Sunday, December 25, 2011


There is an observance in Yoga called Saucha, and it means a variety of similar ideas including purity, cleanliness and honesty.

On the mat this observance shows up in a few ways. The one the comes to mind first is the mistake that we all make at some point in our fitness careers, which is to push beyond our limits. When starting out in yoga, or even when you get swept up in the energy of a crowded or really focused class, it can be distracting to keep your mind on your own practice. Maybe you've got a sore wrist from overuse at your desk job, and your in a flow class. Working with the observance of saucha could come up as taking a modified vinyasa on your forearms instead of in traditional plank-chatarunga dandasana; or it could mean skipping a vinyasa altogether and sitting in heroes pose for a series of wrist rotations; or it could mean communicating to the instructor before class that you are having wrist irritation and asking about alignment points that would be important to keep in mind during the class.

I feel like saucha requires one part awareness and one part responsibility, because it's one thing to be aware of [for instance] your wrist pain, and it's another to honor that state enough to be proactive about protecting yourself from more damage.

Off the mat this observance shows up in different ways, also: Saucha also refers to cleanliness and we can practice this in terms of personal and material hygiene. Keeping our yoga mats sanitized, wiping down props that we use in class, coming to class freshly showered [ideally], keeping our body and clothing well cared for are all ways to practice the observance of cleanliness.

In a less physical dimension, practicing honesty could come up as maintaining a clean and direct thought process. Natural opportunities for this happen so many times throughout the day. Think about a conversation you have with a colleague or loved one that becomes confrontational, or finding yourself in a situation that you know brings up awkwardness or intimidation. Observing saucha could be something like, "This person intimidates me and I am going to talk to them anyway," or , "The way my roommate cleans the bathroom is lazy and I feel really irritated about that," or "Even though I'm jealous of this persons outgoing personality, I can compliment them on it and not lose my own sense of value."

In my own study and application of these yogic ideas, it's a little difficult to put together a concise short about them. I know I'm going to keep developing and deepening my experience of Saucha. Saucha, honesty, purity, cleanliness - these are concepts that come up in a plethora of interesting and surprising ways in the yogic classroom and in our daily breath-to-breath life!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Questions from Students: Injury Recovery

After my Saturday class at Black Dog Yoga, a student asked me about injury recovery and stamina.

He told me that he was post-operative and had just begun practicing again after a few months of recovery. Prior to surgery he practiced regularly and took pilates often. He explained that during our Basics class, he felt winded and off balance and found that he needed to take frequent breaks in order to maintain his breath and balance. His question was, "when will I be able to practice like I used to?"

I offered him this response: Take breaks to breath without moving the body as often as needed. The body will recover at it's own pace, despite how ready your mind is to get back into the physical practice. The most difficult part of the healing process may be to keep the mind in it's place while the physical body restores itself. I explained that the practice is cumulative so whatever amount of posture he does during class will benefit him, and that as long as he stays with his breath, he will receive all of it's benefits.

He shook his head in agreement and told me that he knew it would take some time to get back, and that the patience he would need at this point may be the most challenging benefit in his practice to date. :)

I am very happy to have had him in class, and to offer me this question. I've felt this way many times in my life, having endured a variety of injuries and illness that prevented me from going through with my regular routines. We will all experience some version of this man's challenge during our yoga practice. May we come away from it with the same liberating challenge as he has.

Be well! Stay dry LA!

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Asteya": We are Among Giants

Recently, I looked through a few of my old photo albums. One was from last summer when I went to King Canyon's National Park. I saw the "largest known single stem tree" [the late General Sherman] in the world and some of the tallest and fattest trees I have ever seen in my life. I remember standing under one of them and feeling so incredibly young, so infantile, compared to the long life that that tree had lived. Along with the magnitude of the Sequoia's beauty, I took with me a great reminder of how massive our world is, how incredibly diverse it is, and of how relative my placement is to all of it.

The Sequoia's are ancient - literally, hundreds and hundreds of years old. These trees have lived through an incredible array of experience! Breaking through the surface of the earth, collecting nutrients, growing, enduring weather patterns, seasons, pests, animals, people, construction...

Tonight I am reminded of this magnitude. How often are we intimidated by the prospects of something that seems so much bigger than far beyond our talents, our perspective, our resources? How often do we feel shrunken by the light of someone else?

Yoga teaches us a lot about not comparing things in a way that devalues one or the other. It's called "asteya" and it means "non-stealing." I'm finding that when I use my energy comparing myself to others, it takes away energy that I could be using in a creative way. I read once an interesting take on Asteya - that even trying to separate people is a form of stealing because collaborative energy is lost, because we are all connected by a universal element that requires us to recognize our unique differentiation.

In a less magical light, this universal element is not as proverbial as it sounds. Everything in our perceivable world has it's source in the element Carbon. Everything that we can see and feel in the physical world is a result of a unique and diverse configuration of carbon-based elements. Layers of other elements configure to create our life - people, objects, animals...but striped to the bare minimum, we are all simple carbon molecules suspended in space.

So when it comes down to it, we are all the same, just as we are varied. In some way, I am the magnanimous General Sherman spreading my canopy of branches over smaller yet equally carbon-rich beings. In another way, I am the person whose qualities intimidate me most, I am the idea that appears groundbreaking, I emit the same brilliance as the other person who seemed to outshine me.

Nature, like truth, is a great equalizer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Teaching at a new studio

I am very excited to share that I will be teaching regularly at a brand new studio in North Hollywood! There is no other studio like this in the city - aerial yoga! burlesque! pilates! The entire vibe of Aerial Artforms is playful and exploratory and I hope to see all of you there for a class! I've never done aerial yoga before, but am stoked to try it out...think: yoga + use of a strap or resistance band + suspended 10 feet in the air on a silk hammock...!!!

There will be a grand opening THIS Saturday, Novemeber 19th, with free classes, prizes, promotional deals, etc etc etc. and an after party with a DJ, door prizes...should be fun.

Starting next week, I will be teaching in the early mornings on the "earth," not in the "air," so check out the site [] for "Foundations Yoga" with me.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

"is yoga hard to do?"

My teacher told me once: "have at least one difficult conversation a day."
Another of my teachers told me: "speaking from the heart is one of the hardest to do."

Today, each of these teachings comes to mind simultaneously.

There are so many times in our lives where we have to speak really candidly with ourselves, to be really straight and honest about what is happening in our lives, about how we feel towards someone, or how we feel about something. These kinds of conversations can be difficult to start, and scary. Sometimes, our highest mind knows what needs to happen, but another part of us comes on board - the part that we practice too often, the part that keeps us comfortable and unchallenged. This part is usually a habit or behavioral pattern that serves a kind of protective purpose.

