Thursday, September 29, 2011

parsva dandasana

Just got back from memory groove park where I practiced with Jen Hecht. It was a great experience it was our first time getting together like this. Mission: We both wanted to work on getting our leg behind out head, stand up and possibly take it into parsva dandasana (video below). We both brainstormed good poses that would help us build into the pose and main principles that would really help us. We worked deeply into the hips and the three hamstrings. Focused on getting into the deeper muscles and past the more superficial muscles. Lots of side bodies longs and strong shoulder and skull loop. It was a total blast! We both got the leg behind our head laying on our back, rocked up did a forward fold, then managed to stand up in uttansana (standing forward bend) with our foot hooked and then all the way up to standing and then fell out. (dont know the sanskrit names) It was soo fun, I never thought I would be able to stand and keep the hook. We didn't make it to parsva dandasana but it was an awesome journey and it was just our first time. We are getting together next week to work on it again. Our results from the practice is that we need alot of length and particularly low back length so we can find more strength at lifting our torso up, plugging our shoulders in and really working the skull loop to keep leg in place. Jen brought Darren Rhodes new book so we played with alot of fun twists.

So grateful for Jen. I feel so much stronger when I have a friend reminding me. Reminds me of the story of Hanuman, he forgets he has all these powers and strengths and his friends remind him and then he can access that place and defeat the bad guy :)

(quick post but thought if I waited to blog about it I would run out of time or forget)

Here is a video of Kathryn Budig gracefully getting into and doing parsva dandasana.

Love emanates from the soul

Reading Ram Dass new book Be Love Now at a cafe with my doggie. This book is like poetry to my soul and moves me deeply. Here is a paragraph page 13

"most emotions like fear, anger, lust and envy are connected to our personality and the impulses from our conscious or unconscious mind, instincts for survival and procreation. LOVE is part of the emotional spectrum, but it is different because it emanates from our soul. Even when it becomes confused with our ego projections, love is actually from the higher essence of our being, the part that begins to merge with the spirit and approach the One. "

I love this. The other emotions are not bad. They are not separate from the one. Everything,including all the emotions are all possible entry way to merge our heart with the ocean of love/divine.

Anusara, anu means one or the soul. Its like the individual in a limited form. For example a cup of ocean water. Sara means in the flow, for example the entire ocean. are hearts can seem small and separate however we are all connected and in flow with each other. We are free to act as we want cultivating different emotions like fear and anger.. We are also free to feel and align to love which is emanating from are soul at every moment!!

(just got a new app and can write blogs from my phone)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Immersion with BJ Teacher Training with Adam

So blissed out from this amazing week surrounded by such great souls. I was so lucky and won the scholarship to take BJ Galvans Immersion 2 at The Yoga Center. It was great to take the immersion 2 a second time from a different perspective. I took it the first time from Adam Ballenger both certified Anusara teachers did a phenomenal job presenting the information to my heartmind and body. My understanding deeps so much as I continue to hear the same teaching over and over and in different ways. Anusara's philosophy of intrinsic goodness touches my heart and influences my practice deeply. Being able to learn/feel these virtues through the gross body is amazing. I wasn’t able to finish BJ's full immersion because I took Adam Ballenger’s teacher training. It was quite a switch going from being immersed in yoga from the aspect of the student to learning to teach this method. However BJ shakti-fied me up so much going into the TT was really lovely, I felt anchored in my center where the heart qualities come more easily.

The immersion was great opportunity to spend more time at The Yoga Center. The owners Lyndsey and Sheldon have created such a great community and have such a great vision for Anusara yoga in SLC and I am so happy to be a part of this community. I also treasured making immersion friends from TYC. When you go through any intensive training where transformation happens you bond strongly with each other in a really sweet way. I will be reviewing my notes and will post another blog about immersion/TT.

I just got back from lunch with BJ before she got on the air plane. Its nice to bond with a teacher and see then not just in the yoga class room. I normally get shy around other teachers who I admire and don’t get to know them better as a result and I am so happy I got to spend more time with BJ. I think I will even be assisting her on her tour next year, possibly Costa Rica (which would be a dream come true)

OM NAMAH SHIVAYA to all the great teachers I humbly bow.

to learn more about these rocking teachers check out their websites: BJ Galvan Adam Ballenger

Monday, September 19, 2011

Camping for a Cause Pictures

Some snap shots from Camping for a Cause. Thank you Girl Scouts of Utah and Annie Cutler for taking the pictures.

