Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I was talking to my good friend and teacher Jen Hecht about my "trust yourself" class (see earlier blog). She then gave me a wonderful qoute from Elena Brower:

"BELIEVE in yourself. BELIEVE that you chose the right family, and the perfect parents for your mission. BELIEVE that all the people around you are your teachers, here to show you the way. BELIEVE that you’re able to handle everything that comes to you. BELIEVE that you will get an answer whenever you really ask. BELIEVE that you can have every conversation elegantly. BELIEVE that you are on the correct trajectory to your highest freedom every time you tell the truth."- Elena Brower

Trust Yourself

I have been thinking about how important it is for me to trust and believe in myself. Yes, it is important for me to listen to other opinions and take suggestions but ultimately I am the one who has to live with my decisions. Trusting myself is also a big way I build up my self confidence.

My yoga teachers give me ques but they are not commands they are suggestions. Some of these suggestions don't feel appropriate to my body and I trust that I know best. For example, lotus pose (padmasana). If I fold my legs placing each ankle on my hips with my soles of the feet facing up I am pretty confident that I will be doing more harm to my knees then I would be doing good for my hips. So I trust myself to go just far enough that I can work toward the pose safely for me.

In yoga asana classes we get to sequentially move through poses. Training our body to hold the alignment with stability. We learn to trust our self in simpler poses and then over time we find our self doing more complex poses with confidence and ease.

Yoga is an invitation to deepen our relationship with our self. Learning to become receptive, listing, and trusting our self. In my experience when I trust myself, its easier for me to trust others and trust in the universe, even when a situation feels incredibly challenging I try to have faith that it will work our and help me heal. However when I fall into doubting myself pretty soon I am doubting everything and I live from a place of fear.

I used trust as a theme for this morning class at Avenues Yoga working up to handstands. Focus was on alignment for hands and arms, mainly expanding spiral. The picture on the right is my class plan and a picture of Chin mudra, which is the hand posture of index finer nail to the thumb. The index finger represents the individual bowing to the thumb representing supreme consciousness/ higher self. When I catch myself feeling scared or full of doubt I will (if i remember) take this hand posture to remind myself that I can trust my higher power.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Namaste is said in greeting and in parting in India and Nepal. It is also said frequently in the yoga community often at the end of a yoga asana classes. I often translate Namaste to mean "the divine light in me bow to and honors the same divine light in you". 

As a yoga student and a yoga teacher I have been saying this sacred word to students and teachers for many years. But recently it has been feeling more meaningful ripe with appreciation. When I say namaste and bow my head to my teacher I think "I am so grateful grateful grateful to you and everything I have learned from you." I pause in full thanks for the teacher and for the tradition of yoga that has been passed down though the years. When I bow my head to my students I go through each student and silently say the students name, cultivate gratitude for them, and send them a personalized prayer wishing them well.

Here is a fun story I came upon doing research on Namaste:
Einstein would read the newsreels fascinated and intrigued by Gandhi, who often had his hands folded in front of his heart (anjali mudra). Einstein wrote Gandhi to ask what he was saying and Gandhi responded, Namaste. Einstein again wrote inquiring what that word meant. Gandhi responded, "I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the place in you of light, love, truth, peace and wisdom. I honor the place in you where, when you are in that place, and I am in that place, there is only one of us". How wonderful that these two great minds were drawn together by this word!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What Seperates Us Connects Us

I took a wonderful class from Adam Ballenger this morning. He used an example of an anatomical heart, talking about the walls that separate the heart into four chambers (right atrium, right ventricle, left atrium, left ventricle). He pointed out that these wall that separate also connect these chambers together.


I liked this example of how what separates also connects. I thought about patches sewn together. The stitching does separate the two patches but it also connects the patches together.

I once heard John Friend talk about how it is normal for us to look around and see what separates us from others. That is a stage in child development, being able to see what is different from me and you. See that person is black, that person is tall, that person is male, that person is has an accent... These things also connect us too. We all have a color, we all have a size, we all have a sex, we all make speak.

Yoga can be defined as union.
Separation Connection

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Beauty and The Beast

Last weekend I went to see Beauty and The Beast in theaters re-released in 3D. (I laughed as I paid 8.50 for a matinee movie that I own in VHS.) I love this classic Disney movie. I love being remind of the teaching that beauty is inside. That I should work on connecting to the beauty that is inside of me instead of on the surface. That I should look for this inner beauty in lovers, family, friends and strangers. I am reminded that my yoga postures and my students have so much beauty inside even if it isn't the full version of the pose.
In the movie the beast is so disconnected from his own inner beauty that he can not even look at himself in the mirror without flying into rage. Being a lover of alignment I made a few observations... The Beast is hunched over, with his shoulders rounded forward and unplugged from his heart. However when he can love someone and they can love him and he becomes a prince again, he stands up tall (side bodies long) his shoulders are drawn back (head of arm bones back) his shoulders are broad (inner body bright) and his heart is lifted (shoulder loop).

