The 30 Day Gratitude Challenge (Pt. 1)

Welcome, Dear Ones!

It’s time to inspire one another, to conspire to make this November a month of peace and love for ourselves and the people around us. Each day this month, I will post a video or post that I hope you will find interesting. Please join us in this space or at our yoga studio this coming month as we all prepare for the season of giving!

Love, Beth

For November 11-20, please click here.

For November 21-30, please click here.



Increase the Peace

In our first few years of practicing yoga, Beth and I took one class per week on Thursday mornings. One year, I missed a bunch of Thursdays, so when December rolled around I had four classes to make up with only one week remaining in the season.  Having a very busy performance schedule and feeling under stress, I decided to try an experiment: let’s see what it would be like to take five classes in five days.

Somewhere around day three, I noticed some big changes in my body. I felt more limber and without trying to push myself, I began extending further, sinking deeper and holding poses for a longer time. It was almost like dancing, or moving gracefully through water.

Mentally, I felt more confident. During our shows, I felt a sense of ease that translated to having more fun onstage and being better at my job. During that time, we were also driving a lot and yoga helped to ease the aches of sitting for long periods.

By day five, I was ready to testify and Brahmani asked me to speak aloud in class about my experience. I shared the joy that I was feeling which I believe was a union of my body, mind and spirit.

Looking back upon it now as a person who practices 4-5 times per week (when I’m being good), I know that breaks of longer than 3 days are felt. Without daily yoga, my body holds the stress from day to day. Frankly, I can’t imagine a life with only one opportunity to practice per week.

I’m sure that many of you have experienced some version of what I wrote about today whether it be an R&R at Kripalu or a Mexico trip with Brahmani and Jashoda. My suggestion is that you consider giving yourself that same daily gift of yoga not just when you’re away but when you’re here in Westchester. Instead of missing classes when you’re busy, try the opposite: increase your yoga to help you stay balanced during those times. Be curious to see if you can achieve a new depth of union within yourself. I can’t think of any greater present for the holidays.

Scott Bierko



It’s Not Easy Being Human

Beginning November 1st, I am making some changes – returning to the habits and practices that make me feel healthy and make me feel good about myself.  Like many, I can sometimes “fall off the wagon” and I have to go through a period where I climb back on and start moving the wagon in the right direction. It’s tough being human, huh? So, here’s five changes I have in mind for the rest of 2013:

1) I’m committing to more yoga and meditation. This practice is the bedrock on which the rest of our “house” sits. Simply put, when I’m practicing I am able to enjoy life and deal with life’s unexpected challenges with gentle ease.

2) I’m going to buy and cook food that’s in harmony with the season. That means lots of roasted root vegetables, stews and soups.  Yes, I’ll miss those evening forays into the kitchen for trail mix or a brew, but it will be easier if I’m not in front of the tube (see #4 below)

3) I’m going to spend less time on our computers, smart phones and tablets and more time connecting with Beth, my daughter and our friends. Like many, we have undergone a change in the last few years integrating email, social media and other forms of communication into our daily lives. I’ve made a personal commitment to leave Facebook until the end of the year with the exception of announcements pertaining to our businesses.

4) I’m removing the television from our bedroom and setting an intention to avoid binge-watching on Netflix and Hulu. In the last couple of months, I fell into the bad habit of watching TV and eating snacks there, too. For a bit, I was able to convince myself that I needed the downtime, but it turned into a habit that was doing me more harm than good.

5) I’m planning on practicing gratitude. In my journal, in conversation and on the mat I’m going to engage in speaking out loud how fortunate I am to be alive, to be with Beth and to enjoy the bounty of this planet.

I share this with all of you so that you may know that we all can lapse into a period where we disappoint ourselves. I think it’s natural, a part of a cycle that reminds me that I’m human, flawed and not so wise as I might think. And it makes me more grateful for those times when I am in sync and feeling especially wonderful. In other words, it’s all good.

Scott Bierko

Learning to Do Less

Sometimes, I try to do too much. I fall into the trap of thinking that there’s a benefit to multi-tasking, from moving without pause from thing to thing. Living all my life in close proximity to the energy of NYC, I was raised in a culture where the more you do and the more you get is a measure of success. In my adult life, I’m trying to unlearn that early lesson and seek out people who are in sync with a calmer, gentler approach.

Driving home from a gig, Beth and I listened to a podcast featuring Jeff Goins, author of a new book called “The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing”.  Goins is a fervent believer in single-tasking, slowing down and spending more time on one thing at time. Last year he moved to a cabin in upstate New York with his wife and young child. He reports that he currently works less, though he accomplishes more. Most days, he sets out to write one piece, work on his brand or share via social media. Instead of trying to do all of those things every day at a manic pace , Goins works on one project and stays with it. He reports being much happier and that’s the message he wants to share with us. Good advice.

  Posted by Scott Bierko

Kripalu Yoga in Westchester, NY

One of the things that I discovered early on is that the quality of the teacher is the most important factor in selecting a yoga class…or any type of class! When we are learning (and we are always learning), we need a guide who cares deeply about his or her students.

Kripalu means “compassionate” and here in Westchester, NY we are the only yoga studio that is affiliated with The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health – a place where compassion and yoga are integrally connected.

Yoga is so much more than the poses or even the benefits one gains in a physical sense. Yes, our bodies will benefit from yoga, but a great yoga practice is an integration of body, mind, heart and spirit. It is transformational. It makes us more mindful, more loving and more compassionate towards ourselves, others and our planet.

Taking a week or even a weekend in the Berkshires to visit Kripalu is a must, but taking classes at The Rivertown Center for Yoga & Health in Dobbs Ferry is a great benefit to those of us who live in Westchester, NY. Whether you live nearby in Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington or Tarrytown or a little further in Yonkers, White Plains or Elmsford, you can access the same caliber of Kripalu teachers that you’ll find in Stockbridge, MA…right here in your backyard.

Posted by Scott Bierko