Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

Well here we all stand testament to completion of another year. This has been a momentous year for me on a personal level. I've struggled with every change that's occurred this year. Principle people in my life, who I see as a rock or anchor have left. My dad was the first to go and I'm still trying to adjust. I miss him every day, I still feel lost. Then there was a wave of retirements in my work life and those that moved on to do other things. I feel quite alone not seeing these folks in my everyday hustle and bustle. I came across a quote that pretty much sums it up, " Love your job, but never fall in love with your company because you never know when it stops loving you...." In the midst of all this leaving and never coming back and adjusting to new and really unpleasant changes, I have been blessed with a solid group of people who love me and have held my hand and told me over and over again that, "It is OK, just stand up, It's time to have courage."

In February I make the first of what I believe will be a succession of changes that I must have faith are for the better, but I am struggling, and continue to vacillate between apprehension and anticipation. A long time ago I watched a biographical movie about Robert Crumb. At that period, while filming, he was relocating from San Francisco to a small village in the south of France. At one point he is looking at his nearly empty house right before the move and states, " The die is caste, there's no turning back now." Oh I understand!

Yesterday I took a lovely evening kundalini class. Kundalini class always ends with this song. So I leave you till 2012 with this sweet message.

May the long time sun
shine upon you,
All love surround you,
and the pure light within you
Guide your way on.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

In your light
In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.

Good cheer and love to all.
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stepping Stones

Sometimes in life in order to get where you want to go you have to take just one step at a time only. If you try to skip a few steps along the way you might not be successful in reaching your goal or making your destination. That's where I am at this moment, one step at a time. I've passed the point of impatience. I've reached indifference. I know I'm on the right path and I'm not turning around. There are no more obstacles in my way, or I should say, I don't view anything as an obstacle at this point. With each step I find more peace and I'm able to let go. Yeah, its all good!
Wishing everyone non attachment and sweet surrender in your pursuits.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Believe and Do Your Best To Breath!

As my life fills with clarity and change I know its important to realize everything is going to be ok. I'm making such fundamental changes in my foundation that I find myself living in a strange place in my head. I vacillate between between knowing it will work out and fearing something will get in the way, preventing me from making the change that needs to happen for me to move on. I find I'm holding my breath a lot these days. I have been working toward a doctorate for many years. Juggling full time work and a doctorate program is challenging, frustrating, slow going and so so exhausting. It's time to complete my program and that means a huge shift in my day to day living. I'm ready to begin so that I can reach completion. I'm ready to begin, to end and to move on. I just have to be patient a while longer. Patience and optimism needed daily in my life these days.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's All Ok

I don't have all the answers or everything figured out for what lays ahead of me, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous, but if I don't make a change in my life nothing is going to improve. Sometimes its a change in attitude, sometimes action is needed. This upcoming change is certainly more than attitude. I'm taking a big leap and I'm jumping off the treadmill. November and December are all about getting ready and then I suppose however ready I am, I am. I facilitate between pep talks and fear. I know its time to do this. In order to turn the corner and move on I have to, and I've put it off long enough. I realized that if I tried to figure it all out, it was never going to happen. Actually once I made the decision it has become a lot easier to make choices and follow through. I know I'm making the right decision. If I don't do this I'll be perennially stuck. There's an untapped resource inside of me and if I don't make the leap its going to stay stuck forever. I just have to realize that it's going to be slow going in the beginning and that's ok, that's ok......

Shanti, good spirits and feelings of well being to all, happy holidays.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Time and Healing

Well I went down hard. I'm not exactly standing tall yet but I am feeling a bit better. I'm going to need to take it easy for a while. Rest and care is needed.

As I stated in an earlier post the universe is insisting I listen and then take action. I think that's a little of what this latest run down feeling was about, slowing down long enough to face the facts. Scary as it is, I did, and my schedule will change radically after the Christmas break. I feel I'm reclaiming my life, leaving old outdated modes behind and letting go some very very self destructive patterns. I'm looking forward to the freedom and opening a new chapter in my life.

In the past few years my creativity has been replaced by exhaustion and feelings of well being are a dwindling concept. When able to choose, why this? I'm grateful for what I was given and an overflowing amount of knowledge and skill I gained in the process, but I'm also incredibly grateful to leave it behind and move on. It's time, endings can be good too.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Run Down

I'm a bit run down. This season has been filled with too many things to do in too short a period of time. I've been routinely double and at times triple booked for months now. I knew I just had to make it up the last big hill and things would slow down to a reasonable rate, if I could just make it a bit longer I wouldn't have to run so hard on the treadmill.

In the back of my mind I have been a little concerned. I have been feeling so run down without respite for so long I feel I'm really pushing the envelope. Cold and flu season has been viscous this Autumn and increasingly more and more folks I come into contact with have been sick. One day about a week ago literally every one I came across was sneezing, sniffling, coughing and looked like they should be in bed, not out and about in the world. Added to this I got a flu shot in September and I had a bad reaction which is only now beginning to dissipate.

Knowing I need to do something to help myself, I have taken some steps which may or may not be helpful as I am starting to feel a little wane myself. When overexposed by too many germs I have found Echinacea Goldenseal is an excellent remedy to stave off whatever might be coming. Use a moderate dose if you feel sickness “coming on.” For an average weight adult, use 1 dropperful 3 times per day. Pump up the vitamin C, but be careful with fruity drinks, many contain large amounts of sugar. Sugar is hell on the immune system. I personally think Halloween jump starts the cold and flu season. Of course yoga is always beneficial, but beware if something is hiding in your system asana can facilitate the germs journey out of your system which means after a bit of yoga you may feel worse not better. Your getting the junk out of your trunk so to speak, but it can be disheartening to try to do something to make you feel better and end of feeling worse. Last but never least and always the hardest to put into practice, rest. My sixth grade teacher, really a not very nice lady who I do not look back on fondly, did have one piece of brilliant advice. If you are sick stay in bed till you feel well, then stay in bed one more day. So many of us cut our healing period short only to find were sick all over again. Giving the body time to heal dramatically shortens the amount of time you feel listless and dull. If we don't give ourselves enough time, the body will heal, but the immune system is weakened, which means the next snuffly sneezing person you come across will bring you right back into a cold.

