Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey


The Puzzle

Nov 01, 2021 07:01PM ● By Nicole Zornitzer

As I was reading a book recently, I was inspired by the author’s discussion on how life is one big puzzle and each day, if we are “woke”, we are given the opportunity to appreciate the tiny pieces as they begin to fit together. This got me thinking about the offerings that yoga has provided to me over the past two decades and subsequently my desire to share with my students and readers alike.

It was not too long ago when a conversation caused me to really think about the meaning of yoga and how it affects the practitioner in all aspects of life. I felt myself frustrated by the conversation, feeling I needed to justify how yoga is not just a physical practice nor is it purely what happens on the mat. Yoga for some may be an opportunity to disconnect from life for 75 minutes, or it may be a moment to push the body to its limits or possibly a moment to just breathe and be still. Yoga may also be the act of studying scriptures and engulfing oneself into the traditional yoga philosophy to find inspiration and motivation when feeling disconnected or lost. Yoga may be a moment for others to come together, share space with like-minded individuals. Yoga may offer a haven to acknowledge feelings or thoughts that tend to get stuffed away in dark places of the body. The yoga mat may become the eternal tissue that absorbs your tears, your emotional ups and downs, your deepest moments of yoga or acceptance of self.

Yoga, while not a religion per se, is my religion of choice. Yoga has been my guide for over 25 years, my one stable force, my energy when I felt depleted and my space to express myself fully and unconditionally without judgement. Religion can take on many meanings for everyone, but what is important as a source for solace is experiencing the feeling of being connected, to feel loved, to feel the most authentic version of self. Yoga has helped me in all aspects of life, work, marriage, motherhood, friendships and most recently experiencing a global pandemic. When I consider all of this, I realize that yoga is my religion and my haven of goodness. It has taught me to embrace all views, to experience loss with grace, to feel happiness with a humble heart and to enter each new day with a clear mind knowing that we can never truly predict what may or may not happen. The lessons are quite simple when you analyze them, treat each day as a new start and be the best you can be. If you are presented with challenges, or triggers to your own emotional stability, take them in stride and return to the lessons learned over a lifetime of commitment to a practice called yoga; become a light to the external world.

Our lives are a puzzle with no manual. When we live life fully and take risks, follow our instincts, and do the best we can do in every given moment, we are experiencing the journey to piece together a puzzle that once seemed an insurmountable task. Since reading the book that inspired me to write this article, I have begun to fully embrace each day and hold each precious puzzle piece close to my heart. Some pieces I wish I could throw into the ocean, others I wish I could send on a bicycle far away, some pieces I disposed of too early and now long for their return. Others I know await my masterpiece. In the end, I can credit yoga, the study of yoga philosophy fused with the physical benefits of being a yogi to my evolution. We each have our own puzzle to piece together. Some of us may complete our puzzle in this lifetime and others may not. What is important is to embrace each piece because they are in essence part of your soul and probably the most expressive representation of you.

Nicole Zornitzer, ERYT 1000, yoga therapist, founder of Niyama Yoga & Wellness Shala, located in Randolph, New Jersey; Upper Lake Mohawk in Sparta, New Jersey; Roseland, New Jersey; and Delray Beach in Florida.


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:


Follow Us On Facebook