I went in for acupuncture and I received so much more.


I enter Erin Rose Vaughan’s healing space and I am met with a welcoming and sincere face. We speak about how we remember each other from a teacher-training that I took a couple of years ago, where she taught the anatomy classes.


Before I lay down on what appears to be a massage table, she asks me what’s up with my body, I tell her that I always have shoulder and neck tension. She responds that a lot of people usually suffer from this.


As she starts to access the acupressure points of my body, she explains what they are and affirms that I have tension in the places that I mentioned. She carefully explains that she will place needles in specific points, it is clear that I am in good hands.


We briefly talk about the difference in her healing methods as opposed to common Western healing practices. For me, the biggest difference is that she is clear of judgement and genuinely cares about my wellbeing. I feel like I can tell her what is going on with my body completely and she understands. My questions and concerns are met with a plethora of knowledge.


As she places the needles in the acupressure points, I feel a tingling in my arms, legs and lower spin. After a few minutes of the needle placement, I feel completely relaxed- as though I have just left a meditation class.


Once she is done with the needles, I receive a gentle body massage to ease tension and she informs me of the parts of my body that I will need to come back for.


This healing session is so informative and I look forward to the next time that I am met with Erin’s sincere and welcoming demeanour again.


Here is more about Erin Rose Vaughan:


Rose Erin Vaughan, MSAc, is an experienced  Acupuncturist, Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist, Yoga Teacher, and Anatomy specialist.  Her extensive training in a variety of modalities, techniques, sciences and philosophies has helped her to establish a contemporary and unique approach to heal her clients on an individualized basis in the New York City Metropolitan area.  She is the author of 2 books on energy anatomy and yoga.  She currently teaches Yoga classes in NYC and worldwide and run a Yoga teacher training.

Originally from North Carolina, Vaughan attended the NC School of Science and Mathematics, and then graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wake Forest University with a BS in Biology.  This began her dedicated research and study of anatomy, which is still an ongoing and vital aspect in her approach and treatment program today.  Shortly after graduating, she was licensed to practice Massage Therapy,  focusing on Trigger Point, Myofascial release, Deep Tissue and Sports techniques.  Her career includes residency as a Senior Massage Therapist and Yoga instructor at the notable Duke University Integrative Medicine Clinic & Diet and Rehabilitation Center for 3 years.  As one of the professionals there, she worked with doctors to treat a wide range of patients including those suffering from arthritis, heart disease, cancer, obesity, eating disorders, sports related injuries, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and more.

See more at www.bodyawarenewyork.com




Her book is available through www.bodyawarenewyork.com

Who knew that Pilates could be THIS fun?


I have only recently gotten into Pilates. Honestly, seeing a lot of friends and celebrities' Instagram posts about Pilates has inspired my interest into this low-impact approach of working out. Not to mention, also seeing some of the transformations by Pilates, leaving people's bodies more defined and with less cellulite.


Although, how our bodies look is not the main focus, it can be a bonus to the benefits of having a healthy and full range of muscular activity.


I would be lying to you if I told you that when I walked into East River Pilates' Open Reformer class I wasn't nervous. However, my nerves began to calm as I spoke to The Instructor, Helen Phelan. She was warm, kind and made me feel comfortable even though it was my first time on the intimidating machine.


The class took place at their studio on Broadway and was 55 minutes long, which went by pretty quickly. Clearly, I was having fun. Who knew that was possible? I had always thought of Pilates being boring and taking up a lot of my time or too hard. Well, I was wrong!


She instructed the class very well and used terminology that applied to anatomy but not in a show-off way, just to inform us. When she adjusted us, it was clear that she had every intention of guidance; not force.



When I visited the other location, which is a bit bigger but still the same clean decor, friendly faces and fresh smell, I took an intermediate mat class. The class was led by Tina Luo. Her instructions were clear and she made sure to check on each of us to see that we were doing the postures correctly. Which I greatly appreciate about East River Pilates. I felt like I was in good hands.


Tina played urban pop from the early 2000s, which brought back great memories of me being in High School and helped me get through it easier. It was a challenging class. However, when I wanted to give up, Tina came around to reassure me that I could get through it. I always appreciate positive affirmation and, East River Pilates oozes positivity, challenge and fun.


I recommend this studio as it is fun, friendly and the next day my body was tighter- literally magic! I plan on practicing Pilates myself at least once a week here. 


*East River Pilates has two locations on Broadway and  South 1st, both in Williamsburg.


Here is more on the instructors:



HELEN PHELAN Photo by Dan Batten


Photo by Dan Batten

Helen began teaching mat Pilates in 2013 while finishing her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography and BA in Psychology at Elon University, but found a deeper passion for the method after making full recovery from a dance injury that she attributes to its rehabilitative powers. Since completing her comprehensive contemporary equipment certification in 2015 under Lawson Harris, Helen maintains her education with various workshops in NYC and has further studied Prenatal/Postpartum Pilates & Diastasis Correction, Gait Correction, Pilates for the Elderly, Pilates for Scoliosis under Erika Bloom and Reiki 1 at Maha Rose. Helen's classes are both athletically challenging and technically specific for the beginner and advanced practitioner alike. Helen lives and teaches in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at East River Pilates. When she's not at the studio, she's learning French and taking her new puppy to the dog park. Find out more at www.helenvphelan.com@helenvphelan 





Photo by Hayley Hill

Originally on the path to becoming a physical therapist, Tina was first introduced to Pilates while she was completing an internship at The Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City. After becoming certified on the reformer, she got hooked and realized that Pilates is not only incredibly effective, but that teaching it is really rewarding.