It's a funny cycle...

On the mat, there are behavioral patterns, and even deeper than that, muscle memory, that brings the body into misalignment over and over again. For instance, turning your index fingers slightly toward each other while in downward facing dog (instead of parallel to each other). This will eventually lead to wrist pain and other discomfort, and it can take a great deal of present-moment focus to undo this habit,but it's necessary to ensure that your body is taken care of!

So why is it so hard to do?

I suppose it's a little subjective...some people can simply make up their mind and the entire behavioral profile can change - like quitting smoking. There was a time when I smoked cigarettes, and then there was a time when I decided I was done, and in a matter of weeks I was no longer a smoker. I was done with the habit. But that is not the case for many people who smoke. And this kind of swift change is not the case for many people regarding many issues. So what do we do?

... We continue to have difficult conversations with ourselves. We continue to return to a place of honesty. We have faith that the results we need will happen. We speak from the heart. We practice. We seek out examples of this courage in others. We keep practicing.

It is hard to speak from the heart. We have literally built layers of protective shields over it because it is so valuable. But if we are to ever grow beyond the boundaries of our old selves, we have to at least begin the difficult conversation.We have to say, "this is hard," and then keep going, non-violently, and persistently.

When I asked my teacher how to begin, he said, "Well, I always find it helpful to just say the obvious - 'This is awkward for me to talk about, but...'

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

aMUSEing: spoken word

"Life as A Dali Painting"

listen two this twice, with a smile ;)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Breath - First and Foremost

I had a conversation recently with a fellow yoga teacher recently about the breath. I was explaining to her how insightful it is to work with someone one on one, and specifically, how interesting it is to see breath awareness evolve. (It's sometimes so much easier to understand this unfolding from the outside in, and to this end I am incredibly grateful to have the chance to work one on one with someone in this way.)

To give you more of an idea of what I'm talking about, a client of mine is learning a very common breathing technique that helps to relax the nervous system and slow down the heart rate as a way to ease the body into a more relaxed state. It's a breath I learned a few years ago and have been practicing regularly ever since, it's a breath I don't think about anymore during my posture practice, it just happens as I need it to. Sometimes when I am working with her, she is reporting to me that she feels very relaxed, very calm and happy during practice; and her breathing patterns and the way her face is held and the way her belly moves while she is in the postures, tells me something very different. I can literally see where she is holding her stress in the body, and I can also see that the breath-work is not yet integrated. a student learning these techniques, I don't think that I was aware of how my body was held as I was learning them. I know that I wasn't aware of my holding spots or what my diaphragm was doing. The learning curve is such a cool unfolding!

Anyway, it came up during our conversation something that I had read in a yoga sutra translatiion - that is, that you cannot teach another person how to breathe. I told her that when I read that, I thought to myself, "that isn't true! you can teach people how to breathe. that's what pranayama is...breathing exercises...' Then she said to me, "You can't teach people how to breathe. All we can do is teach breath awareness."

And now I get it. Now that I have seen the beginning of this learning in another person's body, now I get it. I cannot teach another person how to breathe, but I can teach another person how to become more aware of their breath. The tools and techniques that yoga offers is and always has been a personal practice, one that must be integrated into each individual's livelihood as much as it is their body. Meaning that, even if the intellectual mind understands what the tool is and how it is used, the body-mind must take-up the technique in it's own way.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Learning on the Job

I interviewed at a fitness studio recently. Part of the interview included an audition so that my potential employer could see my teaching style. The audition took roughly one hour. I taught to 3 very fit women who are all personal fitness trainers. In preparing for the class, I anticipated their general physical needs and created a sequence of poses that I hypothesized would suit their physical abilities and still synch with an "extreme fitness" environment.

To my surprise, I realized that although each of these women were very strong and very fit, they were beginner yogis! I had planned to teach a moderately difficult flow class with poses that used their obvious upper body strength and cardiovascular endurance...but in moving them through the warm-up sequence, I saw that they support their bodies in a very different way then those used in yoga. I was thrilled! Here I was, intimidated to teach to a group of people whose work and lives revolve around being in the body, knowing body mechanics, fitness, health, etc... and yet I had information to offer them that was of real value. Even before class started, I was able to realign hand and wrist support in her push-up position...a position she and her clients take many many times during a regular work out. She told me right away, 'that feels so much better. I don't feel [the pain] in my elbow." Wow...

I remember my teacher, Sigrid Matthews, telling us during teacher training, "Yoga is a balance between strength and flexibility." This couldn't be more true... I see it a lot when I teach now: flexible people do not use their muscles as much because they can get their bodies into positions with less energy than those who are less mobile. Therefore, they don't hug their muscles to the bones, which can cause stress on the ligaments... Flexibility is not necessarily a sign of strength, just as a toned body isn't a sign of flexibility. My students that day had beautiful, toned bodies, and they were strong in many ways. But it was unwise of me to assume that because they were toned, that they were also flexible or that a move advanced practice would suit them.

A few key points I've been reminded of via this experience:
1. what I think is a plan is actually just a blueprint - I can come ready with a lesson, but I might just have to throw it out.
2.I cannot guesstimate what a class should look like based on educated guesses. I ultimately have to go off of the student's physical status and demonstrated abilities.
3. Even physically fit people can benefit greatly from learning the foundations of hatha yoga and physical alignment.
4. Being aligned in the body-mind dissolves the perception of 'pain'
5. I am a student first and a teacher second

Here's to continuously being humbled and remaining loyal to my studentship!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Principles of Alignment

"Come what may"

Practicing yoga offers us opportunities to open beyond our habits of normalcy.
Working within the breath-body we connect to our mental, physical and emotional bodies and this offers us opportunities to expand our perceived limitations, which ultimately offers us to experience a truer quality of our life.
In order to do this, agreements must be settled internally.

First, a commitment to the cause [surrender/Ishvara Pranidhana]. Then, a willingness, a real willingness to move in this direction [fire/tapas]. Lastly, but hardly the very least, an agreement to be honest with yourself [honesty/santosha] about the process, the expectations, the grievances, the desires, the complaints, the reasons, the excuses, the habits and the fear.

Whether you practice yoga postures or you don't, moving beyond discomfort in any area of your life is first and foremost a private decision that must embody these 3 elements.

Today, as I move toward limits of normalcy in pursuit of what is natural, I am reminded of this mantra:
Come what may.

may we all move with such grace and softness.

enjoy the rain Los Angeles.

