Finding Balance with Sue Elkind

Happy Labor Day! As we savor the last few weeks of summer and begin to prepare for the fall season, you may find yourself being thrown out of life's balance by even the slightest changes. For me, this is a reminder that it's time to set new intentions and routines, as the weather merges long summer days into cooler, longer nights.  

This year, our oldest, Luca, is off to Brown University in Providence, RI. As I realize this change will shift our dynamics at home, it is apparent that this process will not be easy. I've worked hard at staying present, mindfully not 'over-parenting' both of my teenage boys. Instead, I take time for self-care practices that keep me balanced emotionally as I continue to care for one son at home and the other in college. 

When we are presented with life's fluctuations, we have the choice to ease into the waves of change or take the plunge with one big jump. The effort to cultivate balance in all areas of life requires deliberate care of our mental, emotional and physical well-being. 

Below you will find my six top practices that keep me balanced while in transition. Additionally, you can join me this Wednesday, as I’ll be a guest speaker in a FREE summit called the Baby Project: How Entrepreneurial Women Create Emotionally Happy, Healthy Families. Here is the link:

In celebration of Labor Day, I invite yoga teachers and new moms to SAVE 15% on my upcoming Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training. This discount is only available TODAY Monday, September 2nd. Register online with the code: DIGLABOR15 or call the studio (609)460-4222 to reserve your spot.

SIX Practices to Cultivate Balance During Transitional Times:

1. Stay Present: Take steps toward uncovering what creates stress during moments of change for you. Contemplate what strategies work best for you to slow down and make the best choices in the present moment.  

2. Develop a Meditation Practice: Give your mind and body quality time to be in harmony together. Invest quality time in this self-care practice that can create lasting differences in your life. 

3. Mindful Pauses: Throughout your day, remember to take small pauses from your smart phone, laptop, apps and programs. Try one-minute practices to become aware of your breath, thoughts, feelings and senses. By giving yourself permission to be away from screens, you can create optimal, healthy brain function.  

4. Walk in Nature: Take a break to get outside and immerse yourself in the beauty of the fall season. The seemingly effortless changes in our landscape can be a subtle reminder to take life's changes in stride. 

5. New Routines: In times of change, sticking to old regimens can make us feel stagnant. Create new, healthy habits that establish a balanced heart, mind and body--try a new class, allot time to indulge in your favorite hobby, cook a well-balanced healthy meal, etc. Nourishing your whole self will reveal new possibilities while navigating moments of great change. 

6. Set Boundaries: Limit activities, interactions and work that leaves you depleted. Creating space in this way aids in the evaluation of your relationships and commitments, so that you can clearly decide which aspects you would like to invite into your life. 

Balanced Muscular Action of the Feet and Lower Leg by Ken Blank

Whenever our feet are in contact with the ground they become part or all of our foundation. As in any structure, our personal foundation must be strong and properly formed. The muscular actions of the feet affect the alignment of the lower leg. The muscular actions of the lower legs affect the knees above and the feet below.

Muscular imbalances in the foot or lower leg can be the cause of plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammer toe, fallen arches, or knee pain. Balancing the muscular actions of the foot, leg, and thigh (see the fourth blog, “Balanced Muscular Action of the Thigh”) can prevent and in many cases reverse these problems. 

Muscles that have their insertion and origin in the foot are known as intrinsic; muscles that have their insertion in the foot and origin in the lower leg are called extrinsic. (See the third blog, “An Alignment Principle to Balance Muscular Action”, for a discussion of origin and insertion.) To balance the muscular actions of the feet, stand with your feet straight with weight evenly distributed on the four corners of your feet. The four corners are the mound at the base of the big toe, the inner heel, the mound at the base of the little toe, and the outer heel. Lift and spread your toes while keeping the four corners anchored down. This action concentrically engages the toe extensors (intrinsic muscles on the top of the feet) and eccentrically lengthens the toe flexors (intrinsic muscles on the bottom of the feet.) Toe extensors are phasic muscles and toe flexors are postural muscles. (See the second blog, “Postural and Phasic Muscles”, for a discussion of phasic and postural muscles.)

Balancing the muscular actions of the lower leg is a little more difficult because it requires the concentric engagement to go from origin to insertion (the body naturally contracts from insertion to origin) and then eccentric lengthening from insertion to origin (the body naturally lengthens from origin to insertion). Reversing these natural actions prevents hyper extension of the knee. 