Tina believes Pilates can be incorporated into any form of exercise and has previously taught boot camps, interval training, and TRX, all with a Pilates mindset. With her knowledge of anatomy, experience working with diverse body types and fitness goals, and background in rehabilitation, multiple sclerosis, and pre and post natal clients, her teaching style is informed, precise, and tailored. In Tina's eyes, Pilates should be challenging and never boring!


Yoga meets Pilates-type challenge at SyncStudio in Williamsburg


Image by Mike Skigen

As I enter SyncStudio, I am greeted by two genuinely friendly gentlemen at the front desk, Chris Montalvo and Javi Arteaga, a lead instructor at SyncStudio. 


I was ready to take Leslie Bish's SyncFusion class. 


As someone who has been practicing for almost 14 years, I highly recommend this class. The studio is clean and inviting. It is well-kept.There is no judgement or hierarchy, clearly everyone is welcome.


What made it so great? You might ask. For one, Leslie was very welcoming and knew her anatomy well. I can't tell you how many classes that I go to where teachers don't know what they are talking about. Which is no shade to those who don't; however, when teachers know what they are talking about, their students are able to trust them.


This type of trust is very evident as I felt comfortable jumping around and doing burpies. Which, as a yogi, is out of the norm for me but was so fun. The class consisted of a warm-up, a follow sequence and then Pilates or HIIT-type poses. It ended with a cool down and a surprise massage on the forehead with essential oils.


Her theme throughout class was about patience, which was exactly what I needed to hear. It's something that I struggle with as a New-Yorker- especially during tough times. I felt it very appropriate.


Overall, the class is very well-orchestrated and not that far out for Yogis who are looking to try something new and keep  strengthening themselves. It was challenging but I could still keep up with the class and I wasn't awfully sore the next day.


I don't believe in rating but if you are looking for a class that is structured like yoga but has extra core-strengthening, arm-strengthening and a little thigh heat, I recommend giving this a try.


Besides this class, SyncStudio (which has been open in Williamsburg for 4 years) offers other classes that include cycling and training. Classes which I will definitely be trying soon.


Here is more on Leslie Bish: 


A Colorado native, Leslie’s has been a fitness instructor in New York for the past 3.5 years. Her classes marry the down-to-earth vibes of her life in the Rockies with the movement and energy of life in New York City. She teaches cycling, TRX, circuit training, yoga fusion at Sync Studio in Brooklyn, and most recently joined the ranks as a teacher at The Class by Taryn Toomey.


• How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching cycling for 3.5 years, TRX for 2.5 years and I began teaching yoga fusion last January.


• What has been your journey, physical and mental, to SyncStudio?

My journey at Sync has been one of great growth, both mental and physical. I never previously envisioned myself leading groups of people to become a stronger version of themselves. This process has brought me clarity on my own abilities. Through the process of training for each and every modality, I have had the opportunity to tackle a new and unique challenge - ultimately strengthening my personal practice.

• What inspires you to teach?

A lot of my inspiration comes from what I am currently experiencing in my own life. If I can speak to my needs, I feel like I will be able to speak to someone else's. I also find a lot of inspiration in music - when I hear a song that makes me want to get up and move, I know it has an energy that will only elevate the experience in my class.


For more information, visit: 



Located: 133 S 2nd St

Brooklyn NY, 11249
(between Bedford & Berry)

A class with a different take on Bikram yoga

I have shared my love for Bikram Yoga with all of you, which I have been practicing for seven years.

As with anything, doing the same thing day-in and day-out gets tedious. So, I was very pleased to start taking The Bikram Core class at Yoga Tribe Brooklyn.
They offer different slots throughout the week; however, the first one that I took and have continued to take is on Monday and Wednesday at noon. This class is taught by Saya Ishii Velasquez.

Even though the class follows the strict 26 postures and two breathing exercises, it adds other postures with the addition of music. Saya often plays music with chants which allows the body to automatically open up as vibration are heightened. She teaches a lot about expression through the body and openness of the mind.
The class is fun and I highly recommend it. I recommend it because her experience is very evident. Her teaching style is effortless, knowledgeable yet trusting. She allows students to express themselves. Which is a step away from the traditional style of Bikram, where everyone must do each posture or sit out.
If you are looking for a fun yet open approach to yoga, take this class! I have already seen my shoulders, hips and chest open up as a result of taking this class once or twice a week for the past three months. 
The class is 60 minutes long and is not heated; however, you still work up a sweat as though it is heated. 

Saya shares her yoga journey with us:
I have been teaching yoga for over 15 years now.Once I experienced the healing power of yoga and how it empowered me, I knew I wanted to share this with others.Yoga is so much more than exercise in that once you learn to quite the mind, tame the mind and turn it into a moving meditation- you're able to eventually free the body mind of stress, hence setting yourself free from suffering.Yoga has become the key to my peace and happiness on this journey called life and as I work on myself and get stronger physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually,it makes it easier to navigate through life circumstances  with a sense of ease, confidence, and clarity.In my class, yoga has very little to do with if you’re a new student or seasoned, whether you can do a headstand or get that leg over your head, but everything to do with showing up and trying , with an open mind to the possibilities. The goal is self-awareness. I am always humbled when students show up to class and entrust in me to guide them. I teach from the heart and if I am able to plant a seed or open new doorsfor my students, that's one successful day. I find teaching yoga very rewarding and am constantly learning from my students.  I am so grateful to have had found this path.I am and will always be a student of life.

“Work is love made visible “ Kahlil Gibran


*Visit:www.yogatribebrooklyn.com to view their schedule.