With love,

Monday, September 26, 2011

Do you love your life?

Another inspired post...

Ric Elias: 3 things I learned while my plane crashed | Video on

Mr. Elias said a couple of things in this 5-minute talk that brought me immediately to my practice.

1. "I love my life,"

2. We will not be here forever.

During this past summer a number of challenges have crossed my path that brought about deep and intense feelings for me: of sadness, of regret, of uncertainty. In too many of these moments, I had wished for it all to pass by me so that I could remain untouched by the overwhelming experience of emotion that I didn't trust that I could handle. Of course, in my hindsight, I know that all states are temporary and that these feelings always pass, but in the moment, they felt endless. At the turning point, I had to shift my stubborness around and use it as a tool for self-enhancement. Instead of continuing my limiting attitude in some stubborn attempt to prove my ill-feelings valid, I needed to move consciously, from a headspace of patience and of grasping a bigger idea of what was happening in my life, of seeing my life from someone else's perspective. Whenever I do this, I always come back to the fact that my life is and has been filled with really cool and interesting experiences, and when I really start to stretch my perspective to the number of people whom I know have drastically different life situations than mine, I remember that I love my life in all of its imperfection.

This gets me thinking about point # 2 - we will not be here forever. I have a lot of ambitions, many of which require resources that I don't yet have and will probably take some time to get (money, mentors, networks, experience, space)... on challenging days, this reality causes self-limiting thinking, doubt, sadness, know how it goes. But in my current state of realistic thinking, I know that these means can come, even if the events that will culminate to manifest them are unknown to me right now. And also, that the more I indulge in this kind of self-limiting and draining thinking, I am wasting time and energy where I could be investing them. Ambitions are great goals and ideals to keep close at hand, in order to keep up endurance for the challenges that face us in our lives. But just as it is possible to achieve our ambitions, it is just as possible that our lives will end without notice. In this gap, we live our lives.

What do you need to move or shift in order to love your life? What do you need to maintain in order to keep loving your life?

Be well!

P.S. I will be teaching a Basics class at Black Dog Yoga in Sherman Oaks this Thursday from 630 - 800pm <3

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Upcoming Classes and Mushrooms

I will be teaching at Black Dog Yoga in Sherman Oaks the next 2 Thursdays of this month - September 22nd and 29th from 6:30-8:00pm. A basics class best for beginners/injured/tired/tight/happy people! Minimal trip-hop music and decompression from the work week...come by!

On an unrelated note, check out this guy's talk:
Eben Bayer: Are mushrooms the new plastic? | Video on


First, if you don't know about TED you do. Bookmark the page and visit it often.

Second, Eben Bayer is a product designer with an eye for efficiency and sustainability. The product he describes in this video provides a resolution to a number of problems, including 1.) our economic and political codependency on patroleum and 2.) the ever-growing volume of toxic waste (not to forget the user-friendly process that would help reconnect People to the earth, the creative process and to the welfare of their environment).

Good lookin' out Mr. Bayer.

((Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu))

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Upcoming Classes

Hello Lovlies!

I will be subbing at Black Dog Yoga in Sherman Oaks on Thursday, September 29th from 6:30-8:00pm. This is a Basics class with a focus on alignment, breath support and visualization.

I am now able to host private and small groups in the North Hollywood area for super reasonable prices. This would be best for people who aren't interested in committing their wallets to a membership at a studio, for couples or a small group of friends who want something different, and for more attention to the elements of your practice.

You can email me at for more information or if you have questions.

Hope to see you at Black Dog in a couple of weeks!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

When do you move to a more advanced class?

One of the things I love about teaching yoga is when a student comes up to me after class with a question...I just LOVE it. Maybe because I am a nerd, or because it is an obvious sign of deep study and interest, and of great studentship...but I am honored and validated each time someone approaches me after class with a question.

After my last class at Black Dog, a new student to yoga [her 3rd class] asked me, "When do I know to move to a more advanced class?" I told her this:

When you can keep your breath even and uninterrupted for the entire practice.

My reasoning is this: The body-mind is complicated and one part will often try to outweigh the other. The mind will see others doing things with their bodies and think that the body is ready to receive positions that it really cannot support wholly. The mind may desire a more advanced practice or feel bored in the current level of hatha yoga, creating an illusion of readiness.

On the other hand, I have had the experience where I was bored in my studio practice and for fun took a more advanced class with my teacher. Turns out that my body WAS ready to support more advanced poses but my mind was over-cautious and doubtful.

In the end, I told her that [especially because she had chronic radiating pain from her wrist to forearm] the most simple way to know when you are ready is to listen to your body and respect what it is telling you, and then, to always come back to your breath. And when you feel that in the most strenuous of hatha practices your breath is sweet and easy, then you are ready to explore new classes and poses.

Nama ste

Friday, September 2, 2011

Faith: An Issue

The one year anniversary of the completion of my first yoga teacher training will occur in less than 6 weeks. This is a big deal for me, just as participating in and completing the teacher training were big deals for me.

Another kind of big deal for me that comes up repeatedly in my life, and didn't skip the chance to challenge me during teacher training, is the principle of faith. The sanskrit word that most accurately translates to our english word is "Shraddha" (pronounced shrah-dah).

I could really indulge on the topic... taking you on a dizzying, uncensored, non-sensical tirade about faith and all of my confusion with it. But part of cultivating an untwisted mind is to use a degree of self-discipline toward clear-thinking. So, suffice it to say that when my teacher began the lessons on faith and how yoga relies principally on it, I found myself in a bit of a bind [pun intended].

Perhaps it is my associative learning that immediately brings to mind connotations of religion, judeo-christian god figures, group-think and ignorance. I didn't understand how this principle had such a place in yoga. It really bothered me.

Luckily, I made a connection tonight with all the clarity of my highest mind, my yogic mind: When I am feeling desperately confused, alone, uncertain and weak, I have always turned to the warm reassurances of best friends. It is in their encouragement, their characteristically good-hearted efforts to raise my spirits as well as my sensibilities, that I trust. I trust that my confidences will be taken warmly and without reproach, and that they will somehow talk me down from my weird, usually dramatic and sometimes poetic self-pity. In hindsight, I notice that throughout the entire process, I never once have to consider if they think less of me for revealing what I feel are my most unattractive moments. Even in my darkest moods, I somehow have the faith enough to trust that there are other people in my community of friend-family that will support me in my weakness, and will be flexible in their heart-space when mine is bent unflinchingly.