 Strong hands soft heart :)

 From your heart extend out through the hands and from your heart extend out through the legs

 Stretch up and down, imagine your a cartoon character and exaggerate the stretch

 draw the legs together powerfully, lengthen side bodies, curl open heart

 chilly morning, building up some heat in the body

 open the inner coastal muscles of the rib cage, expanding your light out

Camping for a Cause

On Saturday I taught a workshop at a fundraiser event for Girl Scouts of Utah, called camping for a cause. I have lead workshops for this cause before in the past and I always have a blast. The event is up at the girl scouts Camp Cloud Camp that is off guardsman's pass nestled between big cottonwood canyon and park city. It is so beautiful and untouched up there surrounded by wildflowers, tall trees, and many lakes. When I arrived and checked to see how many people had signed up for the workshop I was very happy to see that 22 women would be practicing with me.
I talked about community. About how great it is that they are supporting the girl scout community in this way which in large affects salt lake, Utah, and the world. We did lots of back body work as I reminded the students that the back body represents the community and the front body represents the individual self and the ego.  In my life I have faced more then one big challenge where at first I was so determined to solve this problem by myself, I didn't need any one's help. I didn't even think I should tell them I was suffering. Ultimately I asked for help and I was so shocked by how tremendously loving and supporting they were. We can practice this in our asana practice by breathing into the back body, moving into the back body (for example: taking the head back, shoulders, kidneys, thigh bones... toward the back body) These movements into the back body cultivates support and we can go deeper into the pose from this strength.

The class went really great, adjustments, jokes insights, and lovely asanas. There were multiple times through out the class where students said "wow this is the best stretch ever". We did lots of community support in the poses: supporting our neighbors hearts in tree poise so we can open our hearts and look toward ski, held hands while transitioning from stork to warrior 3, helped support neighbors in different variations of shalabasana... It was really fun lots of laughter, yet still sincere offering of heart. Practicing and/or teaching in outdoor secluded settings move me so deeply.

After finishing I was thanked by so many students, staff members, and attendees who didn't take the workshop. So much gratitude received it touched my heart. I am so grateful for the Girl Scouts of Utah, the students, and everything that allowed me to be a part of this event.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Illuminated Heart

This  is  the essay I wrote trying to win a scholarship for BJ's second immersion at The Yoga Center. The essay question is to write in 500-750 words about the potential to reveal  the Illuminated Heart.
Yoga, most definitely, has the potential to awaken the illuminated heart. In this easy I will touch on the definition of the word illuminated and point out how appropriate the illuminated heart is for explaining the outcome of a committed yoga practice. I will also reference yogic practices and philosophies that help with this process.  
The word “illuminated” means, to brighten with light, to make lucid or clear, to decorate with lights (as in celebration), and to enlighten (as with knowledge). This is the invitation of yoga so we may expand and shine out our intrinsically divine essence, to see our self beautifully and clearly, to celebrate this embodied gift by expressing beauty, to know we are connected and to experience vibrancy and ease. We practice yoga to unveil the illuminated heart so we may know more (chit) and be happy (ananda). I don’t think every yoga student would identify this being their reason for practicing yoga, when I first started practicing it was to rehab from an injury and possibly lose some weight. However the practice of yoga helped me connect to my heart.
Yoga unveils the truth. The truth is that we are connected, we are loved, we are whole, and as John friend puts it a part of this “big ball of pulsating bliss” (describing Shiva-Shakti tantric). The truth is we already have an illuminated heart. This awakening in my experience has not been like turning on a light switch, but more of a steady practice of showing up with an intention to see the heart clearly. To make clear is an aspect of an illuminated heart.   Through the practice we begin to see and feel that all our stories, all the bull shit is just various coverings (daksha, cloaks, kleshas and maya) that make it hard to see that ultimately we are an embodiment of spirit. As we remember this we start to see and experience the world and our self as being made up of absolute goodness, consciousness, bliss, pulsation, self-awareness, ultimate freedom and perfect fullness. These are the attributes of the divine and we experience these qualities in our self and in the world around us because we are all part of the divine.  
Yoga’s potential for unveiling an illuminated heart, I think really comes in the face of obstacles. Even the physical postures we put our self into on the yoga matt is a challenge. We are taught to stay in the challenge, feel the intense sensation, connect with the breath, feel a sense of ease and feel supported. My practice for a while was learning to face challenges and feeling supported by grace. Now I have been working on learning the distinction between what is satisfying and what is gratifying, again this can be learned on the mat! My point being, the potential of unveiling the illuminated heart through yoga is so high because yoga offers so many different teachings that can be applied to your body and can shift your life. Yoga’s potential for unveiling an illuminated heart comes in its dynamic ability to meet people where they are and help them with their struggles.
The illuminated heart is like a muscle, because we don’t always think we are bright, beautiful, and intelligent. This doubting makes the muscle weak. But when we overcome these challenges by cultivating heart qualities we strengthen our illuminated heart muscle. So, even when we are off our yoga mat and shit hits the fan we still feel this inner illumination, it is not based on external situations.
In conclusion, we already have an illuminated heart. Yoga is one of the great ways to unveil that illumination.  Throughout life we are filled with bliss, yet there are many ups and downs that come along with it as well. Just know that at your core you shine with the divine. I want to bring these ancient practices into my life, deeper into my heart, and to refine my asana and move beyond the asana, to awaken more fully into my own illuminated heart. You are that which you seek!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Connect to Illuminated Heart + Twist Out Negativity

