I took a yoga class with two friends and we had a great practice. Afterwards one friend said that she was surprised that she had benefited from the class as she had not expected much from that particular teacher. The other friend said just the opposite, that she had expected that the class would be great because of that particular teacher. I just complained about the weather.

When we’re attached to our expectations we can miss what is happening. My two friends and I are yoga practitioners, so we were able to experience the class and let the teacher’s offering move us. Even though we came to the mat with bias or preoccupation (and apparently left the mat that way too), for the hour we practiced we were able to let go and be with what is. Then the smokescreen of attachment came back.

Yoga is now. It is being where we are without judgment. It is easy to become attached both to negative and positive feelings, but that distracts us from experiencing the present moment. When we live in our yoga we can blow the smoke away with an exhale and clear space for the next breath in.

Most of our attachments are bigger than whether or not a yoga class will be good or not. Many of my friends are hurting right now from loss of relationships, of jobs, of health, but as hard and real as all that is, it is smoke and will also dissipate. Yoga doesn’t mean being complacent or inactive. It means letting go of what happened (it’s over and can’t be changed) and what you think is going to happen (that is a story) so that you can see clearly and get on with what is at your hand to act upon.

We’re acting with precision and extra kindness this month. So if you’re in class and think you have to use the heaviest or the lightest weights, try to let that go and meet yourself where you really are at that moment. A big exhalation can clear the smoke so you can see.

Be well!


PLEASE NOTE: I will be away for Halloween, Saturday October 31st and Sunday, November 1st. I will post subs soon at www.sparkyourwellness.com.

Practicing non attachment and being present. Moving with precision and kindness.

My group class schedule for Waterside Swim and Health Club has changed. Please click here for schedule and class descriptions.

We’ll be continuing our work on the hips, feeling the ground, staying low, and maintaining focus.

Light and medium weights are back this month after the heavy lifting of September. That doesn’t mean we take it easy-we still have work to do-rather that we find the appropriate tool for each movement.

Need some rest and relaxation? Maybe you need to work out some knots that literally have you bent out of shape. Send me an email to book your therapy: veronica@sparkyourwellness.com

Dear Students:

I love starting new things! The excitement of new knowledge, challenges, and just doing something different fills me with energy. I start running up the hill at full speed with a big smile. Then, you know, I look up the hill and decide to walk down and try something else. I know this is my tendency-to dig little holes and expect to end up with a well.

The yoga sutras instruct us to put our efforts and focus into a challenge and remain with that challenge with enthusiasm for a long period of time. In that way, change will take place.

That’s really the essence of the Wellness Reboot. The program is a three-month transformative journey to establish new lifestyle habits through a combination of body-mind training and self-care. This is for anyone who wants to commit to a wellness focused lifestyle and wants tools that help you to take charge for the long haul. Read more here or email me for more information.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions. You can also forward this message to friends. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Light and laughter,

Being ready for change. Before we can leap into something new, we prepare …

My group class schedule for Waterside Swim and Health Club has changed. Please click here for schedule and class descriptions.

In the classical Pilates practice we progress from more stable physical foundations (on our backs) to less stable (balanced on the side body, on hands and balls of the feet, and finally on our feet). Earlier movements establish the foundation for later, more challenging movements.

In the yoga practice that informs my teaching, we work through the energetic qualities of the chakras, beginning at the base energy of grounding which gives us roots to twist, lift the heart, express our selves in the postures, and eventually move into a space beyond posture into being (savasana and meditation).

We’ll be feeling the ground, staying low, and working on maintaining focus.

Need some rest and relaxation? Maybe you need to work out some knots that literally have you bent out of shape. Read about my massage offerings here and send me an email to book your therapy.

Be well!

The Wellness Reboot and Fitness Reset give you all the support you need to get moving and shake up your fitness level!

Wellness Reboot

The Wellness Reboot is a three-month transformative journey that will establish new lifestyle habits through a combination of body-mind training and self-care.

Who it’s for:

Anyone who wants to commit to a wellness focused lifestyle, needs to get their body moving, and wants to learn how to advance their level of fitness. This program is appropriate for those who have not been exercising regularly or who are exercising but need help to stay motivated and get results.

What you get:
*  Individual attention, one-on-one coaching
*  Six hour-long supervised fitness sessions (including a movement screening and assessment) so you know you’re working efficiently and safely
*  A personalized 30-minute workout program that changes as you change
*  A total of 16 half-hour phone calls (one or two per week) covering a variety of fitness and nutrition topics, goal setting and tracking, strategies for success, and troubleshooting any obstacles
*  Core intensive cardiovascular, strength, flexibility, and balance training
*  Development of new skills and interests
*  Learn ways to reduce stress
*  Heart rate monitor
*  Selected equipment to get you started and surprise goodies along the way

Begin between August 15th and September 15th. We’ll set the schedule together and make it happen.

