Motherhood

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By Tara Casagrande

A wise woman (my mother) once gave a speech at our wedding saying, "Motherhood is about letting go." Only recently have I begun to understand that quote. The quote was lost on my 29-year-old idealistic self and has finally sunk in.

Inhale, LET, exhale, GO.

As a business owner, wife and mother of our 17, 14 & 10-year-old, this year has offered up many opportunities to let go.

  • Let go of all the predictions and forecasts made in my imperfectly crafted business plan.
  • Let go of perfectly nutritious and healthy meals for our family every night.
  • Let go of mistakes I have made.
  • Let go of the 17 year old son who is currently taking a semester abroad. I miss him so much.
  • Let go of years of volunteering at the kids' school.
  • Let go of being at every sporting event and school function.

As I let go, it makes more room for me to embrace all the goodness around me.

  • Playful tickle time with our youngest son when I arrive home from teaching an evening class.
  • Last minute shopping trips with our 14 year old daughter to buy clothing for a school trip.
  • Lunches with my hubby while the kids are in school in order to grab some quality time.
  • Valuing time with girlfriends.
  • Spending time with my mother whenever I can.
  • Running up the stairs of Ease so excited to come to work and thankful for all who have joined us this year to move, breathe, explore and become more curious about themselves.

Motherhood stretches me and often takes me outside of my comfort zone. I have learned so much about myself through raising our children. Being a mom is what I have always wanted. The times I enjoy it the most is when I slow down, exhale and let go. Getting wiser by the year.

CuriositEase: A Message from Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica

By: Becky Sutton

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Greetings from Nosara! This is my second time taking part of Nosara's spiritual journey and it's been even more transformative than my first. I'm completing 100 hours in training for Inner Quest and am coming close to the end of this experience soon.

I taught the most amazing Yin Yoga class to 58 of my teachers and peers in Samahdi Madir this morning; it was inspired by the transformation of the caterpillar to butterfly... and really, the transformations we are all experiencing constantly. It was powerfully moving.

I send all the YogEase my best and look forward to seeing your glowing faces upon my return. Maybe you will see the transformation in me that I feel has occurred during my stay here! Namaste.

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To register for Becky's classes at Ease Yoga & Cafe, visit our website. She teaches the following classes in Alexandria, VA (the Del Ray community):

  • Kids Yoga (6 - 10) on Tuesdays from 4:00PM - 4:45PM
  • Yin Yoga on Tuesdays from 7:15PM - 8:30PM
  • Kids Yoga (Ages 4 - 7) on Saturdays from 9:30AM - 10:30AM

The Nosara Yoga Institute is just a few minute walk from Playa Guionesis in Costa Rica. Their mission is to deliver an inquiry-based,non-authoritarian yoga curriculum that develops the multi-dimensional Self. In a beautiful, natural setting that supports relaxed, non-competitive learning, they intend to deliver our curriculum in a way that strengthens inner guidance and direct connection to sourcethrough developing witness consciousness.

More here

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CuriositEase: Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

By: Mimi Vidaver

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Prenatal Yoga provides many varied benefits to pregnant women. First and foremost, a prenatal yoga class is a shared space for creating a community of moms and moms-to-be. It is a place for pregnant women to engage with each other over shared experiences, compare notes, ask questions of one another as well as the teacher, and, most importantly, sympathize with and learn from one another. A prenatal yoga class is a haven from a hectic week and an important opportunity for a mama to practice self care.

One of the most foundational and, often, most challenging aspects of a prenatal yoga practice is the application of the broader yogic principle of balancing effort and surrender-more specifically, in the case of yoga during pregnancy, seeking softness amidst exertion. Not only does learning about and practicing this duality help mamas prepare for the physicality of labor by teaching them to use yoga poses to connect with and soften their pelvic floor, it most certainly helps to ease some of the anxiety surrounding labor and birth by providing tools for finding emotional stillness during even the most intense or uncomfortable moments.

