You Are Cordially Invited to Change Your Life

Notes and News: One Yoga Center, Foster RI

Standing in Truth…

The image to the right was taken at the “hands across the sand” event in Narragansett Pier on Saturday June 26, 2010. Although attendance at the event was smaller then I anticipated, I was very happy to be there.

It is easy to take a stand in the face of  human suffering as we did when the forces of nature hit Haiti. But it is harder when the suffering and the masses of those who are suffering have no voice. The oil spill in the gulf is so much more then a set back to tourism, restricted access to beaches, a punch to the fishing industry.  This crisis is an ecological disaster that has the potential to wipe out species of creatures, coral reefs, and significantly impact the infrastructure of the planet and the way we live

There are 5 species of sea turtles that live in the gulf, one of which only nests there and no where else in the world. Two others are on the endangered or threatened species lists.  The whales found in the area are believed to be at risk due to the way they eat. They are at risk of ingesting large amounts of oil.  Concerns for the 9 species of dolphins living in the area include the risk of eating contaminated fish or starvation due to lack of fish. And, we have all seen the sad images of oil laden birds.  Can you imagine being them and experiencing the hopelessness that they feel as they are held captive in a slick coat of death? It is their homes, the marshlands, barrier reefs and beaches that we see, in the media, being impacted by the spill.

What we don’t see is what is happening beneath the surface of the ocean, to the coral reefs and deep sea inhabitants. Coral reefs are living organisms and they are home to many species of fish and sea animals. These reefs will be suffocated as microbes deep in the sea continue to eat the plumes of oil and deplete the oxygen needed by the coral. As the coral die off so will the beautiful spectrum of creatures dependent on it. The reverberation to the entire food chain is unthinkable but we must think about it, we must talk about it and we must take action.

It is one thing to cry over spilled milk and another to to take steps to assure that it never happens again. This is where we can really make a difference.  A bit of simple activism can make a big impact especially if you encourage others to join you. Let your local representatives know that this event has proven that off shore drilling is not safe and should not be supported. Learn about alternative energy options and support policy that encourages research into and the use of safe, clean energy sources. Participate in or hold organized gatherings to share and learn how you can help at the local, national and global level.  Be mindful of what you buy, avoid petroleum based products, drive only when necessary, consider a hybrid the next time you purchase a car.  The greatest activism is to live as an example of what you believe is right. In the words of Mohandas Gandhi – “be the change you wish to see in the world!”

Ramblings, November 9, 2010

The leaves have fallen, the geese are gathering and there is a cold chill in the air. Winter is arriving in New England and once again the season calls on me to slow down and spend sometime inside.

I have always experienced winter as a time of incubation. Not only do I find myself reigniting my interest in indoor activities, like  cooking, sprouting and beading, I also find myself drawn more deeply into my Yoga and meditation practice.  Essentially I am increasingly drawn inside my “self’ during these long winter days.

With the support of my teacher, students, friends and sangha (community) I continue to discover that introspection is not about hunkering in and trying to figure ‘things” out, but a process of letting go and allowing everything to simply be as it is. It is a surrendering of my fight with reality.  My desire to have things be something other then the way they are. It is an acceptance of life on life terms. A releasing of resistance to what is.

It is quite freeing, this process of acceptance. After all things are “as they are” aren’t they? When I relax into this truth, this process, I begin to really feel the perfection of it all. Nothing and no one needs to be other then the way they are. It is sense of grace, a beautiful thing!!!

Celebrating the Change of Seasons

Autumn 2014

Celebrating the Change of Seasons

As the evenings cool and the smell of wild grapes delight my senses, I experience a low hum of resistence and a feeling of exhilaration emerging at once.

I love the long full days of summer. Sunny walks on the beach, paddles on the water, veggies on the grill. But a part of me is hungry for the slowing down and the nurturing warmth of the hearth.

I welcome the balance that the change of seasons binds me too. It is a reminder of the inevitability of change. An opportunity to demonstrate flexibility and resilience as I embrace each day exactly as it is.

Each day I practice welcoming challenges as opportunities for growth and see life’s gifts as opportunities to deepen into my gratitude for this life. Good and bad, happy and sad, birth and death, summer and winter, resistance and exhilaration…dualities that can draw me into suffering or guide me on a path to greater awareness, wholeness and freedom.

Blessings, ellen

Help Sell (maybe Rent) My Condo, and Win up to 1 Year Free Yoga

My tenant is moving out and my condo will be available as of October 1, 2017 (sale or rent).

