Wednesday, April 29, 2009


For forty days total I will be doing a japa. A japa is a meditative repetition of a mantra or name of God. The mantra or name may be spoken softly, enough for the practitioner to hear it, or it may be spoken purely within the mind. Japa may be performed while sitting in a meditation posture, while performing other activities, or as part of formal worship in group settings. The repetitions are counted using a string of beads known as a japa mala. The japa is best performed for forty days, 108 times at each session.
The particular mantra I will chant is one commonly used to remove obstacles standing in the way of your progress. I began this mantra two days ago with members of my YTT group. We will each perform our japa at 9:30 each evening. It is my sincere hope this helps bring release and easy passage to our YTT brother.
Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha
(ohm goom gana-pa-tie-ay na-ma-ha)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


It's ironic that I have looked forward to this day for many, many months. On a personal and professional level I have had this date etched in my calender with happy anticipation. Life had other plans and I find myself in an unexpected place, standing in disbelief. Rather than embrace return, I must celebrate a life once lived and now over. The hottest day of the year, fire blazing hot. Another irony, did he plan it this way?

I'm going to repeat a poem I have already placed on my blog. Please know its about you and me and everyone we know, and everyone we will never encounter.


You may not think the world needs you,
but it does.
For you are unique, like no one that has ever come before or will come after.
No one can speak your voice,
say your piece, smile your smile or shine your light.
No one can take your place, for it is yours alone to fill.
If you are not there to shine your light,
who knows how many travelers will lose their way
as they try to pass by your empty place in the darkness.


Brothers and Sisters be at peace and love yourself.........

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Gabriel Feld
July 20, 1985- April 24, 2009
Be well dear man and know that you are loved.
You are loved. You have always been loved and you always will be.
Dear sweet fellow yogi, as Priti told us that fateful first day,
we came together for a purpose
its karma
and it is good.
In your own words to me
shine bright and be a beacon of peace.
Until the next time
but oh I will miss you so.....
jai bhagwan baby


Virginia in Spring
Damn those roses—
They’re gossiping again,
Vain old ladies in their red hats!
Look at that ring of thorns—some necklace!
Their chatter fills the leaves of the pear tree,
Riling the mocking-bird,
Scolding the yucca,
Shaking down pear-blossoms.
Jack Peachum

Friday, April 24, 2009


Today was a stunning day. Beautiful, warm with that feeling of knowing you could finally peel off your long worn winter clothes and venture out without a coat or even a sweater. It was a glorious day for a hike and off we went with the addition of my best friends dog Katie. Everyone was in good spirits and a short hike turned longer while we drifted in the sunshine. We came across a lovely pond and spied a family of turtles sunbathing on a rock. It was quiet and peaceful and inexplicably we slowed down by the edge of the pond and one by one sat down loosing ourselves in silence and peace while gazing....just gazing at this little family enjoying the sunshine on this lovely Spring day.
jai bhagwan and peace to all,

Akash Mudra

According to the Tatav Yog Mudra Vigyan, the five fingers represent the five elements, and the middle finger represents akash, the space or sky element. Akash enables sound and thought to travel. This happens through the placement of the fingers and has an effect on the two hemispheres of the brain. by centering your energies and assisting information to flow through both hemispheres of the brain. When used with a tongue placement is has a positive effects on the limbic system. The beneficial effects include an energy charge helpful in developing noble and elevated thoughts and reducing feelings of annoyance. It strengthens the bones, is helpful in heart disease, and is said to be a cure for toothache and reduces ear pain by relieving congestion. For those of us looking to drop a few extra pounds and add a little lost energy from long cold snowy days and heavy evening meals this mudra can be quite helpful as it detoxifies the body by the elimination of metabolic wastes (through exhaled air, sweat, urine and stools), helps overcome a feeling of fullness/heaviness in the body or body-parts, and is helpful in overcoming discomfort caused by over-eating
Akash mudra is best practiced 45 minutes every day, either at one stretch or in three parts(i.e for 15 minutes, three times a day) If this is not possible practice when in a reclined asana for as long as you can. The ideal time is between 2:00 to 6:00 am/pm although you can practice at any time of the day. Do not practice this mudra while walking or if you have a hyper thyroid.
To form the Akash mudra join the thumb and middle finger. The index, ring, and pinky fingers are extended. The tongue placement can be added by placing the tip of the tongue to the upper roof of the mouth.

