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A Moment with Nicole Lynne Hooley

Awakening: How all this has begun? How did you begin your experience with healing and overall wellbeing? Was it a feeling, calling to you from your childhood or did it come later…? Sometimes it lays dormant within us until awoken, and very often because of a life event. How did your awakening come about?

Nicole: A little bit of both. I was definitely a spiritual child. I spent most of my time asking my parents and family members questions about God when I was little. My mom was not very religious so I would have her set it up so that I could go to church with neighbors, friends and other family members. From a young age I was had tried so many different churches. I went to a Presbyterian chuch, Methodist church, Catholic church, Pentecostal church and even participated in a few Jehovah’s Witnesses services. I was really fascinated by how every church was a very different, but they were all talking about the same things (when I could understand them). Also as a child I spent a lot of time with my grandmother was pretty spiritual and kind of religious. She was also an astrologer and card reader (like cartomancy – playing cards) – she was very gifted. I used to participate in her weekly Psychic night every Tuesday – it was my grandmother, my great aunt, their best friend and sometimes my other little cousins would come. We would work on psychic empowerment. It was just really fun, but I also was kind of afraid of it all. Then I guess came a time when I started to meet people who were against religion and realized that being spiritual was silly or uncool to them. So for a while I shut it off and became interested in boys and partying instead. That was my main focus until my grandmother passed away from cancer when I was about 18 years old.

Awakening: So… it was an important life event to remind you of all those things and bring them back into your life?

Nicole: Yeah. I lived with my grandmother from when I was in middle school until she past away my first year of college. When she was getting sick, I started turning away from spirituality, I was really angry, and I just had really bad behavior. It wasn’t really like me at all, because I was always pretty good, angelic… like if kids were bullying me, I would tell them I loved them. And when my grandmother did finally pass away – I – it’s weird – I started to kind of communicate with her. And that was when I came back to spirituality. And at first it was pretty religious, like me going to church, me to listening to religious radio stations and so on, trying to get connected with God and all this stuff. But something happened when I was listening to a radio station and it basically, it was like obsessed with the End of the World and it was really focused on all these sins we all have… it felt like we were all going to hell. It didn’t feel like what I understood Jesus to be teaching. It was just heavy and mean. So when at that time I was in college and I changed my major. I had previously been a History major and I switched to Philosophy and Religion, because I was passionate about figuring out the truth. I started to study all the different faiths, I took a Greek Orthodox Christian Course on the Gospels with a Priest, I studied the Torah with a Rabbi, I took courses on Buddhism, on the Yogic Traditions and of course on Modern and Classic Philosophy as well Existential/Post-modern Philosophy. Out of all of them, I believe Yoga stuck with me the most, because it was a road map to find truth on your own. Thats what I had been searching for. Not to be told what to believe, but on how to figure it out for yourself. Yoga teaches us how to connect directly to Truth, or ”God”, or Source!

Awakening: So like starting to connecting to you. As a part of God is in us.

Nicole: Yes, you’re here to awakening to your truth or find enlightenment! All the traditions hint to this, but there is a lot of confusion, because of all the rules that end up putting people in a box. But really It’s all so simple. The idea of yoga is just getting into your body and removing distractions. Through practice and finding clarity you start to tap into your truth and start to feel your direct connection to everything around you, and something stronger and more powerful than you. Its really so beautiful!

Awakening: Was this idea vibrating with you so much?

Nicole: Yes, there were little things back then too like “The Secret”, I remember watching it and my mind being blown. And when I was taking that yoga course my teacher said yes, the ideas from “The Secret” are from India, but it’s not about money, it’s about something much bigger. I was at the time was really living my life within the flow Universe, it was all magically unraveling. And that explained when I thought I was communication with my grandmother it was synchronicity. Things that felt almost magical would happen like I would crying and needing help and then I would look up and see a book with a beautiful message from her highlighted or just at exactly the right time something perfect would happen.

Awakening: You felt that magic was real?

Nicole: Exactly. I felt enchanted, like world was more colorful all of a sudden. So I started just flowing that way, magical things would just happen… and still do.

Awakening: And that was when Reiki appeared?

Nicole: It was a little bit later. Since I was little I knew I could put my hands on someone to help them feel better. I remember just holding my friend’s ankle to make it better. Just as like an intuitive thing. Then later on, one time a yoga teacher adjusted me in a yoga pose and then I realized she was across the room and I felt like she was still touching me and I was like WHAT IS THAT? And I asked her about it and she said “Oh, that’s just Reiki.” My mind was pretty blown.

