Looking Ahead, Positively

Hiiiii! It’s been ages since I’ve posted here. More and more, I’ve been feeling moved to express myself through writing and also through cooking the foods I love. Today’s post might feel relevant to you no matter your political beliefs, because, let’s face it, we all experience times in life where things do not go as we’d wished.


Do we see these times as obstacles to overcome? Or as opportunities for growth? These are things I ponder a lot as a woman who teaches yoga. And as an American citizen in 2016.

And now…

“This is the yoga,” one of my teacher friends, Kiley, said in class on Wednesday…that gray post-election morning.  

For real, sister.

This IS the yoga.

When things don’t go our way? How we show up and how we choose to perceive things is SO the yoga. Acknowledging the truth of how we feel. Yoga. Owning the ickiness and the feeling of being in the muck. How we choose to move forward. That’s the yoga.

Do we choose to turn bitter? Or better?

Do we get mired down in the swamp? Or, like the lotus flower, do we use the swampy muck as fuel to help us grow and blossom and liberate into our potential?

In other words, when life hands us shit, do we complain and give up? Or maybe we do complain, but eventually we use that shit to feed and grow a beautiful garden?

Will we harden and turn cold and bitter inside? Or will we let our pain and heartbreak warm us, soften us, and strengthen us simultaneously? Will we let our hurt break us open, or shut us down?

Are we choosing to see ourselves as victims? Or for who we really are…powerful creators?

This is what I call the Yoga of Real Life, ya’ll.

It’s a choice. It really is.

I’m not saying I always choose perfectly, guys. Far from it. Yet together, we can support one another in making better choices.

We must feel in order to heal, my loves.

Let’s choose love over fear. Conscious, aware, loving activism.

Going forward, our yoga practices will help us re-center, cleanse, and clarify.

For me, the yoga has also involved doing a few extra random acts of kindness as I make my way around NYC this week. I invite you all to do the same. It feels good. No matter where we stand on the political spectrum, we all could use a little extra dose of kindness. Write to me, if you wish, and let me know how it goes for you.  

Sending massive love and light to all.



All on the same day and night, we’ve been experiencing the fresh new beginning of the Spring equinox, a super moon, a solar eclipse, and of course, Nowruz, aka Persian New Year. Talk about auspicious! My friend Sanam at My Persian Kitchen has a wealth of recipes, and links to other Persian food bloggers’ Nowruz delights. Please go here to check it out!

Last spring...arm balancing in NYC. Dragonfly pose, they call this one.

Spring…arm balancing in NYC. Dragonfly pose, they call this one.

For my New Yorkers, or those just passing through, my Spring offering this year is a special Spring-themed yoga class. Enter promotional code SPRING to get $5 off the price of admission!

Click here for more class details. 

Happy Spring, and of course, happy Nowruz, everyone! May the coming year find you abundantly blessed, connected, and happy!

Ooooh, this winter is deep, ya’ll. I’m in the throes of it, along with all my other fellow New Yorkers. As my mind turns hopefully to spring cleaning and renewal, I cannot help but wonder why Charlie and I didn’t schedule our St. Lucia Yoga Getaways for, ummm, now.

Our mistake is your gain, though, because there’s still time to sign up and join us. A great use of your tax refund. Ha!


Click here for lots more retreat info.

A lovely photo gallery of the island’s beauty, plus pics of private estate we’re hosting the retreat at is here.

The secure sign-up page is here.

You can of course email me directly with questions, etc.  briayoga4soul at gmail dot com

Sending light to all. Stay warm out there, gang!



Happy Fall, ya’ll! Truly one of my absolute favorite seasons.

Join us for a yoga weekend away! All levels welcome, including beginners :-) This year, there are still a couple of slots left for my (fifth!) annual Fall Harvest Yoga Getaway. It’s a quick but powerfully refreshing weekend away in the Hudson Valley, a little over an hour north of NYC. There’s yoga, chef prepped cuisine, free time and relaxation, all in a beautiful “cabin mansion” set on several peaceful acres of land in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York.

Interested? Hit me up at briayoga4soul at gmail dot com for more info.

There’s lots of detailed information on my yoga website: BriaYoga.com

Have a beautiful, blessed day, everybody!


I’m back from India and Thailand, ya’ll. What an amazing, life-changing trip! I hope to find the words and just-right pictures to share with you very soon.

In the meantime, if you’re in New York City on Sunday, September 21, come share some autumn optimizing yoga with Dave and I:


Spring’s Finally Here, I’ve been waiting for it forever…Why I am I So Miserable?

???????????????????????????????Yep, more than one person has asked me that, in so many words, in just the past few days since we officially shifted into spring.

Careers are in flux. Old relationship issues are surfacing. Buried stuff in general is emerging. Folks we haven’t seen or heard from for months are coming out the woodwork, for better or worse. It’s TAX season in the U.S., for heaven’s sake. Need I say more?