To balance the muscular actions of the lower leg, concentrically engage the muscles on the lateral (outer) side (fibularis longus and fibularis brevis) from the top of the lower leg to the ankle. Then, eccentrically lengthen the muscles on the back of the lower leg (gastrocnemius, soleus, tibialis posterior, and flexor digitorum longus) from the achilles tendon to the knee. The muscles on the front and lateral side of the lower leg are phasic, and the muscles on the back of the lower leg are postural. The muscles on the front of the lower leg (tibialis anterior and extensor digitorum longus) are difficult to isolate. Concentrically engaging only the lateral lower leg muscles will suffice to balance the muscular action. 

These balancing muscular actions of the foot and leg will set the foundation to align the rest of the body and bring more strength, flexibility, and ease to your yoga practice.

Stay Tuned! Next blog: Arms and Hands

Balanced Muscular Action of the Shoulders by Ken Blank

Unlike the hip joint, where the head of the femur (thigh bone) fits snugly into the hip socket (acetabulum), the humerus (upper arm bone) has a relatively loose fit into the shoulder joint. Although this loose fit gives a wide, varied range of motion, the shoulder joint is susceptible to injury. Balancing the action of the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint can help prevent or heal conditions such as rotator cuff tears, osteoarthritis, shoulder impingement, and shoulder tendonitis. 

The basic principle to balance the muscular action of any area of the body is to concentrically engage a phasic muscle and then eccentrically lengthen an opposing postural muscle. (For a discussion of concentric and eccentric engagements see blog #3; for a discussion of phasic and postural muscles see blog #2.)

Applying the "Balanced Muscular Action Principle" to the shoulders requires three groups of muscles, thus three sets of instructions:

Instruction #1-    Concentrically engage the muscles between the shoulder blades (rhomboids), then eccentrically lengthen the chest muscles (pectoral major). These actions broaden the front of the chest, as they retract the head of the arm bone (humerus).

Instruction #2-    Concentrically engage the large back muscle (trapezius) from the top of the shoulder blades (scapula) to the bottom of the posterior rib cage at T12, then eccentrically lengthen the pectoral minor (top of the chest) from the third rib to the coracoid process at the front top of the scapula. These actions take the shoulder blades down the back and open the top of the chest.

Instruction #3-  Concentrically engage the posterior deltoid and the posterior rotator cuff muscles (infraspinatus and teres minor), then eccentrically lengthen the lats (latissimus dorsi). The lats can be eccentrically lengthened by externally rotating the upper arm bones from the inner tricep to the inner bicep. When the lats are too strong relative to the posterior shoulder muscles, the shoulder tends to roll forward and puts the joint at risk. 

Learning to isolate these muscle groups may require time and persistence, but the benefits in prevention, healing, and alignment are worth the effort.

Stay Tuned! Next Blog: Lower Leg and Foot

Core, Pelvis, and Midsection by Ken Blank

The psoas may be the body's most essential muscle. It is the only muscle in the body that connects the legs to the upper body. The psoas is worked with core building exercises in fitness classes and brings balanced muscular action to the core, pelvis, and midsection.

There are two psoas muscles, one on each side. Each originates on the side of the spine from the 12th thoracic vertebrae to the 5th lumbar vertebrae. The psaos runs thru the pelvis, inserting on the lesser trochanter (bony ridges on the upper, inner femur).     

The psoas is a postural muscle, acting as a hip flexor, shortening when lifting the knee and lengthening when extending the hip.  A short, tight psoas can cause (1) pain in the lower back or hip and (2) the thoracic and cervical spine to pull forward and down, making a yoga practice uncomfortable and difficult.  A healthy psoas is strong and lengthened, allowing the whole body to open. 

The psoas can be visualized as having two sections, one from the lesser trochanter up to the 5th lumbar vertebrae and the other from the 12th thoracic vertebrae down to the 5th lumbar vertebrae. Because the psoas is a postural muscle it must be eccentrically lengthened. (For a discussion of concentric and eccentric contractions see blog #3, An Alignment Principle to Balance Muscular Action.)  To eccentrically lengthen the bottom portion of the psoas, concentrically engage the glutes, the muscles at the base of the pelvis, and the lower abdominals—in that order. To eccentrically lengthen the upper psoas, concentrically engage the upper abdominals and the obliques (muscles on the side of the waist), then the deeper transverse abdominis. (To feel the action of the transverse abdominis, pretend to suck on a straw.) Because the psoas naturally contracts as it lengthens (an eccentric contraction), engaging the opposing muscle groups (muscles surrounding the pelvis and waist) as described above will  balance the muscular action in the core, pelvis, and midsection.

The Quadratus Lumborum (QL) is another postural muscle. The QL inserts on the back body at the bottom of the 12th rib and originates on the top of the pelvis. It runs parallel to the upper portion of the psoas. If the QL is short and tight, it tends to pull the back of the rib cage down. 

