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Yoga by the Sea

Ginny Calarusso

Today’s program is the first installment about journey into yoga, in this episode we are delighted to interview Ginny Calarusso founder of AMP Yoga in Springfield, NJ. Ginny has been teaching yoga for over 10 years, she is certified in Hatha Yoga, Children’s Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga and is a certified level 2 reiki practitioner.  She is also a past life regressionists, who was recently featured on the Dr. Oz Show.

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Uzimaone Podcast Interview

00:00 / 04:23

UzimaOne Fitness Podcast #1 – HOST: Frederick Neal

Today’s program is the first installment about journey into yoga, in this episode we are delighted to interview Ginny Calarusso founder of AMP Yoga in Springfield, NJ. Ginny has been teaching yoga for over 10 years, she is certified in Hatha Yoga, Children’s Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga and is a certified level 2 reiki practitioner.  She is also a past life regressionists, who was recently featured on the Dr. Oz Show.

At a very basic level the concept of a thing happens in two distinct actions when the journey begins, and that is the mental understanding and the physical expression.  As a lifelong student of Martial Arts and as an instructor, I have come to understand that any concept that requires a deeper understanding has very few people on the path.  Those who have chosen to walk the deeper path, can make a greater difference in your life than you may think.  Many people in America today are looking for a better, faster, more convenient way to be all better.  And there is no shortage of classes, methods and tools available to help you do just that.  But can we really get what we need from the fast and furious? Or is it better to go deep and to commit, to understand for a more enriched experience.

Today we will explore the ancient practice of yoga, which means union, a spiritual and aesthetic discipline that includes body postures, meditation, controlled breathing practices for relaxation and wellness.  However, in America today, Yoga has become a commodity.  Statistic show that 16 million Americans practice yoga every day.  But Yoga dates back 5 thousand years and has changed over the years to adopt many different interpretations, which has been the cross roads for many different styles or methods of yoga being practiced today.  As you will see that within the traditional method there are branches that veer away from the tradition in order to conform to modern day antiques.  But there are some who hope to encourage as many people as possible, to walk the path of enlightment and discover a deeper and richer experience and cultivate self-awareness and a union of mind, body and spirit through their practice.  As you will come to understand in this installment, yoga is not a body posture, but a connection with everyone and everything around you.

Frederick Neal: So tell us Ginny, Why did you become a yoga instructor?

Ginny: I became a yoga instructor, because years ago, I started doing yoga, I started on, it was a TV program called Namaste yoga, its actually still on now, on Z living. But I started there and I loved how it made me feel, I loved how it connected the mind body and soul and I wanted to, I had the urge to teach to get certified and bring it to my community and that’s what incited me to get certified to teach yoga.

Frederick Neal: Very interesting, very interesting.  So how does your profession, positively impact the people in your community?

Ginny: I think it really brings them together it gives them a chance to connect with one another. Not only are they here to breath, to relax, to distress, all the good stuff that comes with yoga and meditation and all the things that we offer here in our studio, but they’re able to really connect with each other, to form a stronger sense of community and to let go of anything they’re holding on to. To really release and relax completely.

Frederick Neal: Sounds good, sounds good.  How do you, and I know this probably sounds like a very lofty question, but how does your profession, positively impact the world?

Ginny: I think by, bringing us all together, you know, creating a sense of oneness, which is you know, it’s an ultimate spiritual conception, but it helps people become more mindful, thinking about not just yourself when you are moving throughout your day and the actions that you do, but thinking about other people and how your actions, your words affect other people, so creating, you know yoga is worldwide now, everyone does it and it initiated back in India 5 thousand years ago. But it’s a universal known practice and it positively impacts the mind and the body and it creates a strong sense of community.

Frederick Neal: Sounds good, Can you tell us how you tell the listening audience, just tell us about your practice.

Ginny: Sure, my personal practice began about 15 years ago.  And it was just based in yoga, I had a slight meditation practice before that, but meditation came a little bit more through that as well. So that’s what we do here, I studied hatha, traditional style, classical yoga, where it was forms of iron yoga, shiba ganda, the real classical style.  When I was certified and then I brought that to my community, they wanted something a little bit different, so I had to train and learn how to adjust what I learned to fit the community needs they wanted a little bit  more American style, more faster pace, harder poses, so my teaching in my own practice evolved to include that. So what I do is I try to give a combination of that. So a combination of the traditional yoga, the style that I learned hatha style, very gentle, relaxing, you know to the point, less weight and stress on the mobility of the joints and then I combined that with the powerful style that I was trained in and how I had to adjust to help the people to kind of vibe with that style a little bit better. So that’s kind of my own kind of style evolved.