So tonight I observe that faith, for me, is not religious. It is not judeo-christian, god-figured, or ignorant. For me, faith is the movement my heart makes to grasp for the warmth of a loving friend when my mind so desperately wants to grapple the issue alone. My shraddha is embodied and made manifest in the unconditional love of great friendship.

My deepest gratitude, and most vibrant love goes out to every one of you!

Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How to deal with hectic lives

It's been a couple of weeks since the last post (dedicated to my dear friend Sarah), and I've got a few moments to focus on what to offer you.

What comes to me is the idea of being gentle with ourselves.

These past few weeks I have been very busy reorganizing my life's investments and taking care of loose ends. I've started a new job, reached out to several new yoga studios, and taken on independent ventures that include sharing yoga to the office people at my primary job. It's been a mess of research, digital notes, follow-up phone calls, commuting and sleeping. But with all the fever of manifestation, I witnessed that ideas and goals I had begun to think about months and even years ago were beginning to take form in my everyday life. It's an exciting experience, and also a bit intimidating. I am constantly reminding myself to step out of the way and, sometimes, this helps put my mind in it's proper place. Due to all the shifting and reorganizing, my hatha yoga practice has gone by the wayside slightly. I've found that gentle stretches at the wall, hip openers and wrist rolls have become something of a routine just before bed.

I've also observed this kind of compression in my friend's lives as well. Life is pregnant [in some cases, literally] with new endeavors, new arrangements. A lot of energy, thinking and time gets invested in supporting the shift and it can be too easy to beat ourselves up for not remaining disciplined to our practice. As a way to cope, I've begun enlisting the support of mantra. I will sing well-loved mantra's to myself in the car, or think to myself, "come what may," enough times to feel connected to my breathing.

When our lives become hectic and our attention is needed in other areas to support important changes to occur, it is reassuring to know that yoga shows up in a variety of ways, to support our body-mind through the transitions.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Can't sleep? Try this

"Find your breath" I say sometimes when I'm teaching.

Find your breath right now, as you are reading this. Are you inhaling or exhaling?
Now listen for the opposite. Think of your breath happening in cycles, one inhale and one exhale is the same as one breath cycle.

Find your breath, again. Notice how your belly moves while you breathe.
Take 2 breath cycles to focus just on how your belly moves.

Continue breathing, and for the next 2 breath cycles, notice the temperature of your breath as it moves passed your nostrils.
As you inhale, the air is cool.
As you exhale, the air is warm.

Now take 2 breath cycles noticing both the temperature of air coming in and out of your nose, and the way your belly rises and falls as you breathe.
As you inhale, cool air comes into your nose as your belly expands.
As you exhale, warm air leaves your nose as your belly draws in toward your spine.

Take a few more breath cycles with your eyes closed, and this time bring your attention to your breath as it travels through your body, from the nose to the belly and back again.

Keep bringing your attention to the movement of your breath, and observe the calming effects that this particular breath practice has on your body-mind.

Practice this anytime you feel anxious, nervous or are having trouble sleeping.

In joy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What is Mantra?

Mantra is a word or phrase used to bring the mind into stillness. It is usually an audible sound, but can also be performed silently in the mind, like a chant. The mantra is repeated many times until a greater level of stillness is achieved.

Check this video out - it is a ganesha mantra, most known for removing obstacles and bringing mental clarity. Start the video and sit back to listen, join in if you like and notice how you feel after the chant is finished.

Also, something I've been reading frequently this month...

From the Power Path's August horoscope:

August 8-15: You will either be feeling like you have just gotten on the right track or you will be feeling out of control, despairing and confused. This is where you need to turn things over to spirit and to your unseen helpers and allies. This is where the energy accelerates and your mind will have to give up trying to control and figure it out. This is where you have to trust that your intentions will carry you where you need to go. If you are feeling right on track, experiencing synchronicity and things falling into place almost magically, then make sure to pay attention to the details to insure nothing falls through the cracks in your expanded state of awareness. Take time for gratitude for spirit and your allies. Take nothing for granted and continue to upgrade your environment and raise the vibration of your experience.

Sleep well readers!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

aMUSEing: Teachers I Dig

Here are a few of the teachers that I really vibe with lately. Enjoy!

Kate Potter: gorgeous marriage of breath and movement!

Sadie Nardini: super core!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Moments from my personal practice

"May this practice bring me into composure and collection during the many moments in the day where I feel scattered and completely disconnected."

- gentle twists
- neck, shoulder, wrist, ankle rolls
- rock along spine to uttanasana
- surya A and B
- low lunge with hip opener [both sides]
- down dog ab crunches
- side angle to triangle to half moon to sugar cane to standing split to warrior 3
- down dog to vinyasa [both sides]
- tree on block
- dancer
- vinyasa to child
- 10 ujjayi breaths
- camel
- pigeon side 1 and 2 with thigh stretch
- down dog
- bridge to restorative bridge
- wheel
- wind removing pose [both sides]
- supine twist [both sides]
- happy baby
- supported shavasana on bolster


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why do we "aummmmmm" ??

Ello all!

Tonight I am especially reminded about the three parts of all things, because today has had so many fresh beginnings and closures in it - new teaching prospects, my boyfriend's new career shift, my best friend beginning her new life in a new city. I am reminded about the sound of Aum.

The first time I ever heard the word "aum," I asked my friend, "what does it mean?" He told me, "it is the sound of the entire universe. it's said to hold every sound of every thing in it." This was remarkable to me, unfathomable even.

The first time I was taught to chant the sound of Aum, my teacher taught it in three parts, one for each sanskrit syllable: the beginning, middle and end. Each part resonated with a different vibration that I have heard corresponds to certain chakras (A with first 3, U with next 2 and M with top 2) and helps to facilitate clearing them.

This 3 part idea about Aum is widespread and comes with many fantastic symbols.

A = beginning, birth,creation, Brahma
U= middle, life, preservation, Vishnu
M= end, death, destruction, Shiva

A syllable is pronounced like the a in "mama"
U syllable is pronounced like the "oo" in "who"
M syllable is pronounced like "ma" but with proper diction sounds more like "ng" with the tip of the tongue pressing off of the palate

Often you will find teachers closing, opening, or otherwise sealing a class by leading everyone through a single [or triple] chant of the sound of "aum." This is symbolic! It represents an offering up of one's practice to a higher vibration, to the macrocosm, to the greater yogic community, to send a collective and intentional vibration through the chakra system and 'seal' in the benefits of the practice, to meditate on the 3 phases of all things...