I am wondering if someone out there knows of someone searching for the perfect place to live.  If you do, I’d like you to consider helping them (and me) by guiding them in the direction of my beautiful condominium.

Location: Central Square Condominiums in Plainfield Connecticut (click here see map)

In gratitude for your help I will give you 1 year of free Yoga classes with me at One Yoga Center in Foster, RI.  If you live more than a 30 minute commute from the studio I will pay up to $250 toward classes at another studio. All you need to do is to refer someone to me that leads to the sale of the condominium and you can roll out your mat for a year, on me. Please note that my first preference is to sell the unit. Would consider an ideal tenant.

Please continue reading for more information (pictures below).

The condominimum is a spacious, one bedroom home on the first floor. It’s located in a 50-unit, 1800’s textile mill that was converted to condominiums in 1987. The floor plan is open with wood floors, some brick walls and amazing wood and metal beams original to the building’s construction. It is located on the Moosup River in Plainfield, CT.

The space is ideal for 1 person, although a couple could be comfortably cozy in the space.

When I lived there, I hung curtains, saris,  that I bought in India, on the edge of the living room,  to divide the living room from the rest of the home.  When having overnight guests, I closed the curtains, opened a wicker chest (which was my coffee table), took out an air mattress, and within 5 minutes my living-room was transformed to a private and comfortable guest space.

All of the windows in the unit have custom made cellular, cloth shades. They open from the top down or the bottom up. I purchased these to offer myself full privacy and full light, day or night. They will remain with the unit.

The kitchen is fully applianced (dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator and stove), and all appliances are in great working order.  There is lots of cabinet space in the kitchen for food, dishes, pans, etc.

There is also a washer and dryer hook-up within the unit, in a large closet designated for this use. This laundry closet has plenty of space for storage and room to store an ironing board.

In the entry hall, there are two additional large closets. One I used as a coat closet and the other as a linen closet, as it is near the bathroom.

The  tiled bathroom has a jacuzzi bathtub, a natural slate floor and sufficient storage. The water pressure is the best I have experienced anywhere.

In the furnace room, you will find a new hot water heater, the gas burner and much more storage room. This is where I hung my bicycle, put the kitty litter box and stored anything that didn’t find a home in my other closets.

The bedroom is great. It has an enormous window surrounded by an archway of brick and a window seat. There is plenty of room for furniture. I had a king size bed, a dresser, a large bookcase and a rocking chair in there, and it still felt roomy. There is big walk in closet in this room. I kept a ceder chest in the closet for winter storage.

My heating costs were very low. The gas heat was around $70-80/month during the coldest months and I keep it WARM (I hate being cold). The central air conditioner works great and did not pose a large additional expense. The condo seems to be well-insulated and uses both the gas and air very efficiently. It was a very affordable space to live, even on a moderate income.

The grounds are park-like and I enjoyed many, many hours chatting with friends, meditating and doing practice by the river that flows behind the property.  When the river is low, it’s possible to walk the river with a walking stick and water shoes. The back yard was not a high-use area and there I was always able to find a quiet, private spot to relax.

The asking price is currently being determined and I will post as soon as I am clear. I do imagine that it is likely that a mortgage payment will be less than rent in a comparable space.   As a rental it is $925 a month (with a 1 year commitment) which includes the condo fee of $225/month. This fee covers all outside and common space maintenance including lawn/garden care, snow removal, garbage and recycling pick-up. The place is meticulously cared for. All-tolled, it’s a beautiful, safe and welcoming place to live.


Advice from a Tree – a poem to share

Dear Friend,
Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!

Ilan Shamir

Video: Stroke of Insight

This is a moving and provocative look at left and right brain functioning and how it impacts the way we perceive and interact with the world. It demonstrates our capacity to directly experience our interconnectedness with all of life. This is available to all of us, in the moment. It is not reserved for mystics and ascetics, it is our birth right.

Embracing Possibility – By Ellen Schaeffer

Where do you see yourself in five years, one year, one week, or one day? This can be a difficult question to answer, but it is imperative that you hold vision for your life. Without vision, your life shifts into idle.

When you have an idea or vision for what you want to manifest in life, the wheels are set in motion. It is as if you’ve shifted out of “park” and into fast forward. All your thinking, creativity, active and passive energy begins to consciously and unconsciously direct itself toward that which you want to create.