The QL opposes the same muscles as the upper portion of the psoas. The actions taken to eccentrically lengthen the psoas will also eccentrically lengthen the QL.  Therefore, if the pelvic muscles and the muscles surrounding the waist are concentrically engaged, the psoas and quadratus lumborum will eccentrically lengthen.  These engagements can be applied to any yoga pose to balance the muscular action of the core, pelvis, and midsection.


Stay Tuned! Next Blog: Shoulders

Balanced Muscular Action of the Thigh by Ken Blank

The thigh, located between the hip (pelvis) and the knee, contains a single bone, the femur, the largest bone in the body. The femur articulates (forms a joint) with the tibia (main lower leg bone), the fibula (supporting lower leg bone), and the patella (knee cap) to form a hinge joint.  The head of the femur articulates with the pelvis to form a ball and socket joint.

The main muscle groups of the thigh are adductors (inner thigh), quadriceps (front of thigh), and hamstrings (back of thigh). The muscles of the thigh can have their origin and insertion on the femur, their origin on the femur and their insertion on the tibia or fibula, or their origin on the pelvis and their insertion on the femur. (For a definition of origin and insertion see blog #3.) Thus, the action of the thigh muscles affect the pelvis above and the knee or lower leg bones below. 

All of the adductors (five muscles on the inner thigh) are phasic and all of the hamstrings (three muscles on the back of the thigh) are postural. The quadiceps (four muscles on the front of the thigh) are composed of three phasic and one postural muscle. For a discussion of phasic and postural muscles see blog #2.  

To bring balanced muscular action to the thigh it is necessary to isolate the engagements of the adductors, quadriceps, and hamstrings.

Example #1, Isolating the Adductors: Standing with your feet parallel and hip width apart, isometrically draw your feet towards one another. 

Example #2, Isolating the Hamstrings: Continuing from example #1, engage the hamstrings and lengthen from the sit bone to the top of the lower leg bones.

Example #3, Isolating a Quadricep: Other than the vastus medialis (just above the knee on the inner thigh,) it is difficult to isolate the actions of the other three quadriceps because one is postural and the others phasic. To engage the vastus medialis, slightly bend your knees.  

To balance the muscular action of any area of the body, concentrically engage a phasic muscle and then eccentrically lengthen an opposing postural muscle.  For the thigh, concentrically engage both the vastus medialis (just above the knee on the inner thigh) and the adductors (inner thigh) and then eccentrically lengthen the hamstrings. As an added benefit, engaging the vastus medialis stabilizes the patella (knee cap.)     

To balance the muscular action of the thigh while doing a forward bend (Uttanasana):

1. Stand with feet parallel and hip width apart.

2. Slightly bend the knees to make it easier to isolate the vastus medialis.

3. Engage the vastus medialis. 

4. Concentrically engage the adductors from just above the knee to the top of the thigh (from insertion to origin)

5. Straighten your knees and eccentrically lengthen the hamstrings from the sit bones to the top of the lower leg bones (origin to insertion).

6. Maintaining these actions and keeping the upper body anatomically neutral, fold forward from the ball and socket joint at the hip. As you fold forward continue to engage the adductors concentrically and to lengthen the hamstrings eccentrically.

These thigh actions can be applied to any yoga pose. At first, putting your mind in the muscle may be all that is accomplished. Over time the body will learn to isolate these actions and balance the strength and flexibility of the thigh muscles.  As the body becomes more balanced, ligaments and tendons will also become stronger and more supple.


Stay Tuned! Next Blog: Pelvis, Midsection and Core

An Alignment Principle to Balance Muscular Action with Ken Blank

Blog #1("Balanced Muscular Action") discussed how the action of a postural muscle against its unbalanced opposing phasic muscle can cause such problems as postural dysfunction, reduced range of motion, and joint pain. Blog #2("Postural and Phasic Muscles") addressed how certain muscles tend to be tight and strong(postural) while others tend to be loose and weak(phasic.)  This blog will introduce a principle to align each section of the body to prevent or to reverse problems caused by muscle imbalance.

Each muscle is anchored in two places, its origin and its insertion. The origin is the part of the muscle closest to the center of the body.  The insertion is the part of the muscle farthest away from the center of the body. As an example the part of the bicep closest to the elbow is the insertion and the part of the bicep closest to the shoulder is the origin.  A muscle contracts moving from insertion to origin. It lengthens moving from origin to insertion.