Fitness Reset

Just need some guidance to rev up your fitness regimen? The Fitness Reset is a one-month program that will give you the customized tools and guidance you need for results.

Who it’s for:

Anyone who is already exercising regularly but needs to shake up their routine, get educated, and learn some new tricks.

What you get:
*  Individual attention, one-on-one coaching
*  Four hour-long supervised fitness sessions (including a movement screening and assessment) incorporating cardiovascular, strength, flexibility, and balance training, and skills development
*  A personalized 30-minute workout program
*  A weekly phone tutorial covering nutritional advice to fuel an active lifestyle, tips to avoid plateau, and practices to help you recover like a pro
*  Heart rate monitor
*  Selected equipment to get you started and surprise goodies along the way

Begin anytime between August 15th and October 15th. This is a customized program made to fit your schedule.

Early bird pricing applies if you sign up by September 1st! Email veronica@sparkyourwellness.com to get started.

Wellness Reboot three-month program and all materials: only $1500
Early Bird: $1250
Fitness Reset one-month program and all materials: only $650
Early Bird: $550

*Now a little bit about me…

What happened? I just got into June and here we are at the July 4th weekend! As the long days ran together into what I was initially calling “the great big time fail” something else took over: going step by step. And sometimes that means going back to step one, looking at the road ahead, surrendering to the fact that you got lost, and maybe consulting a map.

Step by step is my yoga practice, and my yoga practice is my life practice. It is my map. It guides and informs everything else. So I know that at any time that I lean or stumble, there is a path-a big wide open generous path-for me to crawl back to and begin on once again.

Step by step is how we’re taking it for the rest of the summer, making space to see what comes up.

Step by step is the theme of two exciting programs launching this fall. Both are roadmaps to better be-ing.

Wellness Reboot is a three-month transformative journey designed to help you re-commit to wellness. The Wellness Reboot will establish new lifestyle habits through a combination of body-mind training and self-care.

Yoga for Absolute Beginners is a three-week exploration focused on the physical (asana) practice. This workshop will also introduce and demystify yogic breathing, mantra, and meditation as tools of awareness.

Stay tuned for more details about these programs!

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions. You can also forward this message to friends. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Light and laughter,

REMINDER: Please inform me of upcoming travel.

Step by step movement and honoring where we are.

Class Changes: All changes are for classes at Waterside Swim and Health Club

Saturday Cardio Sculpt will be at 930am
Saturday Vinyasa Yoga will be at 1030am

REMINDER- I no longer teach Trampoline Fitness on Tuesdays at 730pm.

Let’s Jump: Jumping back and jumping forward in our Sun Salutes is so fiery. Let’s do it! Of course if you’re already too hot you are welcome to take it calmly and step back. We’re in the fire now and harnessing that, but that energy requires wisdom and discernment to be channelled productively. Let’s also steep in the seated sage poses. They require some heat, but also some surrender. Marichiasana series will appear and unfold throughout the month. Backbending will continue to be a focus-we’re warm and open enough.

I have been loving a calf massage lately. Maybe you’re walking around more (perhaps in the sand). Our legs take a beating and we often neglect them. A really simple and quick treat is a bedtime calf squeezing. Skip this or consult your doctor if you have medical conditions that cause swelling or blood clots.

Nighttime calf squeeze:
Sit comfortably in bed.
Bend your right knee.
Grasp the back of your ankle with your left thumb and index finger. You will be behind the bony area at the Achilles tendon. Gently rock your tendon back and forth while moving up and down the leg. You can only go a couple of inches before getting to the meaty part of the calf.
Go back to the ankle and place your thumb on your shin bone. Let the thumb slide off the shin bone into the groove between bone and muscle. Be firm, but not rough. Work your way up to the top of the calf, below the knee crease.
Go back to the ankle and switch hands. Place your right thumb under the Achilles and roll the flesh towards the shin bone (this is the opposite of the last movement).
Straighten the right leg and place both thumbs on the shins and fingers under the meaty part of the calf. Grab the flesh and gently pull the calf muscle in two directions.
Repeat on the left side.


I can’t believe it’s almost June! We’re climbing our way to the Solstice with lots of light and heat. How bright do you feel during these long days?

