New Book Tackles the Importance of Friendship and an Interview!

There’s no denying that friendship is crucial part of our health. Whether it’s having someone to vent to, cry with or share a private joke, meaningful friendships can enhance your life and even heal. The new book, Friendship Matters addresses some of these issues as told by two clinical psychologists, Dr. Wendy Rapaport and Dr. Sanda Bernstein, and “best friends” as the celebrate the story, values and healing powers of friendship. In fact, good friendships are seen to be a good predictor of health, overall well-being and longevity.

New Book Tackles the Importance of Friendship and an Interview!

The book addresses their 47 years of friendship, as they examine the complexities of maintaining a good friendship through its many ups and downs. The book, a combination of memoir, life lessons and laughter, is a foray into understanding and further strengthening these ordinary yet extraordinary relationships. To learn more about this exciting new book, we chatted with authors, Dr. Wendy Rapaport and Dr. Sanda Bernstein, as we discovered more about the power of friendship and how having this connection is so crucial to our lives.

The Importance of Friendship in Friendship Matters

The Importance of Friendship in Friendship Matters

Wellness Patterns: Why was it important for you to cover the topic of friendship?

Dr. Wendy Rapaport and Dr. Sanda Bernstein: Who doesn’t want to brag about what they are good at? Seriously, we are so capable in our friendship- utilizing all the skills which we help inform patients everyday to use in their lives. We know that friendship has made us more effective in our interactions with others (spouses, work, families, other friends) and besides that, our laughter and wisdom which we share back and forth is a pleasure. Sometimes it is better to give than to receive and sometimes vice versa…and we do both. We want others to “have what we are having.” Truly we enjoy it everyday.

Wellness Patterns: What have you learned about yourself through your friendship with one another?

Dr. Wendy Rapaport and Dr. Sanda Bernstein: Plenty of self awareness and acceptance. We don’t feel ashamed…we feel accepted and understood and normal. Wendy has learned to be more precise and go deeper and Sandy notes Wendy’s persistence in her choices. Safety first is what we learned as kids: that’s what our friendship provides.

Wellness Patterns: What advice would you give to someone who has a toxic friend?

Dr. Wendy Rapaport and Dr. Sanda Bernstein: Notice it and check it out with your you are not “assuming” you understand their intent and you are letting them know how it feels. That makes you skillful for yourself and a good friend for the other. And if deliberate and conscious conversations don’t work, let them know what was so wonderful and what you will miss in your “dear john” letter (which you might or might not send…depending on the type of toxicity)

Wellness Patterns: What do you think friendship is so complex?

Dr. Wendy Rapaport and Dr. Sanda Bernstein: We have much in our pasts that contribute in a positive or negative way to our friendship, including our growing up experiences, relationships with siblings, experiences with friends as a young person and , self-perceptions (which can be wonderfully enhanced by a healthy friendship.) In some ways, if we communicate honestly, openly and kindly, it is very simple…and rewarding. When it is work, it’s worth the effort. Friendships are a big payoff.

Wellness Patterns: What can a reader expect in your new book, Friendship Matters?

Dr. Wendy Rapaport and Dr. Sanda Bernstein: Entertainment, knowledge, skill, and growth. Not fattening, except for growing in comfort and capability.

For more information on the book and authors, visit


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Understanding Iyengar Yoga

Did you know that there are more than 20 million people who practice yoga? This includes more than a dozen disciplines such as Iyengar yoga that can be confusing and overwhelming when you’re first starting out or looking for something new. This practice focuses on precision and alignment through focus, attention and controlling your breathing. Yoga teacher, Carrie Owerko, a certified Yoga Therapist, Laban Movement Analyst and Senior level Iyengar teacher, has been teaching and exploring the relationship between body, breath and mind for several years so we were excited to speak with her to learn more about her background and what is really involved in the practice of Iyengar yoga.

Interview with Carrie Owerko on Iyengar Yoga

Carrie Owerko on Iyengar Yoga 

Wellness Patterns: How did you get started in yoga?

Carrie Owerko: I began my daily yoga practice over 20 years ago. I was working in a Movement Theater company in NYC and was curious about the body/breath based meditative practices of yoga. After leaving the theater, I began studying Laban Movement Analysis at the laban Institute of Movement Studies In NYC and continued my yoga practice. My yoga practice is where I felt most integrated.

Wellness Patterns: Why do you think yoga is an important practice for people to try?

Carrie Owerko: I think yoga, especially Iyengar Yoga, is primarily about cultivating greater levels of awareness. It is about developing presence and the ability to engage with life’s joys and difficulties with the whole of oneself. That wholeness includes the body, the breath, the mind, the emotions, the intellect, the imagination. The practice of yoga helps develop this sense of integration. It also develops our capacity for variability. We become better able to adapt to the many variables, or curve balls, that life seems to throw at us.

Carrie Owerko on Iyengar Yoga interview

Wellness Patterns: How often should you practice?

