Simple pleasures are the last healthy refuge in a complex world.
Welcome to the first edition of Danja Lifestyle, our monthly newsletter devoted to cultivating a living yoga practice both on and off the mat. In each newsletter you’ll find new inspirations, posture and meditation tips, delicious and nutritious recipes, great reads and of course, grow tips for plants. We’ll also share an inside look at Danja, fun facts about our studio, teachers, and community members. All designed with you in mind to nurture and fuel your body, mind and heart. We hope you enjoy our newsletter and look forward to these monthly shares and contributions from our staff, teachers and community at Danja, and a chance for us all to grow and create connection amongst our community.
Our inspiration and theme this month is simplicity. Like you, we look for ways to simplify our lives and live life with greater ease! Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll find inside this month’s issue of Danja Lifestyle:
Mindful Meditation: A 5-Minute Meditation Practice
Have you heard of the many benefits of meditation? Are you curious about starting your own meditation practice but not sure where to begin? Perhaps you've struggled with meditation in the past? We hear you, you're not alone, and we're here to support you!!! Here's an accessible 5-minute meditation practice that you can explore in the comfort of your own home or anywhere!
Begin by getting comfy! This could be sitting on the floor, a chair or on your couch, anywhere you feel comfortable, supported and awake. Gently close your eyes, or keep a soft, downward gaze
Take a few easy breaths. With each exhale, use your imagination and envision your thoughts dissipating like clouds in the sky. Inevitably thoughts will bubble up again, and each time they do experiment with letting them go time and time again. Each time you let go and release your thoughts, this strengthens your practice of being present.
Notice the natural rhythm of your breath. Take inventory of how you’re feeling from the inside out
Explore your inner weather patterns. Is it sunny inside? Or stormy? Or maybe you’re not quite sure what you feel. That's okay! There are no wrong answers here. Simply stay curious about this experience. Do you feel tension or ease in different parts of your body? Do you feel warm or cool? Do you feel pressure where you're sitting? Use your awareness to feel all of your bodily sensations as they come and go.
Of course, your mind will wander and get lost in thoughts. This is normal and natural and supposed to happen. When you notice that you're distracted, that's okay. You haven't failed at meditation! Recognize that your mind is wandering and thinking, it’s what the mind does best. Then redirect your mind's attention back to the breath and the experience of feeling your body in the present moment.
Mindfulness is setting the intention to be present and then directing your mind to come back again and again. In this meditation we're focusing on the sensations of the body. So, keep coming back to your body and feel whatever might be present for you at this moment. Keep breathing for a few more breaths.
Congratulations! You just meditated! You were cultivating present moment awareness. Here’s your invitation to take this practice with you throughout your day, to feel and maintain this inner-connectedness within your being.
Let us know what you think? We’d love to hear about your experience!!!
Posture Tips: Child's Pose / Balasana
This month, Colleen invites you to find rest in Child's Pose.
Physical Benefits: ⠀⠀
- Stretches the quads, shins, top of the ankles and feet, as well as the dorsal spine (entire back body)⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Stimulates the abdominal and pelvic organs as well as the heart and lung⠀
- Regenerative resting pos
- If your head doesn't comfortably reach the floor, try resting your forehead on a block or bolster⠀⠀
- If your knees are sensitive due to hard surfaces beneath, use extra padding under the knees such as a folded mat or a blanket
Recipe of the Month: Garlic Bean Soup
This month's recipe is a super easy-to-make and ridiculously tasty Creamy Garlic + White Bean Soup. Colleen brought this dish into the studio a few weeks ago and once Daniel and Jake saw it, they had to make it. It takes only about 30 minutes to make and its perfect for crisp, autumn evenings! And if you love soup, Colleen has more recipes on her website!
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic
3 15oz. cans cannellini beans
2 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 pinch crushed red pepper
freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Tip: If using fresh herbs use the following conversion:
1 part fresh herbs = 1/3 part dried herb
Pour one of the cans of cannellini beans (with its liquid) into a blender and purée until smooth. Drain the other two cans of beans.
TIP: For an even creamier texture, puree two cans instead of one
Mince the garlic and add it to a soup pot with the olive oil. Sauté the garlic over medium for about one minute, or just until the garlic is very fragrant.