If your not feeling well, be good to yourself, love yourself up and take some time to feel better.

Peace, love and good rest everyone.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Strong Storm

An early snow storm plowed through the northeast corridor this weekend. I'm slightly annoyed and mildly pleased at the same time. I have been working non stop since September with no time for the things that really matter to me. I have finally finished all that needed to be done for other people and I can now resume having my own life. I have a few very important projects I begrudgingly placed on hold which I can now complete. Today I am finally able to sit down and work on my own projects. I should be able to finish what I need by Thanksgiving which truly will feel like a blessing and bring a happy feeling in my heart to say the least. I can't begin the next chapter in my life till these pieces are completed. The universe has been sending me some tough lessons. I am really struggling with self empowerment, respecting the value of my time and understanding the importance of taking time for myself. It's all about the choices I make, in the end its up to me. It doesn't matter who is around me giving me hardship and struggle I have a choice. There's a strong storm in my heart which probably matches what's happening outside my door.
Peace to everyone.........

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Time to Slow Down

Autumn has come with all it's glorious colors and subtle reminders it's time to slow down and prepare the body and mind for a colder climate. Diet, sleeping practices and yoga shift into a new, slower more mindful gear, or at least they should. Unfortunately for many of us, the Autumn signifies a time when projects and routines gear up again. Kids need to be reluctantly shuffled out the door, deadlines begin to loom large and holidays start to hit us immediately. It's hard to slow down when the schedule continues to fill with more and more obligations as the weeks go by. The older I get the more responsibilities I have and the more I'm asked to do both personally and professionally. Finding a balance isn't easy and keeping a balanced routine can be near impossible. I may have discovered what works for me, but it can be hard to fuse what others need of me and what I feel I need to do to stay balanced. The Autumn is a time of great and beautiful change but also draining and can cause daily agitation. Here are a few things to consider which may help make the transition a bit smoother:
  • Autumn is predominantly a cool, dry, windy season. This applies to the weather and our internal physical state. This is a good time to apply lotions and oils to the skin.
  • Autumn is a time when we are especially vulnerable to feeling tight, dry, and rough. Insomnia and joint pain are also common at this time. Include warm herbal teas and try to decrease your caffeine intake. Try yerba maté to give yourself a little lift throughout the day without the adrenal burn from caffeinated coffee.
  • It is common to feel ungrounded, spacey, fidgety or unable to focus.
  • A yoga practice should include a lot of sitting poses, slow sun salutations, legs up against the wall ( inversion) and spinal twist to calm the system.
  • According to ayurvedic medicine, apples help draw heat out of the body. Heat accumulates over the Summer and can cause digestive distress in the winter season. The pectin in apples also helps to clean and heal digestive mucosa. Eat as many apples as you like in any form you find desirable.
  • Try to get to bed a little earlier.
  • Practice slow nostril breathing through the right nose to help increase the immune system.

Be well and try not to be too hard on yourself during this change

Sunday, October 9, 2011

There's Something Happening Here

Today my mother and I journeyed to our cities own demonstration in solidarity of Occupy Wall Street. My mother a flower child from the 60's and me stuck somewhere in the middle traveled down to give our support. There were many people and the feeling was one of overall peace, justice, and solidarity. There have been many demands and there are a few I can't agree with but the majority I must say, I stand right beside my fellow citizens. This was a peaceful and organized demonstration which excluded no one. All ages, all circumstances, all welcome and all have a voice. The organizers and the majority of the population were from the millennial generation. I am so taken and so proud of this generation. I feel a stirring, perhaps this will grow into something more. I saw many, many signs, a few were indications of something bigger taking form; taxi drivers are in the 99%! nurses are in the 99%! The largest health care workers union in our state is openly supporting the movement and supplied the medical tent, The Unitarian committee set up a tent for vespers, support and a place to pray and mediate. There is definitely something happening, the movement has grown to 25 cities since its inception sometime in July 2011. Is this our Arab Spring, American Autumn?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Something Stirring

Is a new generation waking up and coming of age? I hope so, this country needs it's youth to wake us from our lethargy. I hope this is really happening. When a generation wakes up its usually widely looked over during the initial blink, then with time quite impossible to avert. Called on the carpet for bad behavior, generations before have changed social patterns for the better time and time again. I hope it's happening again!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

HELLO? Are you Listening to me!

The universe is having a rather loud little chat with me. Time again for BIG, BIG change. OK, inhale, exhale and embrace. I'm ready, nervous but also excited and READY. Almost time to go, quite soon..... quite soon.
Peace and good feelings to everyone!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wonderful Workshop

Just a quick shout out to say Dharma Mittra was absolutely amazing. I came out feeling completely renewed in many wonderful ways which I'll write about later. No internet access for a while and no desire to spend time in Starbucks ( bless their hearts for having free wifi though!) so for now; be well, practice, practice, practice, and we'll talk soon!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


But now in September the garden has cooled, and with it my possessiveness. The sun warms my back instead of beating on my head ... The harvest has dwindled, and I have grown apart from the intense midsummer relationship that brought it on.
Robert Finch

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Calm in the Storm

September is a difficult month for many reasons. Each year at this time I reflect back to that terrible day now a decade ago. This year it seems the barrage of photos, sound recordings and TV images pouring in at a rate that I hadn't previously remembered is really stirring up a lot of emotion and it's very upsetting. There are so many things to take note of. I would personally like to remind people at this time of all the selfless military personal who have placed themselves in harms way to serve and protect us. Personal belief in military action is inconsequential when we reflect on the lives of these military personal. Every one of them is quite meaningful to someone else. Somebody is walking on eggshells today hoping and praying their loved one comes home soon, safe and sound and in one piece.

