Tuesday, December 28, 2010

week 3 mentorship homework

Life has been pretty crazy lately with my birthday, xmas, yoga studio shifts, school ending, new school starting, health problems... One of the things that feel to the side was some of the Christian Sell mentorship homework. This afternoon I had some free time I quickly did an aassigment (heads up this is not perfect just wanted to do it). I havent taught this class yet. but i did teach a class this morning with a similar theme that i kind of expanded off of for this assignment

Personal-> universal: I have been thinking about what I want to cultivate in myself for 2011. I want to create more space around my heart so I can live in my heart and respond from my heart and with practice I hope to keep my heart open no matter what situations, issues, poses... I face
The Anusara yoga philosophy: tells us that every moment and every experience is an opportunity for us to live in our heart.
Define concept: Space “three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space) Patience “Patience is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patience)
What it means to me: Space is very important to me because when I create this expansion in my chest I can more easily live in my heart and I can respond with patience in more appropriate ways then if my chest was closed and constricted.
Chit Ananda: When we create space around our heart we can express patience in any situation.
Refining chit ananda: “when we know this expansion (state of spaciousness) we can express our self with patience (feeling quality) because we can reside in our hearts through any situations”
Tie into UPA: Opening to grace creates space up the sides of our body and into the front and the back of our heart creating a quality of patience for us to move through this practice being very aware and connected to the heart
Tie into upcoming class: Today we will practice creating space around the heart with patience as we face difficult poses while keeping our awareness in our heart and working toward urdhva danurasana.
Verbs: Open, length, broaden, expand, lift
Adjectives, verbs and feelings: Patience, endurance, softness, fortitude, calmly, constancy, perseverance, enthusiasm, compassion, aspiration
actions and heart feelings linked:
• Lengthen from your waist up toward your armpits with enthusiasm
• Expand the circumference of your heart in all directions with perseverance
• Lift the belly away from the pelvis with softness
• Soften the skin to the bone with patience
• Move the thigh bones back with fortitude

Definitely feel like I am struggling linking up to adverbs, adjectives and feelings. But am really enjoying how these homework assignments are inviting me to think in new ways (so much so that my brain hurts :D)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holiday...my present to you!

Here is my holiday present to you! I hope if helps you find different ways to connect back to you heart on your path.

Here is a list of main heartfelt qualities/ intentions that we want to cultivate in our self and our students. (I got this list from The Anusara Yoga teacher Training Manual)
Kindness Playfulness Joy Non-clinging
Spaciousness Gratitude Yield Devotion
Discrimination Willpower Compassion Steadfastness
Courage Patience Contentment Sensitivity
Endurance Resilience Gentleness Concentration
Mindfulness Surrender Humility Softness
Acceptance Enthusiasm Forbearance Love
Use these intentions to connect more fully with your heart. They are heart-based feelings that can provide guidance.
Enjoy and many smiles to you,
Kimberly Achelis Hoggan-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copy these words into a word document and insert a table around them (so you get nice squares, couldnt ge the format to work in blogger) print these out on thick colorful pieces of paper, cut out the words and put them in a cute little sack along with the instruction card and handed them out. I am using mine daily but I find instead of using the bag it is easier to put them in a little bowl which I leave at my altar.
Many blessing, lots of love and smiles
Ho Ho Ho


Last night I took Matt Newmans class from Prana Yoga in Trolly Square, it was awesome. We talked a little about the gunas which are qualities of nature: tamas (not enough), ragas (to much), sattva (just right). We all have these gunas in us and they all very. It takes a lot of self inqury to notice where we might have to much where we might have to litte, and from this self study we can start to make refinements in ourself to create this more harmonious state of being.

At one point during the class he mentioned how none of us are perfect and we all have our “issues”, areas, or specific principles we need to work on to bring more balance to the pose. I remember when Matt would say something similar to this when I first started Anusara yoga, and although I knew my practice wasn’t perfect, I did not know what specific refinements I needed to make in order to create a more harmonious outer pose and create a more harmonious inner experience. When he said this last night (after lots of practice, dedication, and self study) I knew what my natural tendencies are so I was able to take specific refinements to create a more sattvic experience.

(The areas I am working with are side body length, taking my back bend into my upper back by rooting the tailbone more, and watching my right elbow because it has a tendency to hyper extend).

If you show up to Matt’s class for one of your first yoga classes ever and he says something like that you might think “I suck, I cant even balance in any of these poses…other people have issues…no. I cant do any of this…” Or something...

So the steps are, showing up, self observation, study, refinements = BLISS

I think we can learn how to create more ease in our life with this equation as well. At first maybe people don’t realize their life might not be in balance, because they haven’t even looked. But then once they take the time to look inside they might realize they might be experiencing a combination of ragas, and tamas and not very much sattva. Its like if you have never taken an Anusara yoga class you might not know that you have a tendency to collapse in your low back (although you might experience back pain). But once you show up on the matt and start moving around, and really feel the body, you might think hmm.. my back hurts in back bends… Then through more practice, more study, more personal awareness you will beginning to see that if you use the refinements of the principles and the loops you will beginning to see that these little adjustments create such ease in the body mind and spirit both on and off the mat.

(opps dont have time to finish off to a day of skiing!!)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Parents and husbands

One thing I have been doing recently is to consciously pause throughout the day and think of the things I am grateful for, in my life, in the day, in the moment. These pauses of remembrance of the love and support I have in my life really made me feel good inside, so I started to keep a gratitude diary. In this diary I just write down a few things I am grateful for. I do this whenever I remember throughout the day and every night before I go to bed. (Studies show that if you write three things you are grateful for before bed you will sleep better).

I have been noticing a theme in my journal. my husband Tyler Hoggan, makes it on the page every day. I feel so fortunate that I have a loving, funny, intelligent, adventurous husband.

I have a friend who is going through divorce and it heartbreaking. I have witnessed and experienced divorce in my own family and it causes such pain and unease for the people involved. I was thinking about the relationship between husband and wife and the relationship between family members, for example a daughter and her father. When you say “I do” you are forming a family. But one difference is that a relationship between father and daughter can never be completely destroyed. When I was younger I was a troubled teen. I was sad, confused, rebellious and as a result I caused so much pain to my family member and those I love. I used to have horrible fights with my dad and I would say some of the ugliest things, it brings tears to my eyes to think back on these times and how my dad must have felt. I took actions that caused pain and disappointment to so many close to me. But now after taking some time to heal, finding true friends and choosing to persue things that cultive health and happiness in my life, I now have really stronge compassionate bond with my dad and with my family. No matter all the crap we experienced years ago we have so much love for each other.

It makes me sad that husband and wife don’t always seem to do this “til death do we part”. (Don’t get me wrong I am not saying there are not situations where a divorce can be appropriate). However from what I have witnessed a husband and wife can go throw a few bad actions, a few bad fights and then they end it. I like to think of marriage as a conscious commitment to making a family with that person. And that no matter what comes up (for better or worse, for sicker or poorer) you will stick together and work really hard and in the end I think the wound or whatever it is can help strengthen the relationship.

This was a random thought. Anyways I am very grateful for my husband and all the support, love, and laughter he brings into my life.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lotus flower, and therapy

I have wanted to see a therapist for a very long time. As a teacher I have people coming to me for advice and I say these wise things, but I never have felt that I had someone to go to talk, ramble about my “problems”, and seek advice. I was scared at first to find a therapist because I felt like everyone knew me as a yoga teacher whom dedicates almost all her time practicing and studying yoga, and has “no problems”. I thought that getting a therapist meant an automatic confession to my life isn’t perfect (not that I ever said it was). However I remember reading one of my favorite teacher’s blog, Maria Cristina (blog.mariacristinayogi.com). She talked about how she has seen a therapist for years and how important her therapist is in her life. I never forgot that.

I often think about how being a student of yoga, we can create a lot of pain and conflict for our self because we are consciously doing really, really hard work to better our self so we may connect to Our Self, Shiva, God, Nature, Spirit, Breathe ____(enter your blank here) more fully and show up more fully in all our relationships with our self, friends, families, strangers, and nature. I sometimes think how different my life would be if I wasn’t doing this work, if I was just content and accepted everything as it was, kind of the whole “ignorance is bliss”.

