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Plank Yoga Pose

PlankNikki Juen of All That Matters demonstrates and explains plank yoga pose.
What it is:
Dolphin plank is a strength-building pose that prepares shoulder blades for all weight-bearing postures. It creates a synergy of strength throughout the body, finger tips to toes, as the body hovers over the ground.
What it does:
This dynamic forearm pose builds strength in the core of the body and the muscles of the shoulders, upper back and sides of the rib cage. Repeated strengthening of the shoulder girdle relieves neck pain and aids in healthier respiration.
How to do it:
Begin in a table top pose with hands directly under the shoulders and knees under hips. Take a few long deep breaths in table top and focus on opening the soles of the feet with toes tucked under. Allow each breath to bring your awareness deeper into your body; feel how the breath fills the body and expands against the forces of gravity. 
Exhale, bow forward onto your forearms and place the elbows no wider than the outside of your shoulders. Returning to the breath, concentrate on creating length in the sides of your torso from the armpits up to the hips. Starting at the fingertips, strongly press the entire length of the forearms into the ground; walk the feet back until the legs are straight. As you exhale, make the legs strong and scoop the tailbone towards the heels while toning the muscles of the low belly, keeping the lumbar spine safe and supported. 
Lengthen the entire body as you inhale, press forearms and toes into the floor as you exhale. With the big muscles on the front of the thighs strong allow hips to feel buoyant; maintaining the pose for as long as you feel muscular support and evenness of breath. If you experience neck strain, place your forehead on a block until the neck strengthens. Exhale, release the knees to the floor and sit back on your heels. You may choose to repeat this practice a few times noticing the potential for ease each time you repeat it.
If this pose is new to you, you may feel blades ‘wing-away’ from the ribcage. [A friend may point this out to you from above or you may look in a mirror.] Practice this pose on your knees until the muscles around the shoulder blades are strong enough to remain engaged on the back. In this modification you will reap the same benefits while building strength in optimal alignment.
Nikki Juen,

4 Good Inspirational Summer Reads

These books were recommended by Kendall to the 40 day folks...we usually have them in our store.
The Four Agreements 
by Don Miguel Ruiz
"Sit at the foot of a native elder and listen as great wisdom of days long past is passed down. In The Four Agreements shamanic teacher and healer Don Miguel Ruiz exposes self-limiting beliefs and presents a simple yet effective code of personal conduct learned from his Toltec ancestors. Full of grace and simple truth, this handsomely designed book makes a lovely gift for anyone making an elementary change in life, and it reads in a voice that you would expect from an indigenous shaman. The four agreements are these: Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Always do your best. It's the how and why one should do these things that make The Four Agreements worth reading and remembering." –P. Randall Cohan
Goodnight Mind
by Colleen E. Carney PhD and Rachel Manber PhD“We live in a busy, mentally challenging world, and keeping an alert and active mind throughout the day helps us cope with and effectively meet the challenges we face. Unfortunately for the millions of folks with chronic insomnia, persistent thinking, worrying, or more general sleep-disruptive mental arousal serve as the crux of their chronic sleep problems. Fortunately, there are a variety of effective strategies for ‘putting the mind to bed’ and regaining the ability to sleep normally once again. Those strategies are clearly and comprehensively presented in this new self-help guide by Carney and Manber, two renowned experts in the area of insomnia treatment. This easy-to-read guide provides ten simple steps for keeping one’s mind out of the way of a good night’s sleep. I am certain that this guide will be a great aid to those who read it.” –Jack Edinger, PhD
Ten Mindful Minutes
by Goldie Hawn
"Goldie Hawn embodies delight and joy, and 10 Mindful Minutes radiates these. Her book can help any adult-parent, grandparent, teacher-make double use of their moments with the children they love and have a terrific time while helping shape that child's brain for a lifetime of resilience and happiness."
–Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence
The Gifts of Imperfection
by Brene Brown
In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, "No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough," and to go to bed at night thinking, "Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn't change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging."