Frederick Neal: Sounds good, Can you talk about the importance of face to face contact with your clients?

Ginny: Sure, so it goes back to the connection. When we teach, you’re not as much looking to have that eye to eye contact, but you are still connecting with them making sure they are understanding what you’re teaching, you’re watching them, to see if they are doing the poses safely and correctly, but you also have to make that connection as a teacher, you teach from the heart so when you teach from the heart, your students know that. And they know this is something you are meant to do.  I’ve had teachers come in who teach just from ego and they just want to teach the harder poses and faster, stronger stuff.  You know that, as a yoga student, you can pick up on that so making the connection to your students and teaching from the heart is important to me.

Frederick Neal: Very interesting, very interesting. What is the most important lesson your client’s learn from you? What do you feel is the most important lesson?

Ginny: I think is to take some time to really relax and let go of like the day to day stress, that is an important lesson, to learn the lesson that life is short and true ancient Hinduism and Buddhism practices, they have a little bit of roots in yoga too. We learn about like reincarnation and how the body and the soul take this journey, so it’s kind of what I’m hoping that they are learning from me personally is creating that positive action today, so taking that action and that time today to realize maybe mistakes they’ve done or things that they have done in the past that they can correct and their ultimate goal is to grow and ascend and to move on.

Frederick Neal: Good. What is the most important thing you feel that you’ve learn from your practice from working with clients?

Ginny: Yeah, I feel like after teaching for 11 years, your students are your greatest teachers.  I’ve learned so much from them, I’ve learned when I’m teaching something too advanced and I need to slow down, I’ve learned that helps keep with the pace and I’ve learned just better connection with them, helping and learning their names is so important, not just the face to face contact but learning their names and having them tell you a little bit about their lives, knowing where they are in their practice and I think the biggest thing for me is inspiring them to maintain that practice and you know, using myself as an inspiration to always, always keep your practice going, if it can’t be asana and physical then you go to the mediation part of yoga, you go to the focus, the concentration side, you focus on the other parts of yoga, asana is just one tiny piece, one little limb of the puzzle there.

Frederick Neal: What influences does your practice have on your clients, physical wellbeing?

Ginny: Physically, you know we’ve had clients come in here, one of them lost 50 lbs., just from doing yoga, just adjusting her diet slightly, she came in here and she was like I dropped 50 lbs., was she doing all the hot classes? No, she was doing yin, she was doing gentle. So it’s not just, you know people think hot yoga, and we offer it, it’s not as hot as other places, but we have it on the schedule, they think that is the only thing that is going to help them lose weight.  No, a lot of it is like releasing stress, is adjusting your diet, but it’s also keeping that consistent practice. So in terms of the physical body, they come out of yoga toned, building their strength, their endurance, balance, tapping into balance, flexibility, so all that the physical sense that comes into the body, they come in stronger. I just had a client yesterday tell me, she was like, I can notice the difference in my back, in my back muscles, in my posture from when I’m coming consistently, to when I’m not coming consistently.  So it does change the physical aspect of the body.

Frederick Neal: What about the Psychological wellbeing?

Ginny: So Psychologically, what yoga does is release the mind of things that should not be there. So we go through our day with sometimes negative thoughts, with our endless errands and chores of things we have to do, of past hurts, of strong emotions, we may feel anger, stress. Those kind of emotions may cause us sometimes to make bad decisions as well, so for clients that come here, they are constantly working on their meditation or the more mental aspect of yoga, they find a release, they come out of here, you know at the end of the class we do shahbaz, the final relaxation pose, the most important pose and they forget their purse, they forget their shoes, because they are in such a good place after class, that their mind is like blank and that’s what your mind should be, it shouldn’t be focus on all the day to day stress that we go through, it should just be calm, so finding that calmness of mind and finding that calmness of spirit, I think that’s what helps them psychologically.

Frederick Neal: So what about their spiritual wellbeing?

Ginny: So in terms of spirit and I mentioned a little bit of religious aspect earlier. I think there are people out there who get caught up on yoga.  I’ve had clients come in and say, my church recommend that I not do it, because you teach Hinduism, and you teach Buddhism. No. What we teach is to, whatever spiritual denomination you decided to go with, stay with that, and let that grow stronger. Whether you are Roman Catholic, or Jewish, or Muslim or whatever you may be.  In terms of spirituality, we are looking to bolster it, to bring it out and make it stronger. To have you connect, make that connection with spirit and the divine.  So that’s really how you know that is the ultimate of yoga is sympathy it’s called bliss.  So making that blissful connection with the divine is the actual ultimate goal of yoga.

