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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey


The Gift

Dec 02, 2021 08:21PM ● By Nicole Zornitzer

During this holiday season and an increasing amount of pressure on people to spend more, have more, do more to feel appreciated or loved, I have taken a different approach on the meaning of a gift.

For the past 24 months, I have shared in my writing various yogic philosophies and concepts to help the public understand yoga instead of being intimidated by it. I have shared stories of my life and its challenges; emotional or physical. I have relayed vivid recounts of my adventures on the Appalachian Trail, tales of being a parent, a daughter, a human. The common thread through all these offerings is yoga and how yoga has shaped me to be who I am and what I offer to my community of dedicated followers. 

Yoga has taught me the art of living in the present moment. Yoga has enabled me to breathe when I felt anxious, cry when I need to release, laugh when joy enters, appreciate those around me, acknowledge my environment and look for the subtle signs that the universe gives each day I rise. Yoga has also enabled me to leave, when necessary, move past energy that I do not want in my life and relinquish the need to control others’ behaviors or actions that are not in alignment with my own values.

When I fuse together all my passages, I have written over these 24 months, I see a collage of a human whose quest is very simple; to understand the why and then share this with others so they don’t feel alone. As I think back to 17 years ago when I decided to go down the path of embracing a yogic lifestyle, I see now that I was looking for more meaning to this existence. I was drawn to the physical and the spiritual aspects of yoga and Ayurveda, which has now evolved to include sound and energy healing. 

Yoga is an opening into the realm of living life fully with an appreciation for how we care for ourselves and others and in turn how we show up each day, wherever we find ourselves. We also learn to reflect on our past with a deeper understanding as to the why, even if we don’t quite understand it. Our past is what brought us to the now, and in most situations the now is where we want to be. As we all know, there are challenges, there are sad times and there most certainly will be loss. However, what we gain from those situations and how we move forward is what matters most. In yoga, we breathe in new energy and as we breathe out the old energy, do so with gratitude. 

I receive a gift each day, the gift of being able to share me. The gift of doing what I love to do. The gift of being who I want to be with no apologies. The gift of making mistakes and learning from them (and then sharing them!). The gift of showing up every day and holding space for others. So, for the holidays this year, my only request is to wake up one more day and then one more day after that, so I can continue to serve as a light for those that may be in darkness and a source of inspiration for those that feel lost. To those that have enjoyed reading this column, I thank you. You are a gift to me and inspire me to continue my journey in 2022.

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:


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