Eka Pada Bhekasana

Eka Pada
Nikki Juen of All That Matters demonstrates and explains Eka Pada Bhekasana.
What it is:
Eka Pada Bhekasana [or Ardha Bhekasana] is also known as one-legged frog pose.
What it does:
As a backbend this pose strengthens the muscles of the back while opening the entire front of the body including ankles, thighs and groin, abdomen, chest and throat. This pose improves posture and stimulates the organs of the abdomen.
How to do it:
As you create more complex poses like this one, keep an awareness on building in smaller increments while maintaining the overall form. Yoga is a practice and as such each small attentive movement deepens potential for connection to the self and encourages deeper opening in the body.
Lie on your belly with your forehead on the floor, legs parallel and arms by your sides, palms facing up. Take a few deep breaths here allowing the body and mind to soften to the many benefits this pose offers. 
Maintaining even deep breaths keep an expansive quality in your chest as you slide both forearms and palms forward on the ground until your elbows are directly below your shoulders. On an inhale, make both legs strong and work towards bringing all ten toenails to the ground, feeling an expansion across your low back and buttocks. Tone the low belly towards the spine supporting the joints of the low-back. On an exhale, broaden the front of the chest and ease the shoulder blades down the upper-back towards your waistline. 
Keeping this breadth, length and strength in the body, bend your right knee and reach the right hand back for the inner arch of the foot. [Place a belt around the top of the arch if you are unable to reach your foot.] Keep the knees parallel and the left palm energized with fingers wide and grounded. Soften the jaw and lips lengthening the back of the neck.
Encourage the right foot towards the right outer hip as you draw the top of the right thighbone towards the foot creating a energetic connection where the foot and hip move towards one another equally. In your full expression of the pose, take five to ten deep breaths and after your last exhale, slowly release the right leg and repeat on the other side. 
Nikki Juen




Isa Gucciardi, PhD, Brings Ancient Spiritual and Healing Traditions to Rhode Island

Isa Gucciardi
Isa Gucciardi, PhD, Brings Ancient Spiritual 
and Healing Traditions to Rhode Island


The Foundation of the Sacred Stream (FSS), a California-based nonprofit organization, is celebrating 10 years of providing the wisdom of ancient spiritual and healing traditions to those interested in being of service in the world. A growing community of students and healers in Rhode Island has been welcoming FSS founding director and lead instructor Isa Gucciardi, PhD, each summer since 2005. We look forward to her return this July.
Gucciardi has spent over 30 years studying spiritual, therapeutic, and meditative techniques from around the world; and holds degrees and certificates in transpersonal psychology, cultural anthropology, comparative religion, hypnotherapy, and transformational healing. She is the creator of Depth Hypnosis, a groundbreaking method of self-transformation that has won rave reviews from psychotherapists and spiritual counselors. Combining practices of transpersonal psychology and hypnotherapy, this therapeutic model brings “the power of shamanism, and the power of Buddhism, into the therapeutic environment to help people transform longstanding and difficult to reach imbalances,” says Gucciardi.
She has an active Depth Hypnosis and Applied Shamanism healing practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, and finds these healing modalities helpful for a variety of issues including depression, anxiety, auto-immune problems, panic disorders, eating disorders and addictions. Gucciardi and her clients address the symptoms that arise by understanding them as teachers and using Depth Hypnosis and Applied Shamanism to help clients discover the roots of their symptoms, and to change their relationship to them.
Shamanic practice recognizes that illness at the spirit level will move to the emotional level if it is not addressed. Unaddressed, illness moves from the emotional level to the mental level and finally to the physical level – where it is generally harder to ignore. Thus, when modern western medicine practitioners only treat physical symptoms, according to Gucciardi, they are dealing with an imbalance long into its evolution. Many events have already led to that physical symptom. “Because shamanic practice is always focused on healing the spirit, it addresses the symptom at its point of origin no matter where on the spectrum it is manifesting,” she says.
While Depth Hypnosis is the centerpiece of the study at FSS, the organization offers a range of programs in California, Scotland, Colorado, and Rhode Island. Students study with Gucciardi for both personal and professional development, and consistently report the FSS healing approach is as powerful as it is practical. Well loved for her sense of humor, insight, and passion for teaching, Gucciardi will offer a free talk on the shamanic journey (July 10) and lead workshops in Integrated Energy Medicine (July 12-14), Applied Shamanism (July 19-21), The Shamanic Journey (July 11-12), and Grief and Loss (July 16 & 18) at All That Matters in Wakefield ( Gucciardi will also teach Applied Buddhist Psychology (July 22-24) at Energy’n’Elements ( in East Greenwich.
Visit for more information or click here for a video.

Interview with Myra Partyka, Reiki Master

Partyka, Myra2011
Myra is now offering Karuna Reiki at All That Matters. We thought this woudl be a good time to share this article on Myra again.