This past week I spent a lot of time thinking about and writing an easy for The Yoga Center for a chance to win a 100% scholarship for BJ’s upcoming Immersion 2. The easy question was write (in 500-750 words) the potential for yoga to unveil the illuminated heart. Illuminated means: to brighten with light, to make lucid or clear, to decorate with lights (as in celebration), and to enlighten (as with knowledge). My main focus on the essay was that we all already have an illuminated heart however we doubt our self and this makes us forget, yoga is the invitation to awaken to the heart and start removing the varies cloaks.

Tonight I am teaching at The Yoga Center 5:45-7.In We will focus on muscle energy drawing into this place of luminosity that is always present and we will also work with twisting our the self negativity, doubt, and fear.  
Succasana greet yourself here as a radiant blissful being, notice any negativity your have toward yourself, doubting, fear of failing, and allow your breath to get that unstuck.

Wall work plug into heart
Shoulder stretch hands on wall frwd fold
One hand on wall humorous parallel to floor plug in and twist fill in back body
Interlace hands side stretch switch fingers repeat 4x

Sun A
Mod Parvakonasana -> rev w
Parsvak -> rev w
W2-> rev w -> rev trik

Wall work
L at wall -> frwd fold against wall
L at wall -> frwd fold against wall
Wallonasana (hanumanasana up wall)
matsendrasana twist

DD twist
L.L twist one hand on ground
L twist
Parvritta ½ moon
Rev trik
Pigeon elbow down twist reach, reach back for foot
Bow pose roll to one side, roll to other side, middle
Wide leg forward fold
Root thigh bones 
Shavasana hands on belly