Since much of the nutrients are lost when garlic is cooked, consider adding extra crushed/minced fresh garlic as a garnish to your soup when serving for a burst of nutrients.
Add the puréed cannellini beans, the other two (or one) cans of drained beans, broth, rosemary, thyme, crushed red pepper, and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir to combine.
Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium low, remove the lid, and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Taste the soup and add salt if needed (depend on the salt content of your broth). I often use truffle salt with this recipe. YUM!
Serve hot, with crusty bread for dipping!
TIP: Have leftover turkey or chicken? Add it to the soup, it's delish!
Plant of the Month: Euphorbia milli
You may have noticed more plants throughout the studio recently. Among these are some prickly succulents called Euphorbia milli (aka Crown of Thorns). Daniel inherited a few of these plants from his mom and was immediately drawn to their beauty. Interestingly enough, his great-nana purchased one of these plants at a nursery in Akron, OH during the 1920s. From there, his nana and later, his mom grew the plants. There's been an evolution of sorts as these plants were first introduced to the USA with smaller flowers in red, yellow, and pink colors. More recently, plants with larger flowers in a variety of colors have been introduced from Thailand. They love bright sun and tend to be a lower maintenance plant since they don't require frequent watering.
What We're Reading: The Half Known Life - In Search of Paradise by Pico Iyer
"I decided that I would no longer seek out holy places in [a] city of temples. I would just let life come to me in all its happy confusion and find the holiness in that."
In his latest work, Pico Iyer takes us on a profound journey through the twists and turns of life, offering a glimpse into the deeper meanings that often elude us. Through his transcendent prose, he paints vivid landscapes that transport readers to the cool mist of the Shires or the warm sands of Iran, immersing them in the beauty and complexity of the world. Iyer's ability to guide readers through the pathways of life is a testament to his skill as a storyteller and a sage. Step into the pages of his latest work and experience the magic of his words for yourself.
Inside Danja: Our Love of All Things Orange
It's no secret there's an abundance of orange throughout the studio. We often get asked what inspired the use of this color in our branding. The short answer is its studio co-founder, Daniel's favorite color. According to Daniel, "I was having a tough day, and it was turned around when someone complimented me on an orange polo shirt I was wearing. It made me feel empowered and happy." From there, orange became his trademark color.
In 1978 Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag for the 1978 San Francisco's Gay Freedom Celebration. In the original eight-color version, orange represented healing. As a color, orange is believed to be fun and celebratory. Fun and celebration are an integral part of healing. Orange also represents the Sacral Chakra. It relates to gut feelings and intuition. As an energizing color, orange promotes warmth and security. It brings to mind feelings of passion, pleasure, and compassion.
As Daniel and Jake planned out the studio, it was important to them to have parts of themselves woven into the texture of Danja. Of course, Daniel wanted orange included, while Jake also incorporated his favorite color, green. When the painters began putting the orange color on the walls, they asked the guys if they were sure they wanted this color - 5 separate times! Afterwards, they were surprised how soothing the color felt in the space!
The next time you see a blazing sun, round pumpkin, or bite into an orange, we hope you'll take a moment to celebrate your own healing and invite some fun into your life.
Orange you glad you asked!?
Danja Community: Meet Lynn McKeown
We are thrilled to introduce you to Lynn McKeown - a dedicated member of our Danja Community! She's been with us for nearly a year now, and her yoga journey has been nothing short of amazing! It all started with Colleen's Jamaica Retreat in the spring of 2023, and Lynn hasn't looked back since. Not only has she found her zen, but she's also managed to shed 15 pounds! Lynn also can't stop raving about the friendly and welcoming community at Danja. They've become like family to her and a guiding light throughout her yoga journey. When it comes to poses, Lynn's all-time favorite is savasana.
Lynn is also the Board President of National Kidney Services. This non-profit organization Helps provide funding for kidney disease research, education, and patient advocacy programs
Lynn is the rescue mom to a beautiful German Shepherd named Henry. She's worked with behavioral specialists at OSU to give this sweet boy the best life possible!
We are deeply grateful to have sweet Lynn as a member of our studio. She's a ray of light every time she walks through the door!