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Ultimately, prenatal yoga helps pregnant women tap into their own physical and emotional strength, and it provides them with the opportunity to connect deeply with the power of their own bodies.

Mimi teaches Prenatal Yoga on Tuesdays from 6:00PM - 7:15PM in Del Ray, Alexandria. To learn more about her class or to register for your next session, visit Ease Yoga & Cafe's website.

CuriositEase: Six Essential Oils for Spring

By: Hilary Mughloo

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Can you feel it? Spring is upon us. Yes, it's been cold and dreary, with even a few flurries still out there, but if you're like me you can feel that spring is coming.

Maybe you feel like taking in lighter food and drink; more greens, more raw, more cleansing drinks like lemon water. These can be signs that your body is getting ready for the shift in seasons.

Essential oils can be an awesome support during any time of transition and can help you stay aligned in body, mind and spirit. Spring Equinox is on Sunday March 20, 2016 which is perfect timing, because I will be teaching a Yoga & Essential Oils class at Ease from 7-8pm. We'll be able to put these oils into practice!

Cypress: The essential oil of motion and flow. Cypress is great if you are someone who is mentally or emotionally stuck or have perfectionist tendencies. Need a shift? This can help.

Grapefruit: The essential oil of honoring the body. This oil supports individuals who are caught in patterns of mistreatment. Spring is a beautiful time to cultivate new habits of self-care.

Marjoram: The essential oil of connection. Marjoram addresses feelings of distrust and fear of rejection. This oil is also amazing at supporting muscles before or after exercising.

Frankincense: The essential oil of truth. The warm, spicy, and clean aroma is known to enhance practices of prayer and meditation. Incredibly powerful but also gentle and helps cultivate connection to the True Self.

Deep Blue blend: The essential oils of surrendering pain including wintergreen, camphor, peppermint, blue tansy, blue chamomile, and others it can support mental clarity in times of physical pain (while also soothing the physical pain!).

Balance blend: The essential oils of grounding including spruce, ho wood, frankincense, and others this blend teaches us to ground our energy and to manifest our vision with the patience of a tree.

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To learn more about using essential oils in your daily life reach out! Hilary Mughloo is available for wellness consultations and teaches weekly essential oils classes in the neighborhood. She is a yoga teacher, reiki practitioner, and Holistic Lifestyle Coach for women based in Alexandria, VA. Hilary is the founder of Wise Light Wellness and the #healthyhealers community with a motto to: Be Wise. Shine Bright. Live Well. www.wiselightwellness.com

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Take Wheatgrass Shots

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By: Tara Casagrande

If you've ever had a shot of wheatgrass, you know that it's a curiously intense flavor - and definitely an acquired taste. Did you know that this electrifyingly green liquid is packed with a huge amount of hardcore health benefits? Here are some of my favorites:

1. Wheatgrass juice is one of the best sources of living chlorophyll available today. However, to get the full benefit, the chlorophyll must come fresh from a living plant... thankfully, South Block is on top of that! Some benefits of chlorophyll include (how about that, a list within a list!): controlling food cravings, controlling body odor, healing, cleansing of the liver, improving blood sugar problems, etc.

2. Wheatgrass juice is an effective healer because it contains all minerals known to man. It is extremely rich in protein, and contains 17 amino acids- the building blocks of protein.

3. Wheatgrass juice, which is high in oxygen, can dissolve the scars that are formed in the lungs from breathing acidic gasses. The negative effect of carbon monoxide is minimized since chlorophyll increases hemoglobin production.

4. Wheatgrass juice is good for skin problems such as eczema or psoriasis because of its innate antioxidants, which also help to slow down the aging process.

5. Wheatgrass juice provides me with an overall sense of well-being. Can't you tell by the face I make when taking it? :) I've found that wheatgrass juice shots, although strong in flavor, are a lot like taking cod fish oil - hard to get used to but the benefits are incredible.