Clearly, I feel it too, ya’ll.

And that’s perfectly okay. Normal.

For myself and quite a few people I know, this winter that just passed at times felt especially long and dark. There were some pretty scary patches in there. So of course, because darkness and light feed each other, we automatically think the light and growth of spring fixes everything.

Well, sort of. It’s not quite as easy as “Ding dong, the wicked witch is dead…”

But let’s take a breath and slow down for a sec…

SAMSUNGGrowth, by its very nature, is unsettling. And spring, the ultimate season of growth, can indeed feel at times both amazing and unsettling. Like a brand new relationship, or a new job, or a new family member…We’re so excited for the changes, but also at times uncertain, and frankly at times feeling all sorts of mixed up.

Sound familiar? Keep those deep breathes going…

In fact, that’s all a perfectly natural, normal part of the process of awakening.

Think about it…the earthy, cool, quiet darkness of winter fuels the lighter, brighter, exuberant energy of spring. All of that blossoming takes strength, determination, and WORK. As in the seasons in nature, so in the seasons of our lives.

So what can we do to navigate the ongoing, constant shifting of energies? Some ideas:

1. Meditate and breathe conciously…as a way to connect and face energies we are feeling, rather than as an escape from them. Even five minute, or fewer, can make a huge difference.

Sally Kempton explains this all very simply and compassionately here. 

We had some of this Middle Eastern influenced lentil stew for dinner Sat night.

We had some of this Middle Eastern influenced lentil stew for dinner Sat night.

2. Spring Cleaning: In some ways, this is the most empowering move of all, I think. Shift stagnant energies by de-cluttering and energetically clearing your space. Even re-organizing a closet or one set of files can have profound effects. This sort of work, done mindfully, is incredibly liberating and clears energy in your space, and in you, for abundance and positive energy flow in ALL areas of your life. Sometimes, all I have time for is to mindfully set an intention as a light a stick of incense or a candle as a way to clean and re-set the energy of my space. And you know what? Even those tiny moves make a difference.

A fabulous book on this topic, presented through the lens of Feng Shui?  “Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life” by Karen Rauch Carter.

3. Enjoy grounding foods, more cooked, less raw, at least for now. Raw food are very activating and can be unsettling for some of us at certain times of year. Study up a bit on Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, and re-balance your diet (gently!) according to what’s best for your individual constitution. Prepare your own simple meals when you can. This is very centering and empowering. This lentil based, vitamin packed soup, for example, is a simple one-pot start.

4. Pace yourself. Yes, we all want to get out there and just go, go, go. Hiking, paintball, running a million errands, seeing every person we know. Ugh, exhausts me just writing that all out, but I do it too. Ha!

How about we ease into increased activity instead, so that we merge smoothly onto the highway of spring, rather than unevenly? Three errands instead of 6 in a day? One social outing a weekend rather than 3? Your mileage may vary, but you get the idea.

Yoga in the kitchen at a past retreat. What a bunch of posers we are ;-)

Yoga in the kitchen at a past retreat. What a bunch of posers we are 😉

5. Calming, grounding yoga practices: Inverting and backbending? Yes, but within reason, and make sure to incorporate at least a couple of re-balancing twists and soothing forward folds into any yoga session. And melt into savasana, rather than rushing out onto your next task.

6. Embrace creativity, fun, and loved ones: The warmer temperatures bring out that playful side. Go with it. Try something new, spend quality time with those who are special to you, and connect with your inner joy.

So a spring re-set day might look like this for me:

Wake up, and meditate for a few minutes to set an easeful tone.

Enjoy a hot beverage while preparing for the rest of the day.

Go for a walk outside or to a yoga class. Bonus if I can see a loved one while doing this. No time for a long movement session? A few simple moves will do.

If it’s a workday, work. Mindfully and with a positive attitude. Strive to interact pleasantly with at least one other human being for no other reason than the fact that it feels NICE.

In any case, once back at home…

Put a pot of soup on, and as it bubbles away, ease into a household or life task related to spring cleaning. Even 15 minutes towards something of this nature can be incredibly empowering.

Maybe a social outing at night, or a chill night in with a book, either solo or with loved one/s, and the cats.

A calming, soothing bath or shower, with beautiful smells that I like, such as lavender and coconut.

As early to bed as possible. Sweet dreams and happy spring!

So I head to India soon, possibly by the time many of you read this. I’ll be doing my best to adapt my daily life to the season, the location, and the present moment. I invite you all to do the same, with love, compassion, openness, and joy.

With love and light,




New Beginnings

Happy Persian New Year, aka Nowruz, aka the Spring Equinox!

Happy Persian New Year, aka Nowruz, aka the Spring Equinox!

Today, the first day of  spring,  is in many ways the ultimate day of new beginnings.

It’s also a reminder that every day is a new beginning, especially if we embrace that reality…

The paradox? Each new beginning involves a loss of some kind. A death, either literal or metaphoric, or both.