Myra Partyka is a Reiki Master trained in the Usui system of natural healing, as well as a certified hypnotherapist and a depth hypnosis practitioner (trained here at All That Matters by Isa Gucciardi). She teaches all the levels of Reiki at 
ATM and also sees clients on a regular basis. A pillar of ATM since 1998, Myra says, “It has been an honor to be part of that family – for my own personal growth and also to witness others in their unfolding.” 

First Encounter with Reiki 
MP: About 15 years ago I was quite sick with Lyme disease, and my sister said, 
“Myra, why don’t you try Reiki?” I didn’t know what Reiki was at that time and 
thought it meant raking someone’s lawn! My sister explained that it was a form 
of natural healing. So I went along, open to the experience. Well, that was it! 
After the first treatment, I felt so relaxed and experienced incredible peace. The 
stress in my body from the Lyme’s disease was melting. When the dear teacher 
told me, “You can learn Reiki for yourself,” I knew this was the direction to follow. 
I took off with Reiki, which at that time helped me heal physically, mentally, 
emotionally, and spiritually. I am so grateful for the gift of Reiki, which continually 
helps to support me in all areas of my life. I also know Reiki can do that for others. Reiki has the potential for healing body, mind, and spirit, and we all need that so much today. Whether one is experiencing the daily stress of life, or a physical or emotional challenge, Reiki works. 
What Is Reiki? 
MP: Reiki is a form of non-invasive, hands-on healing that reduces stress and 
allows the body to relax, so the body’s own self-healing wisdom can accelerate. 
MP: Since I’ve been teaching Reiki, it has been of great importance to me 
personally to heal and grow spiritually, so I may be of greater service to others. I 
continue to learn and take different trainings, a process which has led me to 
hypnotherapy, to past life regression therapy through the Brian Weiss Institute, to 
cranial-sacral work. All this has taken me to deeper levels of understanding and 
As I continue to learn and grow, I am able to bring this wisdom into my 
teaching, my practice, and my life – like a carpenter gathering tools, learning 
how to use and fine-tune them. More accurately, I’m realizing that I am an 
instrument for grace to flow through, and I humbly embrace that. 
Cultivating Soil and Soul
MP: I’ve been a farmer all my life. I support my daughter wholeheartedly in the 
family business, The Farmer’s Daughter Garden Center in Wakefield. Being one 
with nature, with the land, is part of my essence. Now I’m taking that to another 
place – farming and helping cultivate my own soul, and being the farmer and a 
witness to other souls as they, in turn, cultivate and do their own inner work. 
Love for the earth – love for life – that’s what inspires me. The solitude of 
pulling weeds and growing things in my vegetable garden, in my flower garden, 
feeds my soul. Walking…being with nature. The trees know my life; they’re my 
witnesses. The birds speak to me, and I speak back to them too. 
I have a wonderful relationship with the natural world, which nurtures me 
and, in turn, I bring the love of nature, of farming, into the work that I do. I feel 
that expresses through me as I teach and learn. 
As I watch the flowers in my garden grow, I also witness and support 
others who come into my life as they learn or experience the gift of Reiki. 
Graduates Take Their Reiki Training into the Community 
MP: People are drawn to Reiki for many reasons. Some students train in Reiki for 
their own wellbeing. People share Reiki with their families. People work with 
animals. (A friend of mine works for a veterinarian. When she gives animals Reiki 
during a procedure, the veterinarian is able to give them less anesthesia. It 
brings a smile to my face because I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was 
young. We can share the gift of Reiki with animals and watch them soften. It’s so 
 Quite a few students work with Hospice patients. Some have taken Reiki 
into hospitals. Others open their own practice. Some students go on to teach it. 
That has been my path: Here is the gift of Reiki, take it and share it with others in 
your life – because it’s not to be contained. It’s definitely to be spread for others’ 
healing. It’s a gift you receive, and it’s a gift that keeps opening within you. It’s a 
gift that you can give, and in that giving you receive. 

