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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey


And The Award Goes To….Heather Kerner! Kudos To You!

We are pleased to announce that we have selected Heather Kerner, currently enrolled in YTT 200 at Niyama Yoga in Randolph; planning to enroll in the YTT 300 in January 2022, to be our Natural Awakenings #NextChapter Scholarship recipient for spring 2021. 

We were impressed by her dedication to continuing education and her focused alignment with the Natural Awakenings mission of healthy living along with a healthy planet. 

Winning Essay

I am inspired to continue my education because everything I have learned so far has enriched my life beyond measure. I love learning, I love how yoga and its philosophies have improved my life and that of my family. My professional pursuit is to bring the healing and principles of self-care and wellness of yoga to as many people as possible, particularly our youth whom I feel is in the greatest need of mindfulness. I feel this aligns with the mission of Natural Awakenings as we should all make ourselves a priority; that if we engage in the practice of healthy living, our planet will also directly benefit. 

I feel that anyone who seeks to further their education in the pursuit of bettering their lives so that they may be of service to others is deserving to be the recipient of this wonderful scholarship, whether it’s myself or someone else. I have spent a good deal of my life searching for my purpose; at times I often felt lost. Yoga has been my journey back to myself. The minute I stepped foot in the classroom at Niyama [Yoga Shalas] to begin my training, I knew I was where I belonged. As I have progressed through the program, I realize that I have at last found my purpose. I am a teacher and a healer. 

Between my college degree (BA in Psychology, Centenary College), experience in the field associated with my degree, professional experience in other fields (Farm Tour Guide for school trips and camps), as well as being a paraprofessional in middle and elementary schools, I have had many new chapters in my life. I feel these experiences have served to validate the discovery of my purpose which I found through yoga. I intend to continue to educate myself through personal study and exploration. Whether or not I am selected, I love learning and will continue to enhance my knowledge through continuing education opportunities. I appreciate the opportunity to be considered as the Next Chapter Scholarship Recipient.

Currently, Heather works as an assistant manager at Niyama Yoga Shalas. She is also the lead youth yoga program director for its studios as well as a RYT 200 Therapeutic Yoga instructor.


Congratulations, Heather, on your award winning essay. We hope that this scholarship will serve you well as you continue on your path of healing and service.

Tick Talk

Spring officially sprung on March 21. We have turned our clocks ahead. We are looking forward to warm winds, sunny skies and the smell of fresh cut grass. The daffodils and tulips have recently bloomed and we are just starting with the yard work that comes with the warmer weather.  Sadly, another season has started ramping up.  Tick season.

•             The best form of protection is prevention. Educating oneself about tick activity and how our behaviors overlap with tick habitats is the first step.

•             According to the NJ DOH, in 2022 Hunterdon County led the state with a Lyme disease incidence rate of 426 cases per 100,000 people. The fact is ticks spend approximately 90% of their lives not on a host but aggressively searching for one, molting to their next stage or over-wintering. This is why a tick remediation program should be implemented on school grounds where NJ DOH deems high risk for tick exposure and subsequent attachment to human hosts.

•             Governor Murphy has signed a bill that mandates tick education in NJ public schools. See this for the details.  Tick education must now be incorporated into K-12 school curriculum. See link:

•             May is a great month to remind the public that tick activity is in full swing. In New Jersey, there are many tickborne diseases that affect residents, including Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Powassan, and Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiosis.

•             For years, the focus has mainly been about protecting ourselves from Lyme disease. But other tick-borne diseases are on the rise in Central Jersey. An increase of incidence of Babesia and Anaplasma are sidelining people too. These two pathogens are scary because they effect our blood cells. Babesia affects the red blood cells and Anaplasma effects the white blood cells.

•             Ticks can be infected with more than one pathogen. When you contract Lyme it is possible to contract more than just that one disease. This is called a co-infection. It is super important to pay attention to your symptoms. See link.

A good resource from the State:


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