As we tip our way into summer we need to make sure that we continue to work towards balance. Have you put away your winter clothes, but continue to eat oatmeal and soup? Is the illusion of more time in the day leading to your being overextended? Maybe you find yourself overreacting or feeling irritated. Fear not friends! Read on for some helpful tips on how to keep cool and keep your energy from dissipating.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions. You can also forward this message to friends. I look forward to seeing you soon.


REMINDER: Please inform me of upcoming travel. I am working on the summer schedule and trying my best not to be too disruptive.

Rejoicing and energizing will be the themes this month. The heat is glorious for some of us (me!), while it makes others wilt. Let’s find some joy in what is, knowing that whether you like it or not, all is temporary.

We’ll be continuing our core focus throughout June, but with more upward movement. The stabilizing effect of a strong and flexible abdomen and hip allow for lift off and balance to occur.

The High and the Low: We’ll be warming up fast and moving more quickly, perhaps taking leaps and jumps as we transition from one side to the other. We will focus on active recovery throughout our standing work. Our mat work will be slower and more subtle, continuing to build the strength and flexibility of the spine and ribcage while also giving us ample time to cool down.

It seems very obvious, but be sure to drink more often during workouts. I like to have seltzer water with a squeeze of lemon juice to refresh and rehydrate. If you tend to be on the hotter side, try a few slices of cucumber or watermelon in your water for a refreshing and cooling treat.

Class Changes: After many wonderful years I am retiring from teaching Trampoline Fitness. We’ll have one last bounce on June 2nd at 730pm.

Sun Salutes: It’s true that my Sun Salutations are usually pretty funky. This month we’ll get back to basics in reverence of the Solstice. Sun salutations loosen up the spine, lengthen the musculature of the limbs and expand the lungs. However they are heating- they are your yogic warm-ups. We’ll be taking them more slowly and really amping up the breath.

Asana: I feel like jumping around in the sun, but too much energy use and we just burn out. We will take flight again this month with the return of some of your favorite arm balances. We will also make space for more backbends (camel makes a comeback!) along with cooling forward folds and seated postures.

Yogic Diet: The purpose of yoga is to unite with one’s true self. We accomplish yoga by using many different tools- physical exercise, mindful breathing, meditation, for example- that nourish us and bring us closer to wholeness and balance. Eating mindfully is a way of honoring the needs of our true nature and also honoring the cycles of nature all around us.

I am not recommending a particular diet-I am not qualified to do that. Instead I present some questions to help shine a light on the  choices we make about our nourishment. These are important year round, but perhaps it is easier to begin thinking about them during the abundant summer months.

What food and quantity of food makes you feel energized while you eat it and afterwards? You may notice that you naturally eat less and want lighter foods in the summer or that you want to eat more often.

What foods drain your energy by making you feel too hot/cold/full/or otherwise depleted? If you are agitated and cranky from the heat and humidity, a bowl of chili is not a great choice. Super spicy, oily, and damp food might not suit your needs either. Conversely, if you are usually cold you might finally feel warm enough to eat a small raw salad. Cucumber salad and watermelons are wonderfully cooling and seasonal, but if you already run cool, then they may not serve your needs.

Are you eating a variety of foods prepared in different ways? Look to the farmer’s market and find a fruit or vegetable you haven’t tried or haven’t tried in a while. Tastes change! Try something new at the weekend cook out. Or use your favorite ingredients in a new way-poach or steam, for example, to lighten it up for the summer.

Exhale Spa: There are more opportunities to book a massage with me at Exhale! You can book Fusion (a delicious Swedish massage with aromatherapy), deep tissue, Thai stretch, prenatal, and sports massage.
Sunday 3-9 at Central Park South
Monday 3-7 at Gansevoort Park Avenue
Tuesday 3-9 at Gansevoort Park Avenue
Friday 830-230 at 980 Madison Avenue

House Calls: Yes I still do at-home massage in a variety of modalities. Send me an email for more information.


Dear Students:

May flowers are here! There are young veggies and berries in the farmers market. The days are long and the light is wonderful. I hope your May is full of promise and productivity.

This is the time of year when classes are full and energy levels are high, but it is also the time of allergies and ambition-we can be so full as to be clogged up. See below for some helpful tips to stay balanced and well.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions. You can also forward this message to friends. I look forward to seeing you soon.


We are now more grounded in reliably warmer temperatures and sunny days, but the chill is still in the background.

We’ll be working on having a strong and warm core throughout the month of May. This means abdominal work, of course, but also finding stability and opening in the hips.

We’ll be working on strength and movement in the core of the body. This will include moving the ribcage and individual ribs, alignment of the torso, and mobility in the spinal column and hips.

