Sunday, December 22, 2013

Re-finding Balance in Handstand

8 weeks postpartum

I have been really working I cultivate my handstands for over five years and about two years ago I was able to hold my balance in the middle of the room! Then I got pregnant... I continued to do handstands until I was 29 weeks pregnant and got put on bed rest. Then I had a c-section because my placenta was abrupting from the uterine wall. Shortly after giving birth to y beautiful son a flexed my abes an pushed my stomach... Nothing. Total mush. I later tried to do a handstand. I kicked up, did alignment actions + flexed my stomach to stop and balance, but I just kept going over and fell to the floor. Can you say "timber"?
One thing Anusara philosophy teaches us is to look for the good. So besides the obvious goodness of temporarily losing my handstands is gaining my sweet baby boy. Another benefit is that in the process of re-learning and re-finding my balance. I am learning new refinements and ways of phrasing how to teach handstands to my students.

Middle of room:
Muscular Energy: from down dog or from standing slits I kick up toward handstand and squeeze my ankles together crossed. I don't think. I am going to balance in handstand. Instead I think I am going to squeeze my ankle to the front of my opposite shin. Bam! I am balancing in handstand. This happens because I am squeeze the midline (one of the three aspects of muscular energy).

At wall:  I teach handstand at the wall in almost all of my classes. I rarely see handstands being taught in other classes and so many people fear handstands. "I'm not strong enough" I hear so much. Doing handstands at the wall each week I get to see the students gain confidence and get closer and closer to balancing. Now students get excited when we move to the wall and if I don't teach handstand at the wall a few students will hand around after class to get their handstands in. Anyways a few students have been closed to balancing for a while but still can't quite find it. So a I was practicing coming to balance in handstand at the wall both straight up and from "L" pose I found a trick called organic energy.

organic energy: When one is pushing off from L or from regular handstand at the wall they have horizontal movement that brings them to the place they should balance at but the problem is they any stop hat horizontal movement and keep going. Normally I teach don't push off the wall but use inner and outer spiral ad you will natural come off the wall into balance. But still students insist on pushing off. So I suggested that when their body gets stacked to extend down to the floor like crazy from the focal point I. The heart and out through the toes. This will turn the horizontal movement into vertical movement.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstive Class

Apex Pose: hanumanasana (half forward fold to honor the darkness, half back bend to honor the light)
Principle of Emphasis: muscle energy (steadfastness on your path) inner spiral (introspection from turning within) outer spiral (cultivating strength to move forward while holding the intention you gained from reflection) organic energy
Heart quality: Reflection + Commitment
Theme: Winter Solstice. Introspection to gain inspiration as we move into more light and the new year. Winter stolice marks the end of earths exhale with the longest night of darkness as we move into earth inhale (inspiration) and the light begins to grow more and more.

The Sequence:
Child's (honor the darkness)
Table- shalabasana (teach that in asymmetrical poses back leg has more inner spiral front leg has more outer spiral)
DD (teach hope inner spiral and outer spiral happens evenly in symmetrical poses)
high runners Lunge-Lunge
L.L prep - anjaneyasana
L.L quad twist- Parsvotonasana - standing figure 4
Wide leg frwd fold right hand to front of left shin left hand to outer left shin draw torso to left while keeping legs energized, draw inner right thigh in back and wide so the pelvis stays squared and pull left sit bone down and under, sit bone moves toward tail bone getting the left waistline to lift
At wall:
L at wall (being able to turn momentum from horizontal to vertical with organic energy)
Torture asana
Hanumanasana foot on baseboard
Urdhva danurasana hands on base board
Root femur bones
Partner root femur bones

Some things to remember :
There are Golgi Tendons with in the muscle that monitor “danger” and when they feel the body is not protected they contract and seize up to protect the body. We can turn off the “danger alarms” and the resulting contraction by strong muscle work. If you engage you muscle (Called muscle energy in Anusara) for at least 30 seconds the Golgi tendons feel protected and sense the muscles are no longer in danger. As a result they soften and you can move deeper in the pose while keeping the body protected from injury. To be passive muscularly isn’t a good strategy for letting the muscles open.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Postpartum Practice for Low Back *video

A friend asked me to post a yoga video for her to addressthe low back tension she feels after just having a baby. The sequence below is to remind your body of optimal alignment while releasing stored up tension in the body. It will release tightness in the back of the legs and low back while strengthening the low back. Do the whole sequence or bits and pieces when you have time. I am did the practice with my baby so you could see how I adapt my practice with him. He actually cooperated quite well I just needed to bounce his chair every once and a while. Often I need to pick him up for some poses or put him on the ground next to me. My baby comes before my practice so if he needs me and doesn’t seem happy I stop practicing and come back to it later. When I really want to practice my husband watches the baby so I can get some “me time” and a bigger practice in. My baby boy is 8 weeks old.

