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Negativity and violence seem to be the loudest headlines these days getting all the attention. It’s hard to stay grounded with so much fear and anger energy coming at us all the time. And in this day and age of social media on top of media-media, it really is coming at us all the time. Even when we are vigilant about what we allow into our day to day, somehow, it’s there. Sometimes we can just feel it. Sometimes we hear about it through the grapevine. Sometimes we pay close attention to it. How can we as members of one human family not pay some attention? We care!



So I’m here with a little news-reframing love note for you today (and a little recipe gift below...). A simple pop-in to say I feel your caring and I am caring along with you. I see your concerns and I am concerned along with you. I feel your days of exhaustion and therefore momentary indifference and then your rising up again into positive action. I am right there with you. My hope is that you will take time EVERY day to remember no matter what is going on around you, YOU ARE A LIGHT BRINGER! You can be the change you wish to see in the world. You are PLENTY and you are PERFECTION and you make a difference!!



The messages I got in my yoga practice this morning were these: Be quiet so I can hear the truth that there is so much wonder and magic in our world! Be mindful with my energy and my focus! Remember that all is well and above all, even when I wonder why I would bother: I AM A LIGHT BRINGER. It’s my calling. It’s my sacred contract. It’s my responsibility to seek out the good, the joy, the light. To live with as much good, joy and light as possible, and to share the good, the joy, the light.



I could withdraw and just try to live a happy life, hoping that my happy energy would have some radiant effect (and I’m absolutely certain that our happy energy does have a profound radiant effect!), but I feel this deep intention to take action and remind you of your splendor!



So, if you have — or someone you care about has — been feeling a bit winded by world events lately, I want to offer you a few little tips to continue to live your bright life…
 

  • When all seems glum or overwhelming, seek first to understand. Remain positive and hopeful; TRUST!
  • Trust that you are loved and supported.
  • Trust that good things are coming and good things are happening NOW.
  • When you’re stressed, you’re likely future tripping or dwelling on the past and looping in an eddy of wanting that which is impermanent to be permanent. Try for a moment taking a deep breath through your nose and, if only for the moment it takes to breathe one breath, BE HERE NOW. (be sure to breathe through your nose and not your mouth, this is more centering for your nervous system)
  • Trust in your amazingness — you are such brilliant design, capable of shifting your thoughts from negative ones to positive ones.
  • Trust that the world is healing. Even when we don’t see or grasp the healing, there is healing happening now. When we look for that, we either find it, or we create it, so look for the healing opportunity of every situation.
  • Accept. Acceptance always moves things along a magical path.
  • Trust that we are all in good hands. When it comes time to choose leaders, choose from a place of heart-ness — that place where we are all connected and want what’s best for everyone. Or step into your own light of leadership and lead with your heart.
  • Nourish yourself. My little voice is very wise and usually quite amusing. Today she told me, “Whole foods are soul foods!” (she also said, “Tea time is me time” and I had a good giggle!) Instead of reaching for that bag of chips or tub of ice cream, see what happens when you care enough for yourself to feed your soul byway of your body with natural goodness. When we treat ourselves kindly through food and proper hydration, we view the whole world more positively so don’t skimp on this step! You’re so worth it and you’ll be able to shine your light more freely when you're nourished.



Along the lines of “WHOLE FOODS ARE SOUL FOODS” and “TEA TIME IS ME TIME” I want to share a favorite Fall recipe with you. I made this for myself this morning, not having had it since last Autumn, and I was so pleased. I felt truly nourished by this tea latté treat.

 

I hope you make a little time for yourself to enjoy this! If you don’t get around to making it for yourself, I think I’ll be serving this at the upcoming Autumn Yoga Retreat Day on 11/11 where I intend to brighten retreaters’ lives and inspire them to live their light. If you’d like to sign up and join this lovely group of humans connecting to heart, light and gratitude, here’s a link with info: AUTUMN YOGA RETREAT DAY EVENT PAGE You’ve still got a few days to receive Earliest Bird Pricing and get 20% off!