Interviewed by Jane Bernstein 

Another delicious and nutritious Cookie

Raspberry Jam Dot Cookies
         raspberry jam ( any flavor can be substituted)
Dry:  1 cup almonds
         1 cup rolled oats
         1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
         ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
         a pinch of salt
Wet:  ½ cup maple syrup
         ½ cup canola oil
Note for gluten free…I took out oats and flour and used 1.5 cups of almonds and 1.5 cups of gluten free flour (available in natural food stores)

1.  Process almonds in food processor into a coarse nut flour.
2.     Process oats in food processor into a coarse oat flour.
3.     Combine all dry ingredients together.
4.     Mix oil and maple syrup together.
5.     Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.
6.     Form walnut size balls, flatten a bit, and put a thumb print in middle.
7.     Fill each thumb print with ½ teaspoon of raspberry jam.
8.     Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden colored.

Natural Gourmet Cook School/ All That Matters 99

Wisdom from Albert Einstein

"A human being is part of a whole, called by us...the universe..., a part limited in time and space.  We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of our own consciousness.   This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to the affection for a few persons nearest to us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty".    Albert Einstein

Now isn't that the best definition of Yoga?   

Meet Chelsey Hawes - June Student Highlight

Chelsey Hawes
Meet Chelsey Hawes, our featured student of the month.


Chelsey is a joyful and enthusiastic yogi, we asked her some question and thought we would share them with you.

What attracted you to yoga? Why did you start?
My mom introduced me to yoga. It was the best way for both of us to make time for each other, as well as ourselves.

What other activities do you enjoy? I love to travel, read, and cook. I have an obsession with cookbooks and finding recipes on the internet. Pinterest has become my savior for this!
What is your favorite style of yoga? Heated vinyasa because the heat and flow of the class allows me to easily move from asana to asana with more flexibility and openness in my body.
What is your favorite yoga pose and whySupta Baddha Konasana; it’s the most comfortable pose for me to relax and clear my mind in besides savasana.

What keeps you doing yoga? The feeling of complete relaxation during savasana that overtakes everything else going on in my body and my life.

An inspiring book or movie you recommend? This is such a tough question… but I think it would be The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s the story of a shepherd boy who years to see more of the world; through his travels he learns to listen to his heart and never give up on his dreams. It is truly a magical story, and so heartwarming.
 Favorite sound? The first sound of birds early in the morning on a winter day as the weather is starting to transition to spring.
 Least favorite sound? The scraping of a fork or knife on a plate. I cringe just at the thought of it!
Favorite food?  I go through phases. Recently, I have been loving anything I can make in my slow cooker.
Favorite place to be?  Laying on the beach on Long Beach Island with a good book and a nice breeze.
Advice to beginners? I still consider myself a beginner, but my advice to other beginners would be—keep an open mind, play to your edge and remember to breathe!

What do you like best about All That Matters? I love the atmosphere. As soon as I open the door, my body starts to relax and I feel ready to let everything else go.
Any other words of wisdom?  Love yourself unconditionally every day!
Thank you Chelsey!

Mindful Breathing Technique

Mindful BreathingNikki Juen of All That Matters demonstrates and explains mindful breathing technique. 
What it is:
Mindful breathing is a simple method of creating and cultivating an ever-deepening connection to the body and spirit. "Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally." Jon Kabat Zinn
What it does:
Mindful breathing is a present pause and a great way to connect to the wisdom within. Breathing tends to be short and shallow during stressful times like the holidays as we rush to meet our many obligations. By bringing attention to your breath, the nervous system is calmed enough to receive the intuitive wholeness that is always present. With regular practice you will find yourself less swayed by external forces.
How to do it:
Take a seated position, this can be on the floor at home, in a chair at work and even in a parked car. In this position, the spine, the shoulders and the head are stacked centrally over the hips. If you are sitting on the floor, raise the hips up onto a bolster or pillow to bring ease into the low-back. 
Rest the left palm gently over the heart and the right palm on the low belly below the navel. Take a few deep exhales settling down into your seat as you lengthen the torso with each inhale. Slide the shoulder blades gently towards the spine and soften the front of the chest. Relax the jaw and allow the tongue to be plump in the mouth.
Bring your awareness into the palms and notice how the breath creates expansion in the ribcage and belly. Slowly lengthen each breath so that you feel your breathing become even and deep. Even if you do not feel your belly moving with your breath, bring curious awareness to the hand on your belly and allow the awareness of your breath to encompass the entire torso. Breathe this way for ten breaths or until you feel calm and satisfied, slowly opening the eyes and releasing the hands. 
The space of the low belly governs our abilities to be in relationship with others. By moving into this part of the body with mindful breathing we become more present and return to the truth of our own heart before we interact with the world.
Nikki Juen,