There are two types of muscle engagements, concentric and eccentric. A concentric contraction strengthens a muscle from insertion to origin. An eccentric engagement strengthens a muscle from origin to insertion.  An example of of a concentric contraction is bending the elbow to contract the bicep by  muscular engagement. Maintaining that muscular engagement as the elbow is straightened is an eccentric lengthening. When the elbow is bent the bicep engages from insertion to origin. When the elbow is straightened the bicep lengthens from origin to insertion. 

The Alignment Principle: Concentrically engage a phasic muscle. Then eccentrically lengthen an opposing postural muscle.  

Example: The tricep opposes the bicep. The tricep tends to be a phasic muscle and the bicep tends to be a postural muscle. With the arm straight, concentrically engage the tricep from insertion(elbow) to origin(shoulder.) Then eccentrically(maintaining engagement) lengthen the bicep from origin(shoulder) to insertion(elbow.)  

If this principle is applied section by section, the entire body can be aligned. Alignment can prevent or reverse joint problems in the knee, hip, shoulder, foot, low back, upper back, elbow, or neck. 

Stay Tuned! Next blog: The thigh, hamstrings, quads, and adductors

postural & phasic muscles with ken blank

Muscles are either postural or phasic. Postural muscles are mainly slow-twitch. Tight and short, they maintain our posture and support our endurance.  Phasic Muscles are mostly fast-twitch. They support movement and fine motor skills but tire and stretch more easily than postural muscles.

Postural and phasic muscles work together in pairs. Typically, the (agonist) postural muscle tightens while the opposing (antagonist) phasic muscle stretches.  

Four Examples of Postural Muscles and Opposing Phasic Muscles

Postural:  Pectoral Major (Chest), Psoas(Core Muscle), Bicep, Hamstrings(Back of Thigh)

Phasic:  Rhomboids(Back between Shoulder Blades), Abdominal Muscles, Tricep, Quadriceps(Front of Thigh

Have you ever noticed someone working their pectorals on a bench press machine but not exercising their rhomboids?  If the pectorals are too strong relative to the rhomboids, one or both shoulders may pull forward and risk injury to the shoulder joint. Do you know people who strengthen their core but don't work their abdominals? This imbalanced exercise risks injury to the lower back because short, tight psoas can flatten the lower back and cause a sacral misalignment. (The sacrum is a triangular bone just below the bottom vertebrae.)    

Building too much relative strength in certain muscles by emphasizing or neglecting one element of a pair can lead to muscular skeletal imbalance or joint instability.  

Our muscles do not act in isolation. If one is out of balance (misaligned) another will react to keep the body in balance. The body's reaction to misalignment can involve multiple muscles with eventual difficulties such as knee pain, shoulder pain, poor posture, scoliosis, and bunions. Prevention and treatment may be as simple as a yoga practice with a teacher knowledgeable in alignment. Particularly, as we age, a consistent balanced yoga practice becomes vitally important to maintain good health. 

Next Blog Focus:  Alignment Principle that Promotes Balanced Action



Balanced Muscular Action with Ken Blank

Introduction to Postural Yoga

As your yoga practice becomes more nuanced, you may begin to notice certain dominant patterns or “natural tendencies” such as feet turning in or out slightly, shoulders rolling in or sagging, or knee caps not facing forward.  If not corrected, these postural dysfunctions can become more pronounced as we age and can limit our range of motion, possibly to the point of needing surgery such as knee replacement, hip replacement, or rotator cuff repair.

The questions become What causes these misalignments? and How do we fix them?

The Cause:  

Research by Dr. Vladmir Janda in the 1970s showed that the problem is muscle imbalance.  Each muscle has an opposing muscle. If one is too strong relative to the other, a joint can be pulled out of alignment and an injury may result.  One of the first yoga principles taught to me was balanced action. The muscular actions of the body should be balanced front to back, side to side, and top to bottom.  In other words, the agonist (muscle that takes an action) should be balanced against its antagonist (muscle that opposes that action).  As an example, the bicep opposes the tricep.  If the bicep is too strong relative to the tricep, it may be difficult to straighten the elbow. If the tricep is too strong relative to the bicep, the elbow may extend too far. 

The Fix:  

Dr. Janda's research found that certain muscles in the body tended to be tight and strong (Postural Muscles) while  others tend to be weak (Phasic Muscles). Over time the postural muscles will overpower the opposing phasic muscles and cause potential  joint problems. A yoga practice that encourages balanced muscular action is good for both prevention and cure of these issues. 


About Ken:  

Ken has been teaching yoga since 2003. He evolved into his yoga practice after teaching karate for 16 years, earning a 4th degree Black Belt. He has learned through his varied experience that yoga is the source of many other physical, intellectual and spiritual disciplines. Ken has the ability to clearly and simply explain complex information in an understandable format. Helping students connect with the bigger energy to feel the flow of Prana, Chi or Ki has always been his primary focus. 

