Tag: Movement

Laura Cipullo & The L’ifestyle Lounge Presents: Bellydance and Henna Party

Laura Cipullo & The L’ifestyle Lounge Presents: Bellydance and Henna Party

Laura Cipullo & The L’ifestyle Lounge Presents: Bellydance and Henna Party

Come join us Wednesday, July 12th at 7:30 pm for an incredible evening!

Learn more below and sign up!

Buy tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bellydance-and-henna-party-tickets-35490350594

The 6 best foods to eat before you do yoga

The 6 best foods to eat before you do yoga

The 6 best foods to eat before you do yoga

By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDE

While the general recommendation is to practice yoga on an empty stomach, fasting before you practice also isn’t advisable. In fact, making sure you are adequately nourished and hydrated can mean the difference between a strong and lousy downward-facing dog.

Namely, yogis opt for fluids and snacks that are easily digestible, nutrient dense and packed with carbohydrates up to a half-hour before class. Don’t eat a big meal within three hours of beginning your practice.

And, before any exercise, opt for foods that have low fat and fiber content, as those elements can contribute to bloating and gas.

Most important, listen to your own body to see which foods work best for your GI system.

Here are a handful of yoga-friendly snacks to consider before you practice:


Ten Styles of Yoga You Are Likely To Encounter

Ten Styles of Yoga You Are Likely To Encounter

Ten Styles of Yoga You Are Likely To Encounter

Shannon Herbert RYT 200

Whether you’re just beginning a yoga practice or have been practicing for years, it can be confusing to differentiate between the different styles of yoga being offered at various studios. To make things a bit simpler, here’s a quick look at some of the most popular styles of yoga you’re likely to encounter:

  1. Hatha: The word hatha means willful or forceful. It is also translated as “ha” meaning sun and “tha” meaning moon. Thus, hatha refers to the balance of both the masculine aspects, sun, and the feminine aspects, moon, within our bodies. Hatha yoga creates balance and flexibility within the body. Hatha yoga is a style that is designed to open the channels of the body to allow energy to flow more freely. Hatha yoga allows us to bring our attention to the breath, in an attempt to still the fluctuations of the mind. While Hatha is typically performed at a slower pace than Vinyasa, it is not to be confused with a gentle or restorative practice (see below). A Hatha yoga class will help to calm the mind but will invigorate the body and the spirit through the incorporation of many of the basic yoga postures. After a Hatha class, you can expect to more relaxed and for your muscles to feel looser.
  1. Vinyasa: When people are comparing yoga styles, the two most commonly compared are Hatha and Vinyasa. While Hatha is known for its balancing, Vinyasa is known for its flow. Vinyasa classes contain fluid movements, with each movement corresponding to the breath. The asanas (postures) transition from one to another effortlessly, similar to a dance. Depending on the class level, the vinyasa can be slow paced or can be upbeat and fast paced. A vinyasa styled yoga class will increase the heart rate and help you work up a sweat. If you are looking for a more workout style yoga practice, Vinyasa is a great option. Each Vinyasa class varies as teachers are constantly changing their flows. If routine is something you dislike and enjoy a yoga class that is new and different each time you take it, a Vinyasa style class might be perfect.
  1. Ashtanga: Ashtanga was popularized and brought to the West in the 1970s by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. It is a style of yoga that follows a specific sequence of postures. It is like vinyasa yoga, in the sense that each movement is linked to the breath. The thing that makes Ashtanga unique is that this style of yoga follows the exact same asanas in the exact same order each time. There are six series that are practiced sequentially as progress is made. This is a challenging, vigorous style of yoga. If you enjoy routine and a workout style yoga class, an Ashtanga class might suit you best!
  1. Iyengar: Iyengar yoga is named after its founder B.K.S. Iyengar. This style of yoga is heavily focused on alignment. Proper alignment is achieved through the use of props such as blocks and straps. This style is appropriate for all ages and abilities. Don’t let the use of props fool you though, this is still a challenging style of yoga, requiring intense concentration to stay perfectly aligned in the posture. If you are looking for a physically challenging practice and want to achieve proper alignment in your postures, check out an Iyengar class!
  1. Hot Yoga: In the simplest terms, hot yoga is yoga that is practiced in a heated room. The type of hot yoga practiced may vary. A lot of the time when people talk about hot yoga they are describing Bikram yoga. Bikram Yoga is a style that consists of 26 postures, each performed twice, in a room that is heated to about 105 degrees and 40% humidity. Each class lasts 90 minutes. It is a vigorous practice due to the heat, but the postures are all either beginner postures or easily modifiable. If it is not a Bikram class, some studios offer hot flow classes, which are vinyasa styled classes in heated rooms (around 90-104 degrees, varies based on the studio). Again, practicing in the heat is difficult but should not discourage any new yogis from attempting it. If you enjoy sweating…a lot, try a heated class, but make sure to bring water with you and to stay hydrated!
  1. LifePower: LifePower yoga is a style developed by Jonny Kest that has ties to both Asthanga and Vinyasa Yoga styles. LifePower yoga combines physical, intellectual, and emotional components, highlighting that the achievements and skills learned in class extend beyond the yoga mat and into the real world. This style of yoga is rich in its physical practice but also rich in philosophy. It is an extremely well rounded style, combining both physical and spiritual components.
  1. Baron Baptiste Yoga: Baptiste Yoga was originally developed by Walt Baptist and later evolved through his son Baron. Today, Baptiste Yoga is a vigorous practice performed in a heated room designed to invigorate the entire body. The aim of this yoga style is to create peace of mind, freedom, and the ability to live in the moment. The classes are similar to other power vinyasa or hot vinyasa classes, but what sets Baptiste yoga apart is its emphasis on personal growth. One of the main goals of Baptiste yoga is to enjoy personal growth both on and off the mat.
  1. Jivamukti: Jivamukti yoga was founded by David Life and Sharon Gannon in 1984. The five tenets or principles of Jivamukti yoga are scripture, devotion, kindness, music, and meditation. Each of these are explored in a themed vinyasa style class. These classes are tough physically and include a lot of traditional spiritual elements, which have been removed in a lot of other Western Practices. If you are looking for a practice that has a heavy emphasis on spirituality and one that includes chanting and references to ancient scripture, then a Jivamukti class may be worth checking out!
  1. Yin: Yin yoga is a much more meditative practice. It focuses on postures held for longer periods of time to lengthen connective tissues. Yin yoga is designed to complement Yang yoga classes, the more vigorous classes such as Asthanga, Vinyasa, Iygengar, etc. Yin postures are passive. They are designed to allow you to relax and let gravity do the work. Your patience and focus will definitely improve after holding these postures for longer periods of time than you may be used to. If you are looking for a practice that is more meditative in nature or a class that will completely stretch you out, try out a Yin class!
  1. Restorative: Restorative yoga is sometimes offered as gentle yoga. It is a wonderful class for relaxing and overcoming injuries. A lot of props are used in this style to allow the body to experience the posture while exerting minimal effort. A restorative class might include more static stretching, holding stretches and postures for longer periods of time. The class is taught at a slower pace and is overall extremely rejuvenating. If you are nervous about a faster paced class, are overcoming an injury, or are looking for a gentler yoga experience, a restorative class may be just what you need.