Carrie Owerko: As for practice, it is most effective as a daily endeavor. It doesn’t have to be long–even 15 minutes can do wonders–but consis: tency is really important.

Wellness Patterns: What is Iyengar yoga?

Carrie Owerko: Iyengar yoga is an approach created by the late BKS Iyengar of Pune, India. This approach is known for it’s attention to alignment, the creative use of props such as blocks, chairs, belts, etc., and a high degree of focus and attention. It is also know as an inherently therapeutic practice. BKS Iyengar’s work in therapeutic yoga is highly respected in the larger yoga community.

Wellness Patterns: How can someone can started with Iyengar yoga? Any tips?

Carrie Owerko: There are Iyengar Yoga classes available in many gyms and yoga centers all over the country. There are also classes and courses available online. I have one called Iyengar 101 with Yoga Journal, which is currently available. My approach to Iyengar yoga is playful. I am influenced by my study of Laban Movement Analysis, an ongoing study of biomechanics as well as my time in movement theater. I believe deeply in the power of play as a invaluable approach to learning anything. I feel it makes the disciplined practice of yoga more enjoyable and sustainable.

Check out more about Carrie here:

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How to Wake Up at 5am (and Not Dread it)

Like most people, I’m busy and I hate to use that as an excuse for not being able to get everything done but it is. And while I love the madness that is my life balancing the unbalanceable world of work/kids, I’m also desperately trying to reclaim some precious me time back into my life! One way that I’ve sort of be tapping into doing more for myself is by waking up almost everyday at 5am. Yes, 5am, an idea that even a few months prior would have seemed like a cruel joke. With some careful planning –basically mental prep work–I’ve been able to reclaim some precious time for myself. But it wasn’t easy and took some time to get used to the early mornings. Check out what worked for me to get some back into your life:

How to Wake Up Early

how to wake early

  1. Go to bed early! Well, this goes without saying but it isn’t easy, especially if you have some night owl roots. I really struggled with this one in the beginning because there is always something to do around the house or for work, clean or watch. But I was also realizing that when I stayed up late TV bingeing the night away, I woke up annoyed, tired and drained –all before the day started. To prep for waking up early, I had to make myself go to sleep early and shut down. That meant no phones, no TV, no doing stuff around the house. What helped in the beginning (and now) is to read at night, which is way more relaxing that starring at screens. I also make it a point to shut off the lights anywhere from 9:30-10:00pm. After a few days of waking at 5am, you’ll want you!
  2. Cut out late night eating. I used to be in the ice cream (cookies, candy) club after the kids went to bed. It felt like a reward for surviving bedtime, cause, ya know, it’s hard! While the instant sugar fix was awesome, it left me feeling groovy, wired and lethargic. Now I try to end my night with a cup of tea and that book. I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my overall state of mind when I don’t go sugar happy at night.
  3. Make a plan. You probably have a revering list of what you want to do with your me time brewing in your head but it’s crucial to have a very specific outline of what you want to accomplish during your AM hour (or hours). And, no, mindlessly looking online shouldn’t be a part of this. Whatever your goal is: plot it (putting it in my calendar helps me) and literally do it. For me, this is usually the time when I run, go to the gym or write. After the initial hardship of waking up early, I’m now excited and energized in the morning as I know that I’m tackling very specific goals that I plotted for myself.
  4. Enjoy coffee (or tea) and soak in the silence. I’m not (and probably) will never be someone in the ‘no coffee’ club. And that’s ok! As of late, I love the quiet mornings with a cup of Wicked Joe Organic Coffee. The Bella Maria line is everything and I just love this lighter blend featuring hints of berries and chocolate. This family-owned company also offers a complete range of other blends (with cheeky names) such as Wicked French, Wicked Italian, Jamaican Me Crazy and more! As a brand they are committed to producing exceptional coffees using sustainable business practices from crop-to-cup, featuring Organic and FairTrade beans purchased directly from farmers and cooperatives across the globe. Awesome, right! It’s the perfect blend for the early hours or for a midday pick-me-up.
  5. Prepare for setbacks. Waking up early everyday isn’t all sunshine and roses. It’s hard, it sucks, it’s not easy and on and on. Prepare to have days when you sleep-in (hooray for 6am) and give your body (and mind a rest). Just be sure that your ‘recharge’ day doesn’t become your new norm. Use that time for what it is and prepare to wake up early the next day as you get back into your new routine. Plot out your ‘days off’ on your calendar if that’s easier for your goal-setting.
  6. Reward yourself. Look waking up early is painful but it gets easier after every time you haul your butt out of the warm confines of your blanket. Treat yourself after you’ve done it consistently for a few weeks and continue to up the ante of your reward. However, as you know, waking up and reclaiming your me time is really the ultimate prize.

As someone who used to hate mornings, I now really love how much waking up early has allowed me to re-focus, take back my time, and essentially given me a piece of my life back.


Do you wake up early? What do you to prepare?

We were provides samples of the coffee for review. All opinions are our own.

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FREE Yoga on International Yoga Day!