Pumpkin Spice Cha Cha Chai Blender Latte
by Maggie Verderame


INGREDIENTS:
1 Cup Almond Milk (or milk of your choice)
1 Cup Brewed Magareeshi Cha Cha Chai Tea
2 Tbs Pumpkin Purée (this works with any hearty squash)
1 Tbs Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Tbs Maca Powder
1 Tbs Chia Seeds
1 Tbs Hemp Seeds
1 Tbs Coconut Sugar
1 Tbs Honey -or- Maple Syrup
5 Ice Cubes (standard size)


METHODS:
Add all ingredients in the order they are listed to a blender. Whizz up until smooth.

For a cool drink, use cold almond milk and tea.

For a smoothie, used cold liquids and add more ice cubes.

For a warm latté, use warmed almond milk and hot tea. Omit ice cubes.

 

CHEERS to your health and happiness!  Namast-YAY!

CHEERS to your health and happiness!

Namast-YAY!

My Beliefs

MY BELIEFS ...

✴ I believe in people — we are all born of light and filled with the same goodness.

✴ I believe in the power of yoga, music, words, and glitter.

✴ I believe in being strong and flexible.

✴ I believe kids are capable, creative geniuses deserving of respect.

✴ I believe in fairies, mermaids, Santa, enchanted realms, magic, and spirit guides.

✴ I believe dog noses are actually the bees’ knees.

✴ I believe if we were all truly grateful for our bodies, we could change the world.

✴ I believe organic food is best.

✴ I believe in natural healing, herbal tea, fresh juice and kale smoothies.

✴ I believe in collaboration and connection.

✴ I believe mindfulness is simpler than we make it out to be.

✴ I believe we are our own gurus.

✴ I believe in the language of energy.

✴ I believe in love

What do you believe???

What do you believe???

My Story

My (looooong!) Story ~

Seriously! You may as well brew some tea, grab a snack and put up your feet because this is practically a novella.

I’m Maggie Verderame — aka, Magareeshi. Magareeshi is a nickname given to me because I’m somewhat of a “yogi.” I don’t think I’m like The Maharishi or anything! In fact, I’m totally against the whole “guru” thing. (So, if you’re looking for me to be your guru, I must tell you now, I won’t do it! You are your own guru. I am happy to inspire your inner guru to guide you. But that’s all. I mean, sheesh, I don’t levitate, nor am I better than you are. I may have some insights for you, but when you apply them, your own brilliance will shine through — and what I want is for you to be shiny, happy YOU! Ok, now back to me ...)

On paper, I am a singer-songwriter and a yoga teacher. I’m also a happily married mindful mommy, a vegetarian home cook, and a creator of FUNctional art and jewelry. Yoga is the foundation for everything I create.

I’ve been doing yoga since 1992, when I was 19 years old. (You do the math!) When I was about 10 years old I was diagnosed with scoliosis. If you don’t already know, scoliosis is a curvature of the spine. My case was severe enough to warrant wearing a custom-made hard brace that encased my entire torso. I wore my brace 23 hours a day, allowed only to take it off for an hour of stretching, swimming or bathing. As I grew, so did the severity of my spine’s curve.

By my teenage years, my hips and shoulders were out of alignment with each other, my ribs were rotated in a wonky formation, and my thoracic spine (the upper back part), was shifted way far over to the right, under my shoulder blade. I began having immunity issues, and chronic kidney infections in my left kidney that could be attributed to my spinal alignment. I had a bit of a hump (not the technical term — that’s “kyphosis”) on the right side of my upper back. I kind of made all this work for me and my teenage attitude by simply standing in a bit of a sassy looking stance most of the time. I went to school, was outgoing, and was able to keep studying and working at my passion, which was musical theatre. Truth be told, though, I hurt. My body hurt a lot, all the time. Occasionally I missed school and opening nights and talent shows because of my kidney problems or other health issues.