It is like a lotus flower. A lotus flower starts buried in the mud (in Anusara we look for the good so this mud isn’t bad it provides the nutrients we need) But at a certain point the mud doesn’t serve us, and we start doing this work that helps us rise toward the surface keeping our roots planted deep in the mud. As we reach the top we emerge and open one petal at a time, to blossom fully in the sunlight.
I feel like I have been buried in mud and I am trying to find my way to the top of the surface so I may open fully with honesty, compassion, patience, and joy. I recently started seeing a therapist and now I feel like as I make my way toward the surface I have a helper that can help me navigate through or around obstacles.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

reflection on a yogi tea qoute, i dont agree

Yesterday I updated my facebook status to:

‎"the purpose of life is to enjoy every moment" Yogi Tea

I kept thinking about these words throughout the day. I love the “the purpose of life is to” “every moment”. But throughout the day I kept rubbing up and finding resistance with the word enjoy. Lately I have been trying to cultivate some shifts to bring about health transformation in my life and in my spiritual practice. As I do this, I would have to say there is a lot of stuff that is coming up that I am NOT enjoying. However as I make these shifts and make little changes here and there I am able to stay more mindful and more aware of every moment.

I think this yogi tea quote would have resonated with me in the past. I think when I thought that I could ENJOY every moment what I was really doing is not being mindful almost numbing myself out to the moments that were not enjoyable. I have learned that some moments are full of incredible sadness, hurt, frustration, fear, loneliness, tiered, and confusion. The key is to not put these in a box and push them away so that you can enjoy every moment. It is about being aware, present and mindful during every moment. So no matter what is happening whether it is ecstatic joy, deep pain or somewhere in the middle, When we are present to the emotion that is present, and allowing that emotion to deepen your relationship with yourself and others… that is the purpose of life!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Recently a new student asked me if I could write up a quick blog explaining some basic meditation info and suggestions. Here it is.

I think of meditation can be a great tool for anyone in life, allowing us to cultivate a better relationship our whole self and the world around us. Meditation also allows us to slow down so instead of being in a state of constant reactivity we can mindfully choose how best appropriately to respond to any given situation.

There are lots of different meditation techniques out there. But in the yoga world there are two general categories. There is a dual type of meditation (classical yoga) and a non-dual type (tantric yoga).

In the dual type (classical yoga) they believe there is two things the you (purusha) and the other (prakriti) and that you want to get all the other (prakritic) stuff away so you can just experience yourself.. In this meditation you try to still the mind and have no thoughts. I tried this for years and struggled so much. How can I not think? In this form of meditation even when I could empty my mind I still felt very stiff, scared and not very joyful. I also felt like I was bad at mediation. (In my therapy session today we talked a lot about this "I am not good enough" mind set and I notice how much I do this subconsciously.)

The other type of meditation is non-dual meaning everything is one and that oneness is pure of joy, bliss, peace, stability, love... so that even thoughts aren’t seen as something bad because everything is one. I like to think about this in pulsation. Right…everything pulses, our breath, the cycles of nature, even the particles that hold things together are made up of small particles that pulsate and create a sold entity. So if everything pulses and this pulsation is made out of bliss, then why should we try to stop it? That would be like trying to stop the sun from setting. For example if I sit and meditate and my mind is a little more active that day I just sit with that. I try not to get pulled really hard into one thought I just let the thoughts come and go. As if I was lying on my back watching the clouds pass by. I don’t think my thoughts are bad and the fact that I can’t stop them I am bad in this non-dual way we allow every experience to be an opportunity for us to find some more peace or joy in life. here is a link to one of my blogs that talks about having thoughts while meditating (http://authenticselfyoga.blogspot.com/2010/01/mental-naming-learning-to-...).

Here are a few other techniques.
1. counting the breath: as I sit or lie to meditate count my breath inhale 1, exhale, 2, inhale 3 and so on and so on until I get to 10 then I start working backwards inhale 10 exhale 9 inhale 8..however if while I am doing this counting meditation and I get distracted I start back over at 1. I rarely make it to 10. It doesn’t really matter if I do make it to ten it is just a nice way of calming and centering.
2. Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing): a way to cleanse and see clearly while cultivating a more harmonious balance between the left/feminine and right/masculine sides of the body. Close off the air to the left nostril (with the ring and pinky finger of the right hand) exhale through right and inhale through the right nostril then close of air to the right nostril with the thumb exhale through left and inhale and repeat.
3. Mantra: I love mantra. Mantras are using a sound or phase and repeat it over and over either silently or out loud to yourself. The theory behind it is the sound vibrations effect our vibrations and bring that mantra/or affirmation into our being. Here is a link about hindu gods and their mantrashttp://authenticselfyoga.blogspot.com/2010/05/mantra.html
4. audio: I also really enjoy listening to audio meditations and following along. Some of my favorite Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, and Harshada Wagner

Restorative Yoga Class

I took a yoga class that Lululemon Athletica hosted (part of their 12days of complimentary fitness classes of Christmas). Scott Moore offered a wonderful restorative class at Prana Yoga. It was so great! I felt like I really got the opprotunity to turn “off”, rest, restore and rejuvenate. During the practice Scott said something that really helped me understand the value of restorative yoga.

He talked about how Mickey Mouse uses a spell to make brooms and mops come alive to clean the floors. Mickey was using this clever trick to get more things done at once, but pretty soon he didn’t know how to turn them off, let alone where the “”off” switch was. I deffinitly feel myself do this in my life. I multi tast, i am always going going going. Sometimes I forget I need to slow down, and when I remember I sometimes find it hard to actually settle down.

Scott talked about how that is the invitation that restorative yoga offers us, a way to find the “off” button, and a way to push it. This is how we can restore our self. Something else Scott kept saying throughout the practice was this idea that you don’t have to do anything in a precise way, and your pose doesn’t need to look a particular way. Instead you put the body into a general shape and then you allow yourself to make little shifts until you can find the ease into which to release deeper. That reminds me that all our off buttons can look different, and we can even push them in different ways. But the bottom line is, through this wonderful multi facetted practice of yoga asana, meditation, and pranayama we are given the invitation to let go, drop into this moment, and surrender so we may restore our body mind and spirit.

Thanks Scott and Lululemon Athletica for a great mid day practice.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

leading the practice. stability during holidays with OS

Yesterday I taught the practice at the yoga center. It was pretty exciting because as I walked into the center, and as I looked out over my mat at the layout of the studio and the carpet floor I realized this would be my last practice in “this” space. The doors to the yoga center close Monday for the start of renovations. There will be lots of exciting changes being made to the space. The ones I am most looking forward to is new bamboo floor and raised ceiling. The renovation will start on Monday December 13 and be completed by January 3. We will continue to have all of our regularly scheduled classes during this time at a temporary location just down the street at 2101 East Murray Holladay Road. Maps are at the studio but it's easy to find!

For the practice I talked about instability. How during the holidays life can seem more chaotic and we can feel a sense of instability. I mentioned how when I experience this instability I feel more connected to something on the surface that is more superficial and I experience feeling like anxiety, fear, and judgment.

The Anusara philopshy is non-dual meaning that we are connected to something very profound and more eternal. You can call this whatever you like God, Shiva, Nature, Breath, Yourself, Nature, Science (enter your _______________ here). In order to connect and remember this eternal aspect of our self I need to draw into myself away from the drama of things that happen on the superficial and move deeper into my core and heart. Here I experience more compassion, joy, softness, and acceptance. Although with the craziness of the holidays and life sometimes when I draw in and connect to this higher essence I can loss the connection quickly.
So I need to not only draw in and remember this more eternal part of myself but I need to find even more stability by anchoring myself into this more eternal place that can still handle the drama but in a less reactive way.

We worked on muscular energy (muscle to bones, core lines to focal point, and midline) this was a really nice way to cultivate and remember the strength that we have.

Then we started to introduce outer spiral with lots of partner work and questions and clarifications. Oh yeah how could I forget. And some pretty phenomenal metaphors and similes. As we talked about outer spiral I really wanted to explain that it is more than tucking the tailbone (although that is a part but if you just tuck the tailbone that is closer to pelvic loop) but that contracting spiral has this wrapping aspect to it that narrows the back of the pelvis and expands the front of the pelvis. This wrapping of the iliac crest I was talking about like a clam shell. Toward the end of the class. One of the students mentioned a pearl inside our clam shells. I went nuts. What a wonderful connection. I haven’t completely refined it but I like this idea that through wrapping our clam shells around the head of the femur bone we create stability to open up our clam shell (which even makes sense because contracting spiral creates an opening in the front of the hips) and this opening of the clam shell reveals the pearl which is the opportunity to experience more length up the spine and the shashumna that leads to organic energy. (I am just adding to this as I write so again not totally refined).
We had lots of fun. Really great students. One who student whom I have known for a while and I was even her student at one point was there so it was really fun to share that with her.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

tele skiing and anusara shin loop!