So which one is right for you? Well that answer to that question depends on what you’re hoping to achieve from your practice. I, personally, enjoy incorporating a variety of yoga styles into my practice depending on what my body needs or craves on a particular day. My advice to those curious or beginner yogis is try out a variety of classes in a variety of styles to find a class that suits your needs! Yoga can be an extremely personal and intimate experience and it may take some trial and error before finding a class that fulfills what you are looking for. No matter what class or style you end up choosing, know that it is always YOUR yoga practice and YOUR yoga journey. Be sure to always tune in to your body and respect any limitations you may have.


Prevent Injury In Yoga

Prevent Injury In Yoga

Prevent Injury in Yoga



Photo courtesy freeimages.com/Aaron Neifer

by Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

A study recently came out that said yoga injuries are increasing, especially among the elderly, but that they are still “relatively rare.” However, with the ever-increasing popularity of yoga, you need to know how to stay safe and prevent yourself from overdoing it.

Yogis, here are some guidelines that are especially relevant if you are an avid yogi attaching too much ego to your practice or a beginner who may be full of enthusiasm. There is great potential for injury if you do not respect your mind and body.

First of all, understand ego can contribute to injury. While yoga is supposed to be a non-competitive practice, many do not realize their body functions differently on a daily basis. You may be able to do a headstand one day, yet the next day you feel off-balance. This makes sense as sleep, stress and even your food changes daily. Expect your practice to change daily too.

In addition, yoga may feel competitive because of your own stuff. Well, it is your own stuff. No one is judging your skills and if they are, why not show them how each day your practice is different? The goal is to be compassionate and kind to your mind, body and your fellow yogis. The teacher guides you to be your best for that moment and that may mean resting in corpse pose before everyone else does.

Your body, your energy and your stress change day to day, so expect your experience and physical poses to change as well. Be accepting of what your body can achieve in this moment — whatever that achievement is. One day you may be able to do one pose while another day you may not be able to. In yoga, it’s all good! Showing off for yourself or others can lead to you twisting an ankle, overstretching a muscle or inflaming an old injury.

Second, keep in mind that a warm-up is essential as temperature can really affect your muscles. Some studios are really cold while others are really hot. Our body is tense and contracts when cold. If you start your practice of asanas without warming the body, you are likely to overstretch or pull a muscle. In ashtanga, there is a very specific flow to the class — helping to first warm up the spine and hips while building heat before beginning all of the standing and sitting poses. Ask your instructor to explain the flow of your class. If the class doesn’t include a time to warm up the body, go at your pace and create your own warm-up.