Be sure to look for Ken's next blog: 

1.  Identifying Postural and Phasic muscles

2.  The basic Postural Yoga alignment Principle


Love Letters from Liz Fullen!

Dear DIG Community,

I have just realized that my two-year DIG anniversary was last week. What better way to celebrate than writing a love letter to my shining community? The last two years have been up and down for me, but you have always been there to support me and I hold so much gratitude for you all.

Thank you. Thank you for continuously showing up. Thank you for your kind words, and the flowers from your gardens, and the jokes you’ve told that have given me that deep belly laugh (the kind that feels medicinal, leaving you feeling lighter afterwards). Thank you for sharing your hearts, your honesty, and your handstands. Thank you for allowing me to show up exactly as I am. Thank you for giving me the safest space to cultivate my voice as a teacher. Thank you for playing with me, and not taking yourselves too seriously in my yoga classes. 

Each and every one of you has brightened my day at one time or another. I am in constant awe of the love and support that is cultivated in and out of the studio. Whether you have been in my classes or we have just had pleasant conversation while I was working at the front desk, I love and appreciate you all. 

The past couple months have held incredible change and transformation for me. Namely, I moved from Lambertville to Philadelphia. Not to worry. You can catch me at the studio on Tuesday nights for my back-to-back Restoratives / Basics combo. Monthly workshops are for sure on the horizon as well!

I walked into DIG two years ago a scared, unsure baby yoga teacher. Today, I am grounded, confident and connected to my true purpose as a yoga teacher. YOU helped make that possible just by showing up. Thank you forever. See you on Tuesday.


Peace, love, and bouncy downdogs, 


mindfulness is the new black by valerie driscoll

MIndfulness is a brain-training practice of sorts that is simple, secular, and science. It teaches us to recognize when our mind has wandered and to return our attention to the present moment, which when you think about it, is the only moment in which we can effect change in our lives. Most importantly, it shows us how to do this with curiosity and self-compassion rather than judgement and criticism. It is the new black with good reason: the development of sophisticated brain-imaging technology over the last 15 years has allowed researchers to study brain function in spectacular detail. This research has lead to hundreds of studies showing mindfulness provides some level of relief from conditions as varied as the following:

  • elevated blood pressure
  • chronic pain
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • chemotherapy side effects
  • anger management
  • behavioral issues
  • addiction

Mindfulness teaches how to stay both with experiences that are pleasant or not so pleasant; by doing so we learn to come to an easier relationship with whatever comes our way. The practice helps to give us the choice of how and who we want to be at any moment in our lives. Living in this place of choice is true freedom. 

As a coach who specializes in habit change around eating and clutter, I successfully use mindfulness as a tool to help clients realize how often autopilot mode causes a knee-jerk reaction (chocolate-chip cookies) to a trigger (stress), and how choosing mindfully(an apple) keeps them more in line with a desired goal (healthful eating). It is anti-willpower, or perhaps a new definition of it.

Mindfulness is an easy, practical and inexpensive way to work with brains that are often glitchy and overtaxed. Personally, it has allowed me the space to examine, with more wonder and less bludgeon, the workings of my difficult brain. By doing this, she and I have developed a more productive, compassionate, and easier friendship.

Join Valerie for a workshop on bringing Mindfulness practices into your daily life to foster a healthy lifestyle. Saturday, March 18 from 12:30-4:30 at dig yoga. Register here:

If interested in learning more about Mindfulness, visit: 


Yogify Your Holiday Season

The Holidays are in full swing. You made it through Thanksgiving,

and depending on if you were in charge of the feast maybe even enjoyed

yourself? :) But we still have Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New

Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and Bodhi Day (did you know that January

5th celebrates the day the Buddha reached enlightenment?) to survive,

and even for people with few familial obligations the Holidays can be

stressful at times. Who wouldn't want the gift of less stress for

Christmas? Let's explore how our yoga practice can help ground us and

reduce stress over the holidays.

Our expectations for the holidays start when we were young children

ourselves. We learned about family traditions and celebrations and

perhaps saw adults running around frantically at times or having to

bake loads of cookies or even fruitcake?! We consumed holidays movies

and commercials selling high expectations for holiday miracles. Life

doesn't always look like the movies, and that can stand out poignantly

at Christmas for some. What is your internal state like over the



Take some time to think about some beliefs about these holidays you

may have brought from your childhood with you into adulthood. Are

there any hurtful experiences from your past you are holding on to and

may be able to let go of? How do you let childhood shape the way you

and your family celebrates, either negatively or positively. Take an

assessment of your background, practicing non-judgement, and breathing

compassion and healing into spaces that need it. Come to the present

and look at what lies ahead, what are you excited about, what is most

important to you this holiday season?