PTSD as well as other mental health issues are a direct result of being deployed, and a major problem for American veterans. According to the VA, as many as 20% of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have PTSD; 10% of Gulf War vets and 30% of Vietnam vets are diagnosed with the disorder. I believe those numbers are low. We in the yoga community can do a lot to help our fellow citizens. Yoga and meditations are proving valuable medicine in the treatment of PTSD. Please check out The Veterans Yoga Project to see how you can participate and offer a little healing and calm to some veterans in your area.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Diving In

September is here, time to dive into a new schedule and a fresh outlook. Back to work and a whole different list of things to do. I have to sit down today with a nice hot cup of joe and try to make a fall schedule. There are many changes, some I am looking forward to and others, which give me cause for reservation. I went into this Summer slowly, with no real energy and a sagging outlook. Both my body and mind needed a break. I was too rung out from last year, just burnt toast really. I spent much of the summer trying to collect my energy into one synchronized stream. There was no way this was going to all happen over one Summer, too much to emotionally sort out. I didn't fair as well as I had hoped, although I do feel more energized and less scattered. I'm going to take this season one day at a time and for the sake of survival I'm going to go slowly. I have found in the last few years that when things are piling up and there seems no end in sight, going slowly not only preserves energy, but helps considerably in getting things done on the first try and on time. I'm also pulled out a few tools from my yoga chest to help me along, Experience Yoga Nidra which has helped me calm down in the past, and something new I picked up at Kripalu which may be helpful as well, Chakra breathing mediation by Layne Redmond.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and calm transition into Autumn.
Jai Bhagwan

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The 5th season

Late summer is known as the fifth season in Chinese medicine. The fifth season begins the third week of August and ends with the Autumn Equinox. During this period the body is transitioning from warmer to cooler climates. This considered a still period of the year and all living things are encouraged to enjoy the abundance of food and mild climate, brought on by summer. This is an excellent time of the year to practice poses which address the lung and large intestine meridian. This meridian is associated with taking in and letting go. Emotions associates with this area are reactions to major life changes, holding on to negative or charged feeling states, or and uncontrollable release of emotion.

On a lighter side, its hard for a lot of us to let go of the sweetness of summer for coming colder months and increased workload and obligation. According to Chinese medicine the pranayama should be practiced between 3 am and 5 am and yoga for the large intestine between 5 am and 7 am. I'm thinking this isn't really going to happen for just about everybody. If you have a home practice and you can do pranayama and a few poses in the morning that would be best. If you take class at a studio, ask your yoga teacher to include a few breath exercises and incorporate the yogasana into the sequence. Practice with intention for maximum results.

Asana for the lung and large Intestine

  • Pranayama with chest, arm and shoulder openers

Be well, be happy and know that you are perfect always,
Jai Bhagwan!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

International Karma Yoga Day

When I was in the ashram in India we were required to participate in Karma yoga. For those of you who may be unsure, Karma yoga is based on the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. There are four paths to realization and enlightenment, karma yoga requires doing something for others. "Krishna explains that work done without selfish expectations purifies one's mind and gradually makes an individual fit to see the value of reason. " To put it another way, a little mitzvah now and again (a good deed) is good for the soul.

Karma yoga was hands down my favorite yoga. You signed up for a task in the morning and completed it later in the afternoon. A lot of the activities in the Ashram were done in silence, but karma yoga was a highly social time with lots of chit chat and kibitzing. It always left me feeling very satisfied and happy. My favorite job was clipping the hedges around Shiva (see above). I would clip, clip, clip and Shiva and I would chat it up. We had never been formally introduced before and we got to know each other a little. By the end of my stay I really think we both grew rather fond of one other. Before I left the ashram a bird flew in my hut and dropped an amulet of Shiva by my bedside, then flew away. Very powerful moment in my life.

September 11, 2012 is International Karma Yoga Day. This is an initiative designed to bring together all yoga schools and practitioners around the world for one day of service a year. This year’s motto for International Karma Yoga Day is “Keeping Yoga Real!”.

Here's what you can expect:

One day of inclusive, totally free yoga all around the world.

• A gathering of the entire yoga community to learn, share and truly make friends with each other.

• An enriching of modern Yoga through the recognition of Karma Yoga.

• Participants are asked to think of and commit to positive action in their communities and the greater global village. Each participant makes a pledge for at least one volunteer act in the following year.

Yoga communities across the globe are participating. For example; my community is providing a day long yoga festival with classes, music and healing sessions from 9am to 8pm on the waterfront. This is a free event open to all.

Please join us in a day of celebration, compassion, and commitment to community! Feel free to check out the facebook page for information in your area.

Wishing everyone much shanti and love.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


(Crystal Waters)
Wigstock has been on my movie cue for ages. As labor day in the U.S. approaches I thought this might be a ideal time take to in this fun documentary. Wigstock was an annual outdoor festival that took place each year on labor day in New York City. Adjust your wig, don some high healed stilettos and head on down to the East Village for a day of fabulous fun, karmic love, and universal peace, plus a lot of music thrown in for smashing good time! This annual drag event was a celebration of life and individuality for a generation that truly took the free to be you and me statement to heart. But then again I'm biased, I love men that love women and this event is certainly an omage to all women! Sadly the event ended around 2005 after a good decade and half stint. I really don't know why it's no longer here, but as the event grew larger and larger each year I think the organizers may have had a hard time finding venues.The above video is Crystal Waters preforming 100%. It completely rocks and makes you want to get up and shake your booty. Just a little heads up, this is defiantly for adults only.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Let's all have a seat for a moment.