International Yoga Day 2017 at Battery Park City

International Yoga Day 2017 is quickly approaching! And to celebrate, the Consulate General of India, in collaboration with New York City Public Advocate’s Office and the Parks Department, are presenting a celebration of mindfulness with 30-minute yoga and meditation sessions.

Led by such organizations as Hindu Temple of North America, Mallakhamb Federation, Urban Yogis, and the Arts of Living Foundation, among others, this free event will be held on June 19, 2017 from 5.00-8:30pm at Castle Clinton in Battery Park. While the admission is free, participants are encouraged to sign up, and the first 500 participants to register online will receive a free yoga mat!


Even more International Yoga Day Events

May 23 * 11am -12pm * New Beginning Nursery School, Tarrytown NY

June 10 * 10AM -12PM * Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows, NY

June 7 * Woodrow Wilson Middle School, Edison, NJ
June 9 * South Plainfield Middle School, NJ
June 12 * Woodbridge Middle School, NJ
June 21 * Mallakhamb Studio, South Plainfield, NJ

June 12 * 10AM -2PM * Massachussetts State House, Boston

June 15 * 11AM -1PM * Liberty Intl airport, Newark

June 15 * 2PM -4PM * Liberty Intl airport, Newark

JAi HANUMAN SHAKHA, HINDU SWAYAMSEVAK SANGH USA June 18 * 6PM -7PM * 80 E Barclay St, Hicksville, NY

June 18 * 7AM -11AM * Liberty Park, Columbus OH

June 21 * 7:30AM -7:30PM * Times Square, New York NY

June 21 * 7AM -9AM * State house lawn, Columbus OH

June 21 * 6PM -8:30PM * Public Square/Community Hall, Mayfield Village OH

June 24 * 5AM -7AM * Yoga with Baba Ramdev, Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City NJ

June 24 * 5PM -8PM * Kensico Dam Plaza, Westchester County, NY

June 25 * 9:30AM -12PM * Woodbridge High school, Woodbridge NJ

June 25 * 9:30AM -1PM * Arya Samaj, Hillside Ave, Jamaica NY

June 25 * 9.30AM -1.30PM * Hindu Temple, Flushing, NY

June 25 * 10AM -2PM * State of Connecticut Capitol Building, Hartford CT

The admission to the event is free for to participate, but registration is encouraged at:

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UNICEF Launches Early Moments Matter Campaign

UNICEF Launches Early Moments Matter Campaign

We all know about the power of brain development and how crucial it is during those first years. In fact, the brain develops at an incredible speed during those 1,000 days of life where a three-year-olds brain is twice as active as an adults?!. However, there are many children out there that are not fortunate to have someone look after them and nourish their developing minds.

In response to this growing issue, UNICEF recently launched #EarlyMomentsMatter, a new campaign supported by the LEGO Foundation to drive increased awareness about the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child’s life and the impact of early experiences on the developing brain.

During this critical time, brain cells can make up to 1,000 new connections every second that contribute to children’s brain function and learning, and lay the foundation for their future health and happiness. A lack of nurturing care – which includes adequate nutrition, stimulation, love and protection from stress and violence – can impede the development of these critical connections.

According to a recent series in The Lancet nearly 250 million children in developing countries are at risk of poor development due to stunting and poverty. But the need for greater investment and action in early childhood development is not limited to low-income countries. Disadvantaged children living in middle- and high-income countries are also at risk. UNICEF estimates that millions more children are spending their formative years growing up in unstimulating and unsafe environments, putting their cognitive, social and emotional development at risk.

According to a recent series in The Lancet nearly 250 million children in developing countries are at risk of poor development due to stunting and poverty. But the need for greater investment and action in early childhood development is not limited to low-income countries. Disadvantaged children living in middle- and high-income countries are also at risk. UNICEF estimates that millions more children are spending their formative years growing up in unstimulating and unsafe environments, putting their cognitive, social and emotional development at risk.

The campaign kicks off with #EatPlayLove – a digital and print initiative aimed at parents and caregivers that shares the neuroscience on how babies’ brains develop. #EatPlayLove assets explain the science in a straightforward, visually interesting way to encourage parents and caregivers to continue to make the most of this unrivaled opportunity to provide their children with the best possible start in life.

Investment in early childhood is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing the ability of all children to reach their full potential – increasing their ability to learn in school and, later, their earning capacity as adults. This is especially significant for children growing up in poverty. One 20-year study showed that disadvantaged children who participated in quality early childhood development programs as toddlers went on to earn up to 25 per cent more as adults than their peers who did not receive the same support.

Early childhood development interventions, such as the Care for Child Development package that includes training community health workers to teach families about the importance of playing with their children in a way that stimulates healthy development can cost as little as 50 cents (USD) per capita per year, when combined with existing health services.

UNICEF is calling for governments to increase investments in early childhood, expand health and social services offered to young children, and strengthen support services for parents and caregivers.

Please check out their Dear Baby video that highlights the importance of this issue:

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit

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