Breath work: Maybe you’re noticing some sinus and nasal congestion. Pranayama, or yogic breath work, can help to clear passages and help steady the mind. Take a comfortable seat and give it a go.

Try breath of fire, a quick sniffing breath in and out through the nose. The inhales and exhales are of equal length. Use this breath  to build heat in the body and to rev up your energy centers. Skip this one if you’re pregnant, ill, or already hot.

Skull shining breath is a series of strong exhalations through the nose. Breathe in fully and exhale fully. Inhale halfway and begin the pumping breath. The inhalations are passive, they just happen on their own. Your abdominal wall will contract strongly on each exhale. This is a very cleansing breath (have tissues available).Try a round of 32 exhalations and then inhale fully and retain the breath. Let the breath out slowly. Skip this one if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, or are agitated.

Equal length breath is exactly what it sounds like. Begin by observing your breath as it is- is it short, long, deep, shallow, or obstructed in some way? After about 10 breathing cycles start to control the breath by inhaling for a count of four and exhaling for a count of four. Stay with this until the breath is balanced and then add a count to each exhale and inhale. Stay with it, adding counts as long as you can keep the breath even. This breath is very balancing and is appropriate for all.

A self-massage for the organs of digestion is a great spring cleaning. Your intentions should be to let go of anything left over from the heavy winter months. Your strokes should be purposeful but not painful, penetrating, but not too deep. Imagine your abdomen as a clock. Just below the southern most tip of your sternum is 12 o’clock. The bottom rib points are 3 and 9 o’clock, and the space above your pubic bone is 6 o’clock. Work clockwise massaging small circles around the perimeter of the clock. Make three passes and then repeat making larger circles that work into the navel. To finish make large sweeps of the entire clock, working into smaller and smaller circles until you are circling the navel. Be sure to drink plenty of water.


Dear Students:

I hope that the recent holidays and warm weather have given you increased energy. I know that my own mood is on the upswing! Every time I see a bud or a blossom I feel lighter and brighter.

I haven’t written in a while, so there is much to report. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions. You can also forward this message to friends. I look forward to seeing you soon.


Seasonal transitions can be rough-it can be 60 and sunny in the morning and 35 in the evening! And the WIND! It is especially important to get connected to our legs and center during external turbulence. If you look at the plant shoots coming out of the ground you realize how much courage and strength it takes to grow- actually and metaphorically. Plus, when the wind and elements shake you around you must stand firm from a strong, rooted foundation. Mentally we must also have this fortitude as we begin new projects or transition to new phases of our lives.

We’ll be working on having a strong foundation throughout the month of April and into the (hopefully) steadier month of May.

Group Classes: I am teaching two new group classes at Waterside Swim and Health.

Cardio Tone on Mondays at 730pm will get you lean and strong. We work with light weights, step platforms of various heights, and a variety of other toys (such as foam rollers to lend instability to core exercises; Pilates rings for inner and outer thigh strengthening). We cycle through intervals of high intensity and functional, active recovery.

Mat Pilates on Wednesdays at 11am focuses on increasing strength in the abdominals and hips to gain a greater control of the body while moving. Core strength is essential for posture and stability. We work from a base of classical Pilates and incorporate teachings from yoga and ballet.

Continuing Education: You may recall I traveled to Bali last year to study yoga sequencing, pranayama, and philosophy. I continued my studies this winter, earning advanced certificates in teaching inversions and arm balances, and in hands-on assists. Thank you all for your patience and for inspiring me to continue this journey. I have 100 more hours of study to complete to achieve the 500-hour certification.

One-on-One: You can book one-on-one yoga sessions as part of your personal training packages. These sessions are great for absolute beginners who want to explore the foundations of a practice as well as for advanced practitioners looking to refine their alignment or work on more complex asana.

Exhale Spa: I am excited to announce that I have accepted a position as a Massage Therapist with Exhale Spa. I am at the Upper East Side spa on Friday mornings and early afternoons, and at the Central Park South spa on Sunday afternoons and evenings.

At-Home Sessions: In addition to Swedish and deep tissue massage, I also offer the modalities listed below. Not sure which type is best for you? Please ask! Each massage session is tailored to your individual needs.

Shiatsu – energy work involving compression and stretches.
Myofascial – deep tissue work to restore movement among and between bodily structures.
Thai yoga massage – slow and gentle, but deep stretching to promote free movement.

Massage Special: Refer a friend for an in-home massage. You receive $5 off your next massage when they book.


When winter was turning to spring we suggested the practice of neighborhood walks to notice change inside and all around. The transition from summer to fall can be a bit rocky. Conscious observation can give you some grounding and appreciation of the cycle of the year and your responses.