(Rina Yoga)

Dandasana (staff pose) is an important foundation posture which is commonly over looked and rarely considered in most yoga classes. Staff pose is a basic seated pose from which all the others originate, it assists in strengthening all major core muscles, improves posture, and increases stamina. This is an excellent asana to practice if you have sciatica.

The Benefits of Staff Pose:

  • Helps improve posture
  • Strengthens back muscles
  • Lengthens and stretches the spine
  • May help to relieve complications related to the reproductive organs
  • Stretches shoulders and chest
  • Nourishes your body’s resistance to back and hip injuries
  • Helps to calm brain cells
  • May improve functionality of the digestive organs
  • Creates body awareness
  • Helps improve alignment of body
  • Provides a mild stretch for hamstrings
How to assume to posture:
  • Sit with your legs together and stretched out in front of you. Use a folded blanket under the sits bones if needed. Place your hands next to the hips on the floor.
  • Feet are flexed. Press your sits bones into the floor and a little to the back, to help you sit straight, your spine lengthens, the lower back arches a little forward towards your belly.
  • Open your chest
  • Check that your shoulders are over the hips and your ears in line with the shoulders.
  • Stay in this position between the 5-15 breaths,

Monday, August 22, 2011

Memories from the Past

Trees I Love.

This tree holds a very special memory for me. One sunny and pleasant August day five years ago I sat under that tree with my YTT batch while Devarshi Steven Hartman taught us about the Bhagavad- Gita. An amazing memory, which I hold dear to my heart. This weekend while visiting a friend in the area I decided to stop in on the way home. I hadn't been back since I graduated. Just as I remember, Kripalu was bustling with activity. Yoga, mediation, art, song, chant, people coming and going and deeply involved or not at all. It's a wonderful place to get lost and find yourself.

The energy and consciousness of the divine
saturate the entire field of mind and matter.
Don't cling to limited forms and beliefs ….
Learn to investigate the truth directly.
See for yourself the nature of the world.
by Dadaji (Swami Kripalu's teacher)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dharma Mittra

Dharma Mittra

I regularly enjoy Chicago writer Cara Jepsen's blog, No Sleep Till Mysore. Cara writes about her life as a yoga teacher, writer and dedicated student of Dharma Mittra. Sri Dharma Mittra is a yoga teacher, and a student of Sri Swami Kailashanda. He is best known for creating the Master Yoga Chart of 908 Postures. He has been teaching since 1967, and is director of the Dharma Yoga Center in New York City. He teaches Ashtanga Vinyasa and Karma yoga.

I often sees photos of him in headstand on rocks, pavement and other hard surfaces. He looks serine and quite enjoying himself. Although I have no interest in taking a headstand on a rock, he does seem a fascinating and dynamic teacher. When I discovered he'll be teaching a Hatha class in my neck of the woods I decided now is the opportunity to see for myself why so many are dedicated to his teaching. If your around In September come join me, I'll be here.

Jai bhagwan, peace and happy headstands everyone!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Barnacle

Going up North means going back not only physically, but emotionally to a place I used to dwell long, long ago. Usually this is pleasant and I am able to tap into the good things and express these feelings and notions of past life in my present day. This is why I was so surprised to find I had tapped a wellspring of unresolved anger and pain I thought I had resolved lifetimes ago.

On a rather overcast day without much going on we decided to walk the dogs in a lovely area along the rocky coast. As we were walking I pointed toward a road, "Lets walk this way, I spent a summer working for some people down this road. It's quite nice, I'll show you." We shouldn't have done it, there were signs everywhere stating it was private and no trespassing. There had always been signs, although I hadn't remembered quite so many. I had meandered down this path before, its pleasant with quiet fields, an ocean and a lovely view. I had worked for people on this road, I have always been respectful, I didn't think anything of it when we turned down the road with dogs bounding ahead of us.

Mercury is retrograde in Virgo and I have my moon in Virgo. I should have known. When Mercury is retrograde "circumstances are thrust upon us, rather than matters we have consciously decided to implement or resolve. In particular, unresolved issues from the past tend to rear their heads and demand to be dealt with."( I was walking headlong into my unresolved emotional past. As I reflect, I realize I must have been ready to remove a barnacle from my emotional psyche I previously avoided or was unable to confront and release. The first house we passed had a dog with a severe bark. Some people came to the porch and asked who I was and why I was there. Slightly unfriendly, but I was cheeful with an open heart and explained my travels. I was allowed to pass. Shortly after a much older woman, crone like, burst out to present herself in a noxious contemptuous tone. The message was loud and clear, "you down there, we are not pleased with your presence, you don't belong!" On the exterior I was friendly, slightly confused and well mannered. On the inside I felt small and demoralized. There I was feeling like an idiot in front of a woman who looked like an elderly model for Lacoste clothing photo from the 80's.

And there it was.... no more swimming politely around this barnacle. I stumbled on back to our car and hobbled in, shattered. Fuck! I thought I dealt with this shit long ago. Evidently not, If I had I wouldn't have traveled down that path. Today in class I felt strong enough to cry a bit, release some toxins and spend some time in Camel. Open my heart to the universe and let go of the shadow.

It's not about me, it's not about my life and it's not about how I choose to live, love and accept people, thank God, the universe and the Great Mother!

Friday, August 5, 2011


I'll be a away for a while. Heading up North to meet family and friends. Were going to give my father a proper send off. His birthday is Monday, so Monday it will be. A deep love of the planet and an ardent environmentalist, this is a most fitting send off for an extraordinary man.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.

William Blake

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I am a Yoga Teacher, uh... I guess.