Be well and a happy and healthy practice to all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Life..... Green and Beautiful

April 22, 2009 is Earth Day. This day was created to increase awareness, and appreciation of our planet and the environmental issues we all face. Senator Gay lord Nelson, the originator began the first earth day by holding a "teach in" on April 22, 1970 to increase awareness of overpopulation and its effects on the planet. Over 20 million people participated. According to the Earth Day network, the April 22 observance is the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a half billion people in 175 countries.
I would like to suggest five great activities anyone can do to celebrate this wonderful planet we all live in. These activities take little to no money and can be done in Paris France, Bute Montana or Tilwadi India and all can be wheelchair modified.
Go outside and have a walk, focus on breathing fully.
plant something , it's good for your brain.
(no space, plant something in a pot in your apartment)
Make your yoga green.
If you haven't already make a commitment to recycle.
practice a few sun salutations outside.
Be well and have a wonderful day!
Miss. S

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Book Review

The Yoga Teacher by Alexander Gray is a novel about mid life change, coping with loss and coming to terms with the reality of life. We are introduced to Grace, a successful professional in the pharmaceutical industry. Although her external life is stable, her internal life is filled with grief and mourning. A widow, she has little in the way of human companionship. Her life is empty and the few people who occupy her time are empty as well. The only place she feels filled and comfort is the inside of a yoga studio. Through self reflection and honest appraisal she makes a dramatic decision to quit her job, obtain a teacher training certificate and become a yoga teacher. Through her journey we see Grace begin to fill internally. The shift is subtle, and the writer manages to convey this which is clever genius. The yoga teacher has a somber tone, which can be an accurate reflection for many who take on a new life. Although I enjoyed this read I was conflicted. Her emotional journey was realistic enough, but the flawless transition to financially independent yoga teacher was wholly unbelievable and disappointing. In all fairness the author was a yoga teacher herself and did have some rather high end clients. I suppose she tapped into her personal experience but its really not the norm for most of us. Placing that aspect of the story aside it was a good read especially on a rainy Spring day.

Book Review

Enlightenment for Idiots by Ann Cushman was a fun read. Cushman has created a wonderfully human character in Amanda, a young woman looking for her place in the world. Living in San Francisco, she works as a free lance writer while finishing her yoga teacher training. She's a bit down and out with a dead end job, an equally dead relationship and working only as a sub for other yoga teachers. Life is really not moving anywhere when she's given an assignment to journey off to India and write a how to book for westerners on yoga, ashrams and groovy guru's. I don't know Cushman's background but I would venture to say she's been to India. Her assessment was realistic and very funny at the same time. I found myself giggling a lot as I wandered through India with Amanada and Devi Das, her new found friend and eccentric travel partner. This is a fun read with heartwarming characters easy to like. A perfect book for the Summer, great for the beach.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tranquility Yoga

I really want to give a little shout out to my favorite class of the week. Every Sunday evening I make my way to Rhea Slichter's lovely bliss yoga class. This particular class, rest and renew is a restorative yoga with a deep emphasis on yin principles The hour and fifteen minutes is spent supported with blocks and we rarely leave the floor. The room is heated but with extreme moderation. Every other class given at this studio is boot camp, very hot, Baptiste vinyasa yoga. Get up and move it buddy! Sunday evening they bring it down to a really peaceful healing place which is borderline addictive when its been a tough week. I often pass right out in class, a lot of us do. It's incredibly good. Also it seems whatever aches and pains I go in with usually get worked out while I'm lying in a supported pose. This little yoga class is the best kept secret in the city......ssshhhh!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Peace, Love and Yoga

I was in upstate New York for the weekend enjoying food, family and catching up on all the gossip. I knew that the area I was staying in was close to the Woodstock Music Festival and inquired just exactly where the event had actually gone down. This sparked some hilarious stories from folks who had been there. Really funny stories that maybe I'll tell another time.
I did not pilgrimage out to the legendary field of peace, love and music - I don't think you can anyway, its somebody's farm, and who wants a bullet in the ass for trespassing - but decided to look for bliss via a local yoga class. I found what I was looking for at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch in Woodbourne NY. This is a peaceful and beautiful compound set in the Catskills. Excited by my discovery, I was hoping I might get a class similar to the yoga I practiced in India. The class was quite similar minus the leaky roofs, unheated studios and equally freezing marble floors. I am happy to report Sivananda has warm studios, wood floors and lots of uplifting personalities. It was enjoyable and brought me back to India in a pleasant way. The instructor was very nice and the class had a nice flow. I felt he could have included precautions, but he did offer a few modifications and occasionally stated the health benefit from the pose. I came away resolved to add more breath to the students I teach as well as my own practice.
There will always be areas where I strongly disagree with a traditional hatha yoga class such as headstand in the first third of class. Actually I refuse to teach or have people practice headstand in my classes as I feel most do not have the upper extremity strength required and unknowingly press down on the crown of the head causing compression and over time damage to the upper cervical area. I also believe if a headstand is on offer in the sequence then there should be spotters in the class.
Although I have my disagreements I really enjoyed the class and came away taking a full breath and feeling at peace. The ashram has a good feeling and seemed a peaceful retreat for those looking to escape the urban jungle. For individuals living in New York City the ashram offers a bus ( for an extremely modest fee) that will pick you up on Friday, drive you to the ashram, and then deliver you back into Manhattan Sunday evening.
Hari Om and peace, love and happy Spring everyone!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Prayer for Sunday

Hope is a state of mind,
not of the world.
Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well,
or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success,
but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.
Vaclav Havel