That is why yogis aum, among other reasons [like: it feels good to make sound! and... harmonizing is cool!]

So in the spirit of the all encompassing sound of Aum I ask you, dear readers:
What is beginning in your life?
What is being maintained?
And what is coming to an end?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What's at Stake

Yesterday I took a poetry performance workshop, because, if you didn't know, I write and perform spoken word poetry. Participants were asked to choose one piece to work on, to have it memorized and to bring in a few copies for people to read.

The facilitator asked us to introduce ourselves and say a few words about what we'd hoped to get from the workshop. There was a lot of discussion from people about hoping to gain a better way of reconnecting to the raw emotion that first catalyzed their piece, many claiming that after performing it a number of times, the emotional charge had begun to wear thin. In response, the facilitator asked us, "What's at stake when you share this poem with people?... What's at stake?" He then offered up an anecdote from his own arsenal, and went on to tell us about a poem he reads often which still riles up a sadness in him. The poem was about his late grandmother and a house visit where she was especially jovial when he'd arrived. He told us, "When I perform this poem, I want people to walk away thinking, 'Damn, I really need to call my grandmother today.'"

This got me thinking about my yoga practice and why I come to the mat. I see that it is so easy to go through the motions - because I have a class package that will expire soon, because yoga is a fad exercise - even if my original intention is toward something greater. I think sometimes we practice on the mat and think that this is enough for us to get by, and when that happens, it becomes easier to forget WHY we do it.

So in the same way that as a poet I was asked to examine what my point was for performing the piece I brought to the workshop, I am asking what our point is for practicing hatha yoga. What is at stake when we come to the mat? What is at stake when we walk in to a yoga studio and prepare ourselves for practice? What is the point of moving through a vinyasa or taking a handstand?

...Body-breath alignment, a calming of the nervous system, reducing stress in the body to prevent long-term deterioration and disease, to increase lung capacity, to increase mental focus, to increase core strength and sustainable posture, to increase circulation and endurance, to increase awareness, patience, responsiveness...

what is at stake when you practice yoga? what is at stake when you research and study yoga? and lastly, what is at stake if you don't practice yoga?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Viva la resistance!

This post is about resistance and freedom.
How apropos that it comes at the close of Independence Day weekend ;)

I went swimming for the first time this weekend in nearly 3 years. Crazy to think considering that as a child I basically lived in my pool. To my surprise, I found that I needed some practice in remembering how to do it! I know how to swim, but the finer mechanics eluded me. For instance, as I was practicing holding my breath under water, I found that I was scrunching my face together so that water wouldn't get in my nose, and that this led me to clench my teeth together. Seems that my study and training in lengthening the breath didn't help me in this moment. Even though I was in the pool and swimming, I found myself resisting the experience. My friend at one point said to me, "Relax, we're in the pool. It's supposed to be fun!" And at once, my yoga practice came to mind.

Often enough, I find myself resisting an experience on the mat for whatever reason. I come to class, I'm on my mat, sweating and stretching and working to bring my body-mind into alignment, but somewhere I will resist. This usually shows up in my inversion practice and especially in handstand. I will start telling myself all the things I don't have yet (my triceps aren't spiraling enough... my arms aren't straight enough, etc.) and I will eventually come out of the pose feeling unsuccessful.

When I see this as I teach, I tell my students to focus on their exhales. They say that if you focus on really emptying the breath, the inhale will come. Exhaling allows the physical body to soften, to filter out carbon dioxide and other toxins, and helps to ease the mind. My teacher, Sigrid Matthews, told me once that when we find ourself in patterns of resistance, it is best to keep working with the breath, and to really recognize that we are resisting. So even by simply noting to ourselves, "Ok, right now, I am resisting this," will be enough to start shifting this pattern into something that is more life-enhancing.

When I applied this to myself in the pool, my physical being changed. My facial muscles relaxed, my breath release was slower and more even. Though I wasn't able to stay under as long as I wanted,I was more relaxed and able to laugh at myself as I remembered how to do something I did with ease years ago.

Viva la resistance, readers!
Then empty your breath ;)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Stuff I'm Into: MUSIC!!!

Before Practice - Deep:

During Practice - Rhythm:

After Practice - Fresh:

In Joy!

I've been yoked!

Yoga = to yoke = to bring together = to harmonize = balance

there is a space in me that is totally aligned,
this is the space that feels warm,
powerful and effortless.
this is the space that is all mine.
this is the space where all creativity springs from.
this space, is sacred.

the process of yoking is to first, open and second, to surrender; third, to discipline the creative play. it takes deliberate placement. it asks for mindful awareness. the point is to finish more spacious than when you started, to be more aligned, more clear, so that the creative process flows without the friction of the mind.

today i am thankful for the gracious service, the unfettered offering, the fierce and untwisted realness of a fellow yogi and teacher who i had the honor of taking practice from last night at Peace Yoga Gallery in downtown LA - thank you Cheri Rae.

i am reminded through her sweet reflection of this:

my greatest journey, my greatest quest, is to return to being me.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


It's been a little while since I've posted, but alas there will be posts!
To kick off the next sprint of updates, some good news to share.

On Monday, my co-author called me for the first time in several months. If you are new to this thread, I published my first book last November with a co-author and friend Owen Shieh. As we built momentum in the final revision process, our excitement peaked when we each received our first print copy by mail. In the months after print, we reached out to our community and hometowns for support and to help us spread the news. But as all things do, our attention moved on to other projects and we let the seeds of our first-run promotion settle.

Turns out that one of the seeds Owen planted during a pitch to his high school English department began to sprout, and we were told that they choose our book as part of their summer reading list! So our work will be in the hands of all of their international students for the 2011/2012 school year as well as all of the English honor students! We are thrilled! Not only is it great news that people will be reading our work and creating dialogue for exact target audience...but this sprout holds the potential to bloom into other opportunities for us to spread our work and generate feedback and dialogue [Our book is about peaceful co-existence through dialogue and diversity].

Honestly, I had forgotten that Owen pitched the idea at all; and he'd gone on thinking that they hadn't chosen our book because it had been so long since he had spoken to them.

" You cannot rush a seed from the earth. Be gentle with yourself."
Cheers everyone!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Discounts and Coupons!

Print out and bring in either of these flyers to receive a couple free classes!

The green flyer is only good for my classes :)

Hope to see you soon!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

aMUSEing: Stuff I'm Into

Inspired by my old school friend Stephanie for asking about recommendations for other content like this blog that are great... here's what I'm into!

The Vegan Stoner: A weekly(ish) blog with super simple, delicious vegan recipes using items that you can find at regular grocery stores.