Today I went tele skiing with my husband at Alta. It was a wonderful day! the sun was shining, no clouds, fresh powder, just wonderful. Now I am not a skier I was a professional snowboarder for awhile but I kept getting hurt (broke my back and hurt my knee). These injuries are what motivated me to start my asana practice. Anyways thats a different story. After my body heeled I could still snowboard and still do ticks but through all the yoga I was getting into the “completive mindset” no longer interested me. So last year I switched to tele skiing.

Today was my 4rth day skiing this year and I was still trying to get the hang of it. One thing I always struggle with is putting weight into the front of my boots when I ski rather than leaning into my heels and putting my weight back on the ski. As I was working with this today I was reminded of shin loop in Anusara yoga. Shin loop starts at the base of the shinbone just above the ankle. It moves up the back of the calf muscle to the top of the shins just below the knee, forward through the top of the shin, then down the front of the shin back to the base of the shin. (this helps you not hyper extend your knee). This is the same action we are creating when we put weight into the front of our boot.

When you ski like this with shin loop you are taking a very aggressive attitude, “I am in control, and can choose where I want to go”. When you don’t do shin loop and lean into the back of the book and collapse onto the heel, although you think it is less scary, it says “oh no! Where am I going? I have no control! I might get hurt, AHHHH!”

I feel this way in my life too. If I shift my weight forward and have an aggressive attitude that I want to take control of my life. I want to be in the driver’s seat. I want to be making actions that serve me fully. I want to consciously respond to situations I am in, instead of reacting impulsively. When I have this attitude I can control where I want to go with more skill. However sometimes (just like in skiing) I think if I just lean back, let things happen, blow things off it will be easier. That is when I start to make bad choices. I start to hurt the people I love. I get way off of the path I want to be on.

Today was really fun because I was working with dropping my knee way low in powder and turn. In each turn I could feel myself lean back into of my boot and I would think, take control of your life, take control of your turn. I would shift my weight forward and it was like magic. I have never done such nice pow-pow turns. Made me smile big, and remember that Anusara freaking rocks! The principles, the loops, the philosophy, isn’t just to be practiced on that mat but can be applied to anything or situation in your life.

I see this a lot in students feet when they practice. They naturally shift their weight back and collapse on their heels. I remind them we actually can create more health, and stability in the body if we distribute the weight evenly and creating the calf energy of shin loop.
**I am teaching the practice this week (Friday)at the yoga center 540-740 by donation. I am very excited**

Monday, December 6, 2010

heart based theme mindset

For the past two weeks in the mentorship program Christina Sell has been teaching us how to cultivate heart based themes going from the universal to the personal, or the personal to the universal. She encourages us to take a challenge in our life, any of our experiences, definitions of words, and poems to help us take a big idea (universal) and make it more relatable to our students (personal). She said that what is so great about Anusara is that it is a philosophy of totality. So really anything!!! can be turned into a heart based theme if you keep looking. She said because it is a system of totality anything can lead you back to the heart even the deepest sadness.
At first when I learned how I could use all these different aspects of my life to develop a heart based theme I felt overwhelmed. But now I feel like part of my brain or maybe it is my heart is getting rewired toward “heart based theme”. Now multiple times throughout the day something will happen and I naturally go “ah ha this could be a theme”. This is really cool because it reminds me of the universal, of the non-dual life affirming philosophy of Anusara yoga. I then run it through the 5 principles thinking how I could relate that experience to each principle. It makes me wish I had more classes to teach. I feel like themes are pouring out of me and I don’t want them to go to waste.

Last night I was with a good friend and he told me that mosquitoes when they bite you they also inject an anticoagulant/lubricator as part of their saliva. This keeps the blood moving and you don’t die. And that the bump and the itching sensation we get from mosquito bites aren’t actually from the bite but from them injecting there saliva into us in order to save us. He told me that and I thought, this could possibly be a theme. Haha haven’t thought the theme through and as I write this I don’t know how accurate it is that this injection it to stop us from dying, but thought it was funny that this random fact(?) he told me made me think heart based theme and remember my inner divinity! Leslie Salmon told me when she did this mentorship program with Christina Sell she felt like she had been given the keys to the kingdom. I feel like I have been given a key to look at everything as a reminder of Spirit and of the heart.


Mantra has always touched my heart and has always been a regular staple in my meditation practice. However lately I find myself practicing more and more, even when I am not practicing I can almost hear a quite back drop of my mantra going with in me. I also have found myself suggesting to some of my friends who are working through some stuff to find a mantra or affirmation they connect with to use as a tool. Since mantra has been on my mind I was happily surprised to open my yoga journal and find so much of the issue on mantra and kirtan.

Jia Uttal says “Externally, we’re just singing repetitive songs with simple melodies and a few Sanskrit words. We try to put our analytical minds to the side and sing from the heart. We try to channel whatever emotion we’re feeling into the song. Then the magic happens: Walls constructed long ago come crumbling down. Wounds that we never knew were there beginning to heal. Long-submerged emotions come to the surface. As we sing, we immerse ourselves in an endless river of prayer that has been flowing since the birth of the first human beings. And somehow effortlessly, we move into a meditative state that creates a safe haven for the flower of the heart to unfold. (18YJ Dec2010)” HOW LOVELY!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

a drving metaphore

I have been thinking the about the different attitudes we take out of our freedom when we drive. We can distract our self with radio, friends, phones, thoughts... When we drive like this we can easily get lost or in an accident. We can agitated our self as we drive getting angry, stressed, and in a reactive mode, possibly flipping or yelling at other drivers. When we drive like this it is hard on our heart and we could possibly cause an accident. We can choose to drive mindfully being aware of what is going on around us. When we drive like this we can consciously choose where we want to go, how we want to get there, and we can choose how to respond to a situation in the most appropriate way. This is just like our life! We are given a vehicle=our body and the road= the path we are on in life. We also have the same options to distract our self, to contract and get agitated, or being mindful and present. I have found the more I practice being mindful on the mat the more able I am to be mindful in other parts of my life, even when driving. The Anusara philosophy teaches us that at our core we are intrinsically good and when we are mindful and present we can more easily experience our own goodness and the goodness of others.  From this connection to our innate goodness we can express more patience and compassion to our self and others.

Friday, December 3, 2010

"Guru" heart based theme

On wednesdays class at the yoga center this is the theme I used.

Recently one of my teachers, Christina Sell, has been talking and writing a lot about her Guru. She often writes about her Guru and when I hear about her or anyone’s Guru I feel myself contract with jealously. Thinking how rare a relationship is between a physical guru and a chela (disciple). Not even John Friend founder of Anusara yoga would be considered a Guru. But then I remember the Sanskrit world “Guru” which is comprised of 2 root parts. Gu= darkness and ru=light. So Guru= is anything that leads you from darkness to light. We remind our self of the Guru in the first line of the invocation when we sing gurvea. One of my favorite translation of gurave is “this teacher can reside within you and/or around you”. The Anusara philosophy teaches us that there is wisdom that resides within us, and when we draw into that wisdom with honesty we can express more skill, patience and stability in our life. We will work with outer spiral today in standing poses to skillfully create more stability and strength in our practice.

It was a really great class pretty full of students who seemed to really connect to the inner guru aspect of the class. Recently in my life there have been lots of shifts and changes that are being cultivated and in order for me not to get lost in shifts or fall into bad habit I need strength. Lately I have been drawing alot of strength from this idea that I have a guru within me!

One of the new studio owners (how crazy) Lindsey took my class which created a few butterflies in my belly but I tihnk I did a good job and stayed true to myself as I taught. Hope we liked it :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

heart based theme idea

Christina Sell week two.
wow this week Christina explained a few more ways to start developing a heart based them that goes from the universal  (a big philosophical teaching) and bringing it to the personal and connecting it with chit ananda and the UPA's. She gave us so many my mind keeps day dreaming about all the many heart based themes i could create form my experience, challenges, word definitions, and poems. Because I have all these new ways part of me is hesitant to fully dive in. (hence to recent blog posts but lots of stuff in my head). Figured I needed to dive head first in so thought I would post a short idea.