Awakening: What is exceptional and specific with Reiki versus other methods?

Nicole: Reiki is basically the shortcut to get into a vortex, to get into a flow of the Universe. It took me 10 years to do all these other things, studying, figuring out, realizing. With Reiki you just tap in and then you get it.

Awakening: So just hands-on and you are there.

Nicole: Yes, and you need just to relax. There is a higher force that does the rest.

Awakening: And the class we have on our schedule Reiki Restorative Yoga is it your idea? I really like it! It takes you deep inside…

Nicole: Thank you. I decided to change the class to restorative a few years back and at some point I had an insight that it should be definitely Reiki Restorative Yoga. This has been a great way for me to feel that I am helping to awaken people on their path to healing. I learned Reiki combined with yoga from the same yoga teacher I learned Reiki from, Summer Quashie. I’ve taken a lot of what I’ve learned from her and many other teachers and made something of my own that is always growing and changing based on what I feel is needed.

Awakening: It is said in your description that a healing with you is like ‘an hour of unconditional love’. What is unconditional love for you?

Nicole: Unconditional love is for me the understanding that every single person in the entire world is sharing this same experience with you and we are all sharing collective consciousness and we all have our own presents, pasts, futures and at the end of it we all have the same feelings at some point. When I’m in that space I cannot help but feel and think, ’You are beautiful’, ‘I love you’, ‘I understand that you are so special’. I try to always, understand and recognize that person standing or laying in front of me is incredibly special.

Awakening: Like Namaste says ‘I celebrate the place in you where we are one.’

Nicole: Yes. And I try to hold the idea (and sometimes is hard because we are stuck in negative bubbles) that whoever shows up in front of me is meant to be there. Like whatever is happening is happening on purpose, it’s needed and it is a lesson. And the lesson is always coming as a reminder that we are all connected to the idea of unconditional love and to trust in source. That was the message in my opinion, that the Bible was supposed to teach.

Awakening: In this outside world there is more conditional love, and we all need to open our hearts for this unconditional which is completely different.

Nicole: Yes. And there is an understanding when giving Reiki that it is coming from the Source. I am only passing it along. Reiki teaches unconditional love in that no matter your state of mind or place on your journey you will receive exactly the amount of healing that you are ready for. For me that means that at the end of the day you are exactly where you are supposed to be other wise you would not be here. The universe is pure love and we are just remembering to tap into it regularly so that we can support each other. It is the universe’s love (or the love of the collective) that makes this all possible.

Awakening: Tell us about Intuitive Healing, what is about? Is it a little bit different than Reiki?

Nicole: Yes. For my Reiki Sessions the treatment is just very traditional and I follow a pretty standard sequence for placing my hands and what not. While for Intuitive Healings I don’t follow any particular sequence or rules. My Intuitive Healing sessions I incorporate crystals therapy, aromatherapy, reiki hands on healing and own personal guidance from Source and Experience. With Reiki I might give some hint of guidance, but I try not to because it is not really about that or me for that matter. But in Intuitive Healing I spend more time on guiding the client either through personal insights, practices that I think will help them and the like. This is because I trust that they are there for that reason. My intuitive guidance has kind of been my gift since I was a child when even adults came to me for advice. I am an old soul. So mostly Intuitive Healing sessions are kind of intuitively guided sessions. I think of them more like a channeled session. I often start to pick up on the clients energy up to 48 hours before the session. Each session is very unique are really special to me.

Awakening: If there is anybody who is willing to have a healing with you and who is not so familiar with energy healings. Is there any special need or requirements to prepare for the session?

Nicole: I think the best way to prepare for any spiritual work is to cleanse yourself a little bit. So  for the day before try to not to eat any animal products like dairy or meat, avoid fried foods and drink only water. I would also advice to try and clean up and organize your living space by removing all clutter. We don’t always realize that our surroundings reflect what is going on with in you or that they are impacting you energetically. What you want is to have some extra clarity (this clearing of the body and space will help). This clarity will help you understand why you are getting Reiki/Intuitive Healing session, like what is the point? When we have the clarity we are more likely to see results. But it is also important to release any expectations, and know no matter what, reiki and intention setting is serving you and your highest good. It’s not working in normal time and space. It’s a multidimensional experience.

Awakening: And what life issues are for healings?

