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: 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: The Power Of Mindfulness

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By: Jennifer O'Sullivan

Mindfulness can be practiced formally by sitting, but my teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has always encouraged us to let our days be filled with mindfulness. From teeth brushing to listening, every moment can be mindful.

Each Lunar New Year, called Tết in Vietnam, the Plum Village monastic community shares practice phrases that can be printed and hung around the home as a reminder that mindfulness can be practiced at any time.  This is a tradition that me and family look forward to every year.  You can read more about the phrases and print your own here.

Join Jennifer on Thursdays at 7:30PM for her class, Mindfulness Meditation.

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 Yoga & Cafe Grand Opening: TODAY

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Today is the Grand Opening of Ease. Do I feel at Ease? Literally, yes. Figuratively, not really. It's scary and fun all wrapped up in one body. I have been floating the past few weeks. The number of wonderful people who have walked in the door of Ease and tried us out is overwhelming.

This Del Ray, Alexandria community is fabulous and people have welcomed Ease with open arms. From the bloggers to the yogis and the juicers to the joggers. Herman of Senzu Juicery and I have worked so hard and both of us are thrilled to be living our dream.

Thank you to those of you who have joined us in the past few weeks and Welcome to those who are just learning about us and willing to try. A grand opening for a small business is a huge event. Here's to hoping we all live our life with Ease.

Here's what the expect today between the hours of 9:00AM - 2:00PM:

  • A ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Euille, Del Ray Business Association representatives, media, and more at 10:00AM
  • Special FREE demo yoga classes in meditation:

10:45 am - 11 am Meditation with Jennifer
11:15 am - 11:30 am Yoga Flow with Rosie Graves Wiedemer
11:45 am -12 pm Shake your Soul with Katy Baytosh
12:15 pm - 12:30 pm Gentle Therapeutic with Pamela Hostetter
12:45 pm - 1 pm Qigong with Ann Duvall
1:15 pm- 1:30 pm Vigorous Flow with Beth Wolfe
1:45pm- 2 pm Myofascial Release with Amanda Murphy

  • Delicious and healthy Senzu Juicery, Mommy Meals, Power Supply, and Joy Bliss Raw samples
  • Studio tours and meet-and-greets with our new yoga instructors - Social media contests for chances to win Ease Yoga & Cafe apparel (Say the secret phrase "May You Live Your Life With Ease" at the register to receive 25% off a menu item! Valid today only.)
  • Full open menu (bring your appetite!) - Final chance to sign up for the 50/$50 yoga promotion

If you joined us today, please leave a comment to tell us about your experience!

Namaste,

Tara

6 Ways Ease Yoga & Cafe Will Be Environmentally Sustainable

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Happy Earth Day! April is Earth Month and I want to share with you SIX WAYS we are reducing our carbon imprint at Ease Yoga & Cafe.

  • CORK FLOORING. There are so many decisions to be made when building out a yoga studio and cafe. For example, what flooring to use?At Ease, we are proud of our flooring choices. In our two studios, we will be using sustainably harvested cork on our floors. Not only is cork flooring comfy on your feet during your vinyasa, but it also is harvested without injuring the Cork Oak from which it comes. This can be done every six to eight years. Cork is low in VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions and is a good insulator to boot.
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  • NON-PVC TILES. In our bathrooms, we are using bio-based, non-pvc flooring tiles. The Striations BBT tiles are 85% limestone and contain 10% recycled material. The flooring is Sustainability Certified by NSF and scores well in LEED ratings for indoor environmental quality and material resource usage.
     
  • RECLAIMED WOOD.To give just the right look to our Cafe bar, we happily partnered with Second Chance, an organization in Baltimore dedicated to the responsible re-use of building supplies. When you visit Ease for a juice, salad, or snack, you’ll be sure to notice the rustic and beautiful reclaimed wood that covers the front of the bar. That’s from the good people at Second Chance.
     
  • WATER STATIONS.Thirsty after your class? We will have a free refillable water-bottle station. If instead of water, you thirst for one of our great juices, you’ll see that they come in fully re-usable bottles. Return your bottle to Ease and, for every seven bottles you return, enjoy a free juice on us.
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  • COMPOSTING. As you might imagine, all those fruits and veggies in our juices can pile up into a lot of peels, rinds, stems, and pits. Together Senzu Juicery and Ease are committed to composting all that we can.
     
  • RECYCLED CONTAINERS. Lastly, we’ll be serving all our food and beverages using earth-friendly reusable, recycled, or compostable containers.

These are just some of the things Ease and Senzu Juicery are doing to lighten our imprint on the earth. It’s a beautiful planet--we hope you have time to get out and enjoy it this spring!

The Inception of Ease

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My journey with yoga began when pregnant with our first child, over 16 years ago. I thought that I had better get “healthy” since I was going to become a mom. I went to a prenatal yoga class and thought the whole thing was a little too “wooo wooo.” Talk to your baby in your womb before it was born? CRAZY!!! But I did it. I didn’t love yoga but I tried out many different classes. I took some classes at the YMCA where basketball games were going on in the same gym at the same time. Not too relaxing. I had no idea what yoga really was, but I began to get curious. Fast forward two years and we were pregnant again but this time I was told I also had cervical cancer and needed to have an abortion and a radical hysterectomy. Say what? That was quite a summer! My husband Jerry and I cried a lot. I thought I was going to die. I think Jerry did too. I was only 32-years-old and I made a big decision to keep the baby, deliver her at 38 weeks gestation in the cancer ward of John’s Hopkins, and have a radical hysterectomy (keeping my ovaries) immediately following her birth. Luckily, the cancer did not spread to my lymph nodes during the 9-month period my body was making a baby. Riley was a beautiful, healthy baby girl. I was able to nurse her and I did not need to undergo chemotherapy or radiation. To what did I attribute my luck? Slowing down and taking care of me. With Reiki, a mindful diet, massage, yoga and saying "no" to a lot of the things in life that kept me too busy and exhausted, I gave my immune system a break. Some Ease, if you will.