Courage. The root word for courage is “cour” = “coeur” which is heart in French. In Latin being courageous translates to be heartful. When we are trying to find the strength to do something courageous we should remember to draw into our heart. In the Anusara Philosophy there is the idea that we are all intrinsically good. When we remember that naturally pull into the heart and we find strength to express our self courageously and with joy. In tonight’s class we will play with some balance poses that will require us to draw into the mid line (ME) and into our heart for the strength to express these poses fully and with delight.
As I continue to build the theme throughout the class I would mention that in Sufi-ism the heart is considered the ‘house of the divine’ they say if you completely connect with the heart you are promised a state of no fears, and no worries.
I also might try to think of some link btw wizard of oz and the lion with courage.

more heart based themes to come.

on another note there have been many exciting changes and shifts about to happen in my life. I am going to go to massage school in January which is going to turn my world upside down and really challenge me and my normal teaching and practice yoga schedule. AND the yoga center got sold!!!! but i am confident the new owners are going to continue to cultivate it  and they continue to bring more anusara love and teachers to the space.

more soon

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

thanksgiving eve class

I taught a class at the yoga center on thanksgiving eve.

I like thanksgiving because it is a day where we are consciously grateful for the many blessing we having and the many teachers, friends, family and strangers who share compassion with us and support us. I think we should be grateful everyday for all that we have but thanksgiving is a nice day to come together and consciously acknowledge the beautiful souls and many blessings in our life.

The Anusara philosophy teaches us purna. Purna is one of the six attributes of the Absolute and means fullness or perfect completeness. Meaning that the universe is perfectly full it has everything it needs and each one of us is perfectly full. We have everything we need to be happy and content. We are full of beauty, blessing and supportive loving teacher, friends, and family.

When we acknowledge how full we are of blessing and have gratitude for all that we have we can express more generosity and love to each other and our self.

I handed out paper and pens to the students at the beginning of class and gave them all a moment to write a few things that they are grateful for and had them put it under their mats. I encouraged them to bring this purna, this fullness into their asanas by bringing to mind what they are thankful for maybe even imagine people’s faces or whatever it is that makes them feel full inside. This is what I love about asana. It isn’t just a pose we are holding with good alignment but it is the bhava, the heart quality or feeling that we cultivate.

The class had a wonderful energy to it. Some people even had a few tears.
I also started and ended the practice with a reiki inspired meditation that I saw Elena Brower do on yogaglo where you rub your hands together creating heat and then place the hands gently over closed eyes allowing the heat of the hands to help the eye balls and eye lids soften. I even used the quote she used from Dr. Douglas Brooks “We don’t live with the way the world is, we live with the way we see the world”. I encouraged students to choose a soft loving gaze this holiday season full of compassion and generosity instead of dry stressed out not blinking stare full of to do list and potential family drama.

I am thankful for my loving husband who makes me smile everyday! I am thankful for my many teachers whom I am inspired by and learn so much from. I am thankful for my students who laugh with me and help me grow as a teacher. I am thankful for my friends and family who give me so much love and support. I am thankful for the beauty of the world and the kindness of stranger. I am thankful for myself, for wanting to see how I can grow so I can show up the fullest (purna) in all my relationships.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Letter of Reference for kim achelis :)

I am in the process of putting a portfolio together that will hopefully help me get more teaching jobs and workshops opportunities. I wrote my dear teacher and friend Nathan Hayes whom I studied with in Washington. His response made me laugh a little, cry a little and smile a lot!  Nathan has been an enormous part of my practice my time spent with him in multiple trainings and teacher trainings helped transform my personal practice (asana, pranayama, meditation). I can’t wait to come back to Washington to take more lovely classes with him

To Whom It May Concern:
I have known Kim Achelis for the last several years, as a student, substitute teacher, and workshop presenter at our yoga studio in Olympia, WA.

Kim’s lives, breaths and exudes yoga. Her adeptness in the practice of asana, her understanding of the depths of its rich tradition, the boldness, creativity, humor, big-heartedness and insights she displays, on and off the yoga mat, are truly remarkable and an inspiration for others.

In the circles of yoga practitioners, Kim is a natural leader. I have personally watched many students at our studio gravitate in her direction enthusiastically, wanting to learn from her and share in her knowledge of yoga and her joy for life.

I also have had the opportunity to observe Kim teaching at the studio, and can say, without reservation, that she would be an asset in most any setting where yoga is taught. She makes things fresh and fun for the students, in a natural and compelling manner, that both inspires and appropriately challenges students. She is clear in her instructions, engaging and connecting with them, and offers balanced, safe, sensible sequences that allow students to experience the extra-ordinary.

Many students at the studio who have taken a class with Kim have come to me and raved about her style of teaching.

In my opinion, Kim’s strengths as a yoga teacher are: 1) the depth of her own personal practice and her knowledge of its tradition, 2) her natural enthusiasm and creativity, 3) her inner drive to continue to evolve as a teacher and person, and 4) the humility and genuineness of her heart.

Dated: Nov 2010
Nathan Hayes, Director
Living Spirit Yoga

Thursday, November 18, 2010

assignment #1 Heart Based Theme

I am just starting the mentorship program with Christina Sell. I am so excited. Here are some of my thoughts and theme ideas from our first assignment which was to build a theme going from the Personal to the Universal and then apply that one theme to each of the UPA's or to some aspect of each of the UPA's.
What is a challenge you have faced in the last year?
Over the last year I have struggled with what I want to do in my life. I felt tremendous pressure from my family and friends that I should be going school, but what I was studying no longer felt right to me. I didn’t feel like the direction my life was going was where I wanted it to go.

What lessons did I learn from this challenge?
I learned and hope I continue to learn is to come back to my heart and reflect on the actions I am taking, and on the path I am on to make sure that it is making me happy and is making the relationships I am in more fullfilling. (other lessons I learned: it wasn’t my family and friends that were putting pressure on me but I was creating it and adding more stress to an already intense situation. I learned I need to be honest with myself, do what makes me happy but also surrender to the flow of Grace.)

How does this tie into the Anusara Yoga philosophy?
The Anusara Yoga Philosophy teaches us that one of the purposes of life is to have revelations of our intrinsic goodness and a sense of unity with each other, the world and Spirit. Following our heart leads to these revelations.

Tie it into Chit (consciousness) and Ananda (bliss)?
When we know what’s in our heart and what makes us happy we can express more delight, courage and joy.
Apply the theme to the UPA’s:
1st principle Open to Grace: Focus on foundation of hands and feet. When we use good foundation with care and intention we protect the body and put more meaning into our practice. We also do this as we decide what we want our life to look like and what path we want to take. If we use care and continue to check back in with our foundation, actions and where we are on our path we can maintain the integrity and the intention of our practice and our life. (Class type ideas: backbends)

2nd principle Muscular Energy: Focus on the midline. When we are thinking about what makes us happy it is important that we draw into our self, that we come into the core of our body. Muscular energy also creates strength and it requires a lot of strength to create change in your life if you are no longer happy, and it also requires strength to continue on a path that your heart wants. Muscular Energy also creates steadfastness and a commitment to doing the work necessary so to create the kind of life you want (Class type idea: handstand work and inversions)

3rd principle Expanding Spiral: Focus on the inner thighs going in, back, apart and wide. When we really listen to the heart and when we look inside of our self we expand into our self and into our potential. When we choose to take a path and act in ways that reflect the heart we touch our self, our relationships, and the world in a deep way. This looking within, this inner widening allows to come into our self and really contemplate what we want, taking in all the possibilities. It is the expanding spiral so we are looking at all the options possible. (Class type idea: hip openers)

4th principle Contracting Spiral: Focus on scooping the tailbone and the lift of the low belly. When it comes to following a path that makes us happy we need to be specific and steadfast. You have to be specific and have a strength in your decision. What exactly makes you happy? How specific can you get? What activities can you do to allow you to experience more happiness? It is the contracting spiral it is getting specific and doing the action. When we scoop the tail bone under we create stability and engage the core. You could say being specific and doing it takes guts (haha) (Class type ideas standing poses and forward folds)

5th principle Organic Energy: focal point, root to rise. We need to come into our self and see what makes us happy and we have to have integrity and use effort, but there also needs to be a surrendering and a celebrating. An attitude of “I have done all that I can and now I am going to enjoy the ride and shine.” This surrounding takes the energy from the focal point into the foundation creating a strong base (root) and then from this base, from all this work we have done through the other UPA’s we extend from the base and raise high to the sky (rise) in a celebration of the heart. (Class type idea: backbends or inversions)

Monday, November 15, 2010

bday and xmas wish list

Every year I compile a wish list of books. Some friends and family have been asking so I thought this would be a good place to list them :)

Art and Fear: Observations on the perils and rewards of artmaking by David Bayles & Ted Orland
Letters to a young poet by Rainer Maria Rilke's
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott's
The Splendor of Recognition. Swami Shantananda's translation on Kshemaraja's
Refining the Breath by Doug Keller
The Anusara Syllabi Poster
The Heart of Meditation by Sally Kempton.
John Grimes' A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy
The untethered soul: the journey beyond yourself By Michael Singer
Shadows on the path by abdi assadi
The Actor By Hugo Cory
Be love now by Ram Dass

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I am interesting...thats what I was told today

Today I taught a yoga hour at the yoga center. I love that the yoga center offers this yoga hour. It is so affordable. Even at studios that offer pay what you can, I never would pay only four dollars so I love that this class is only four dollars. Recently more than ever I hear that the price of yoga classes is stopping people from starting or continuing their practice. This four dollar yoga hour allows everyone the opportunity to practice yoga without feeling guilty for spending too much money.

