You Don’t Have to Leave the Bronx for Gorgeous Fall Foliage

I’ve been a bit M.I.A. from the blog lately because earlier this month, I got married. Not only did I get married, but we had three different wedding celebrations, so needless to say, I was kinda busy.

The day after the very last event, we decided to take a walk. To nowhere in particular, just to have a chill day to ourselves. This was right as some of the leaves started to turn. It made for a very nice, relaxing, and picturesque stroll. These were taken by Mosholu Parkway.

20161113_14584620161113_15372920161113_15390120161113_15411720161113_15433920161125_131008

Be Easy with Gentle Yoga at Finer Studio

I have a really difficult time just sitting still and being “present” in the moment. It seems like I’m always involved in at least three different projects, leaving me tired and sometimes stretched so thin I feel like I have no time for myself. It’s like if I’m not doing something, I start to think I’m being lazy and wasting my life away.

Enter: yoga.

I’ve taken yoga on and off for the past few years, so I am by no means a skilled yogini. But, I love being able to just take a moment, even if it’s just an hour a week to be still, forget about the craziness going on in the world, and just breathe.

So, when I was recently invited to take a Gentle Yoga class at Finer Studio on Bronxdale, I was excited to check it out. Most recently, I’ve been taking yoga at Crunch, which is focused a bit more on strength training and building muscle, so I knew I’d really appreciate a bit of a calmer pace. And of course I loved that it was a local studio, because while we’ve recently seen an increase in yoga classes being offered in the Bronx, there are still many neighborhoods where it isn’t offered and with the Bronx coming in last place  in New York State’s health ranking, more Bronxites could definitely take advantage of this healing form of exercise.

It just so happens that there was a torrential downpour the day I headed to the studio, which only added to my stress level, coming from work that day, but the studio was so inviting, peaceful, and calm. I chatted briefly with the instructor, Racheal, about my experience with yoga and was provided with everything I needed for the class (no need to lug my mat around with me!)

Racheal was awesome in helping me adjust to the positions correctly and creating a meditative environment. After the class, my body felt great and my mind felt even better.

yoga-class-at-finerstudio-1

Photograph provided by Finer Studio

I also had a chance to interview Finer Studio’s owner, Geydi Moreno to learn a bit more about the studio and her views on yoga in the Bronx:

 How has the community responded to Finer Studios? 

The essence of Yoga is based on the saying that We are All One. Unfortunately, not everyone feels comfortable attending a yoga studio. The media keeps showing us images of yoga that are skinny, flexible, female, and, for the most of the time—white. We rarely see images of plus-sized people, or minorities doing yoga. It is hard to feel included when you don’t see yourself in the picture.

FinerStudio offers a safe place on the mat for people of color, for Plus-Sized people, and for people with physical challenges. People in this community are noticing that our instructors are influencers who represent them. Our crowd is very diverse and that is a great response right there; everybody bending together, it’s amazing! We are all challenged in our lives in some way—the yoga mat can be the great equalizer.

What sets Finer Studio apart from some of the other yoga studios/ gyms in the Bronx? 

-Diversity: We consider ourselves an Inclusive community, we want to be the change we want to see in other studios. It is important to embrace change in all areas of your world. A great place to practice inclusion is a Yoga Class in which Whites, Blacks and Latinos are one on the mat.
-Quality of Instructors: Almost anyone can teach an advanced level classes, but beginners are truly challenging to teach.
Our instructors teach progressively, they pick poses that can be easily modified and encouraging to people. They help students complement their practice. They breakdown the good and positive in each pose for them to tap into their power.

Most of our instructors are very well known influencers in the world of Yoga, and at the same time, they are kind and humble people, with a passion for spreading the word of Yoga in the communities with less access to Yoga.

-Prices: We really want people to be able to benefit from this practice; not too many can afford paying $20 to $30 per class. We are providing better quality of instruction at an affordable price.

What are some of the benefits of yoga for Bronxites who have never tried it before?

Yoga can change your physical and mental capacity quickly, while preparing the mind and body for longevity health.
Yoga is not only an exercise, it’s about a healthy lifestyle. The practice of yoga allows students to find calm in a world of chaos, mental clarity and body awareness. Yoga helps relieve stress (Which can destroy the body and mind) and declutters the mind, helping you to become more focused.
Yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia. Other physical benefits of yoga include increased flexibility, Increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality, maintaining a balanced metabolism, weight reduction, cardio and circulatory health, improved athletic performance, protection from injury, etc…
Yoga is great to help with coping skills and finding the positive about life. Yoga incorporates meditation and breathing can help improve a person’s mental well-being

Intrigued? In addition to yoga, Finer Studio also offers Zumba classes and paint and sip events! Check out their website to learn more.

yoga-class-at-finerstudio2

Full Disclosure: I was financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Rejuvenate Yourself at Freckles Juice

I’m back at work again, which means happy hours on happy hours on Fridays. Unfortunately, ever since I crossed the threshold of 25 two years ago, my body seems to no longer agree with this philosophy. (I’m still not wise enough to listen, though.)

Needless to say, I was faced with a mild hangover and intended to trade all of my Saturday plans for hours on my couch watching Netflix. (How were hangovers dealt with before the internet?!) That is until my friend Karen called and asked if I wanted to finally check out Freckles Juice. We’ve been saying we should go for weeks and just hadn’t gotten around to it.

The shop is bright and airy with walls adorned with art of all sorts. (I particularly loved “Dear Pretty Brown Girl” by Ronald A. Draper.) A massive chalkboard menu displays a wide array of smoothies and juices. Karen went with the Air Drizzy and I of course forgot the name of mine, but it was a delicious blend of mango and other tropical fruits.

The woman working even offered us a sample of butternut squash soup, which was so good we both ordered some to go.

So, if you find yourself uptown, be sure to treat yourself to something healthy at Freckles Juice.

 

The Bronx is Beautiful Art Exhibition at Gun Hill Brewery Sept. 10

Check out the flier below for information about an upcoming art exhibition at Gun Hill Brewery including art from one of my super talented friends from elementary school AND the master behind my Super Mario star tattoo, Shak. The exhibit will feature work inspired by the Bronx and of course the always amazing Gun Hill Brewery will be serving up refreshments.

TheBronxisBeautiful

Perfect Beach Day

Having spent two weeks in South Africa, where it is currently winter (though of course nothing like the brutal winter we experience here), I came back feeling like my NYC summer was slipping through my fingers. Where did all the time go?! Remember that Bronx summer bucket list I made?  I’m maybe only half way through and yesterday was the first time I made it to Orchard Beach this summer! This is partially because making the trek from Bedford Park to the beach on the bus is daunting (though, it’s honestly not that bad) compared to being able to get there in 20 minutes from Castle Hill.

Anyway, I finally made it. It was the perfect temperature, there was a nice breeze, and I was able to get some writing done. Win win win.

What I love about the beach is that it’s the perfect broke person activity. Bring whatever you have at home and you are all set. No need to spend any money (unless you happened to be tempted to buy a nutcracker, but even so, you could probably just make your own…but like, you wouldn’t, because you would NEVER drink alcohol on the beach, right?)

beach1

beach 2

Snacks from home

beach 3

Entertainment – if you don’t know about Catstax, you’re missing out!