There is no custom code to display.

The Season of Giving and the Importance of Self-Care

tea-mixes-deMy yoga teacher in Austin was one of the most generous, loving women I’ve ever known, so when she sat in front of class one day and confessed to us how selfish she is, we all laughed. She told us if she cut up an avocado for her family’s dinner, she always gave herself the firm, unbruised green slices. She went on to explain that it’s only because she always makes sure she gets what she needs (exercise, social time, alone time, unblemished food) that she can give her students, community, and family as much as she does. She filler her own cup first.

This is something we often forget to do, especially during this time of year when Christmas lists, holiday menu ideas, family visits, and school vacation take over our lives. We get so wrapped up (pun intended) in the spirit of the season and what everyone else needs that we forget what we need, saying “yes” when we should say “no,” and spreading ourselves too thinly.

The answer lies in balance—keeping your heart open, while protecting your own well-being—and the first way to do that is to stop. Just stop, even if it’s just for a minute, and observe yourself. Notice your own breath, the tension in your body, and the state of your thoughts. What are you taking on that you might not need to? What are you holding onto? This practice of self-awareness is the first step to self-care.

Eat warming, nutritious foods like hearty soups and dishes prepared with Indian spices like cardamom, ginger, and turmeric. Drink tea. (Make “tea” a link to our chai tea recipe, below.)

Stay active. Whether you bundle ip for a snowy walk in the woods or you roll out your yoga mat for an evening restorative class, just moving your body will help elevate your mood and regulate your emotions.

When you begin to turn the nurturing, loving spirit of the season inward, it radiates outward that much more brightly.

Have you enjoyed a cup of our chai tea at the studio yet? It warms your belly and helps that centered, connected feeling you get after a great yoga class last just a little bit longer. Want to make some at home? Try this recipe:

Homemade Spiced Tea
Makes one gallon.
  • 4 quarts water
  • 30-40 whole cloves
  • 40-45 black peppercorns
  • 6-8 cinnamon sticks (If the sticks are very thick, use 4-6 sticks.)
  • 40-45 whole cardamom pods (Split or crush pods in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to release seeds, but do not remove pods.)
  • 14-18 fresh, unpeeled ginger slices (About 1/8-1/4 inch-thick)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 3-4 decaffeinated black tea bags
1. Add all ingredients to water and bring to a boil.
2. Allow to boil for about two minutes, then reduce to simmer for 8-10 minutes.
3. Turn heat off and add tea bags.
4. Allow to steep for at least an hour before serving.
5. Strain tea thoroughly before serving.
5. May be refrigerated and warmed for up to a week.

Ashok Nalamalapu: Student Highlight

1. How did you find your way to yoga? I lost my voice for a year in 2000. During that time, I took yoga (Asana) classes. Yoga relaxed my neck muscles. With couple of surgeries on my vocal folds and yoga practice, I regained my voice gradually. Now I am able to sing in concertsContinue Reading

Elizabeth Brazier: Teacher Feature

How did you find your way to yoga? I grew up as a swimmer, so I have been working with my breath for a long time.  After college, I volunteered in Costa Rica for a year and taught English.  I started meditating while living abroad.  I remember sitting mountainside counting my breaths. It was gorgeous. Continue Reading

Heather Altenberg: Teacher Feature

How did you find your way to yoga? I found my way to yoga through a friend who casually suggested going to a small studio in the center of Cape Elizabeth that no longer exists.  The teacher for that class became a co-worker of mine at Waynflete School, a dear friend, and my primary teacherContinue Reading

Carol Morrison: Lila Student Highlight

How did you find your way to yoga? I found my way to yoga through an injury.  I love hiking and many years ago, while hiking Bald Face Mountain in NH, I tore the meniscus in my left knee.  It required surgery and during the recovery period, I decided to try yoga as a gentleContinue Reading

Thanksgiving: The Season of … Contentment?

By Skye Adams You thought I was going to say “giving,” didn’t you? Well, this month is certainly about giving, and more importantly, gratitude, but I am more interested in the bigger picture, that having a grateful heart leads to contentment. We qualify a lot of things in our culture. Something is good or bad,Continue Reading

Bringing the Ordinary to Life

By Genell Vashro Huston The fall has fully arrived.  Routines are being established and drinking tea, snuggled by the fire is sounding more inciting.  As mother nature cycles into a time of quiet and rest, hopefully you too are are finding yourself transitioning from the business of summer and back to school into a moreContinue Reading

Melissa Emerson: October Teacher Feature

Born and raised right in Portland, Melissa was blessed to receive some amazing training while living in Atlanta and Philadelphia, but she is so glad to be back to the ocean and the gorgeous beauty of Maine. Melissa and her family moved back to Maine in 2011 so her son could run barefoot in theContinue Reading


By Fiona Clifford Towards the end of a practice, the instructor guided us through Figure Four. As the pose challenged my tight hips, our instructor offered gentle encouragement: “Everything eventually unfolds.” Focusing on opening in harmony with breath also revealed the wisdom of this phrase. Everything eventually unfolds. The word unfold suggests a moment of struggle, confusion, discomfort.Continue Reading

Surrender to The Journey

The kids are back in school. The tourists are gone. The nights are cooler. It’s almost fall, that time of year after the majesty of summer and before the insular peace of winter. In Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, each season is represented by a different dosha, or mind/body constitution—except fall. This is an in-betweenContinue Reading