Frederick Neal: I happen to have some of the same types of questions in terms of teaching martial art when dealing with people with the heavy religious bent. They’re king of afraid, that oh I can’t do this because you are teaching zen, you’re teaching Buddhism. No, no.

Ginny: Yes

Frederick Neal:  We are just teaching you how to be better.

Ginny:  How to relax, we are teaching you how to stretch, relax, distress, that is the real goal, it’s not about switching religion.

Frederick Neal: So what is the most important point you want our listeners to remember from today’s discussion?

Ginny: I want them to know that it’s important not only do yoga, but do other things too, yoga is just one piece of the puzzle, but turning to yoga is going to change your life.  It changed my life, teaching yoga, it changed it again. It always, what I tell people is like a little onion and you are peeling away the layers that shouldn’t be there anymore and you are trying to get to the core, to the root of the cell. And that’s what to me yoga is, it’s about shedding the things that shouldn’t be there and dive in deeper into self. So I feel like it should be on everyone’s agenda, doing a yoga or meditation practice, it really truly does help open up the body, help relax you. It’s you know why I opened up my own studio. It’s because I wanted to bring, it’s a healing service and I wanted the community to experience the healing as well.

Frederick Neal: OK, I have two final questions, one of which, both of which have to deal with the business of what we do. The 1st question is, What are your thoughts on why there are so many more yoga studios and health studios and gyms, yet the American public is less fit than it was 20 years ago?

Ginny: Well, I think is, 20 years ago everything has changed, we’ve come into the age of technology, everything is kind of more online, YouTube, everything is about the iPhone, less about connection, so there are so many yoga studios in our area, is a competitive field right now, not only with studios, but gyms offer yoga as well. I think what people or what’s happening are people just aren’t, they get a gym membership, but then they don’t go, they kind of fall off the wagon. I see that a lot here with people who buy big memberships, like if they get a 20 pack or 30 pack here, I’m like all right, but, you know I better see you around here. They’ll say well I have a year to use it, and then they disappear, and I’m like, No. Wait, that’s not the point, you’re supposed to come in and do it and use it.  So is kind of there is a procrastination, I think it’s a big procrastination issue, its maybe even a little now because of the cell phones and the smart phones, there is more of an issue with adult ADHD, so there’ lack of attention, lack of focus, if anything you know yoga will bring focus and attention, it is ingrained in the 8 limbs of yoga. So that’s what’s going to help bring people back, to getting that focus and attention. To not do scrolling and swiping, that leads to lack of attention. I think that there are so many, not only that there are so many yoga studios, but there are so many yoga teachers out there, there’s like a million. Like if you go to New York City is like everyone is like yeah I’m a yoga teacher. And we do this XYZ.  So it’s become like a fad in the community now, to get a yoga teacher, training certificate, weather people use it and go teach, it’s up to them. Teaching brings you to a whole other level and it takes a lot of years of experience, to get to where you need to be and it’s amazing though. I think the public has to really step it up, put the phone down and get to the gym, get to my yoga studio.

Frederick Neal: Final question is. What do you see as obstacles to promoting health and wellness or not just health and wellness, but also promoting your business.

Ginny: Obstacles to promoting health and wellness, again I’m just going to tap into the procrastination, I think as much as I can I try to put healthy content out there, we do with our studio, we offer not only yoga, we have massage, we have acupuncture, we have a nutritionist who is here as well.  So we offer all these healing services, reike and what happens is I see people come in for that and they’ll say oh you have yoga too and I say yes. So it’s sometimes the obstacle is just getting people to come into the door, you know they are afraid to walk into the yoga studio or the gym or the martial arts studio, is a fear. So there is some kind of fear there. In terms of the business, yeah, I’m competing with Equinox or some big names like that, you know like lifetime, were they have a little bit more equity than I have as a small business owner, but I’m competing with some of the bigger gyms to get people to come in, what we’re seeing now is that yoga studios are closing left and right and the last thing I want to do is have that happen to us, but everyday I’m here, I’m grateful. I focus on gratitude and I focus on day to day, ok we’re here, and how many people came in today, that’s how many people I helped and my teacher’s helped bring yoga and healing to the world.  So those are our obstacles lately.

Thank you


Amp Yoga Studio
223 Mountain Avenue
Springfield, NJ 07081

(908) 577-0750

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