Today in class there was a man who was new to me. He was older and he started to talk about how much he loved inversions because he heard that it turns the off switch to the brain. I told him that inversions are also cardiovascular. They actually strengthen the hard and tone the heart because the heart has to pump hard to get the blood all the way up to the feet. Inversions also bath the brain in blood while oxygenating it.

We then had are asana practice which was really fun. It was a very big range of students and I felt like my teaching style slightly changed to get on to the students level. I am a very passionate and fiery teacher and I feel like that comes out a lot when I teach. Today I felt much more grounded and calmer teacher and I think it was well received by the students. Of course I still was light hearted as I taught and we shared some good laughs.

At the end of the class as the students were rolling up their mats this man announced that he had a riddle. He said “what is the difference between Kim (me) and a rubber band?”…..”Nothing” he said. I replied with a big smile…”a heart, hair, toes….I can think of lots of differences between me and a rubber band”. After he put his props away he came up to me and looked into my eyes and thanked me for learning all that I have learned and for taking the time and putting effort into sharing it with the students and him. As he said these words I felt my inner body get brighter and my heart open more fully. What wonderful words to hear as a teacher and a student passionate about yoga. Then a few minutes later as he was leaving he looked at me again with those genuine eyes, and he said “you are very very interesting”. I paused not knowing what to say and then replied “err I’d rather be interesting then boring”. He continued to look at me began to shake his head and said “very very very interesting” walked down the stairs I hollered ‘have a beautiful day” and he was gone.

What an interesting experience.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Loops

One of the refinements we use in Anusara yoga has to do with loops. The loops are a series of specific, interconnected trajectories of energy in our bodies starting with the feel and going all the way up to the skull. I like to think of them as bike gears that intersect and move in opposing directions from one another.
The seven pairs of Loops are:

starts at the base of the shinbone just above the ankle. It moves down the back of the heel,forward along the bottom of the foot, then back up through the center of the arch to the front of shin base.

starts at the base of the shinbone just above the ankle. It moves up the back of the calf muscle to the top of the shins just below the knee, forward through the top of the shin, then down the front of the shin back to the base of the shin.

starts at the top of thighbone in the core of the pelvis (pelvic Focal Point). It moves down the back of the leg to the top of the calf muscle, forward through the top of the shin, and then up the front of the leg through the lower abdomen back to the Focal Point.

starts in the core of the abdomen in line with the middle of the lumbar and a place just below the navel. It moves down from the middle of the lumbar to the middle of the buttocks in line the bottom of the sacrum, forward through the floor of the pelvis (pelvic Focal Point) to the top of the pubic bone, then up the lower abdomen to just below the navel. The Pelvic Loop has the same direction of rotation as the Thigh Loop. However, they have opposite effects on the alignment of the body. The Thigh Loop moves the top of the thighs backward, while the Pelvic Loop moves the top of the thighs forward.

starts in the core of the abdomen in line with the middle of the lumbar and a place just below the navel. It moves up the back from just below the kidneys to the bottom of the shoulder blades, forward through the top of the diaphragm (heart Focal Point) to the base of the sternum, then down the solar plexus to just below the navel.

starts at the center of the upper palate (skull Focal Point). It moves down the back of the neck and the upper back to the bottom of the shoulder blades, forward through the bottom of the heart and the top of the diaphragm, then up the chest and throat from the base of the sternum to the upper palate.

starts at the center of 7. the upper palate (skull Focal Point). It moves back and up along the back of the skull, forward over the top of the head, then down the face back to the upper palate. The Loops interconnect with each other and so influence each other as they are independently activated. For instance, as you Outer Spiral the legs the Pelvic Loop is activated, which in turn will help to increase the Kidney Loop.

As we get older our body through bad alignment starts to go against the loops. Coroners used to identify the age of a dead person by looking at these loops and the more they were out of alignment the older they are. After learning about these loops it is very interesting to people watch. I am a student and one of my professors has the loops way out of balance I want to go to go align he all class.

Anusara Teacher Training Manual
Anusara Master Immersion
Awesome loop photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharonfrost/26593683/

Focus on shoulder loop and inversions

The main theme of the class was chit ananda. The reason we or at least I practice is to learn more about myself. In this learning about myself I see what my strengths are and what my weaknesses are. I see where I need to make a shift in my life with regard to my habits, behaviors, people and situations. These shifts allow me to align more fully with the flow of life and as a result I experience more happiness and bliss.

Shoulder loop
We tend to roll our shoulders either forward and down or forward and up. Try this. You’ll notice your heart sinks away as the shoulder blades disconnect from the back of the heart. Keeping this position take your hands to your trapezius and feel them...Do they feel hard? Engaged? Yes they probably do. When we hold our shoulderes in this position we are actually cultivating more stress, pain, and tension in our neck, head, and life. When we hold our shoulders like this we also strengthen our trapezius which I also call the “disconnect from heart muscle” because the traps pull the tips of the shoulder blades away from the neck.

This is the chit part of chit ananda. We learn about our self “oh yeah. I do hold my shoulders in this position a lot and that explains why my neck always hurts and I have pounding headaches”

Then we apply the knowledge. Now lengthen the side body, draw the shoulder blades up to your ears take the head of the arm bones straight back and slide the tips of the shoulder blades toward the heart. The tips of the shoulder blades actually assist in curling the heart more open. Do this and feel your trapezius muscles again. Wow! They aren’t engaging, the neck feels long and lengthened. How cool. When we do this we are working and strengthening the rhomboid muscles which I also call the “connect to the heart muscle”.

This is where the ananda comes in. Ananda is bliss. SO from learning how to align the physical body in a way that doesn’t cultivate pain leads to us being happier...CHIT ANANDA!

We did lots of fun little exercises that helped the students feel this plugging into the heart and using the rhomboid muscles we also did this in contrast of unplugging so the students could feel and compare the difference. I really enjoy being able to teach a skill with a few simple steps in multiple poses like tadasana, uttanasana, plank, chaturanga, AMS, AMK... I saw the light bulb go on in many of the student’s heads.

Inversions are any position where the heart is over the head. Really common inversions that are in just about every asana class include Down Dog and Standing Forward Bend. More advanced inversions include handstand, forearm balance, headstand, and some backbends. I really enjoy inversions because they allow me to find another perspective and another vantage point. When I feel stuck in my life, or have a problem, or just need more clarity I find holding some of these inversions for a longer period of time to be very beneficial. After inversions I feel more clear, grounded and more ready to respond appropriately to the situation that life hands me at any given moment.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Practicum with Arun Deva

Yesterday I went to a wonderful workshop that Arun Deva was leading at The Shiva Center. The workshop was called The Practicum: Exercises in Identifying Doshic Imbalances in Asana & Pranayama with emphasis on Marma Points. I absolutely love attending Arun’s workshops he has so much wisdom and experience and he is so good and humble when sharing it with others.