Neighborhood Walk: Summer to Fall

Take advantage of the light that is still available and put on a few layers (rediscover your wardrobe).  Take a 10 minute walk around your neighborhood and look for the signs of transformation. Animals are behaving differently, ourselves included. Listen for the changed sounds, smell the air and notice how different it is now compared to the height of summer. See what others are doing around you and be inspired by their movement. There are new foods becoming available, while others disappear until next year. Buy apples, pears, sunchokes, sweet potatoes, and squashes of all sorts. Look at plants and the changing colors of trees.

When you get home, journal about what you noticed and about the experience. If anything came up for you emotionally, perhaps make note of that too. Repeat this process two or three times a week over the next month, until we are solidly into the deep dark. Enjoy this focused awareness of change around you.

Spicy Corn on the Cob and Black Bean Salad

This is a super quick lunch (or dinner) that I whipped up for a surprise drop-in. I almost never use recipes, so all amounts are approximations and to taste. That said, we were full and had plenty left over for later in the day.

You can use canned beans–which will make it even faster–or pressure cook dry ones (takes 20 minutes) while you prep everything else. Enjoy! -Veronica

What you need for the corn:

2-4 ears of corn (without doubt it will be sweet corn-that is pretty much all we can get)

About a quarter cup of olive oil, butter, or margarine

herbs and spices: cayenne pepper, oregano, dill, pinch thyme, pinch rosemary

What you need for the salad:

2-3 cups cooked black beans

large red onion sliced into rounds

one avocado sliced

two big handfuls of sprouts (I used home grown young mung bean and lentil sprouts)

1/2 cup dry toasted pumpkin seeds

juice of 1 lime

What to do:

Set your beans to cook (if not using canned) and prep pot for your corn.Corn only takes about 5 minutes in a pot of boiling water, so you can drop in pretty close to serving time.

Meanwhile: Throw your herbs into your oil and mash until thoroughly blended. I like this super spicy to balance the sweetness of the corn (which I don’t really like), but use your own judgement. Set to cool in the fridge or pop in the freezer for a few minutes.

Chop your onion and avocado. Place in a serving bowl with the sprouts. Add the lime juice and mix gently. Place in fridge to cool until ready to serve.

Toast your seeds on medium heat in a dry pan. They will pop.

When ready to serve, gently spoon black beans into the onion mixture. Serve and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. The corn can be pulled right out of the pot onto the plate and the oil mixture spooned on as desired.I love lime, so I spritzed the whole thing again with a bit of juice and also added a dash of kelp (for iodine–I don’t like salt). Again, personal preference.

If you have any tortillas around, makes a nice soft taco.


You can use a pre-made pizza crust, or make your own:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 package active dry yeast/instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil work well too
1 tablespoon sweetener (to feed the yeast)

Combine flour, yeast and salt. Blend in water, oil and sweetener. Stir until all ingredients are well mixed. Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm place to rise. When doubled in size it is ready to work.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Punch down dough. If making a large pie, you can roll out the whole thing. Otherwise, cut into quarters for generous individual pies. We used parchment paper on a cookie sheet to bake the pizzas–makes the crust nice and crispy and makes clean up super easy.

For the pizza pictured above, we used prepared pesto, but making your own is super easy (see below). Add enough sauce to cover the crust, but not so much that it is soggy. The pictured pizza has layers of black pepper encrusted goat cheese, mixed chopped olives (nicoise, kalamatas), cubed pineapple, wilted spinach, and ground spicy red peppers. It sounds a little crazy. It tastes amazing.

Bake in oven 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown. ENJOY!


Easy Pesto

Place four fistfuls of basil leaves, 1/4 cup olive oil, handful of pignoli nuts or walnuts, and a clove of garlic into a blender or food processor. Puree into a thick paste. You may need to add a little bit of water (or olive oil if you prefer) as you puree.

I’ve also made a more rustic pesto using a blend of basil leaves and arugula, chopping finely with a knife and smashing a garlic clove into the greens. I drizzle oil into the mixture and use a muddler to crush everything together. It smells phenomenal. Salt and pepper to taste.

Some people like to add parmesan cheese. I find it overwhelms the subtleties of the herb and nuts, but by all means add the cheese and omit the salt.

Have fun!

Spark! Wellness

Spark! is a NYC-based consortium of practitioners providing holistic services in nutritional counseling, yoga, fitness, and acupuncture to health-conscious New Yorkers (and beyond!) who want to look and feel their best.

This blog provides wellness advice to help guide you, our readers, through your path to wellness. Check out our store for inspiring teleclasses on a variety of subjects.

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