Teaching focus: Learn to hold healthy spine in lower back
Principles of emphasis:
1st principle: side bodies long
2nd: Hug the midline inner thighs strong
3rd: inner spiral thighs
4th: scoop tail bone so low belly tones to hold curve of low back
Theme: Taking time (even if only a few minutes) to take care of your self. When we are feeling good in our body we experience more health and happiness and from that place we can better care for our new babies.

*check with your health care provider before picking up your practice and remember to always listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, hurts, pulls… don’t do it! You just had a baby. Give yourself a break. P.S you are superwomen!! Your practice will deepen in time. No rush.

The Video:
(if the video above doesn't work here is the youtube url:

The Sequence:
Sucasana Uddiyana Bandha Pranayama
Sucasana side stretches
Table jump rope spine
Anahatasana modified
Down Dog
Table - Shalabasana
Table - Shalabasana butt burner (toe touches, knee bends, knee bent hip extenders, abductor burner)
Thread Needle
Mod Utkatasana hands on knees cat/cow- jump rope spine
Tadasana- half moon side stretch
Down Dog - 3 Leg Down Dog
Wide Leg Forward Fold- Twist (with block, stack of books, soup can..)
Supta Pigeon
Supta Femur Rooting *my go to low back pain move*
Childs Pose

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Winter Solstice Journaling Suggestions

Winter solstice is an invitation to pause and honor natures rythm by turning inward. I encourage you to pause, honor, inquire, and reflect during this magical time. I like to meditate + journal the week leading up to and the week following the solstice and then I re read my journal enteries when I see the first crocuses peak through the dirt (the first flowers of spring).

If you are in SLC I will be teaching a Solstice Inspired yoga class at Sugar Space 9-10:30am by donation.

Here are some of the topics I will be journaling on this year.

Winter Solstice journaling suggestions: 

Look Back

Name at least 3 obstacles you overcame in the last year, and reflect on what lessons you learned or what qualities of character were strengthened as a result.

Name up to 3 challenges you are working on that you feel stand in the way of you reaching your highest goals and intentions

Name at least 3 positive shifts you made in the last year. Give yourself full credit for forward growth, even if they were just little steps (little steps add up to big changes in time)

Name your three most powerful moments or special memories from the last year.

Look Forward

Name 3 goals or intentions you have for the next year. You might pick one in separate category such as Relationships, Career, and Self Development, or you might pick three to work on in one single area of your life.

Now list 3 obstacles that you think might stand in the way of you manifesting your intentions and counter each of them with a solution.

Name 3 qualities of character you want to cultivate this year to help you embody, or manifest your intentions.

Reflect on, and name, the desired outcomes or feeling states that you will experience having realized your intentions. Allow yourself to really feel each outcome in your body. Take your time with it as the more you can not only visualize but also feel where you are going the easier it is to get there!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Upeksha Leads to Harmony

Heart Quality: Harmony

Theme: Upeksha (overview, big picture)

The Sanskrit word Upeksha comes from the root word “iksha” meaning view, gaze at, look upon, or reflect. The prefix “upa-“meaning over or beyond. I like to think of Upeksha meaning overlook. Not overlook as in ignore or to not see, more like a scenic overlook.

Antidote: Lets add a seasonal winter touch to this antidote… When I ride a chair lift I can see so much. I can see the bigger picture compared to when I am speeding down the mountain on my sweet tele ski’s, where I can only see what is in front of me. When I ski I love catching air over the rolling hills. However, when I am coming down the mountain I can see what’s on the other side of those hills, only what’s in front of me, the small picture. When I am on the chair lift I can see the bigger picture, I can see what’s on the other side, maybe there is a crash on the other side of that hill with multiple ski patrollers and someone on a backboard. With this bigger concept about what is going on I can more gracefully navigate the different parts and not jump off that hill.

This is true in my yoga postures too. When I get too focused on one aspect like shoulder loop. I forget that it is only one part that makes up the whole. Just because my shoulders might be integrated doesn’t mean that my ribs and my head are not way out of balance. When I pause, breath and take into consideration what is happening with all the different parts of my body I can again more gracefully coordinate myself leading to more harmony in my mind, body, and spirit.

It’s a great concept to ponder and practice. Stress, chaos and/or mundane tasks pulls us into the “the small picture” and our ability to choose the highest or best course of action is often diminished. This larger perspective allows us to meet the world, or yoga pose, from a calmer + more loving + more capable place. This pausing, taking a breath and trying to see the “scenic overview” can be a magical strategy for navigating just about every situation in life… especially during the holidays.