Highlights and notes: The focus of this workshop was on the doshas and how the constitutions express them self through our asana practice. We also focused on identifying doshic imbalances and ways asana and pranayama can cultivate a more sattvic experience. Lastly we worked with marma points (phenomenal!) to help adjust students.
  • Movement, composed of air and space 
  • Typically better at backbends at revealing
  • Restless, anxious, typically hyper flexible or hyper tight
  • Tends to have weak joints and crackling joints
  • Cold, dry, light, mobile, ruff, subtle, clear
  • Pranayama: typically better at exhaling, should focus on improving inhalation
  • Pranayama: nadi shodhana
  • asana practice should be: warming, held poses, balancing poses
  • How to teach a vata: vata receives the most through touch. As a teacher continue to lie you hand gently on them throughout the class to help them ground and slow down.  
  • What would pacify Vata is Sweet, Sour & Salty

  •   Arun shared as story from his teacher saying, if you are married to a pitta and you get the pitta angry, if you get angry you won’t win, no one can get angrier than a pitta. But pitta doesn’t know what to do with sweet, so instead give your pitta partner a hug. (I love that). Never walk away from a pitta because they won’t like that (so true)
  •  Transformation, good at engaging bhanda (women need to be carefull for menstal problems), acess fire in there system
  •  Typically better at forward folds at concealing
  •  Focused and determined, thinks they are always right, pushes themselves really hard (maybe to point of injury), likes showing off being the star of the class, very driven.
  • Pranayama: kapalbhati pranayama
  • Pranayama: typically better at inhaling, should focus on improving exhalation 
  • Asana practice: needs to be constantly coming back to the idea of not trying or pushing oneself to hard.
  •  How to teach a pitta: be sweet and compliment them and then offer a suggestion. Example “Bonnie what a wonderful virabhadrasana, try rooting the back femur bone back a little bit more”. Another way of teaching pitta is challenge them. Example “I bet bonnie can’t maintain the foundation of the hands throughout class”.  
  • Stability
  • Loss joints have joint flexibility and mobility in every direction, can exhibit beautiful postures and maintain them (padmasana).
  • Carries weight in shoulders and belly (makes handstands easier (luck kaphas :))
  • Inertia, problem with motivation for practice, being lazy in practice and in poses, can become addicted to certain poses that allows for laziness (balasana/child’s...), they might not have a good time in class, appear bored.
  • pranayama: bhastrika pranayama
  • How to teach a kapha: be a drill sergeant, they need the encouragement. Motivate them. Make them sweat.
Arun talked about the yoga sutras mentioning that only 3 of all ~195 aphorisms. The yoga sutras tell us that our asanas should be effortless, stable and the breath should be long smooth and slow throughout the whole practice. You can see how these qualities come from a harmonious cultivation of all three constitutions (vata=movement, pita=transformation, kapha=stability)

Marma points= energy points in the body that you can touch and the student will find the alignment just by these energetic touch. It is like an energetic invitation to align so you may celebrate the pose more fully.

We got the opportunity to partner up and I got to work with the beautiful and talented Stephanie Engelbrecht. Some of the marma points we used were:
  • The back of the heart which helped elongate the spine
  • The crown of the head which help lengthen the spine and neck
  • The front of the thighs which helped root the femur bones back
  • The inner thigh and outer shin which helped create stability in the lower legs and expansion up into the pelvic bowl (shins in thighs out)
  • The fronts of the shoulders which was amazing at helping establish shoulder loop
  • The tops of the traps which helped lengthen the neck removing addition stress and tension in the traps
  • The point between the big toe and the forth toe knuckle of the foot that helped ground
  • The inner and outer ankle bone that helped ground student
  • The front of the knee which helped set femur bone into pelvis
  • The front of the hip which helped stack the hips and root the femur bone out
The tops of the sitting bones toward the lumbar spine which helped lift sacrum in and up

I am sure they were many more and they all have names that I didn’t get a chance to write them down. But it was amazing to see how just these simple touches helped the student make these amazing alignment adjustments. So beautiful!

I have been talking a lot to people lately about how yoga is passed down from teacher to students. And the students gather around the teacher around the guru to learn and gain this knowledge. I am grateful for this opportunity I had to gather around Arun and take in his wisdom and advice.
Om Shanti!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Practice…my plan

I was planning on leading the practice at the yoga center tonight; however my voice was still absent and my head felt like it was full of mucus so I had to find a sub. I was very disappointed because in my day of silence (see previous post) I had so many sequence ideas and theme ideas pouring into my mind. Although I didn’t end up leading the practice I thought I would share my plane:
Theme: dhyana, part of the eight fold path. Being able to concentrate on something with very focused awareness and at the very same time being able to observe everything else. We will work with the step by steps of the practice taking things one step at the time (this is observing everthing the whole of our practice, every practice that has happened overtime that has lead us to this moment) we will also focus on the bindu. The bindu is a Sanskrit word for hitting the point or the mark.

I really love leading practices because “the practice” is an opportunity to play with friends and work into some really fun challenging poses.

I wanted to focus on playing with/on our hands. We will do lots of hand/arm balances. In order to do arm balances it takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of practice. You can’t just do these arm balances one day. IT takes steady practice over time. I have multiple “peak poses” in the sequence. I view a peak pose as a pose that is super challenging and requires a lot of prep poses to get into. All these peak poses have a wonderful build up to them for the body, mind, and spirit ready. Fun Fun Fun. This step by step and practice over time is the big view of dhyana it is taking multiple things into consideration. The poses we will be working with aren’t easy they take time, and practice. At the same time if we are going to be playing on our hands we need to be VERY VERY careful and diligent with alignment. When we weight bare on bones with good alignment it is very beneficial and actually strengthens the bones. However if we weight bare on bones with bad alignment it causes des-stress to the bones. And when this happens on the hands/ at the foundation it travels up the body. So if we are in alignment with our hands it strengthens the wrights, forearms, elbow, biceps, triceps, and shoulders. When we weight bare on our hands out of alignment we harm our writs, elbow, shoulders….

One point of this laser focus, of hitting the bindu is going to be on the foundation of the hands, really making sure that all four corners of the hands are planted (mound under the index finger, inner heal of the hand, mound under pink finger, outer heel of hand, and then clawing the earth with the finger tips). (I find in my own practice I struggle the most with the mound under the index finger, I need to use focused attention so that mound stays grounded). It is especially important to have good foundation of the hands when we are doing multiple, multiple, multiple, hand balances.

(I always like to take what we do on the matt and apply to life off the mat. I think that is what makes yoga so wonderful is that it is more than an activity but that it touches every aspect of our life. Normally when I teach a class I have a theme like the one I have above and a brief idea of the connection but the full connection comes live as I teach (so mind that this isn’t fully developed). I wanted to take about how our life is made up of multiple steps and of the big picture. There are steps in our life that we have to do, like shower, brush our teeth, go to school/work, be compassionate to one another…But we can at the same time within doing all these things we have to do, there is still the bindu. There is a mark that we are trying to hit, a goal, something we are working for. The ability to take in our daily life, living up to our responsibilities, yet still working toward the mark the point the bindu. That’s the idea.)

The sequence (idea):

Personal warm up (10 mins)
Invocation 3X
Tadasana (I wanted to talk about hand foundation with a cool carpel tunnel experiment to have students understand the importance of good foundation)
Surya A 7X
DD, plank (focus..Kidney loop), push up 5x (don’t forget about hand foundation)
Childs -> table->foundation of hands (wrist crease parallel, 4 corners, outer shoulder to center of wrist…)
Uttanasana-> ardha uttanasana 3X
high runner lunge, hands to knee, kidney loop, reach
½ hanumanasa
AMS->wild dog (keep foundation of hands)
Ardha chandrasana->vira 2
AMS practice jumping
• Straight legs (imagine your sequencing a piece of paper, perhaps it says “your awesome”, keep squeezing feet (hugging midline) as you hop keep legs straight remember shoulder loop)
• Continue squencing feet this time hop shoulder over wrist and suck knees into your belly a few time
• Repeat step above but hover in handstand with knees pulled into belly
Move to wall
• Hand stand (AMV) at wall, hands about 2 inches away from wall
• Once up push back of head against wall (skull loop) and push bum against wall. Then open legs wide and lower feet down to about hip level and then back up. Repeat several times
• A step further is to lower the feet wide and as close to the ground as possible and then back up. You have to really work kidney loop, pulling the waist line back for this.
• Forearm balance (use wall if needed)
Hero pose. Pause. Root femur bones. Close eyes and breathe. “listen to your breath, attune to your breath. Feel that your breath is important. Feel that this practice, what you are doing on the matt is important. You came here, you showed up. THIS IS IMPORTANT)
• Head stand with forearms down hands clasped with toe touches. Legs together (imagine squeezing paper between feet keep legs straight…lower toes touch…lift)
Tree while balancing on block
Utthita pada B
Utthita pada B on block (move groins back, inner spiral)
AMS (Down Dog)
Side plank
Side plank with extended leg
Low lunge with forearms on ground -> high runners lunge, shoulder under thigh, hug mid line, straighten arms
High runners lunge->arm under thigh->extend leg->high runner lunge->Parsvakonasana bound->bound ardha chandrasana ->bird of paradise
Uttanasana->titibasana prep->variation between malansana and vistvamitrasana
Wide leg standing forward fold-> optional tripod headstand with wide leg toes touches
Malasana wrist stretches
Forearm crow
Wide leg seated forward fold, side stretch, and forward fold

I hadn’t finished formulating the sequence when I realized I was too sick to teach. However I really wanted to share. I am not one to teach a class or theme twice it loses its energy and I out so much though and was so excited by the sequence idea and theme that I didn’t want to lose it completely so I thought I would share

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day of Silence & the 3 A’s of Anusara

I have had a sore throat and a runny nose for the past few days and it all culminated today. I can’t talk. I can move my mouth but no sound came out. Last night I was getting a little anger about this. I wanted to talk, I knew I had class to teach and I didn’t want my sore throat to prevent me from being able to teach my class. I then paused and realized that having a soar throat and not being able to talk was the reality of my situation. I was actively misaligning with the situation which was not resulting in the attitude that I wanted. So as I paused I acknowledged that I couldn’t talk, that my throat really hurt and I decided to accept it. I found a sub (thank you Merissa and Obet) and instead when to Divas coffee shop and did some homework. If you haven’t been to Divas it is a beautiful coffee, tea, and café with a beautiful green house full of trees and a gentle fountain. It is a very peaceful place to work in silence. After enjoying some tea and finishing up some assignments I made a few phone calls and as I talked (or tried to at least) I relized it was the first time I had spoken. I then went back to the house looked over some books I have been reading, started thinking of my plan for leading the practice tomorrow night at the yoga center.

