-6.  I’m so excited!

My friend Maria Nieves is catering my upcoming Vermont retreat. She made this raw vegan pie for us to taste test. We're still debating between flavoring it with mango, lime, or both. I say both, with a big side of coconut sorbet to compliment the pie's creamy texture.

This weekend away is happening in Plymouth, Vermont, at an amazing venue, Good Commons.

Good Commons, in Plymouth, Vermont, is hosting my next Yoga weekend getaway, May 4-6.

For more info on the weekend, have a look here. There will be Yoga classes daily, an outdoorsy outing, hot tub time, and farm-to-table cuisine prepared by my awesome chef, Maria Nieves. Also, my amiga Ilana will be leading a kirtan. Seriously can’t wait for all of this!

In New York for the weekend? So is the Yoga Journal conference. Check it out.

It’s really healthy to leave the day-to-day and take some time to refresh and re-set our lives.

As for this weekend, New Yorkers might want to check out the Yoga Journal conference. There are lots of free events and a (free) exhibit hall. Click here for deets.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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My green drink. Old pic, but the drink color is accurate.

Hey Guys!

I just got back Sunday night from my Upstate New York Fall Harvest Yoga Retreat.

It was a lovely weekend, full of Yoga, amazing food, and time outdoors, breathing in the fresh air and taking in the beautiful sights, like colorful fall foliage and deer snacking on grass just outside of our retreat house.

It was also wonderful to spend time with such an amazing group of people.

The retreat inspired this smoothie. Throughout the weekend, my chef/friend/student Maria prepared foods with the best flavors of fall: apples, pumpkins, fall spices, apple cider, and more.

So I threw that idea (along with some random, but seasonally-appropriate ingredients)  into the Vita-Mix for a green smoothie that tastes has a very strong overtone of pumpkin pie flavor. It’s quite delicious.

Flavors of Fall Pumpkin Pie Green Smoothie

Yield: About 8 cups. Recipe can easily be halved.

  • 1 16 ounce frozen spinach, thawed or broken into chunks that your blender can handle
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I used coconut and almond milks)
  • 1 cup apple cider or apple juice

    Pumpkin is off the wagon and in this smoothie.

  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie seasoning (yes, I like a lot of this ingredient)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sweetener of choice (I used stevia)

1. Add all ingredients into blender, and blend. Add more liquid as needed.

2. Taste for sweetness, and adjust as needed.

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What's your idea of heaven on earth?

Hey Guys!

I’m busy planning my next Yoga getaway.  

Yes, I’m thrilled to be hosting another retreat.

Just this week, I met with Chef Maria, also a student of mine, to sketch out the menus. Maria has helped me in the past with the catering aspect of the Yoga retreats, and now she’s doing so in a more official capacity. I’m super psyched to have her onboard! This way I know the food prep is in excellent hands, and I can focus even more energy on teaching my awesome students.

Trust me, the menus we are planning are our very best yet. We have our basic outline, and of course will allow for what is freshest/in season/looks good in our final shopping trip before the getaway.

So where are we going? To Upstate New York. In early summer.  To spend some precious, rejuvenating time here:

Partial view of our retreat house in Upstate NY. I say "our" like we own the place. Ha! For the weekend, we rent it. One of my dreams is to someday own a retreat center of my own, perhaps some place out West.

One of the students who came to the Fall Harvest retreat I did back in early November of 2010, said that she now thinks of this spot Upstate as a “happy place,” that she returns to from time to time in her mind’s eye when day-to-day life gets to be a bit much. What’s you’re happy place?

I definitely think beautiful mountains and woods, lots of nature, flowers, and green, is happy for me. Plus beautiful rocks and clean, pure, moving water. I love beaches, too.  So Colorado but with a temperate beach in my backyard. Ha! Obviously I don’t think of such environs as my day-to-day environment. For me, they’re getaways. (For now; let’s never say never; spending more time in the mountains and on the beach is very possible).

So when I ran across this passage in a book just today, it struck me that this sounded like my Day to Day Heaven on Earth. Check it out:

Situated on the unpaved banks of the Seine in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly, La Roseraie, home to les Madrus, was names for its lush, rose-filled gardens. The property also contained a handsome grape arbor where lunch was served on sunny days. A henhouse was headquarters for two roosters named Ali and Baba, a harem’s worth of chickens,  few golden pheasants, and a score of huge Toulouse geese. In addition to this menagerie were a tame gazelle, a goat, a few angora rabbits, and an alley cat that wandered in one day and became part of the family. The villa’s interior contained thousands of books, handsome Arabian carpets, and practical American style furniture.

—From Wild At Heart, Natalie Clifford Barney’s Journey From Victorian America to the Literary Salons of Paris, by Suzanne Rodriguez. p. 147

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Well, maybe the birds aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it sounds like fun. Especially the tame gazelle. How cute! I want one! The rose gardens and orchards sound beautiful, especially if someone else is tending them. Ha!

For me, a happy place has plenty of comfy nooks where I can sit and read a book, nap, or lounge and gaze out to a pretty, green, quiet space. This nook at the retreat house fits the bill perfectly. .

So tell me, what’s your happy place?  It doesn’t even have to be real.

Feel free to get creative. I think visualization and letting our imaginations run free is an important part of life. It opens us up to creativity and new possibilities, so that we don’t get too closed into the “same old same old.” AKA a RUT! Hey, I’m all about routine to large degree, but shaking things up can be good, too!

A quick food note before I roll: I’ll be posting a really juicy, delicious Persian chicken kebab recipe soon (as soon as I photograph it). My dining table is always a happy place when that kebab recipe is on the menu. Talk to you all soon.

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