I did my first yoga teacher training five years ago at Kripalu. We were a large group and did our training on site at their beautiful campus. I had a bit of yoga under my belt and was ready to go deeper. The day I graduated one of my teachers gave personal words of wisdom to each of us. She told me "just go out there and teach." That seemed like a good idea. I taught my friends, my mum, and anyone who wanted a class. I got reviewed, critiqued and given suggestions by people I loved and trusted, then we had wine and cheese and kibitzed. I was ready to go deeper into teaching, but not in a studio. I didn't feel ready, and it didn't feel right. My evolution into teaching has been slow, unique and and it's not what pops into the mind when most people think of teaching yoga. Linda's Yoga Journey has a fantastic post on the subject of yoga teachers, yoga training programs and the influx of new teachers pouring out into the universe daily.

There are so many programs and it does seem every studio is now offering a teacher training program. It feels like there's some pressure out there these days to get into a teacher training program. So many students are entering these programs with unrealistic goals and expectations. I do become concerned when I run across someone who has lost their job and decided their next career will be teaching. It's really hard to sustain a living teaching yoga full time, work can be sporadic and the money is no good.

I do have a teaching practice. My practice is private and specific. I teach, give in-services on specific areas of yoga which relate to my profession and do some lecturing and research. I found a place to contribute, its my dharma and I embrace it. I would be frustrated, sad, and probably had the house foreclosed had I attempted to abandon what I have for full time teaching. Intention with clarity is essential. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, or can't happen, it's just a lot harder than it looks, and it will evolve quite differently for everyone.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A lot of people attack the sea, I make love to it.

(Celine Cousteau)

Late one summer when I was a little girl I went to a store that would have been something like a CVS today. We were buying supplies for the school year. I was told to select folders and left in the aisle to peruse cartoon characters and depictions of action figures. I was always a slow, methodical child and as I carefully examined each pink princess and the like, shaking my head no and placing it back, my eye flickered on something wonderful. I picked up a folder with a photograph of fish swimming in a very blue ocean. Written somewhere was the name Jacques Cousteau, I immediately knew this was exactly what I wanted. I ended up keeping those school folders and using them over and over again until they were finally tatters. Years later I was in Paris when he died. I was rushing through the Metro when I saw a newspaper posting his death. 'No! Please don't go, No." Perhaps because I have always lived by the ocean, perhaps because I am a water child, or perhaps there is no explanation, but there is something about this man and his work which have always resonated with me. His work lives on in his children, grandchildren and countless others. What a marvelous man.

When one man, for whatever reason,
has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life,
he has no right to keep it to himself.

Jacques Cousteau

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sweet August

Fairest of the months!
Ripe summer's queen
The hey-day of the year
With robes that gleam with sunny sheen
Sweet August doth appear.
R. Combe Miller

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yoga Festivals

This weekend I attended BlissFest at the Baba Siri Chand Ashram. Once again I dropped my mat down and just stayed for the experience. Whoever came to teach, I was there to take it in. Yoga festival's are new to me and one of the aspects I am really enjoying is the opportunity to try things I have never tried before and discover new yoga teachers. One teacher led us through the 5 rhythms. I assumed this was another name for the 5 Tibetans, but it's quite something else.

"5Rhythms is a movement meditation practice devised by Gabrielle Roth in the 1960s. It draws from many indigenous and world traditions using tenets of shamanistic, ecstatic, mystical and eastern philosophy. It also draws from Gestalt, the human potential movement and transpersonal psychology. Fundamental to the practice is the idea that everything is energy, and moves in waves, patterns and rhythms. Roth describes the practice as a soul journey, and says that by moving the body, releasing the heart, and freeing the mind, one can connect to the essence of the soul, the source of inspiration in which an individual has unlimited possibility and potential." ( wikipedia)

The website is great! Check it out here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Saturday the Baba Siri Chand Kundalini Ashram is having their second annual yoga and music festival, BlissFest. How can you say no to something called BlissFest! I don't know any of the teachers or performers but I really don't mind what I'm really looking forward to is having a visit and checking out the ashram. Guru Ram Das Ashram, founded in 1969 is a large and active community based on Sikh principles. People come to the Ashram to study and practice the teachings of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, experience life in a spiritual community, or create a private retreat and get rest and relaxation in a country location.

As it turns out I will be unable to have a stay in the Sivananda Ashram in upstate New York. That will have to wait for another time. Perhaps a weekend retreat in the Fall. I'm OK with not being able to attend, I am just so grateful to have the opportunity to expand my practice and come back to center. Each day I feel stronger, healthier and calmer. I have made some radical lifestyle changes which will affect how I conduct business throughout the year.

Wishing everyone peace love and bliss!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lovely Summer Days

The dandelions and buttercups gild all the lawn:
the drowsy bee stumbles among the clover tops,
and summer sweetens all to me.
James Russell Lowell

Monday, July 25, 2011


(Yoga on the Beach)

It's been sizzling hot on the east coast. Things have cooled off considerably but the best option we had was to pack up and head for cooler climates. That we did, having a long and fabulous weekend by the ocean. I have talked about my favorite beach side teachers before, Nancy and Don. This weekend Nancy offered Seavasana. Students could choose to float in the ocean at the end of class or stay on the deck for the final relaxation. Water child that I am I came to the next class in my bathing suit fully prepared for an aquatic experience. At the end of class a group of us walked out and floated along while our teacher gave adjustments. As she gently gave subtle adjustments I could instantly feel where my body was holding tension. The release was powerful! I felt the ocean literally pulling the stress out of my upper back! When complete we left the ocean in a blissful state and floated back to the deck for the final om mantra. If your in a position to safely have a bit of a float in the ocean, or a pond or river this experience is not to be missed.
Namaste everyone, shanti shanti shant, peace peace peace.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Little Lady, Big Voice, Bad Bad Girl

I was really rooting for Amy Winehouse. This woman, a hot mess and a complete fuck up, was inspiring. I knew in my heart, healthy, she would blow the doors off anything I had seen before. I was just waiting for the day healthy would start and recovery would begin. Turns out holding my breath wouldn't have been a good idea. I don't think this was a drug overdose. When sever alcoholics go through withdrawals the results can be life threatening. Too little, too late.