I am thinking about talking about how the practice takes time, its multiple steps and consistent practice that leads us into the ability to do some fun poses. I also want to talk about how yoga the practice of yoga allows us to know our self more fully. Sometimes as we discover more about are self the experience is pleasant and enjoyable and sometimes we rub up onto uncomfortable parts of our self. Through the practice we are given the possibility to know are self more. Each pose and each breath and each step we take in the practice is an opportunity to know our self more, to express our self more, to celebrate our self. I also want to talk about how the practice is important, how what we do on the mat and what it does internally for us is important. These are all just thoughts and hopefully by tomorrow night they will come together and come out of my mouth in a nice theme which will be linked through the whole class.

Anyways…Tyler and I then went to the front to go bouldering which was super fun I was able to do some problems that I couldn’t before. All of this was in silence. Tyler and I exchanged glances and high fives. The silence of the day was wonderful. In the beginning of the day I felt like I had all these things I wanted to say and was frustrated that I couldn’t communicate them. But as I continued to align with the soar throat it became a gift. The ability to not talk was a great opportunity for me to reflect of some life ideas I have been pondering as well as enjoy the silence of myself.

It was a really nice day of silence and reflection where I got lots of stuff (homework, reading, thinking, climbing, meditating, dog walking…) done. It continues to amaze me that when we align with the reality or the situation we are presented with and act accordingly it helps cultivate the attitude of love, compassion, and bliss. When we align it feels like the universe is working with us instead of fighting against us. “Align with your heart”.
I am hoping to have my voice back by tomorrow night to lead the practice at the yoga center 540-740 :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Authentic Self Yoga LLC...1 year


I just paid my renewal fee for my business Authentic Self Yoga. Pretty exciting, 1 year. :) I am looking forward to this coming year I am planning on working alot toward anusara affiliated status as well as taking multiple courses through Douglas Brooks new online courses at srividyalaya.

I also went tele skiing today, and took a class from Matt Newman!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday yoga hour class at the yoga center.

I absolutely love this class. Every time I leave I feel so good, like the student got what I was saying, and like there was a real connection with the students. Today I had three students (still working at growing the class). M mom came (one of my most loyal students), a great yogi and friend came, and a complete newbie came who was so open and excited about starting yoga. What a great great group!

I talked about experiments. As I was thinking about what I wanted my theme to be this idea naturally came up which is surprising because lately all of my themes have been connected to the shift of seasons, the doshas, grounding… So I was very excited when this idea popped into my head.

I talked about how what we do on the mat; the physical postures we put our bodies into are an experiment. Sometimes the experiments are more successful and sometimes they are less successful. But there is also a second experiment going on. The first one is less important. It is the external one what the pose looks like. The more important experiment is our attitude. No matter how the first experiment goes, no matter if we can do the full expression of the pose or not doesn’t matter it is the attitude behind it. Can we stay positive, optimistic, and connected to our heart? I know sometimes when I practice and I can’t do the full expression of the pose (for example Hanumanasana) I see my neighbors and the teacher doing it and I get frustrated, I think why can’t I do that, sometimes I go even farther and notice I am frustrated I can’t do the pose and then I get mad/disappointed in myself for getting frustrated. We come to the practice of yoga to help us grow and be more happy and full. However sometimes the practice can help us perpetuate this negative self talk cycle. So the experiment that is super import is can we keep our attitude bright, can we stay positive, can we have faith no matter what the exterior pose looks like.

We did lots of hamstring and quad openers, got into the hips, did wall work, and worked up to Hanumanasana. I think Hanumanasana is a perfect t pose for being aware what is going on inside as we work toward a really hard pose that most students can’t take the full expression of.

I did a great job connecting to the theme throughout the whole class!

I talked to my friend after class. this student, she doesn’t know it but is sooo incredibly inspiring to me, she has such a wonderful attitude, a lightness, an optimism, I want to be more like her  Anyways we were talking about yoga teachers and she pointed out that every teacher has “there thing”. We talked about one teacher, whose “thing” is curling, curling the tips of the shoulders blades back toward the heart to open the heart. (How lovely). I asked her what my theme was and she said it was strength. She said that when she leaves my class every cell seems like it has been connected to a whole, she feels stronger after. She said she also loves how I tie =the theme in throughout the whole class. She also mentioned that as she looks through her Anusara notes she is reminded of me because I point out similar things. I FELT SO HAPPY WITH MY SELF AS A TEACHER.

Life is great, full of obstacles but the practice of yoga makes obstacles fun; it turns life into an experiment. When we know we are working with an experiment we can alter the ingredients so we can get different results.

Halloween masks

Wednesday night’s class at the yoga center 540-7…quick summary

Since Halloween is coming up I thought it would be fun to tie in Halloween to the theme. I talked about masks. How Halloween provides as a time to put on masks and costumes. We can pretend to be someone else. However after Halloween we take the masks and the costumes off. I talked about the invisible masks or armor that we wear in order to protect ourselves. These masks aren’t necessarily bad because they give us an identity, the protect us… But the probable is we tend to misidentify with mask. We think we are the mask. We don’t realize it is just something that we can use and that we can take off. I said imagine if you were Frankenstein for Halloween and then you never took off the mask and the costume and you began to think you were Frankenstein and after wearing the costume for one year, two years… you were positive you were Frankenstein, you thought you skin was green. Taking off these masks can be scary and puts us in a vulnerable position but I think one of the best places to show up for yourself and be volunteerable is on your yoga mat. I encouraged the students as they moved through the practice to notice if they were “wearing” certain masks in their poses and if they could soften removed the mask and move inside. Become sensitive to the bhavana. Bhavana is a Sanskrit word that means the feeling tone of the pose. Thoughts to help connect you to the bhavana of the pose…What is the pose communicating? If the pose had a color what would it be? What emotion word it be? It was a great class. We continued to work on rooting the femur bones back and I introduced some new poses that most students hadn’t seen.

Two critiques:
  1. I said shit in class. I was explain how life can be hard or something and said shit. Oops. I am trying to eliminate swear words from my vocabulary in general because I don’t think they are nice, I think they negatively affect my energy just saying and hearing them, and it is disrespectful to some people (especially in Utah).
  2. I could have done better at tying my theme in through the whole class. I continued to mention it but I could have done it more and more smoothly.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

connet to your fullness from within

Summary…. This week I taught a private to a husband and wife, a group private for faculty teachers, and three public classes. In all the classes (in different ways) we focused on rooting the femur bones back, and inner spiral.

In one class I talked about the full moon and how it reminds me of purna which is Sanskrit for perfect fullness. Recently the moon. I look at the full moon and think of purna, perfect fullness. I encouraged students to be perfectly content with where they are in life, in the moment, in the pose, and that that contentment will allow them to feel full. Full of the divine essence that fills us all in such abundance.

I wanted to connect with the idea that we are all ready full as we worked with rooting the thigh bones back and inner spiral. When we are looking for fullness we only need to turn within our self and we will find that our fullness is there. It is an act of remembrance. So many times we strive and we reach and we try to acquire more so that we can become full, this is the mistake because we only need to look within to see we are already full. So when our femur bones move forward toward the psoas this is like us reaching to the material world to find our fullness (which is the mistake) instead we need to root, femur bones back toward the hamstrings, this is a looking and rooting into our self to remember that we are full. That we have everything we need inside of our self.