Moving Through My Vinyasa: My teacher, Maria Cristina Jiminez's blog. She gets geeky about anatomy, yoga philosophy, and her journey as an ever-evolving teacher and student of yoga. She is a beautiful and nurturing resource - connect with her!

The Power Path: An incredibly insightful resource offered up by Lena Stevens, a shaman based out of New Mexico. Check out the monthly forecasts! (Think: horoscope for the entire human population regarding physical/political/romantic/personal relationships). I read this EVERY month.

Osho Tarot: In jest or in all seriousness, take this game lightly - you know, practicing non-attachment. ;) Osho's philosophy narrates each card drawn from his digital tarot card deck. I find the narratives to be really concise and easy to translate into my own experiences.

Knowa KnowOne is a friend of a friend who creates positive, conscious hip-hop electronica and freaky funky beats. Give him a listen!

The Regal Manatee is one of the faces that my brilliant partners' uses to offer his musical musings. Check out this unexpected ambient experience - the kind that is meant to wash over you as you melt into your couch with a warm cup of tea. Try it out!

That's just a few...
keep checking back for more posts and more of the 'Stuff I'm Into.'

In joy,


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Knowing What You Need: Svadyaya

In older posts I've mentioned Ashtanga, (the Eight Limbed Path). The first 2 practices are 1.) Yama (restraints and disciplines) and 2.) Niyama (observances). Svadyaya is the sanskrit word for "self-study," and is a type of observance.

Lately, I've been challenged in my classes by teaching from this place of giving students what they need and not from what they want. There are some people who do yoga to push, sweat and work themselves to achieve the "yoga body." There are moments in an advanced practice that require you to be still, to regather energy and focus, to come back into the breath, and the advancement really comes from integrating this into the movement practice again and again. What I am seeing is that some students choose instead to work through postures before their bodies are able to fully receive them. My teacher Maria says that she has not been injured in her yoga practice for something like 10 years, and she is quite advanced!

Here's my deal:
Yoga WILL change your physical body, it will expand your lung capacity. It will strengthen, lengthen and tone your muscles. It will help balance your complexion, your hormones, your moods, your appetite. It will help you to release stress and to know yourself more clearly. And yes, with a regular practice, you CAN achieve a toned, fit, beach ready body.

Now, you can also overstretch, strain, pull, hyper-extend and in other various ways, injure yourself. Hatha yoga IS an exercise routine, you are weight-bearing and moving fluidly. IF you are not practicing self-study, that is, if you are not taking a break when you need to, if you are not catching your breath, if you are not mindful of your body's placement, you are not aligning yourself to the fullest benefits of the practice.

I don't care what kind of arm balance you can do or if you can invert in the middle of the room. The very first practice we take is non-injury. Couple this with self-study and you are already on your way to taking care of your body and your self in a way that will support any degree of physical challenge in your hatha practice.

When it comes down to it, it's none of my business how you are moving through your practice. But if you are in my class, expect me to cue you for the practices you need more then what you want. There are many, many teachers in Los Angeles than are happy to lead you through a strong practice without reminding you to look within, and take care of what your body is asking for.

Sometimes, it's more difficult to sit in stillness.

Monday, May 23, 2011

aMUSEing: A Stroke of Insight

Jill Bolte Taylor's stroke of insight | Video on

This talk is mind-blowing ;)
A detailed report of the relationship between left and right hemispheres.
If you haven't already seen this talk, stop what you are doing and listen! :)

Friday, May 13, 2011


Tonight I need to talk about letting go.

According to the Ashtanga philosophy, there is a deeper aspect of existence that can be unveiled through the practice of yoga and it's 8-fold path. This path unfolds with an ever widening scope of exercises we practice in order to achieve mental clarity.

The 1st of these layers is called Yama [pronounced ya-mah] and includes this idea of letting go. The sanksrit word is Aparigrapha [pronounced Ah-par-ee-grah-ha] which literally translates to non-hoarding.

Off the mat, I've been struggling with letting go of a feeling before it transforms into a mood - or worse, an attitude. Someone will say something that I will take the wrong way, and even if the mis-communication is resolved right away, I hold onto the feelings that were mistakenly caused by assuming.

On the mat, I'm sometimes hard on myself - judging and comparing myself against things that aren't happening in that moment...stuff that I've held onto. This, of course, takes away from the clarity of breathing and movement. When I remind myself about the practice of aparigrapha, it is easier to let go of all the ill-feelings. I have come to learn that these are just emotional reactions and can be left as such; they do not need to turn into moods or attitudes, and that they are often times mere transient states, fleeting sentiments; that they are as easy let go of as an exhale.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Join me - FREE classes!

For the next 6 weeks I will be promoting my newest class at Urban Lily Yoga. Save this flyer to your computer, print it, and bring it to 14843 Burbank Blvd in Sherman Oaks, CA to trade for 2 free classes ;)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Welcome home, Confusion!

Lately I've been faced with turning point decisions that leave me confused and easily lost in comparing my Self and my story with others around me. My default creative process has me envision an end result and then slowly begin to build from that seed thought until the thing I want to see in real life, manifests. ...without a clear result in mind, confusion takes me.

For most, I think this is the point where stress, anticipation, and impatience take form inline with confusion. ...It's in these moments that I am reminded of an idea I garnered from my high school weight lifting coach; confusion training.

Muscle Confusion Training is this idea that by regularly changing your work out routine, your muscle and cardio strength will not plateau, but instead continue to develop.

For me, this is a direct parallel for the opportunity I am being offered. When some life experience leaves me confused, it is a chance for me to expand beyond what I have already mastered. Confusion, then, indicates potential evolution!

While it may seem counter-intuitive to embrace this, the moment I do, anticipation and impatience subside. If I can recognize that I am befuddled as the befuddlement is happening, then at least I am seeing myself clearly. Confusion generally leads to asking questions. If I am asking questions, then I know I am actively participating in my life and this can only lead to more growth and expansion. Yes, it's an uncomfortable experience, and oftentimes too frustrating...BUT, know that it is the gateway to something more creative.

Take home point: confusion is good!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stretching and the Fuzz

My teacher, Maria Cristina Jiminez, recently did an intensive dissection workshop with a doctor in San Fransisco.

The video below gives a short idea of what happens when we stretch and why it is more important than you thought. Check it out!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

aMUSEing: the Creative within

This talk by Elizabeth Gilbert [author of 'Eat,Pray,Love'] explores the idea of creativity and ingenuity.