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This month, we'll be donating 25 cents to New Hope Housing for every wheatgrass shot you take and every Ease yoga class you attend. This is a local organization in Alexandria that provides homeless families and individuals shelter, housing, and the tools to build a better life.

So please, give to yourself and to New Hope Housing this month. Your body and mind will thank you for it. You can sign up for your March classes here.

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CuriositEase: Relieve Low Back With Yoga

By: Ashley Josephine

If you’ve ever experienced low back pain before, you know that it ranges in severity from mildly annoying to so severe you have to take off work because you can’t get out of bed. I experience low back pain frequently because of my scoliosis and other asymmetries my body has developed due to habitual patterns of movement.

It’s estimated that 15%-20% of Americans will experience low back pain every year and that up to 60% of Americans experience low back pain at some point over the course of his or her life. In addition, low back pain is the fifth most common reason for visits to a primary care doctor and the number one reason why people go to see orthopedists or neurosurgeons.

You can imagine that the cost of low back pain is high, not just because of direct medical costs, but also because of lost productivity from work. But you might not believe that the estimated national cost of treating low back pain in the United States ranges from $38-$50 BILLION a year!

Practicing yoga asana is a great tool to help relieve low back pain. An intelligently sequenced yoga class moves the spine in 7 directions. This movement helps to lubricate the joints, which helps us feel looser. When we feel looser, we get more range of movement making everyday activities that require us to move our spine (there are a lot of them), easier and more free.

For more information on how the spine moves and to practice the seven directions of spinal movement, watch my latest video on relieving low back pain with yoga.

Join Ashley on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:00AM for her Rise and Shine Yoga classes.

CuriositEase: Healing Trauma Through Yoga

By: Beth Wolfe 

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I was deeply moved and inspired by a recent weekend I spent immersed in Trauma Sensitive Yoga teacher training at Beloved Yoga in Reston.

Trauma/PTSD recovery is a topic that is personally dear to me, and I am grateful for the opportunity to use yogic techniques to contribute to the recovery of people affected by trauma in all forms. The training confirmed for me that yoga is a powerful tool in dealing with negative and/or disturbing experiences, and it sparked in me a passion to share these techniques.

Through the use of specific movement, breath, and meditation practices, traumatized people can heal by reconnecting to their bodies in a safe, deliberate way. Those who have experienced trauma in their lives know that the effects show up not only in the mind, but in the body and spirit. The tools that yoga brings to alleviating traumatic stress are tremendous gifts to those who suffer.

For more info on Trauma Sensitive Yoga, visit www.traumasensitiveyoga.com.

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CuriositEase is a weekly blog, authored by Tara Casagrande and Ease Yoga & Cafe instructors, dedicated to exploring trends and interesting Health & Wellness topics.

Gratitude and Giving

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Thanksgiving is around the corner and I'm feeling a sense of deep gratitude.  We just had a great morning at Ease starting with Men’s Yoga, Ease Yoga Fundamentals and the Ease Signature Class. Often times when you (our clients)  walk into Ease we will check in with how you are doing.  This morning, I loved the honesty.  “Not doing great”, “Feeling strong physically but not strong emotionally, isn’t that interesting?", “I’m just happy to be here”. We all arrive and leave in such different states.  

It is almost exactly 6 months since we opened our doors for the Soft Opening of Ease Yoga & Cafe.  Every time a curious individual walks through our doors and asks about yoga or the smoothie and juice menu, I am grateful.  It takes a bit of self determination to walk up those steps, get an idea of what is happening inside our space and then potentially go to our website, sign up for a class and then show up, roll out a mat and trust us teachers to be kind and gentle and also caring as we guide you through your practice.  Thank you for trusting us and for working hard on yourself.

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Many of you purchased our Grand Opening Special and then have become Monthly Unlimited Members.  Many others purchased the New Client Welcome and since have gone on to purchase class packages and have even invited friends and neighbors to join as well.  Thanks to you all for spreading the word.