It is really quite simple. Without a vision nothing happens. There is nowhere to direct your thoughts or energy. Without a vision, growth and movement comes to a halt.

With vision, life becomes a course of ongoing expansion, opening doors to INFINITE POSSIBILITY.

Integrative Yoga Therapy Teacher Training Outline and Schedule

Saturday Teacher Training Session

  • 8:30-10:00 Yoga Practice
  • 10-10:15 Break
  • 10:15-12:30 Yoga History/Philosophy
  • 12:30-1:30 Lunch
  • 1:30-2:00 Yoga Nidra Practice (guided relaxation)
  • 2:00-3:30 Asana Focus (detailed study of poses)
  • 3:30-3:45 Break
  • 3:45-5:30 Methodology (didatic and experiential)
  • 5:30-6:30 Wrap up and closing

Sunday Teacher Training Session

  • 9:30-11:00 Yoga Practice
  • 11:00- 1:00 Methodology
  • 1:00-2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00-2:30 Yoga Nidra
  • 2:30-4:00 Asana Focus
  • 4:00-4:15 Break
  • 4:15-5:30 Yoga History/Philosophy
  • 5:30-6:00 Homework assignments and closing

Please note the start and end times on Saturday and Sunday. These never vary. The time given to each topic does vary, depending on what is being studied each weekend. This schedule is for the non-residential program offered through One Yoga Center and not for residential programs or other Integrative Yoga Therapy programs. Please note that students in non-residential Yoga Teacher Training will also need to participate in weekly Yoga classes outside of this schedule. there will also be reading, written home work and an internship to complete before certification.

Included in the History and Philosophy section are the following:

  • The History and evolution of Yoga as it moved from India to the West
  • The 5 koshas (levels of our being)
  • The 8 fold path including the Yamas and Niyamas (the 10 disciplines of Yoga)
  • Dual and non-dualistic philosophies of Yoga
  • Visit with a traditional Swami
  • The 5 Kleshas (the obstacles to personal growth)
  • The Chakras (energy centers)
  • Business practices and ethics

In Asana Focus we will study:

  • The details of alignment for yoga postures
  • The difference between the form and the function of the poses
  • How to adapt/modify postures for particular needs
  • Sequencing
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • The benefits of the poses
  • Contraindications
  • English and Sanskrit names
  • Somatics
  • Chair Yoga

Some of the topics covered in Methodology are:

  • Pranayama (Breathing Practices)
  • Meditation
  • Relaxation Techniques
  • Mudra (hand gestures for directing energy)
  • Class Construction -content and organization (complete exploration of each element of a class including; opening, warm-ups, posture sequence, guided relaxation and closing)
  • Teaching Techniques-finding your authentic style
  • Use of Themes and Education to create meaningful classes
  • Yoga Nidra
  • Practice Teaching (we will practice with each other)

One Yoga Center’s New Web Site!

Hi Everyone,

In January I wrote to share that I was developing a new web site and a new business name. This past week I finally launched the site at It’s a beautiful site, and I hope you find it attractive and easy to use. I would love any feedback that you are willing to offer regarding the usability of the site. I really want it to work for you and if there are changes needed I am open to suggestions.

This change does not affect the Yoga studio. One Yoga Center will remain One Yoga Center. The only change is our new location on the web and – as time unfolds – a host of new services.

I hope this message finds you well and happy.

Blessings and Namaste, Ellen

Gentle Chair Yoga for Everybody

Rejuvenation Yoga for optimal well-being – a gentle chair Yoga class

Forget about having to get up and down form the floor and enjoy all the benefits of Yoga in this gentle and effective class.

Much of the Yoga seen in contemporary media seems out of reach for the “average” body never mind for those of us with health or physical challenges. The truth of the matter however is that Yoga can be adapted in many ways so that it can be practiced by EVERYONE.  It is such a healthy, relaxing and healing practice that it is truly worth experiencing it for yourself.  In this class we will focus on healthy posture, joint mobility & stability, emotional & physical stress release, strength & flexibility – all geared toward optimal well-being.

  • Explore healthy movement from sitting and standing positions (modifications will be offered to meet individual needs)
  • Practice breathing exercises to improve respiration and support health and homeostasis in all bodily systems
  • Discover relaxation techniques to help with pain management and alleviate stress

Students will be asked to complete a healthy history form at the start of the first class.

Please note: Class is currently being held in our second floor studio.

Class are held on Tuesday mornings from 11:00-12:00