Almost 8 years after Riley’s birth, we moved our whole family- Jerry, myself, and our 3 kids (our third child was adopted from Korea)- to Nosara on the Pacific of Costa Rica. Call it a midlife adventure to avoid a midlife crisis. Life in Alexandria was busy and full but we were missing the fun and adventure we had enjoyed in our years before children.

Nosara Yoga Institute (NYI) was right around the corner from the house we rented. I decided to sign up for the yoga teacher training they offered in the month of November. Before leaving for our Costa Rican adventure, I had been working with a wonderful healer who challenged me to “answer the big questions in life.” Questions like: Who am I? Where am I going? Where have I been? And What is my purpose? On the first day of teacher training, I walked in and saw right there on the wall a phrase written by my teacher: “Yoga is inquiry…Who Am I?” I knew then that I was in the right place. This intense month of two-hour yoga at 6 am, meditation on the beach, more classes in morning and afternoon, lectures, and in the evening two more hours of hands-on experience, changed my life. I laughed, cried, explored, shed and grew. Prior to this experience, never had I imagined that I would teach yoga let alone open a yoga studio.

So here I am today. A beautiful day in April. Our first born, Baker, turns 16 this week; Riley is a thriving 13-year-old teenage girl who may never understand the intensity of that year before her birth; and our son Tae brings love and light to our world. My new expression in life is Perfectly Imperfect. Life is busy and fun. Jerry and I continue to work on marriage and being in relationship while raising a young family.

Ease will open in a month. It is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. Yoga has taught me to invite in the paradoxes of life and to truly feel them. All of my demons come up as the opening of Ease gets closer. Why am I doing this? Is it ego? I really hope not. Will people like it? What if no one comes? What if I fail? Well, it’s too late for all that, the lease is signed. I must go forward. Be quiet, mind!

Ease will be much more than just a yoga studio and juice bar. My hopes are that Ease will attract those of you who, like me, have many blessings in your life but who are curious about what life is all about and how we can live it fully and authentically. Ease is meant to be a place to drop your shoulders and begin to slow down and explore the relationship between the mind and the body. Our space is called “Ease”—the opposite of “Disease.” I believe yoga offers more than stretching and breathing. It offers the chance to slow down and notice what is happening in your body. It calms the nervous system. We all need this. If we do not slow down, our body gets out of sync and we are no longer at Ease, but rather there is dis- Ease in our body. Our thoughts and emotions can begin to rule us.

So, thank you for reading. This blog post is motivated by the cartoon below, where a stick figure says, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” (and they reveal their hearts). I hope that by sharing a little piece of myself, I have encouraged you all to share a little of yourselves when you enter Ease.

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Ease Yoga & Cafe: Coming to the Del Ray – Alexandria, VA Community in Spring, 2015!

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We each have dreams in our life – whether it is to raise a family, have a meaningful career, run a marathon, or go to the top of a mountain or to the bottom of the sea. My name is Tara, and for me, I have long held the dream of opening a space that focused on whole body wellness, a place that nourished our minds, our bodies, and our spirits. This dream has taken different shapes over the years and now is at last coming to fruition in the form of Ease Yoga Studio & Cafe!

Ease is the first yoga studio and healthy eats cafe all under one roof in all of Alexandria. We are located in a sunlit space at 3051 Mt Vernon Avenue, at the intersection of Mt. Vernon and Commonwealth Avenues in the Del Ray neighborhood. Featured image

The entire community is welcome in our two 600 square foot studios. One studio can be warmed to 85 degrees for yoga in a near-tropical, but not overly hot, setting. We will have classes for both beginners and experienced practitioners as well as classes specifically geared to kids, seniors, and families.

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In our cafe and juice bar, we will offer delicious coffees and teas and the Four S’s: healthy Soups, Salads, Sandwiches and Snacks. We will also feature the fresh pressed juices and smoothies of Senzu Juicery. I know you will love Senzu’s delicious Energy blend of carrot, fuji apple, orange, lemon, ginger, and goji berry to help boost your energy and enhance your immune system!

At Ease, you’ll discover that 1 + 1 = 3! Imagine having a great yoga class that stretches your body, mind, and spirit and following that up with a delicious juice, smoothie or salad that nourishes and replenishes you. Or, picture meeting with friends for a noontime class and then sticking around for some good conversation and great food on our beautiful outdoor patio. At Ease, we believe Yoga + Healthy Eating gives us more than just yoga and healthy eating. It gives us a Healthy Community.

By now, we hope you are eager to give Ease a try. We are opening our doors in Spring, 2015. Stay tuned to this space and we will let you know the exact date of our Grand Opening. In the meantime, may all your dreams come to fruition!

We are thrilled to keep you in the loop on studio updates. If you’d like to continue following us along on this journey, be sure to Like us on Facebook for consistent updates and educational information.

Namaste, Tara

3051 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305, USA