At 16 I was told I needed surgery to straighten my spine. I was supposed to have a metal rod attached to my spine, forcing and holding it into place. My orthopedic doctor told me if I didn’t have surgery, the chances of my being in a wheelchair when I was an adult were high, given how consistently my curve kept increasing. He also suggested that I wouldn’t ever be able to be pregnant because it would put too much pressure on my ribs and back. Outwardly I was happy and peace-loving, but I was a pretty angry, confused kid.

Before I was diagnosed with scoliosis, there was a lot of stress in my life. My parents divorced when I was a baby and a few years later my mom remarried a man who became an abusive alcoholic. I was physically and sexually abused when I was little. My mom tried hard to keep things positive, but by the time I was a teenager, all this stress contributed to tight muscles, pain, and the intensity of my spine’s curve.

I know this all sounds like a total bummer, but there’s a point to it and it has a happy ending, so please keep reading .......

Due to an insurance debacle, I never got my surgery in high school. I didn’t know anything else I could do to help my physical state, so I kept on keeping on in hopes that someday I would be able to have surgery. In the meantime I received a diploma from a small college in my “backup” field of study, broadcast journalism, while I worked in a record store, performed in community theatre and wrote and sang my own songs in some dive-y places. Eventually, though, my back hit a tipping point. I had to stop working, I couldn’t go further on in school and I certainly couldn’t perform. I could barely walk. I was hunched over and in pain and for a few weeks when I was 19 I lost all the feeling on the surface of my back.

Insert hopeful music here .......

Around that time, a new friend suggested I see her mother who was an acupuncturist. I made an appointment. I had no idea what I was doing, by the way! This was before Google and I did no research whatsoever; I just went with it. At my first appointment, in addition to using needles, the acupuncturist did all sorts of bodywork I’d never heard of. I left her office in what felt like a different body. I had more mobility and relaxed muscles. I could breathe more deeply. I was happier and the world around me looked brighter.

At the end of my appointment, the acupuncturist asked me if I had ever tried yoga. I hadn’t, but for some reason — again with absolutely nothing to go on, it sounded like a GREAT idea! We decided on a regular treatment plan for me that I couldn’t afford and I committed to trying yoga right away. Ah, to be 19 again! Just wing it!!

I did my part. I showed up for appointments and I went to a yoga class at a gym. I had some lower body flexibility, a wee bit of coordination, and no upper body strength. It was odd. It was challenging. It was kind of funny. I was the youngest and least physically capable person in class. I left thinking, ‘Okay, not sure what I just did there, but it was kind of cool, I guess.’ Right away I noticed I felt really, really happy. I felt connected to things I found meaning in like flower children and social justice and peace and health. I thought that was amusing. It felt good. A few minutes later in the locker room the yoga teacher approached me. She said, “Oh, I’m so glad I ran into you! I see what’s going on in your body and I know that was hard for you, but, if I may? Just ... just ... come back. Try yoga again, ok?” It all seemed so peculiar and I had no idea why I was doing any of what I was doing, but I said, “Okay. Sure.”

I did go back. Weekly. I went to my acupuncture appointments weekly, too. I finally fessed up that I couldn’t pay for all of this and I got my first lesson in miracles-through-people when the acupuncturist offered me a job! She said she would pay me to be her receptionist/office manager and her benefits package would be all the free acupuncture I needed ... because, she pointed out, I needed A LOT.

My time spent in the acupuncture office and at yoga classes exposed me to the world of natural living. I began to eat differently. I began to think differently. I began to feel differently. I began to associate with alternative healthcare practitioners, bodyworkers, mindful artists and meditators. I began to attend all sorts of workshops and classes. I was healthier and happier. I was more positive, hopeful and physically capable. I found a lovely yoga teacher who altered every posture to suit my needs, even when it was nowhere near what the rest of the class was doing. She taught me that yoga is for EVERYONE, regardless of their circumstance. I got myself a yoga book and I did yoga all the time.