When I first discovered her music she was cancelling tours due to alcoholism. I read something that said as long as we have known Amy Winehouse she's been a train wreck, so on some level no one expected her to actually go over the edge, this just seemed her status quo. Perhaps, and perhaps that's why I'm so shocked she died. The Tablet has an excellent article by Dvora Meyers. There's some good insight into Winehouses' drive and innate character that help give understanding to her possible comfort level about what I think most of us would consider disaster incidents rather than decisions. I loved her music and played it often in my yoga classes. Sultry, sexy and without apology this little tiny bee hived whiff was a complete force of nature. I'm sorry it went down like this, I think at this point we all are very very sorry. Good luck in your journey, you will be missed. I wish you peace, real love and good mental health in the next round.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beach Day

The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.

Jacques Cousteau

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Afternoon

One of my absolute favorite places to spend time is Walden pond. I like to float along and think about Thoreau's thoughts on life, liberty and nature. Today I brought Walden with me and selected the ponds as my reading meditation. Splendid indeed!

A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature.
It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.
Walden, Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Zippy the Great.

Summer is a great season to enjoy all manner of reading material. Life beckons to be enjoyed in the sunshine, with a comfortable chair and a big floppy hat. Pursuing the library stacks one day I ventured to find a funny little book called, A Girl Named Zippy, Growing Up Small in Moorland, Indiana, by Haven Kimmel This woman is a brilliant writer and this is an amazing read . Zippy is a memoir about growing up in the Midwest in the 60's and 70's. This women has a voice so vivid and rich that it steps right off the page and the character stays with you long after you've put the book down. I devoured this book and hungrily searched for more. Luckily I didn't have to look far as I found she wrote a sequel, She Got off the Couch and Other Heroic Acts from Moorland, Indiana. Incredibly, this book was even more enjoyable. In her continuation memoir, her mother goes back to college, earns a degree and begins a career. It's a book as much about feminism in the 1970's and a generation of woman coming into their own, as it is a recollection of memories from childhood. Completely satisfying yet left me longing to read more this woman has wrote. Luckily she's written several novels. I see a Haven Kimmel reading festival in my future.
Wow, good stuff, Go Zip!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Book Review

I read My Life in 23 Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer this past spring. It seemed the book de jour for the yoga community and although interested I was also a bit hesitant, I just couldn't quite place why. Dederer explores her passions; yoga, marriage and motherhood. She captures a feeling state that is personal, generational and universal. I understand why so many felt a connection with the subject matter, but yet something was missing for me. It was the joy of yoga, the release, restoration and expression of life force. I felt a small wave of unresolved depression running through the story and I found it unsettling and from a psychoanalytic point of view a bit unnerving. Throughout the book I felt she was trying to let go but couldn't. This seemed a defense mechanism she inherited from her parents who had left each other years ago but never divorced. By the end of the book Dederer had found some resolution from her childhood and peace in her present roles as mother, wife with a professional career. I'm glad she got on the mat but I think it may be time to climb on the couch as well. Well written but strangely unfulfilling.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hip Release

My left hip is ever on my mind as it remains stiff and slow to recover. I am fully into my practice these days and truly feeling better than I have in a long, long time. Although I'm feeling much relief in the hip area I am no where near full ease or range of motion. Not a day goes by that I am not reminded in some pursuit or another that my hip is STIFF.

This was my year of living dangerously, at least as far as my hips were concerned. Since our residential move out of the city, my commute to work has doubled, weekends were spent in the car, driving back and fourth between my parents house and mine. Most evenings for the better part of the year I've been writing reports or papers. I managed a small home practice and a gentle class once a week but with too much going on emotionally and a sudden lack of general daily movement my hips just froze. After my dad died and I was back home my left hip turned into an immovable brick. I knew I was in trouble when we arrived home and it hurt to get out of the car. All my emotions, lack of motion, inability to make this situation turn into something better, family stress, all placed itself solidly in my left hip like a frozen brick of discomfort.

Techniques and Prescription for Hip Restoration:

Acupuncture:Acupuncture can relieve some of the distress, relax the area and increase chi and blood flow which assists to open up the area for healing both physical and emotional.

When the hip area is a problem the skeletal system will be out of alignment. A few appointments with your local chiropractor can assist in helping the healing progress although it is unlikely the chiropractor will be able to totally alleviate the problem. Some areas where your chiropractor can help:
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improving movement of the joint
  • Relaxing painful muscle spasm
  • Strengthening weakened muscles
  • Active Release Techniques for scarring
Yoga is truly my best medicine. A daily practice with a mindful approach using gentle asana and letting go has helped tremendously. The following are a few poses which open the hips, but as a word of caution, if your hips are truly feeling tight modify, modify modify!

Cobbler's Pose - Baddha Konasana
Blissful Baby-
Ananda Balasana
Head to Knee Pose - Janu SirsasanaSeated
Extended Side Angle Pose - Utthita Parsvakonasana

Wide Legged Straddle - Upavistha Konasana
Goddess Pose-Namaskarasana
Pigeon Pose - Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Many massage therapists and yoga practitioners believe fascia holds memory and emotion. The hips are considered a huge and sensitive area of emotional holding. The hips are related to the second chakra, svadisthana. This chakra is concerned with our sexual and creative energies. Svadhistana's element is water (tears, sweat, blood, urine).

Meditate on water; imagine drinking it, bathing in it, floating on it, standing in the rain, and returning the the womb.

Back bending positions such as cobra and upward facing dog and side bends, such as standing crescent moon and triangle are stimulating for the second chakra

Pranayama: Dirga and Kapalabhati

Mudra: Yoni

Mantra: Vam

Bandha: Uddiyana Bandha

Wishing everyone good health and loose hips.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Piss off you bully!