Night and sleep relinquish their seductive pull to allow light and wakefulness in.

Winter’s earthy darkness surrenders its nourishing heaviness to the bright, expansive growth of spring.

What we eat, whether plant or animal, dies in some way in order to give us all continuing life.  Our feelings and relationships and life situations shifts, grow, expand, contract, and constantly change. Change is the fire, the fuel, of growth. We die to our old selves in order to embody our higher selves.

One of the big questions, then:

Do we ever really lose those we love, particularly those who touch our lives in a positive, life-affirming, beautiful way?

One month ago today, I lost someone very close to me.

She was like a mother to me, and perhaps because we didn’t have the burden of biology and expectations connecting us, we were able to love each other more freely and openly than some mothers and daughters can.

That love and kindness gave us both so much healing. It continues to heal me to this day.

We chose to love each other, when we really didn’t “have” to.  This empowered us both.

Morning glories embrace the light...and the night .

Morning glories embrace the light…and the night .

Zeinab was essentially my mother-in-law, but really, she felt like another mom to me. A mom who is like a loving sister, a respected elder, a quirky aunt, a funny friend, a beloved little niece you dote on and spoil, and just another woman. Simply and complexly…just another human being. We two felt oddly free to be ourselves with one another.

If I’m being completely honest, we lost one another  in this earthly life three times…

First, years back, when I left Syria after being there with her for several months. I always imagined, and hoped, we’d see one another again in the physical realm. We never did.

Secondly, when her son and I broke up.

Finally, when she passed away, just a month shy of spring. And of Mother’s Day in her country. And, a month shy of her son’s birthday.

But again, I asked myself, and you: do we ever really lose those we love, and those who touch our lives in a positive, life-affirming, beautiful way?

This question has been on my mind a lot in the last month, and I have to say, “Only if we chose to.”

And even then, that “loss” is highly debatable.

In my case, debatable because Zeinab absolutely lives on in me in the lessons she taught me, the lessons I was in some cases more open to receiving from her than from anyone else. And in other unique lessons as well. We communicated with very few words. (Language barriers can be quite useful sometimes. Words often get away of shared energy, intuition, and connections).

Last spring...arm balancing in NYC. Dragonfly pose, they call this one.

Last spring…arm balancing in NYC. Dragonfly pose, they call this one.

As full of love and life as she was, she was no saint. She never pretended otherwise. She was just real. Real and present and so open to happiness. So honest about her pain, both emotional and physical, and still, so giving of her heart, despite, perhaps because of, her pain.

I can still hear her voice and her hearty, unapologetic laugh.

She loved to laugh and a dirty joke as much, if not more, than I do. She would get ticked off sometimes and fuss at me, (and I at her!), but we would laugh, sometimes cry it out. Or both!

She also had a quiet, yet deeply connected, spiritual life.

That made her all that more angelic to me…to know and see that somebody could be real and human in this world and still have a spiritual side, a real connection with the divine. That resonates.

That I could screw up and still feel loved…that’s an ongoing lesson for me. One she really helped me start to grasp.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the outward form, we disconnect from the inner truth. After eight kids and numerous grandchildren, you could say Zeinab had the motherhood and wifehood thing down. Instead of acting and living from a place of what a woman “should” be, she mostly just lived, honestly, wisely, and unapologetically.

So many of us are alive, but how true are we to ourselves. Do we ever really LIVE?

I know I haven’t always. At times in my past, I have barely existed. Held on by a thread to life. Didn’t even care if the thread got severed. Prayed for that, in fact, more than once.

A little oasis in the middle of NYC.

A little oasis in the middle of NYC. We all have a peaceful realm within ourselves, too.

Yet, through my own numerous struggles and losses, and through standing, sometimes falling and crumpling,  with loved ones in their hours of darkness and light, I’ve gained a new respect and reverence for life.

And you know, if we lose somebody in this realm, which we all inevitably WILL, just as we, someday, will  be lost to many in this realm…

We can choose to have them live on in us. We can absolutely invite their light and love and positive energy to resonate with us and through us. That way we all continue to give to the universe through ourselves. We unite together. We embody new beginnings. We transcend.

Our grief and broken-heartedness can be an opening to our higher selves, and a poignant reminder of the humanity of one another. Instead of hiding in the shadows and depth of the pain and darkness, let these energies pave a transformative pathway to your light.

Yes, we mourn and grieve. Deeply, reverently so. Out of love and respect for the departed, we honor them yes, through grief. Yet we  also honor them by allowing what they taught us in life to nourish and inform us. We honor them by continuing to grow. We honor them by staying present and by intensely living.

I love you Zeinab. Thank you for all your love and kindness, and for all you gave to and taught me. Even in the pain of losing you in this realm, you’ve given so many insights to my soul and to so many others. I promise to do my best while I’m still here. I pray for your beautiful soul often, now, and into infinity.

Love and light to all,