Sometimes when there are so many parties to go to, gift expectations,

plays, and ornament or cookie exchanges, we start to get distracted by

obligations and consumerism, but isn't what's the most important goal

for many to just enjoy spending quality time with loved ones? Let's

step back and take charge of our wellbeing during the holidays with

these and other stress-reduction strategies.


5 Tips to Refocus and Reenergize Yourself During the Holidays

Practice your breathing. Department store lines getting under your

skin? Tense political conversations arise with in-laws? Take a few

deep, grounding breaths. This is something you can do anywhere in the

moment, or, if you can slip away for a minute, close your eyes and

root yourself in mountain pose, imagine your connection to the earth,

grounding you and making any present moment more palatable.


Visualize a peaceful holiday. As in the exercise above, ask yourself


what your priorities are this holiday? What key words do you want to

espouse- love, joy, compassion? Keep these in mind as you visualize

peace for you and your loved ones. Maybe that means you will have to

graciously decline a party or offer up that your adult siblings just

donate to charities instead of trying to find gifts for people that

are hard to shop for.


Allow yourself to come first. “What!? That sounds selfish!” Think of

it more like they recommend on a plane- put your oxygen mask on before

you help others. Make the necessary choices for yourself so you don't

get burnt out or sick and unable to do much of anything! As a child

you may not have had the authority to choose how much holiday folly to

subject yourself to. You are an adult now and can choose new ways to

celebrate or how much you want to commit to. Maybe this means letting

go of a time-consuming tradition that just doesn't ring true to you



Be forgiving. This goes for yourself and others. We all make mistakes!

Just because you can't afford (or don't want to pay an arm and a leg)

to get your child a Hatchimal (the latest toy craze), doesn't mean

their Christmas will be completely ruined. If we are all compassionate

and understand if someone can't make an event then everyone will have

less pressure to squeeze in all these events!


Make time for self-care. Come up with a list of four or five things

you can do when you are starting to get overwhelmed, and make a point

to do one or two a week. These could be taking a bath with oils and

epsom salts, getting therapy or a massage, or, of course- coming to

Dig Yoga to continue a regular practice that will keep your blood

pressure down and give you some much-needed endorphins.


Whatever it takes to get you to not only survive, but to thrive this

holiday season, do take the time to grant yourself your own wishes.

Carving out time for self-care and wellbeing will allow you to do more

and be more present to truly savor these important moments. Whether

you're sticking with old traditions or making some new ones, remember

to breathe and to be here now.


About the author: Amanda Childs is a recent yoga addict, thanks to Dig

Studios, and a teacher and writer. While living in California from

2013-2016, she and her now-fiance spent every Christmas just the two

of them (very different from big family get-togethers in the midwest

or east coast they usually had), starting new traditions together like

hiking by the ocean! Now again living back on the east coast, they

look forward to holidays with friends and family, and also intend to

use some of these tips over the next month!!!

Six Ways to Renew Your JOY Everyday:

Close your eyes: This boosts your brain power! It also helps you soften tension and relax into your Self. Check in, listen, pay attention to all of it ---even distractions. Notice what's been affecting your inner state. 

Connect to a deeper breath: Let your inhalation create an inner widening, like a smile. Feel your breath expand your diaphragm, filling your entire torso. Breathing does wonders!

Go outside: Nature has a way of calling us back home into our hearts. Spend quality time away from technology, shut off the phone periodically or at least don't be actively on it. 

Keep Good Company: Be with those that uplift you, inspire you, and love you. Re-frame challenging relationships so they teach you more about who you want to be. 

Make time to play and smile: Allow your creative side to come out every day, even if it's just while you're cooking or hanging with your friends & family. 

Affirm your life: Say Thank You for all you already have. Continue to look for the gifts that are sent to you every day and savor the moments that put a smile on your face!

And One for Good Luck...

While we're not particularly superstitious, we do believe in the tradition of adding an extra candle on the birthday cake for the year to come. Since we didn't have a cake (yet!) we decided to share a little something extra sweet for good luck! A lucky number 7, if you will. ; D 

Kim's Matcha Shake:

1 cup Vanilla coconut ice cream
1/2 cup raw coconut water or more for consistency
2 Tbsp Matcha or Sweet Matcha tea powder (I use Rishi brand Matcha)
Optional: 1 packet stevia or your sweetener of choice

Place all ingredients into the blender. Blend until smooth. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Sit back with your favorite book and enjoy!