I used this as a theme for a few classes. Doing strong shoulder work leading up to some big heart openers. Lots of side bodies long, head of the arm bones back, tips of shoulders into heart, and hyoid bone back. In my Monday class at The Yoga Center we partnered up for Urdhva Danurasana holding onto ankles. In my Tuesday class at Avenues Yoga. We went a bit deeper in Urdhva. After watching and observing the students urdhva's, I showed a quick demo on how rolling further forward onto the forehead (after pressing up to the top of the head) gives a greater ability to lengthen the side bodies, plug the arm bones back, and shoulder loop. This combo takes me into such a powerful place to press up. I let them know they were all doing the actions of lengthening and plugging the arm bones back, they were doing it so well I offered another refinement.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Anusara Invocation

Check out one of my teachers from Salt Lake City Matt Newman, Co-owner of Prana Yoga. in this short video Matt teaches and translates the Anusara Invocation and then he plays his harmonium beautifully and sings this prayer.

I got a harmonium and have been practicing the SARGUM scale and the invocation. It is challenging for me to play an instrument and sing. Its like patting my head and circling a hand on my stomach. But I am loving feeling my home with these sounds. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


There is a light inside of us that is always shining that can never be diminished and is NOT dependent on anything. I often think that my past behaviors have lessened or extinguished my light, but that is not the Truth. Nothing I could ever do could lessen the light inside of my heart. This is one of the many gift the practice has given me. I can now see that I have a light that is always shining peace, bliss, and love. I know that the light is within me even on my most depressed horribly tragic days. I have yet to be feeling miserable and say to myself "how about you just shift to feeling the peace and bliss inside yourself" and than I whala! am happy, however I do remind myself of this although I still experience the variety of emotions I still know what resides inside of me.

Christina Sell used a great example of money, "You can take a dollar bill, crumple it up, stomp on it and even send it through the washer, and still that dollar bill maintains its value. So, too, as we examine our own history and the ways we may have been crumpled, stomped on and put through the rinse cycle more than a few times and still we remain valuable." This brings me comfort!

I used the example of a lamp while teaching this week. The light bulb shines light and emits a radiant brightness. There is a shade to cover the bulb which makes the light appear less bright. I like to think of the shade as my mood. What commonly happens is I miss my light and connect instead with my mood. When I am sad I connect with that sad feeling. When I am happy I connect with that happy feeling. When I just see the shade my mood bounces around like a ball in a pin ball machine. I am learning to see that the light is always present shining behind my mood, and to recognize and start connecting with the light more. When I am practicing this I remain more stable because instead of hoping around from lamp shade to lamp shade I am connecting to the essence of the light bulb that shines behind any color of shade.

This reminds me of the last two lines of the Anusara Invocation + translation from JF:

Nisprapancaya Shantaya
Niralambaya Tejase
Is never absent, full of peace
Ultimately free and sparkles with a divine luster

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Meditation: drenched in PEACE

When I sit for meditation and my mind stops spinning as fast,  I begin to get this feeling of peace, of "every thing s going to be okay". After being soaked in that feeling when I come out of meditation I still carry some of that residue. That clarity of knowing at a very deep level that I am okay and  I am loved. I haven't figured out why I feel this way in meditation and I don't think it is important that I find out. What matters is that I feel it and I tap into it.

When I am living life I accumulate doubt, indecision, insecurities and FEAR. These feelings make me question: Should I meditate in the evening? Am I wasting my time? If I act on these feelings and don't meditate I experience these feelings more intensely. When I miss a mediation these feeling run rampid. As a result it is likely I will miss my next meditate and this continues. These fears can prevent me from mediating for a few days or weeks. I feel like my life is a blur of anxiety and I don't know why. Then I meditate and feel that peace I have been seeking outside of myself for. However, the longer I go without meditating the longer I need to sit before my mind stops spinning.

What I am learning is that I have to meditate no matter what. I meditate in the morning and in the evening. I meditate even when I really really don't want to. Because I know that not meditating, not getting drenched in that power, that is what makes my life crazy. If I do miss a meditation I try to recognize it and start my routine of regular meditation again.

My main intention for 2012 is to cultivate a better relationship with my higher power. I think the way to do that is through meditation. Therefore I am making meditating a huge priority. My other intention for the year is to cultivate better relationships with my family members (not that it isn't good but I want to make more time for them in my life). I think this will organically happen as I meditate more.

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...