I also connected this to inner spiral. Inner spiral is the expanding spiral. One of my teachers Jen Hecht says that inner spiral is like opening the doors. That is what we need to do to experience our fullness. We need to open the doors to our self/heart/soul to see we our full. The opposite of inner spiral, of opening the doors is slamming the doors on the idea that we already our perfect and full within our self. Slamming the doors is saying that we would rather look outside of our self to find this fullness. This will only lead to more and more unhappiness.

So that’s what we did...lots of hip stuff, really working inner spiral and rooting the femur bones back and remembering that we are perfect and full as we are! It can be hard just like asana practice can be hard but it is so worth it when we remember our own goodness and fullness!

When you realize you are perfect just the way you are and that you are always full of spirit and are an expression of Grace, you feel perfect and full (Purnatva). One mantra I use when I feel like I am not perfect, not full, or I feel defeated is….”I am perfect and whole”...A simple mantra/affirmation but it helps shift my mood and energy tremendously.
Dana Faulds, Perfect Emanation:

"The perfect emanation is
alive inside each one of us
right now. I'm not denying
my imperfect translation,
my stumbling fits and starts,
or my dark side.
Yet look at what is
manifesting! Witness how
the thread comes off
the spool without tangles,
how the tapestry of life
weaves itself
using me a loom."

:) private client

A few weeks ago a husband and wife came to my class at The Yoga Center. They then contacted me and told me how much they connected to my teaching and asked if I would offer them a private. I was so flatter. One thing I have noticed just in the few years I have been practicing and teaching is how much the community of yoga teachers is increasing, and how many styles of yoga are being offered. This is great because each teacher has a unique way of teaching, and there are so many teachers offering so many different styles. This is great for students because if you are patient you can DEFINITLY find a teacher that you connect with so much. I definitely have taken classes where I am not ‘feeling’ the teacher so much, and I have teachers that I just love and my heart feels connected to their energy and their style of teaching. Because there are so many great yoga teachers it can be intimidating. But it is always nice to get feedback, to know that you are connecting to people and that they are enjoying what you are putting out there.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

the Yoga Convo

I am SUPER EXCITED about this.... Check it out....http://yogaconvo.blogspot.com/

Two of my faovorite certified teachers Christina Sell and Elena Brower both are passionate, and honest. Christina and Elena are thrilled to bring their conversations to you.

Yoga Convo is dedicated to helping people access an authentic connection to the truth of who they are through thought-provoking conversations about yoga and yoga practice as it pertains to all aspects of life.

Friday, October 15, 2010

how can you look into your diamond

In Thursday’s yoga hour class (only $4 at the Yoga Center) I talked about looking for the good. I introduced this theme by talking about a diamond. Imagine a big diamond with lots of different angles/facets. Scientists have discovered that if you look at a diamond under a magnifying glass in the center of the diamond where all the facets intersect they form the shape of a heart… How cool. I also talked about how we can get used to things for example, patterns, habits, people… For this example I talked about the weather. We get used to looking into one part of the diamond, looking at just one facet. For example we have been used to nice sunny weather. I know I personally have connected to this part of the diamond. I knew how to look through this angle of the diamond (sunny, warm weather) I could experience the heart and see the heart. We get used to this facet. We get used to the sunny weather angle to see the heart. We get used to looking at this angle of the diamond to experience the heart. However sometimes the diamond shifts. For example the weather changes (less sun, colder, and darker). It is like we are being shown another part of the diamond, this can throw us off. But we need to remember that even this new angle that the diamond is facing, no matter which facet we are looking into there is still the potential of expiring the heart and Grace. But we need to be sensitive, optimistic, and willing to do the work. The weather changing is just one example that I think is easier to identify. I think the message of this story is that we need to look for the good in all things. In every situation, just like on every angle of the diamond there is a heart that can be seen and experienced. Sometimes it might be harder to feel./experience but it is always there. We can move through our asana practice today with thus in mind.

Can you see the good in every pose? Even if you fall down.

I asked throughout the class what color is their diamond, what form does it take...

Lunge curl back twiat version
1/2 moon stretch
mod. parsvak, v2
1.2 moon, v2
low lunge quad stretch
shalabasana + dancer
Shalabarsana + ardha chand. chap.
utl twist

shine the light of the heart

Quick summary of the call I taught at the yoga center wednesday 540-7. It was a really fun class.

I wanted to continue to talk about the change of the seasons, about how we are entering the phase of dissolution or destruction. I pointed out the Nataraja (we have a beautiful Nataraja/the dancing siva in the studio). I pointed out that in the statue of the Nataraja, in his upper right hand he holds a damaru(drum). This drum represents creation. In his upper left hand he holds fire. This fire represents destruction. This destruction is what we are seeing in the seasons. How the trees leaves have shriveled and fall to the ground (destruction) in order for the tree to eventually create new bud and blossom (creation). This destruction and creation are part of the pulsation (spanda) of life. We need to recognize that this pulsation not only happens in nature but that it happens in our self. We need to recognize that there is a time when we need to shed out old habits/patters/behaviors/people so that we can create new ones that serve us better and more fully. When we refuse to let go what we end up doing is contracting in on our self, and we get hard. When we do this we smoother our inner light so we can’t see it, experience or share it with others. When we contract around our old habits, this doesn’t put our inner light out because this light and Grace is always available to us but it does make it harder to experience. What we need to do is let go of what doesn’t serve us. When we do this we become soft and open. When we are soft we can feel, hold, and shine the light of our heart out. At first when we drop some of these patterns that we have identified with for so long it can be scary and we can feel vulnerable. But this vulnerability creates space for our inner body to expand naturally with joy, wonder, strength, faith, and love.

That’s what this practice is all about to me. It is a way to let go of what doesn’t serve us so we may hold our light with more joy. Open to grace!

I have recently re read a yoga journal and in the back I came upon an interview with Aadi Palkhivala where he says “90% of yoga asana is a waste of time. The asana must be done to hold the light of the soul. Most people just want all of the stuff the ego likes: a firm body and ways to impress people. We should ne striving to find a real connection with the divine”.

I love this. Especially the idea that asana is done in order to hold the light of the soul/heart. Today I wanted the students to feel that through their asana practice and through fire (like the fire that siva holds as he dances) we can destroys old habits/patterns/behavior’s/and people so that we may align our self so we can hold, shin, and experience the light of our soul/heart.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

100th blog post...thoughts = powerful

WOW! I was about to post this post and I realized that this is my 100th! Blog post…very cool.

That is pretty awesome. Our thoughts are very powerful! Our body can’t distinguish between a thought and reality. There is an evolutionary lag. So… If we think about getting cut off and about crashing into a median while driving our body while naturally respond as if that was the situation, as if that were where we were. There has been lots of research, setting up people to bio mechanical machines and monitoring people’s blood. One study asked people to think about a traumatic event when they were young and their blood chemistry actually changed! We constantly damage our self by just our thinking process. The first drug we use is thinking. The first way we disassociate with reality is thinking! We are born. When we are born we naturally breathe into the abdomen. But through the stresses of society most people by the age of 2-4 years old switch from abdominal breathers and become shallow breathers. When you are breathing in a shallow way you take in half a pint of oxygen when you breathe from the belly you take in half a gallon.

So…The first way we disconnect from reality is by thinking, whenever we are thinking we are not feeling, and whenever we are not feeling you are disconnecting!
What we need to do is get out of our head. Now, more than ever we are using our brain. For example think about how much were use our brain now more than two hundred years ago. We probably read more now than some people will read in their entire life. As helpful as our brain is, as I said above, our brain and our thinking process can cause our body to physically harm its self by stimulating the flight or fight response. Before our brain and our technology got so advanced we use to use and trust our gut. Our gut used to be the original way of intelligence. You have neru-peptides, and neurotransmitters just like the ones in your brain. We need to learn to trust our gut feeling. It takes a while. We actually have the capacity to feel in our gut. So feel in your gut, as things get crazier and things happen faster and faster start to listen to your gut. Feeling the body is really important.

Isn’t this cool! I wrote something similar to this in my precious post. By bringing our awareness into our body, by feeling what is actually happening inside our self we can help make real changes. It is intersting how much we can practice. But at the same time how much do we spend re thinking about bad situations or imagining bad situations. Because even if we arnt actually experiencing if we are thinking about them in the mind then the body IS actually experiencing them. I think this is super COOL! By just our thoughts we can affect our body!!!

Intention and Testimonials

Testimonials & My Intention

My Intention It is my intention as a yoga teacher to help you bring more health and vibrancy to your body, ease and alertness to your mind...