The Universal Principles of Alignment and Secoondary Principles

Was doing some online browsing and research and stumbled upon a Yoga Journal article: Go with the Flow: Alignment in Anusara, by John Friend wrote,  in the article John highlights the universal principles of Anusara yoga as well as secondary principles. I love it when I find these principles explained by others the slight difference in explanation always helps it sink that much deeper into my awareness. I though Friends explanation was great so here it is.
The Universal Principles of Alignment
  • Having the intention to place oneself—body, mind, and heart—in alignment with the flow of supreme consciousness. This involves approaching asana practice with an attitude of softhearted devotion.
  • MUSCULAR ENERGY A drawing of energy from the periphery of the body into the Focal Point (see below), which increases stability, strength, and physical integration in the pose.
  • INNER SPIRAL An ever-expanding energy spiral that moves outward from the core; it runs from the feet up through the pelvis into the waistline area. Inner Spiral rotates the legs inward, moves the thighs backward, and widens the thighs and pelvis.
  • OUTER SPIRAL An ever-narrowing spiral that moves inward toward the core; it runs from the waistline area down through the tailbone and out through the legs and feet. Outer Spiral rotates the legs outward, moves the tailbone and thighs forward, and draws the pelvis and thighs closer together.
  • ORGANIC ENERGY An outward extension of energy from the Focal Point through the core lines of the body to the body's periphery, which increases expansion, flexibility, and freedom in the pose.
The Secondary Principles
  •  FOCAL POINT Alocalized power spot within the body. Muscular Energy draws into it, and Organic Energy extends out from it. There are three possible locations for the Focal Point: the core of the pelvis, the bottom of the heart, and the upper palate. In any given pose, only one Focal Point is active. The active Focal Point is the one nearest the most weight-bearing part of the pose. When the three possible Focal Points are equally weight-bearing, the pelvic Focal Point becomes the active one by default.
  • SIDE BODY LONG Lengthening the sides of the ribs so the tops of the shoulders come in line with the base of the neck.
  • SHOULDER LOOP One of the seven energy loops within the body. This loop originates in the upper palate and flows backward to the base of the skull and down the back of the body to the bottom of the shoulder blades. When you engage Shoulder Loop, the head moves back slightly and the shoulder blades move down the back. At the bottom of the shoulder blades, the loop begins arcing forward and upward as it draws the bottom tips of the shoulder blades in and upward, toward the heart. The loop continues forward and up to the palate again as it lifts the chest and opens the throat.
  • INNER BODY BRIGHT A soulful expansion of feeling and vital energy from within the body that gives the outer form of the body a buoyant fullness. This attitude is created in the first principle, Opening to Grace, in which the fullness of the inner Self is embraced so the inner luster of Spirit naturally shines forth.
To view the complete article visit:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Avenues Yoga

Spent most of my day being a part of the lovely Anusara Yoga community.

First I taught the free intro yoga community yoga class. The turn out was small only two students, I really enjoy teaching smaller classes I can refine the practice specifically to what the students need/want and in my experience when the class is smaller the students will ask more questions then if it was a bigger class. We focused on having a commitment to look for the good in all situations and in our self. Lots of muscular energy work especially in hands, arms and shoulders. After class I walked with one of the students, R, down the street toward the street fair and she shared with me some of her personal challenges and how yoga and shadow work has helped. I love hearing peoples stories about past pain and how they are learning and growing from that opportunity.

After wandering down and being in awe at all the beauty in the booths and the peoples faces walking around the street fair I found the Avenues Yoga booth and worked there for a few hours. It was really great we got to spread the word about this wonderful yoga studio by handing out free yoga passes. I also got a chance to chat more with the other yoga teachers and we even busted out some partner yoga in the middle of the street fair. Thank you Erin, Paul, Shannon, Sarah for playing with me :-) Before leaving the booth Shannon gave me a phenomenal Thai body massage, it was wonderful to receive and wonderful to watch, she moved with such fluidity and easy.

Now I am going to walk my dogie, review some yoga notes, and then head to a teacher training with Adam.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Teaching as Service

I was reviewing the Ansuara Teacher Training Manual I came across a section that I wanted to share. John did such a great job explaining the role of a teacher, the importance or self practice, and important qualities to embrace. My childhood dream has always been to be an adventure guide, so I also very much liked his compassion to being an adventure guide.
Ansuara Teacher Training Manual 11th edition by John Friend, Teaching as Service (15-16):

Being a yoga teacher is like being an adventure guide leading a courageous group on a challenging journey to a beautiful, secluded place of transformation. The adventure guide has the responsibility to lead each trekker safely to this magical place. The long trek through wild unknown terrain demands faith, perseverance, and an ability to flow with rapidly changing circumstances. The group must trust the guide, since he is the only one among them who has the experience of traveling successfully to this place. He knows the quickest and safest routes, and the best way to deal with obstacles-- both anticipated and unexpected-- they meet on the way. The journey is often intense and frightening, and the trekkers may experience fear, discouragement, physical discomfort, and the desire to quit and turn back. Everyone is challenged--physically, emotionally, and psychologically. The guide must use all his interpersonal skills, experience, and technical knowledge to lead the group successfully and happily to the destination. His success depends on his ability to connect energetically with the body, the mind, and the heart of each trekker.