6 Asanas to Wake you Up!

Last,  but certainly not least, 6 poses in 6 minutes to jump start your day! Finding 6 minutes to practice can be hard, we know! But the next time you find yourself with 6 minutes to spare, give these a try.

6 poses in 6 minutes to jump start your morning:

Down dog- 1 minute

Plank (hands or forearms)  1 minute

Cobra lifts- 1 minute

Lunge jumps (hands on floor or on hips)  - 1 minute

Utkatasana (pulse up and down)- 1 minute

Uttanasana - 1 minute

6 healthy Recipes for Summertime!

In celebration of our 6th year anniversary, we are sharing 6 of our favorite things with you both online and in the studio! Below some of the Dig Family has sent in their summertime favorites: 

Kim's Green Juice:
1 head lettuce
I cucumber
1-2 green apples
4-6 celery stalks
1/2 bunch parsley
1" fresh ginger
1 lemon

Julie's Smoothies:
 Chocolate Cherry Banana Raw Vegan Green Smoothie for Energy
Ingredients:  1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 2 cups fresh spinach, 1 heaping tablespoon cacao powder, 1 cup frozen cherries, 1 frozen banana, 1 tablespoon almond butter

Instructions:  Place almond milk, spinach, and cacao powder in a high-speed blender.  Blend up until liquid.  Add frozen cherries.  Blend again.  Add frozen banana and almond butter.  Blend again.  Serve.  Makes one large Mason jar size.

Kale Pineapple Lime Mint Raw Vegan Green Smoothie for Detoxing
Ingredients:  1 cup unsweetened coconut water, 2 cups fresh kale (remove stems), 2 tablespoons fresh mint, 2 slices lime, 1 tablespoon chia seeds soaked in water 5 minutes, 2 cups frozen pineapple

Instructions:  Place coconut water, kale, and mint in a high-speed blender.  Blend up until liquid.  Add lime, chia seeds in water.  Blend again.  Add frozen pineapple and blend again.  Serve.  Makes on large Mason jar size.

*Notes for Success:  Get a high-speed blender.  If you don't have a high-speed blend, blend up ingredients in layers.  Try to purchase organic if possible at local farmers markets and produce stands.  Spinach is milder than kale.  If you like thick smoothies, add 1/4 avocado to any recipe.  Adding frozen fruit as opposed to ice cubes keeps things cold, fruity and sweet without watering things down.  Adding ingredients such as hemp seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds ups the Omega 3 fatty acids.  Adding protein powders will up the calories so beware.  If things turn out too "green" - add in a teaspoon of vanilla extract (non-alcohol).

Salad with Melon, Blackberries, and Feta Cheese:

1/3 Melon
 1 cup of blackberries
Feta or Cottage Cheese
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Optional Honey Ginger Dressing:
2 tbsp Honey
2 tsp Grated ginger
1 tsp lime or lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach, goat cheese and (optional) bacon.

1 medium spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
6 slices bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces (optional!)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 5-ounce bag baby spinach
2 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2 . Cut about half an inch off of the top and bottom of the spaghetti squash, and discard those pieces. Cut the squash crosswise into rings about 1-inch thick, and run your knife around the inside of the rings to cut the seeds out. Drizzle the olive oil over the baking sheet, then spread the squash rings over it, moving them around a little so that the undersides are evenly coated with a little bit of oil. Season with salt and pepper, then flip the rings over and season again.

3. Roast in the preheated oven until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. When the squash is done, set it aside on the counter while you cook the bacon and spinach. It’ll be easier to handle if you let it cool for 10 minutes before taking it apart.

4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add the bacon slices. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, just until the very edges of the bacon start to brown slightly, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook until the bacon is crispy and the fat has rendered out, about 5 more minutes.

5. When the bacon is done, turn the heat up to medium and add the red wine vinegar while stirring and scraping the bottom of the skillet. This will deglaze your pan, so that all of the caramelized bits of bacon end up in your food and not stuck to the bottom of your pan. After about 20 seconds, turn the heat back down to low and add the maple syrup. Stir everything together just to combine, then add the spinach, one handful at a time, stirring after every addition so that the spinach wilts and there’s room in your skillet for more. When all of the spinach is wilted, turn the burner off under the skillet and let everything sit in there while you finish the squash.

6. Peel the skin away from the squash, then use a fork or your hands to pull the strands apart, adding them to the skillet as you go. When all of the squash is in the skillet, add the goat cheese and toss everything together just to combine.