I feel like she evokes a few interesting ideas in this talk. First, creativity and the creative process...the creative process works with two intense and oppositional forces - creation and destruction - of which the end product is a balance of these elements. Also, remaining realistic - yoga is always moving toward move out of illusion and myth and impure thinking. She talks about being humble, in that one's whole person is neither "genius" or "not genius" and is not the 'vessel' of ingenuity, but that an individual is totally capable of having a genius experience.
Check it out for yourself:

Here's the deal: "Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses -- and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hot Yoga - Whats the Hype About?

At the office this morning, a couple of my coworkers were talking about "hot yoga," in an effort for one to convince the other to begin a practice. The one needing convincing raised a few valid and presumably wide-held concerns about exercising in a room pre-heated to 105-118* F. Let me help clear the air. Hot Yoga" is a type of hatha yoga [physical practice/postures] practiced in a heated room, and is usually performed in a set sequence of poses that the yogi practices in the same order in each class.

The physical benefits of a hot yoga practice are many: To start, the external heat allows your muscular body to deepen into poses with an ease that one may not find in a tempered room. With the additional heat, muscles are more supple. Likewise, a solid hot yoga practice allows for deeper breathing, which moves more oxygen through the body, which allows for the body-mind to deepen and soften.

The sequencing for these classes is generally rigorous, but even a beginner could benefit from this particular style of class without missing the experience of integration that yoga offers. Heat builds quickly inside the body due to the sauna-like conditions of the studio. My coworker was worried she might pass out from the heat. This is possible, BUT knowing that you will lose a lot of water during the course of a class, prepare by staying well hydrated a few days prior to your first class. Also, expect to take your first session easy. Even if you are a well-practiced yogi, the heated environment brings about a totally different experience.

When I held a dedicated hot yoga practice, I was soaked through-and-through. Practicing hot yoga demands that you remain well hydrated, even between sessions. Not only are you sweating profusely, you are purging toxins from your skin and internal organs. You might imagine how great your skin looks as a result...

If you decide to take a hot yoga class, take my word and plan to take 2 instead. Here's why: Your first class you will be challenged by the experience, but so will your mind. Your awareness will be all over the amount of sweat you're producing, how sweaty your classmates are, avoiding slipping, adjusting to the grip factor, etc. Plan to take the second class so you can plan ahead for these variables and focus more on the practice.

Bring a towel to wipe yourself off between poses and enjoy it!

We All Think We're Broken, So We All Want to Heal

My teacher's teacher!
This woman, Caroline Myss is a retired medical intuitive who gives a super grounding talk about what "energy anatomy" is, how the system works, and how it applies to us in our daily lives. She goes into detail about what a chakra is and does, what an aura is and a few reasons why we feel bogged down. ...if you're not into this sort of thing, i would recommend that you approach her talk with an open mind. her perspective is really interesting!

"Our goal while on this earth is to transcend our illusions and discover the innate power of our spirit. We are responsible for what we create, and we must therefore learn to act and think with love and wisdom and live in service to others and all life."

- Caroline Myss

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Yogic Road: How Physical Yoga Moves Us Still

I recently had a conversation with a fellow yoga teacher about our shared background in psychology and neuroscience. She and I agreed that understanding the practice of yoga from a more Western perspective is helpful to students who don't resonate with the "hippie dippy" yoga stuff - chanting, sanskrit, ritual.

The physical practice of yoga - a.k.a. hatha (pronounced HA-tah) yoga - is one of eight ways on the yogic road to stillness. In the states, and perhaps even more in sprawling, overpopulated cities like Los Angeles, experiencing yoga through the body is sometimes the most visible way to get there.

The human experience is composed of a constant influx of sensory information and internal dialogue as a result of what we take in. Our mind works relentlessly to organize, prioritize and find homeostasis among the high volume of information.

Moving through a yoga practice allows our minds to focus on coordinating body movements with instructions from the teacher, and even deeper, to more subtle movements like our breathe and attitudes. With practice, this physical exercise permeates our mental movement and then the more powerful aspects of yoga begin to take place. The waves of information we absorb during the day surge less often, or with less velocity. As the physical practice grows with more loyalty, the undercurrent of yoga (literally, "to yoke") stabilizes the reactive processes of the physical body with the flexible resilience of the mind.

Think of final resting pose (a.k.a. Shavasana/Corpse Pose) after a vigorous flow class, or challenging standing sequence. You've spent the last hour or more honing your focus from the sound of your breathing patterns to the physical placement of your hands, feet, thighs, tailbone...your eyes are closed, your heart rate is neutralizing, and you feel a sense of calmness move through you as you melt into your mat. This integration point is the epitome of what it means to be in yoga. A happy marriage of physical discipline and mental surrender! With your body more aligned to move fresh oxygen through your muscles and organs, your mind is refreshed to continue processing and organizing. On the whole, you are better prepared to ride the wave of experience that takes place once you roll up your mat and leave the studio!

There is a deep value to beginning your journey on the yogic path at the physical level. As my fellow teacher said during our recent conversation, "It's like swimming in the the shallow end of the pool," ...This physical practice can bring us to very deep, very weird places. Luckily, we need not worry about drowning! On the yogic path there are many, many lifeguards.

Be well,

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mantra Monday: I know nothing

I am preparing for my first substitute teaching experience at Black Dog Yoga (April 10 @ 9am, April 12 @ 7am, April 14 @ 7am) for a "Basics" class.

In order to prepare, I've taken the class with the regular teacher a couple of times and am pleased to find that most of the students have a semi-frequent practice, so this won't exactly be yoga-101. Still, I am reminded to return to the pillars of yoga, what it means to be a beginner, and to really reconnect to the basics.

* Cue the breath often and in clear but distinct ways
* Work from the ground up
* Warm the body well before any dynamic movement sequence
* Say just enough and nothing more
* Speak from the heart
* Be without judgment and expectation
* Notice the good first

'The beginner's mind' is another yogic philosophy that shares some heritage with Buddhist thought. The idea is to enter a situation without expectation, assumption or judgment; to simply be in the experience as it is happening and to actively participate in this way.

While the students I am teaching soon may not all be beginners, I am! (At least in terms of subbing.) Until Sunday, I will be working with this mantra in order to focus some attention on the reality that while I may have learned so much from my practice and training, I must be ever ready and open to receive new lessons from my experience on the mat and in my practice.

I know nothing
I know nothing
I know nothing



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

aMUSEing: Book Review

So tonight I think I'll give a suggested reading for anyone interested in yogic thinking/lifestyle.
I happened upon this book at a store in Florida quite a few years before I began a dedicated yoga practice, and looking back on the events that led me to complete my first yoga teacher training, this book came to mind.