The teachers here at Ease love our work and love when many of you show up to class with honesty and a willingness to work on yourselves. We have seen so many people grow stronger, we have hugged many of you and you have hugged us back.  We have seen tears and shared stories. We have also laughed a lot.  For all of that, we are thankful. We hope we have created a very authentic and safe space to share.

This season, Ease will be asking you to bring in canned items for AFAC, the Arlington Food Assistance Shelter.  We will have a bin delivered Monday, November 9.  It will remain until mid December. Thank you in advance for helping us to fill this bin.  This is a great way for all of us, who feel the interconnection between each other, to be able to give.  Giving to those in need, helps us with our practice off of the mat.  At the end of our collection, we hope to celebrate with a fun Free class to say thank you.

Happy November.  Enjoy the sunshine and the colors.  Breathe the crisper, cooler air deep into your lungs.  Take time for you.  Come to yoga as often as you can.  And know that we at Ease, cherish each and everyone one of you.  And to those soon to experience Ease, come join us soon.  We look forward to sharing openly and honestly with you in a space that nurtures you and allow you be yourself.

Many thanks and Namaste.

Tara

(Ease founder)

Ease Breeze

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It’s a beautiful afternoon and the breeze is whisking across the patio at Ease. It is so nice to work here outside in the shade. I have been meaning to write this blog post for a while and now I finally have some time to sit and reflect. These first months here at Ease have been like a dream come true. We have met so many amazingly wonderful people. I have taken many of the classes that our experienced teachers offer and feel very good about the high quality of our teachers and classes. I have also lived off of the delicious food and drink at the Café and feel so lucky to have Senzu Juicery and Herman as a partner. Basically, it’s the kind of job that I love to go to everyday. Thank goodness for family at home or I might move in.

Thank you to all that took a chance on a new studio and bought our Grand Opening Special and the New Client Welcome package. We hope we have you hooked on the quality and benefits of Ease. Thank you too to those that have shared a little about themselves and the positive experiences you have had on and off your mat since experiencing Ease. Please keep the stories coming. We love them.

Starting this week we will be offering new packages for you to purchase for classes. We will continue to offer the New Client Welcome for first timers only at $50 for 5 classes (only $10 per class and good for 6 months). Please tell your friends and those who have not yet experienced Ease.

Our Drop-In rate will be $25 for one class and we will also be offering The Ease Monthly Unlimited Package for $100 with a 3 month auto-renew commitment. This is a fantastic deal for those who love to come to many yoga classes in a month. We know who you are, we have seen you often these past few months.

We will also be offering Ease Class Packages that go down in per class price the greater the package size. The 4 Class Pass is $76 (only $19 per class), the 8 Class Pass is $136 (only $17 per class) and the 12 Class Pass (only $15 per class). We are excited to offer no expiration on these packages!

Kids’ Packages are also available to purchase for children 4-7 years old. You can create an account for your child and sign them up for classes on Saturday mornings from 9:30 am – 10:30 while you attend the Vigorous Flow Yoga class in the next studio. The Kid’s Package is $75 (5 classes @ $15 a class) or $120 (10 classes @ $12 per class).

Offering everything from Rise & Shine to Gentle Therapeutic, Lunch Time Yoga, Men’s Yoga, Vigorous Flow, Curvy Yoga, Yoga for Seniors, Beginners, Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation, Kids Yoga, Alignment Based Flow , Restorative Yoga, Intro to the Wall and Ease Signature Yoga, we feel good about bringing this community what they need and what they want. Please let us know if there are any other classes that you would like to see added to the schedule.

We hope the Ease Grand Opening Special and the New Client Welcome were a great way to jump start your practice and give you experiential knowledge of the benefits of yoga and what can be gained in taking time for yourself. We would like to extend this invitation to you to continue to be a part of our community as we grow and offer more and more wonderful classes, informative workshops and nutritious food and drink.

May you be safe, happy, healthy, may you live your life with Ease.

Namaste,

Tara