7. Divide between two plates and serve immediately.

Lemony Quinoa and Avocado Salad

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
pinch of salt
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1 avocado, diced

In a medium saucepan heat the quinoa and water until boiling. Reduce heat to low/medium and simmer until the quinoa has absorbed the water fluffs up, about 15 minutes. Drain any extra water and set aside to cool.

Make the dressing while the quinoa is cooking.

Toss the cooked quinoa, cilantro, red onion, bell pepper, and half of the dressing. Add more dressing to taste. Toss the avocado in last.

Tahini Dressing
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp minced garlic (about 1 clove)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt

Whisk together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil. Add the hot water to thin it out a bit and then the salt.

Set aside until the salad is ready to be tossed.

6 Inspirational Quotes from Our Favorite Yogis.

In celebration of our six years in the community, we want to share with you six of our favorite quotes, that help us when we need a little something extra!

" Your heart knows the way, run in that direction."

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."
~ Maya Angelou

"Yoga is not about touching your toes, it is what you learn on the way down."
~ Jigar Gor

" When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive- to breath, to think, to enjoy, to love."
~ Marcus Aurelius

"What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine you create."
~ Buddha

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to ones courage."
~ Anais Nin

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray."


6 Essential Oils for Summer!

As you all know, we are big on using oils to give us little boosts and help us with certain things throughout the day! Here are some of our favorites for summertime: 

Lemon- air disinfectant, insect bites and swelling, hair highlights (do not put in skin and go in sun!).

Ylang Ylang- aphrodisiac, soothes insect bites, a tonic for the nervous system.

Peppermint- good for nausea, cools body during hot days, refreshing, reduces inflammation.

Clary sage- balancing, inspiring, revitalizing, treats infections and reduces swollen tissue.

Lavender- helps wounds, burns, insect bites, skin issues, motion sickness, muscle pain, rheumatic conditions, stress, insomnia.

Chamomile- good for stings, bites, coughs, migraine, cramps, sunburn, anger, insomnia, stomach ache.

Aging Gracefully with Ayurveda and Yoga

“Old age is not a disease, it is a triumph” —Maggie Kuhn

We all age, that is a fact of LIFE. But, aging with grace and in alignment with your unique constitution, that is the true teachings of Ayurveda. Consider Ayurveda the sister science to Yoga, both emerging over 5,000 years ago in India. Ayurvedic medicine has been supporting individuals needs to ensure that the mind stays alert and clear and the body in optimal health and balance. With both Yoga and Ayurveda we find effective paths to cope with stress; from asana, pranayama and meditation to lifestyle shifts, wholesome diet and working with herbs. 

Aging is not about loss, it’s about taking the moment to seize opportunity and make your dreams come true. Successful aging means reaching forward (not back) and moving into an expanded and interesting future. With every breath, another moment passes, choices for that future emerge, and another opportunity for a new you presents itself. Through Ayurveda and Yoga we learn to observe ourselves with more clarity and less judgement and develop the courage to open to change. 

For thousands of years, Ayurveda has been teaching about the impact of stress on the body and mind and offering simple guidelines to identify the root causes that keep us engaged in unhelpful habits, such as; inadequate sleep and unhealthy diet. Ayurveda offers practical lifestyle tips, addressing everyday bodily concerns. And yoga addresses the spiritual faith practice that undermines our desire to know the true nature of the invisible force that lies at the core of our being. 

Jeanne-Marie Derrick C.A.S.


Jeanne-Marie is a veteran of Iyengar Yoga, have been practicing and teaching for 35 year. She holds certifications in Iyengar Yoga and Yoga for Scoliosis. She is also a practicing Clinical Ayurveda Specalist and sees clients in Bucks County area, Philadelphia and New York City. 

Come join Sue Elkind and Jeanne-Marie Derrick on Saturday, May 7th from 1:00-4:00 PM to learn the basic principles of Ayurveda in relationship to aging. How the latest scientific findings are supporting the age old teachings of Ayurveda and Yoga.

An Invitation to Restorative Yoga by Jeanne-Marie Derrick

An Invitation to Restorative Yoga by Jeanne-Marie Derrick

A renowned yoga teacher once observed that restorative yoga is like your own internal savings account. You are investing in your self when you practice the slow, calm postures of restorative yoga. Prana, the cosmic intelligence that maintains our lifestream, is stored or invested into our cells while resting in poses designed to allow stress to seep out.

In our hyperactive culture we tend to overlook the importance of slowing down, resting and utilizing simple breathing and inner awareness. If we only spend our energy and never invest in our cellular bank, we may someday wake up to realize that we are broke. That fatigue runs so deep in our nervous system that our ability to root and stand tall is lost.

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