"Conversation with God: an uncommon dialogue (book 1)" by Neale Donald Walsch

This book was the only text to date that really sat well with me in terms of the G word. The book begins with a really coherent way to understand language based communication, how limiting this type of interaction is, and how the book works within this paradigm.

The dialogue itself illuminates a particular modality of thought that I find ubiquitous in an off-the-mat yoga practice. It's this idea that the whole point of the human experience - the reason we are here - is to realize "who we really are." In Bhuddist philosophy, this is talked about in terms of the cycle of samskara and awakening to your life's purpose in terms of a macrocosmic picture of the universe (think: reincarnation, choosing one's parents and partners prior to reentering the human form).

In yogic philosophy, this is discussed in terms of enlightenment, that transcendent state of self-realization and stillness. The 8-limbed path of yoga which leads a practicioner to achieve enlightment has many facets which all help to peel away the layers of illusion, twisted and inaccurate perception and imbalance so that the purest self is realized and (through the practice) becomes pervasive.

"Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue" is a text that revolves around this concept of waking up and realizing who you are, what you want, and why you will have it. It's philosophically challenging and touches on a huge array of everyday issues and stressors. Relationships, money, politics, the perfect subject is left out of this conversation between the author and his channeled God character.

Check it out!

Be well,

Sunday, March 27, 2011

aMUSEing: Poetress

So here's a short list of things that I love:

1. TED talks
2. smart friends who share cool things with me

Below is a talk given by a 22 year old spoken word poet/teacher/business director.
There are many reasons for why she is inspiring, but the one I'd like to focus on right now is the point she makes mid-way through her talk where she begins to explain why she writes. In essence, Sarah Kay confesses that she writes in order to make sense of things that she doesn't understand, and that the process of writing sometimes leads her to realize an answer, and sometimes it doesn't.

Life, writing, practicing yoga, making's all a process of creation! Whether the results reveal the vision or spark still more exploration, it is a necessary and often cathartic expression.
Check out her awe-some talk:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Poetry: Update

So the show was a lot of fun! I'll post a link when the archive file is up.
I was invited back next month for National Poetry Month, so look out for April 5th...there will be a mess of poets and spoken word artists offering some sexy ass wordplay for your listening pleasure ;)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday Thought Flow: Non-Attachment

Tonight I taught my second to last graduate teacher class at Black Dog Yoga in Sherman Oaks. I threaded the theme of non-attachment into the sequence, explaining that when I think of why I do yoga, it's to put my mind in it's place. If you know me personally, you are well aware of my ability to analyze, over analyze and completely indulge in a thought. For me, the practice of yoga brings this overindulgence into focus, allowing me the time and discipline to cultivate more balance.

In Sanskrit the word for non-attachement is aparigraha. It translates to "non-grasping" and generally implies a non-attachment to material possessions, kind of like the concept of greed. But deeper studies reveal that non-grasping also means not holding onto more abstract possessions, like ideas, opinions and belief systems. Aparigraha does not mean that we should free ourselves of desires entirely, but rather, to cultivate an awareness of the source of these desires, and to accept that this, like so much in the human experience, is temporary.

I explained that our mind will take advantage of moments of stillness. While the students moved through a challenging transition from full crescent lunge into downward facing dog, I encouraged them to breathe fully in order to synchronize with the breath. This would allow them to stay in their bodies rather than paying attention to any self-evaluation coming from the mind.

I repeatedly said, "Let your breath move freely," because even great students will hold their breath moving through a challenging posture or transition. Cultivating a practice of "non-grasping," on and off the mat can be very difficult because so much of our lives are spent evaluating, being self-conscious, speculating, and comparing. It is important to have a vision of yourself that you work to create. But sometimes we allow the mind to get carried away, which causes us to lose touch with that seed-vision, that original feeling that inspires us to change and evolve.

I closed the class with an explanation of Patanjali's definition of yoga:

Yogash Chitta Vritti Nirodha

Yoga is the stopping of the twisting of the mind.

The mind is a sticky thing. It attaches to so much...ideas, opinions, belief systems, elaborate fantasies...the observance of aparigraha offers us the opportunity to draw supportive boundaries for our mind to respect, so that it can serve it's purpose to evaluate and analyze experiences in order to bring clarity - not to fog it up!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Mantra Monday: "So-hum"

"So hum" is a sanskrit phrase which means "I am that."

Working with mantra is a way to bring the mind into an empty focus by repeating a phrase repeatedly for several minutes, usually in conjunction with a breath technique.

The "So Hum" mantra come from the Hindu tradition which literally translates to:

so = that, divinity
hum = I am

Here's one way to incorporate it into your yoga practice:

Lay on your back with one hand gently resting just below your belly button and the other hand gently resting just below your ribs. Close your eyes and begin to breathe deeply through your nose. Allow your shoulders to relax away from your ears and feel your lungs expand as you inhale. Continue to breathe deeply and completely.

As you inhale, say the sound "So" to yourself. As you exhale, say the sound "hum" to yourself. Inhale the sound "So," for the entire breath, pausing at the top, and exhale the sound, "hum," for the entire breath. Continue this cycle of inhaling deeply the sound "so," and exhaling the sound "hum," for several minutes.

When you feel you have reached a comfortable end to this practice, complete a final cycle of the So Hum mantra and exhale all of the air from your lungs. Your belly button will contract toward your spine as you empty the lungs. Relax your breathing pattern and remain laying down with your eyes closed for a couple of breaths to absorb the benefits of this practice.

Be well,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

An Exercise: Sharing Creates Space for More

We've got breadcrumbs!

My boyfriend has a monthly at this spot in Downtown hosted by The Movement. The founder also hosts a spoken word open mic in LA. I come as a featured poet for the open mic. Another featured poet, James Maverick, hosts an internet radio show and invited me on as a guest.

So after nearly 3 years, I return to the open mic forum to share and make connections, only to expand in collaboration! Nathan played some ambient soundscapes while I read and now we are both invited to share our collaborative energy. Neat!

Check it out this Tuesday, March 22 at 8pm (Cali time).
"The Ninth Level" with James Maverick

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Off sabbatical, On the Internet

Been a bit since I've posted. Here's what you've missed:

i moved from the desert to Hollywood.

i am a certified 200 RYT yoga instructor and am currently teaching sporadically at
Black Dog Yoga

i also published my first book!
you can sneak a peak at:

cheers to building momentum.