The other day I dropped the mat down on a yin class taught by Nancy Curran. If you ever have a chance to take either her class or Don's please don't hesitate. These two instructors are innately connected to healing the heart chalkra. It only takes one class to understand and begin to feel recuperation and repair of the third chalkra. It's powerful and humbling. When I take their classes I relearn how to allow joy in my body and I find the courage to confront whats blocking my ability to feel bliss, comfort and and mental ease.

As we made our way through the class I am working on releasing areas of tension and letting go. I have a great bulk of tight stress throughout my body, so I'm pretty busy scanning, breathing and releasing. I'm rather deep in, when my mind steps in with mental list of what I need to do today, tomorrow and through the weekend.

I confront my list making mind: "What are you doing here? You need to clear out!"
The mind's reply;" If you don't review what you need to do you will never remember it all. What you should do is repeat the list two or three times and then when you finish class go home immediately and write it down on your to do list."
Me: "You need to get out... now."
My mind: " You need to get organized."
Me: "Jeesh! you are relentless, what I need is a rest from you."
My mind: " You need to prioritize what you need to do. I don't think you will be able to finish everything by Monday morning."
Me: " I'm not looking to finish everything, I'm looking to have a goddamn vacation and I want you to shut the fuck up!"
small silence.....
My mind: "wow! did you believe that email?! be supportive write back. maybe you should discuss this with someone. I mean really the nerve and insensitivity of someone to say these kinds of things to your mother during such time of emotional trauma and change. Oh, almost forgot! don't forget you need a manicure."

And so it went for an hour and twenty minutes of an hour and a half class. I got about 2 minutes at the start of class and about eight minutes at the end because I finally just passed out from fatigue. Mind you, this is Yin, a passive, peaceful class where people lay down with blankets in relaxing poses.

There's some work to do here, no doubt about it.
Hoping your joy and bliss are coming easier,
peace and harmony everyone,

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Jazz

Sizzling hot day, blue sky, slight wind, dry and hot, with goodness all around the rim. Content dogs and humans, buzzed happy on Summer sun and feeling loved and well. Nothing like a little Anita O'Day to make it a completely perfect afternoon. This is clip from the Newport Folk Festival 1964, nobody does Sweet Georgia Brown this good. She really was a genius. There's an interesting back story to the whole clip and the people in it. The women lived a fast life, embraced her art, made no excuses and kept it in full throttle till the end. (As a little side note and a clue to her complex personality, she'd been riding the white horse all day before getting on stage.) I think in this case it doesn't really matter what she choose to do her genius was going to always shine through 100% every time. I think she'd had many lifetimes of doing this and it was old hat, old fabulous hat! Enjoy the clip.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday!

The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Emma Lazarus (1883)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

End of an era

This is my mat, Mr. Cushy, actually its the bottom mat. The top mat is dark green with a drawing of bamboo's on it that my best friend gave me for my birthday one year. For a long time my cushy mint green mat was my main mat until it started to become slightly grubby, that's when it became a cushion. This was years ago, before I became a yoga teacher. My mat and I have had some powerful experiences and we've created many lasting memories. We went through yoga teacher training, traveled to several countries and had some pretty strong experiences which have included (on more than one occasion) me in a puddle of tears clutching the sides for comfort. I have rarely been without Mr. Cushy. He sits in the back of the car and I never leave home without him. The only big yoga occasion we did not have together was when I did teacher training in India. I thought he might be destroyed and have to be thrown away. Instead, I bought an orange cushy mat which I gave to a most excellent colleague when I left India. The orange mat was OK, but there was no comparison. I was happy to be back on my mint green mat again. Well..... truth be told Mr. Cushy's best days are behind him. He is perennially dirty, kind of stinky, probably a little moldy too. I know its time for that sad walk to the recycle bin, but it's hard to say goodbye. I remember finding this little gem at T.J. Maxx. This was the thickest mat I had ever found (still is to this day) and I couldn't believe my luck. Really! No one wants a generic, slightly ugly, mint green mat, Wow! I immediately clasped my arms around the box and that was it, kind of a love at first sight story. I have looked for other mats but they just don't feel right to me. Now it's just time to say goodbye, well not today exactly but really soon, which to be honest kind of hurts a little. I could talk about none attachment and mat etiquette which would include sage advice about why you should never step on any on another person's mat... but I won't, its not about that. Its about a a proper send off for a great little mat that served me superbly. Friday is recycle day and soon we'll part so I'll just say goodbye Mr. Cushy and thank you, you've been fantastic.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Back on the Mat

Aahh, Summer has arrived! I left work feeling a bit like a limp noodle, I managed to get to the couch and that was all she wrote! Having recovered a bit I am now planning my Summer schedule which includes a lot of yoga. I got a fantastic jump start at chantfeast which placed me back on the mat and wanting more. I rolled into chantfeast plopped down and and just stayed class after class. By the time I left I'd dropped a couple of toxic bricks and just floated on pure energy out the door.

One of the classes I took was a kundalini class. I have a DVD at home but have never actually taken a class. Somewhere between the gongs, chanting and breath work I got hooked. I got back and immediately took a class. Yep, I'm in! I found a studio and I'm hoping to explore a bit more. If all works out ( parking gods are you listening?) I'll bounce between my regular studio and this one. I've been getting back to a daily practice and I can't even begin to state the difference in my mood and general vitality. With my Dad's passing it's been a long and emotional journey and I seemed to have stored all my feelings in my hips. With each class I feel a release, sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes with a great whoosh, but always a feeling of having dropped something I didn't need to carry. I had a class in the late spring which opened up my hips with a great thunder, with it came the tears and a great relief as well. So here's to the summer, rediscovering my practice and beginning life again!
Hari Om and be well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day Bliss

Summer afternoon

Summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.