Nicole: I think all of them, I do have a lot of clients who come to me because of blockages and who need their Energy or particular areas of life to be flowing better. I also have a lot of people to come to help with their creativity, depression or anger, more emotional things. There are also people who come to me who are having physical pain who get relief from Reiki and restorative yoga. I have never healed anyone’s cancer or anything like that, but have helped people with cancer feel more at ease during their treatment process. Honestly, from my understanding, Reiki is healing you on a soul level and a lot of elements, difficulties and obstacles are on our path are connected to our soul or whole self. So when we get sick it’s because we are not connected to our truth. So every obstacle coming in our way is a reminder to connect the truth, to tap in. A lot of times we forget or we don’t know that theirs more to life then what we are seeing in front of us. There is usually a message or lesson to seek for to be happier and Reiki helps to facilitate this learning/understanding.

Awakening: To end on a constructive note… do you have any guidance or message for all people who will be reading our interview?

Nicole:  Just that my services are designed around empowering others. My goal is to turn a light on so you can do it for yourself. And my hope is that as many people receive the empowerment and healing that they need so they go out and pass it on. The idea is to make as many people feel good as possible and help them to find their truth.

Awakening: Thank you so much Nicole, we appreciate you find time. We are happy we have you in our healing center.

 

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Nicole Lynne Hooley

Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master & Intuitive Healer.

Nicole specializes in Teaching Restorative & Therapeutic Vinaysa Flow Yoga for Healing and Empowerment. Her Reiki & Intuitive Healing Sessions have been called “an hour of unconditional love”. Nicole has been highlighted by Huffington Post and YogaCityNYC. She also teaches our Reiki Training here at Awakening Healing Center.

More: http://awakeningny.com/our-team/

A Moment with Steven Prestianni

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“Breathing. That is the joy of life.

                           After that is everything else…”

 

Steven Prestianni, who also is known as Paz, Anadabhairava, or Pastrami, is a New York City yogi, musician, teacher, theologian, cyclist, and much more. Over a cup of hot lemon ginger tea, he explains these truths of his, simply and genuinely. “Breath is what bridges the yoga of the body to the yoga of the mind.”

 

At Steven’s Thursday evening Hatha Yoga Class at Awakening NY, students are gently guided through a more traditional style of yoga. Contrary to the popular and more modern Vinyasa Flow or Power Yoga, Steven teaches (and practices) the “yoga of the ancients.” His style derives directly from his teacher and mentor Sadguru Sri Mahayogi Paramahamsa, founder of the Mahayogi Yoga Mission.

 

“Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff from taking various forms.”

 

This quote from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali best embodies Steven’s classes. Poses are held at length, in quiet and stillness, focusing on breath, with intermissions of savasana (corpse pose). Steven’s soft voice methodically instructs how to get into and out of these poses. He glides from student to student, expertly adjusting hips, arms, necks, legs, slipping their bodies deeper into the asana. The class concludes with alternate nostril breathing (or another form of pranayama) followed by silent meditation.

 

Photography by Jannelle McCoy

Please, do not be dissuaded from this more traditional class, as the two hours seemingly float by. Just like when in an extended pose, the moment you may start wavering and thinking you can do this no longer handle it, is the moment it comes to an end. After class you, you will feel as if you are wrapped up in a cloud. You’ll feel fuzzy, warm, and your heart will be filled with this genuinely kind energy that Steven so graciously pours out.

 

Now, Steven was never seeking to become a yoga teacher. He was raised in a Catholic Italian family in New York, to which he attributes his intrinsic interest in religion and meditation. As a young adult, squatting in the Lower East Side with many like-minded, creative people, he made his living as a skilled carpenter and a mover. During this chapter of his life, Steven immersed himself in learning about the different religions and spiritual transitions of the world.  Around this time, he came across Srimad Bhagavatam, which provided him with his first understading of “yoga.” This, in part, lead him to Sri Swami Satchidananda, founder of the Integral Yoga Institute, to whom he was introduced to by a friend.

 

As Steven deepened his practice, teaching opportunities began to manifest. Some remarkable yoga teaching experiences include: teaching female inmates at the Kearny Correctional Facility; physically challenged and wheelchair-bound members of the Multiple Sclerosis Society; and mentally-handicapped individuals at AHRP. Steven explains that is was while working theses communities, that he was able to develop as a teacher, learning how to work, guide, and nurture different types of human beings.