I decided to go to acupuncture school because the system of Oriental Medicine had so positively impacted my life. I remember the first sentence of my application essay was, “Acupuncture changed my life.” In school I continued to get healthier and healthier and I realized that, in addition to helping heal me, acupuncture was my catalyst to yoga and learning more about nutrition and natural living. I figured out that I didn’t actually want to be an acupuncturist. I missed performing and wanted to live as an artist with enough of an understanding of Oriental Medicine to support my life and to be able to share it with others. It became clear to me that I wanted to explore all kinds of natural healing to have a positive impact on the world — especially children because I knew what it was to be an unhealthy, unhappy, disrespected child. So I left school. I eventually left the acupuncture office and I went back into theatre (and, therefore, bar tending — which totally paid off because it was at the bar where I met my indefatigable, inspiringly musical husband in 1995 and we’ve been collaborating ever since).

All the while I did yoga. Yoga and healthy living permeated everything I did. It became the foundation for my life. I learned to live with more acceptance and go with the flow and follow my muses. When I was given a group of teeny tiny kids to direct in a musical, I inherently infused yoga into that work. When I taught preschool and implemented an original after school dramatics program for kids 12 and under, I shared yoga with those kids, as well. It made sense to me that kids should experience yoga because it could help them be calm, happy and focused. It never occurred to me, however, that I was or would be a yoga teacher. In fact, I didn’t exactly know what I would do professionally so I explored working with kids, writing, performing and anything that interested me. My freelancing, entrepreneurial spirit was born and I trusted I would figure out a way to weave everything I loved together.

Fast forward about a zillion (okay, maybe 9) years later when my yoga teacher at the time told me I should be a yoga teacher. I laughed because 9 years into my practice, I was just starting to try to do a headstand. You see, over the years, my spine had shifted closer to the center of my back, my ribs had rotated into a healthier alignment, and my shoulders and hips had released a lot, all without surgery. So, I was finally feeling able to explore yoga like the other able bodied yogis in my classes. I was getting strong. I was getting brave. I could get a little adventurous and try to do things that had seemed impossible earlier in my life like, stand on my head. I thought my teacher was crazy. And yet, somehow, once again, I went with it and wound up interning under her, attending yoga teacher trainings and started teaching in 2001. I had a knack for it and I absolutely loved teaching yoga!

In 2003 my husband and I opened a yoga studio in Las Vegas (where we live because he is a badass drummer for a cool show on the strip!). I directed the studio for 5 years. During that time I developed my kids yoga program, trained a slew of yoga teachers, created my own teacher trainings, connected yoga with art and music locally, and basically had a grand old time with some of the most wonderful people on earth! In 2008 we decided to have real life baby instead of a yoga studio one, and our full-of-moxie wee girl was born in 2009.

Since that time the foundation of yoga in my life has become an even fiercer force! It has led me to a deeper understanding of mindfulness through parenting and ignited a passion in me to support other families in their pursuit of happy, healthy, mindful living. My artistic soul is called to create and share like never before; the music and artful things I make all emerge from yoga. I am driven to de-mystify yoga, showing how it can be practically applied by ANYONE regardless of their background or beliefs. I’ve put it all together and now use yogic principles and entertainment to inspire people of all ages to lead more natural, joyful lives!

Through yoga I have become grateful, even for the dramatic negative things that have come my way; they have shaped who I am today. Yoga and music are interestingly similar and working closely with both for so many years, I have learned how to improvise and go with the flow. (Full disclosure: I am not perfect and stumble often, but I at least fall back on this intention every time I become overwhelmed!) I have learned that one thing leads to another, we are all connected, a tolerant world view leads to understanding and peace, and that there are many blessings in disguise among us. Thanks to challenging circumstances bringing me to yoga and all that unfolded from there, I am living brightly ever after as a homeschooling mom, teacher, and creator!

And I hope to contribute to you and yours doing the same! If you want to get started with a yoga retreat day, click here.