If you are injured, do the responsible thing and take the day off. Many people head to yoga when they have injuries because they think it will help the injury or they feel obligated, almost “addicted” to yoga.  Ask yourself, “It is better for my mind and body to be absent from yoga class or will it help?” Consider going to a yin or restorative class. Perhaps meditate instead of engaging in the physical practice of yoga.

Yoga Journal is one of my favorite magazines and they published an excellent article about how to avoid injury and why injuries occur in yoga.

I encourage you to read the whole thing, but here is one suggestion from the piece: Larry Payne, PhD, was quoted as saying that “the most common posture to cause injuries—especially in people over 40—is Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand).” The Half Shoulderstand is recommended instead for beginners and those over 40.

Understand that you may, for whatever reason — illness, age or injury — require modifications to traditional poses or may have to avoid certain poses altogether. Yoga Journal offers poses that are not suggested when you have asthma, back injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, heart problems or more, and modifications. You can refer to that article when needed at: http://www.yogajournal.com/category/contraindications-modifications/

Rather than considering this as “being limited” by your body’s unique requirements, reframe to a positive — a positive of working with your present state to achieve the balanced yoga experience for your mind and body, on and off of the mat. Your physical practice can be as customized or curated as you need it to be. Have a knee injury? You may need to avoid headstands, shoulderstands, lotus pose or frog pose for now. These can over stretch the knee. Instead find poses that feel good during and after your class.

As Economic Times reported (in the study I referenced in that first paragraph), being careful is always wise, as is respecting and understanding your limits, especially if you are a senior citizen. Getting input from a registered yoga teacher is key but listening to your own body is even more important. Whether I am your teacher or someone else, aim to move to the sensations of your body rather than achieving a perfect pose and recognize using your breath will help you get into a pose more than pushing yourself. If you are a steadfast yogi at one studio, practice at a new and different studio with a different instructor to learn different poses and different ways to move into the poses. Look for yoga instructors who also have expertise as physical therapists or massage therapists, or a greater understanding of the body.

Most important is to leave ego at the door, respect your mind and body and use your breath. I did my yoga training at LifePower Yoga. Two books I highly recommend from my training for any yogi to better understand the poses are Ashtanga Yoga by David Swenson and Power Yoga by Beryl Bender Birch.


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TM for Kids

TM for Kids

TM for Kids


Pic courtesy of CoraViral.com

by Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Most people know David Lynch from his television show Twin Peaks, and films like Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. However, quietly, over the years, he has also been an advocate, promoting Transcendental Meditation in schools, and among the homeless, veterans, and low-income families. According to Smithsonian Magazine1, Lynch began incorporating meditation in his own life to deal with depression and anger. Eventually, he started a foundation that funds meditation for children around the world.

As Smithsonian magazine describes it, Transcendental Meditation “is different from mindfulness, an umbrella term that can describe anything from breathing to guided visualization to drawing exercises. People who learn TM … are given a mantra, or sound, and a specific technique for using it. You repeat the mantra and, if all goes well, your mind settles down into a deep, expansive silence.” As with mindfulness, TM helps you focus on the moment, making it a natural stress reliever for today’s overscheduled, stressed-out kids. David Lynch’s program for children is called Quiet Time and it seems to be working. The University of Chicago looked at the program and discovered it lowered violence and made children happier everywhere from New York to San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Research is promising on the effect TM has in adults. “Studies on adults have linked TM practice with reduced stress-related problems such as strokes, heart attacks and high blood pressure,” the Smithsonian magazine says.  A few years back, a study showed TM helped with kids who have ADHD and assisting with brain function as a whole2. Mindfulness, we know, may help kids with math3, in addition to possibly lowering stress and relieving depression4. Yoga may also make kids with ADHD more attentive5. So it makes sense that more and more schools6 and other places like wellness centers and spas, are catching on to the potential benefits.

As you can imagine, I’m all in favor of this trend and happy David Lynch is behind this movement. Meditation cost nothing or very little, has no side effects, and has the potential to make our kids less stressed, smarter and happier. If your child’s school has a meditation, yoga or mindfulness program, sign them up! If not, see what you can do to get one going. In the years to come, these programs will likely become even more popular and I believe the change will be reflected in a new generation of well-adjusted kids.

If you are local to Bergen County, sign your children up for yoga and mindfulness at the L’ifestyle Lounge in Closter, NJ. Email Laura@LauraCipullo for class schedule.

And check out my recent appearance on ABC, talking about mindfulness and yoga for children.


1Rothenberg Gritz. (2016). Director David Lynch wants schools to teach Transcendental Meditation to reduce     stress. Smithsonian Magazine.

5Roeder, Jessica. Yoga therapy and children with ADHD. (2011). College of Medicine, University of Vermont.

Schools are now teaching kids — and their parents — how to deal with stress. The Washington Post.

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