 

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Photograph by Jannelle McCoy

Over the next decade or so, as New York evolved, Steven’s life gradually shifted. His building became legalized. He started getting work teaching yoga closer to home. And, he no longer needed to work as a carpenter or mover anymore.

 

Though Steven is dedicated to the yogi tradition of renunciation – the elimination of all mundane desire – his life is more the full. Monday through Friday he teaches yoga at studios in Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as to private clients. On weekends he leads workshops and teaches at Yoga Teacher Training Programs. And, on top of all this, he fits in his own yoga, meditation, and music practices.

 

  ….But, he would never claim to be busy, “for being busy, connotes being out of breath, frantic, and unbalanced.”

 

Steven Prestianni teaches Hatha Yoga on Thursdays at 7:15pm at Awakening NY in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Sign up for his class here.

 

 

Past Articles on Steven:

Yoga Sleuth: “Physical Being, Spiritual Existence with Steve Prestianni” (2014).

The Villager: “Finding peace with Paz and $7 yoga on Sixth St.” Laurie Mittelmann (2008).

Awakening Spotlight: Mariola Zaremba

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Mariola Zaremba, Founder of Awakening Healing Center, Energy Healer, Yoga Instructor (Polish/English)

A sparkling light that radiates from within, it’s hard not to notice Mariola from afar. Awakening Healing Center is an extension of Mariola’s own journey of personal transformation. Mariola’s mission is to help change the world for the better by helping people focus on personal growth and awareness to peace and a healthy environment. Mariola practices energetic hands on therapy – Aura and Chakra cleansing, Reiki, Chakra Therapy & Shamanic Healing. Her newest project is her beautiful Chakra Healing Yoga classes on Tuesday’s at 6pm. These classes are focused on activating, cleansing & aligning our Chakra wheels of energy in our electromagnetic field. Chakras are responsible for all aspects of our life & well being. Through special asanas (poses) breath work & chanting connected with each Chakra students learn how to establish balance in their body and how to heal their-selves inside & outside of the classroom. Often Mariola will set up students with a partner/classmate to find a closer connection with each other and feeling their etherial body & emotions. Mariola has been exploring the Chakra world for many years. Anodea Judith encouraged her to proceed with this healing modality. 

Mariola Zaremba came to this country 24 years ago from Poland. As she recounts, “I am a wounded healer because my journey was through my own rocky experiences. The most profound work I offer is Aura and Chakra Cleansing…the knowledge must be in you, ancient wisdom from previous incarnations”.Mariola explains, “I didn’t expect myself to become a healer…the path found me”. Previously, she was a Real Estate Broker and Developer in Brooklyn for 15 years and in a recent interview with Tom Flud, Mariola explained, “I was successful but, empty in my heart, rushing and rushing for more and more.” After a diagnosis of skin cancer, Mariola recognized this as a “wake up call” and began to change her lifestyle. She started first with yoga to calm her body and mind and then meditation and exploration of shamanic practices. Listen to Mariola’s Interview with Open Center’s Tom Flud Here: Conversations with Healers

Three years ago Mariola opened Awakening NY-Healing Center in Brooklyn. Awakening Healing Center is an eco friendly oasis for those who want to disconnect from City life, relax, heal themselves and grow spiritually on a deep level. You can stop in and buy a healing crystal or necklace, take a yoga or Pilates class, book a massage or sign up for a life changing healing session with Mariola or any of the members of her carefully selected team.

Mariola wants people to come to Awakening not only to exercise in a Yoga class, but to heal and to leave more whole and complete. Her studio is staffed with teachers, therapists, healers and staff that uphold her vision for deep healing and relaxation. Awakening Healing Center is Mariola’s gift to her community and it shows. You will meet Mariola at most of the events and workshops held at Awakening. From participating in World Peace Meditations to Leading Healing Cacoa Ceremonies, it is apparent that Mariola is not just the owner of Awakening Healing Center. She is a leader and visionary with a pure heart and a deep desire to see everyone around her thrive with her.

 

This blogger’s recommendation: 

Book a Reiki with Shamanic Healing or Chakra Cleansing Session with Mariola!

I recently traded a healing session with Mariola and the benefits are still unfolding. Mariola caring and benevolent energy safely exposes your shadow side so that you might move forward on a path to more enlightened living. Not only did the session create a huge shift in my life, she also sent me on my way with tools to help support my transition. These sessions will shake something up in you, they are powerful, however in the best possible way! Trust the process and you will be happily surprised by the results. – Nicole Lynne Hooley