Henry James

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dreaming of Summer

This is pretty much me by days end. I am sound asleep long before I hit the pillow. I'm nearing the end of all the things I need to do, but boy is this a tough one. Actually today is a big day and again next week is a big week for meeting deadlines. I have been able to make my obligations on time, perhaps not so much by organization but the sheer desire to have all this done and move on.... on to something less hectic and draining. Well perhaps... going through the summer itinerary it's pretty full already, but that's OK, it's a welcome release from this crazy hectic schedule. Tomorrow I'm taking a little break for part of the day and I'm going to Chantfest. A little yoga and chant inspiration to invigorate the soul and mind. I'm ready, bring on the Summer!

Summer makes a silence after spring.
Vita Sackville-West

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Morning Cup

I'm madly trying to complete all my work by the end of the month. Research papers. academic presentations, professional presentations, reports, meetings... it's leaves me feeling dizzy. Slowly this year, at the pace of a a very laid back snail, I have been stepping back and freeing up space in my life. It started by not adding more work, then stepping back from some of the things I do. Once I have completed by current obligations I will be moving in a new directions for the next 14 months. I think its going to take me a while just to decompress and breath and learn to be still again. At this point I find when I do have a little time to settle I'm restless and don't know what to do with myself, a little lost actually. I've been going at a condensed pace for far too long. It's time to stop, step into life,have a nice cup of chi and enjoy the view for a while.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Get my Soul Free

Yep...this is about where I'm at, or more to the point where I'd like to be. I'm way on overload, packed to the hilt and wondering how I'm going to it all done. I've been on overload all year and I'm so wound up It's hard to believe I'll ever come back down to earth. That's part of the puzzle for me. Coming back to a place where I can enjoy a little of what these folks are doing.... relaxation and renewal. I want to let mother earth absorb me in her embrace and just let go, but at the moment there's so much to do and too many deadlines. This week was too filled, too much of a black hole and I'm twirling and swarming around ungrounded. I am thinking of my father, missing him, feeling lost. As a water child it's easy for me to find simile to my emotional states and water. In the beginning it was like wearing weights and walking on the floor of an Olympic size swimming pool, now its a swirling ring in an ocean and I'm in the middle of it just whirling without end. I whirl and whirl and every now and then I realize I'm spinning in a great foam of confusion and reality hits me, but then I whirl some more with papers, meetings, presentations, classes, a car repair, dinner, needs of loved ones, dinner to be made, bills to be paid, spinning, spinning, spinning.

I need to get back to "the farm." Perhaps that's why I have elected to go to Sivananda's Ashram in upstate New York this Summer. Yoga, meditation and contemplation. I need to let my inner soul child, mother earth, cosmic mother unloose and run wild in a field for a little bit. That side of me needs to be allowed to come out, she's been indoors for a little far to long.
I came upon a child of god
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, where are you going
And this he told me
I'm going on down to yasgurs farm
I'm going to join in a rock n roll band
I'm going to camp out on the land
I'm going to try an get my soul free
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe its the time of man
I don't know who l am
But you know life is for learning
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

By the time we got to woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation
We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devils bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden
Joni Mitchell

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Remembering to Breath

Ah Yes, It's that time of year again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Birthday wishes for the complex at heart

Happy 117th Martha, you rock.

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening,

that is translated through you into action,

and because there is only one of you in all time,

this expression is unique.
Martha Graham

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Day at Last!

The month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit; for like as herbs and trees bring forth fruit and flourish in May, in likewise every lusty heart that is in any manner a lover, springeth and flourisheth in lusty deeds. For it giveth unto all lovers courage, that lusty month of May.
Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yiddish Yoga

Yiddish Yoga by Lisa Grunberger was completely fantastic! Seventy year old Ruthie finds herself a new widow, heartbroken, trying to handle her loss and continue without her husband Harry by her side. Her granddaughter gives her a nice little mitvah, of a years worth of yoga classes. ("I think it will help you grieve, bubby") This is the last thing on the planet Ruthie wants, needs or ever thought of doing. Somewhat guilted into going and not wanting to offend her granddaughter, she dons an old blue and white Addidas velour sweatsuit her husband always thought was a sexy little number and heads out. She lands in Sammy's gentle yoga class and slowly she confronts her grief, comes into the present, out of the past and in between discovers her toes, her abilities and lotus position. A small read it can be finished in one sitting, but you'll want to come back to it again and again. Perfect, just perfect!


Stretch by Neal Pollack was an enjoyable read. Pollack stumbles off the couch and into a yoga class at his local gym. Shortly thereafter he and his family relocate from Austin,Texas to L.A. The yoga scene in glitter town is dense with hipsters, the beautiful and the latest fad. He eventually finds the right place to settle in and begins to deepen his explorations, evolving and changing along the way. As a writer he covers yoga journal conferences, yoga festivals and discovers the enlightened and bizarre. Pollack storms out of a jivumukti class in New York, participates in a 24 hour yoga- a -thon and finds himself on retreat in Asia, all while looking for his, "best self". Pollacks "best" made an appearance in his late teens and he would like to reestablish the essence of that person with the adult he has become. The incredibly satisfying experiences the reader is given is the opportunity to view Pollack evolving into someone less cynical and a bit softer. My gut tells me he is probably a genuinely nice guy, but here we understand his longtime public image of a snarky, ironic, jaded representative of his generation has become self toxic. There's somebody else there internally, and he's looking to reconnect with his long lost "best." The reader is given the opportunity to view; slowly, continually and realistically his evolution through his yoga practice, and in the process we see him come to a place more habitable within his own psyche. Stretch is a funny, enjoyable read and we all have a bit of Neal Pollack in all of us, so it's easy to root him on.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day

So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to thee.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Having Some Faith in Life

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.

Alan Watts