However, each of the trekkers is unique-- physically, mentally, and emotionally. This presents a perplexing challenge for the guide, since he realizes that the techniques and abilities he used in the past to make the journey alone, don't always work for everyone. Furthermore, instructions and directions that work for one person might not work for another. The guide must summon all his inner qualities, skills, and experience to constantly create new ways to motivate, inspire, and educate each individual at her own level to make the journey successfully. There is a direct relationship between the depth of the guides experience-- the number of times he has made the journey successfully and the number of people he has guided-- and his cultivation of confidence, maturity, authority. The group intuitively senses his level of experience, and their trust in him is directly proportional. His experience provides the guide with strong empathy for the trekkers. Since he has made the journey in the past, he knows what they are going through, and this helps him lead much more effectively. An experience, effective leader deliberately cultivates his ability to connect energetically with a wide variety of trekkers.

Aside from drawing on experience, the guide must also use technical knowledge to be repeatedly successful in his journeys. Technical knowledge helps make the journey easier, quicker, and safer. It is gained through formal training and, to a lesser degree, through self-discovery. If the guide has insufficient technical knowledge, he could put the group in danger. However, by itself, technical knowledge is insufficient for a successful, enjoyable journey. Many trekkers would certainly quit if the guide used only dry technical instruction to guide them. The guide must blend his technical knowledge with interpersonal qualities and social skills to make the journey fun and uplifting.

In a similar manner, a great yoga teacher must combine sensitivity, creativity, and inspiration with technical knowledge and experience, to help facilitate an inner unfolding in the student. It is the fusion of these qualities and skills that give the teacher the capability to connect energetically with the body, mind, and heart of the student. And it is through this connection that a great teacher is able to lead the students to the magical place where every one's heart opens naturally and where everyone feels empowered and fulled with self-love. Truly, the service of teaching yoga is a divine privilege. Each student is a gift!

at the bottom of the page I wrote "Wonderful, this is why I teach yoga 12/2009"

getting ready for Anusara teacher training with Adam

I have been reviewing and re reading The Anusara Yoga Teacher Training Manual & the Master Immersion pamphlet by Anusara found John Friend as I prepare for Adam Ballengers Anusara Teacher Training Program.

 Every time I look through these two great sources of wisdom I am reminded of why I love yoga so much. These teaching, the philosophy, the attitude all speak so deeply to my heart. I am first and for most a student, but being a student and having this practice transform every aspect of my life makes me want to share what I have learned with others. Being in pain, doubting your self and your worth, and feeling like the world is against you is not fun... I have been there and I still travel back to these feeling, but what I am reminded of when I come back to my mat or back to my breath is that I am not alone, I am worthy, I am full, and that I am in fact connected to this one, as John says, "pulsating ball of bliss".

I took Immersion 1,2, and 3 from Adam last year as well as teacher training 1. During teacher training 1 it was clear to me that I still needed to integrate and learn more fully the material we went over during the immersion before I would be ready to learn how to teach this wonderful life affirming philosophy and alignment techniques to others. Now it has been over a year since I completed the immersions. I have continued to study and practice regularly with Anusara teachers and I do feel like the information has been digested and felt on different levels in my own practice. I now feel ready and very excited to take this next step in my own personal and teaching practice.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Skull Loop

I am looking at my yoga photo shoot pictures (**thank you alyography | photography). It is always awesome when you get a chance to look at your own asana practice via pictures or videos so you can see the beauty and to see where the alignment could be shifted to unveil more beauty. Looking through the pictures I see I need to work on skull loop. Skull loop is the 7th of seven of the loops used in Anusara Yoga which starts at the pallet of the mouth travels up the back of the skull, down the front of the face and back to the pallet of the mouth (which is also where the top of shoulder loop connects). In my pictures I see my head moving up my face, chip up and down the back of my head. This is the opposite of skull loop, which also effects my shoulder loop. Looking at the picture below I need to work at taking my ears and teeth back and lengthen the sides of my neck.

The practice of yoga and life....there are always refinements to unveil even more beauty.

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...