Sucasana viloma Pranayama
High runners lunge twist - lunge
L.L twist - anjaneyasana
Utkatasana exhale arms forward down and up inhale stay low reach up 3x
Lunge exhale sweep arms forward down back and up inhale tailbone teach up - Lunge twist Anjali mudra - standing Lunge twist T arms- rev - one hand down high runners lunge stretch arm over ear
Leprechaun tapping from DD
Modified Parsvakonasana
Clasp blow Warrior 2- Parsvakonasana hand outside foot
Dolphin – Leprechaun tapping from Dolphin or Pincha Mayurasana
Ardha Chandrasana- Chapasana - Trikonasana
Handstands at wall
Sucasana viloma pranayama 3x

I have been studying Anusara Yoga going on 6 years now and have been contemplating applying for Certification in Anusara. Currently I am Anusara-Inspired which is often compared to a BS and Certification is often compared to a Master’s Degree. One part of the certification process is submitting filmed classes to a review board. This really terrifies me so I have decided to start filming my classes and beginning watching them and refining them before I start thinking about giving it to a certified teacher to review. Today was my first day filming, which was all about figuring out equipment… Will my battery last? Do I have enough memory? Do I need a mic? Does it capture the whole class room? Everything worked accept the sound. I am excited to start refining my teaching skills, even if it takes a while for me to submit my application.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

First Class Back

Notes from my Sugar Space Class, December 7th 9-10:30am by donation.

Principles of emphasis:
First principle: side bodies long, foundation of feet, melt heart
Second principle: muscle energy to help draw arm bones back
Secondary principles: twisting

Theme: 'tis the holiday season. Let's lengthen our side body to make room to fill ourself with holiday cheer + joy and play with twists to let go of stress + overindulges.

The sequence:
Bridget's cross modified one hand one forearm
High runners lunge
Utt rag doll
L.L quad -> anjaneyasana
Active pigeon
L.L twist
Plank sbl- knee to chest Bridget's cross hips down one hand one forearm
Utkatasana twist
Utkatasana twist one foot off ground -> L twist ->L.L quad twist ->vinyasa
Side crow
Supta side crow prep
Side crow
Anjaneyasana  -> ardha hanumanasana
Headstand prep or headstand
Galapers twist quad @wAll
Twisted janusirasana

This was my first class back after not teaching for my 2 month maternity leave. It felt sooo sooo good to be back. I had missed my students and teaching so very much. I was worried after not teaching for so long (this has been my biggest break in teaching for the last 8 years) that it wouldn't come back to me and I lost my teaching skills. But it came right back and felt so good.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fragility + Beauty of Life

I have been so in love and happy enjoying the blessing of my son who was born a month ago. He really is my bundle of joy, reminding me of all the light and beauty that is in the world. Its so appropriate that thanksgiving is right around the corner because my heart feels like it is going to bust open with the amount of gratitude that it contains.

At the same time my heart is full of happiness it is also full of sorrow. A good friend of mine passed away this week. Life is so fragile and impermanent. It is so sad that a wonderful women in her twenties was taken from this world. Its not fair. Life is not fair.

Its weird to  experiencing two conflicting feeling of happiness and grief at the same time. Part of me wants to go skipping through the fall leafs with my newborn and the other part of me wants to cry under my comforter in the bed.

I know me getting depressed doesn't add love to this world or to my family. So I look for the good. I try to see this as a reminder to live every moment to the fullest. To share love, light and laughter with the people around me. To soak in the grace of my surroundings. To be there for others in time of pain and to not let depression, drugs, harmful relationships, and negative experiences spin me down to death.

Life is so beautiful and as sad and painful as impermanence is. That is one of the aspects of life that makes it so magical.

I have such an abundance of gratitude for all the many many blessing in my life.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Heart Openers for Breast Feeding

Our beautiful baby boy arrived October 22nd (birth story to come). It has been so amazing having him out of my belly and in my arms. When he was born my heart expanded to make room for all the love I have for him and the new love I have for my husband seeing him in his daddy role. I want to lift my now bigger + fuller heart up. However holding and breast feeding baby Sage puts my body in a position that hides my heart, tightens my upper neck and pec muscles while over lengthening and straining my back muscles. Ouch. I have been doing these gentle stretches to keep my body somewhat in alignment. 

Holding a baby and breast feeding takes my body into horrible alignment that creates more stress and tension in my life. I am so happy to do it and LOVE all over my baby. But I don't want my body to forget optimal alignment, the alignment that creates more harmony and happiness in my life. 

The main alignment actions I am reminding my body of during this sequence are:

  • Side Bodies Long + Inner Body Bright
  • Arm Bones Back  + Shoulder Blades Together
  • Chin Up + Palate of Mouth Back

my favorite thing to so with a strap to help integrate arm bones back. start with the strap horizontally behind back under shoulder blades, bring the tails of the straps in front, over and behind the shoulders, cross the tails behind your back forming am X, tighten strap and grab each strap and pull forward. Lengthen from hips up through arm pits and into the sides of the neck. Expand your ribs and broaden the collar bone opening your chest. Watch that the floating ribs don't stick out causing a collapse in the kidneys. If you notice this is happening pull the floating ribs in toning the abdominal muscles. Lastly check your head, is it sticking forward? Lift the chin to horizontal and slide throat back until the palette is over the spine. Once in this pose you can do some neck lengtheners: take chin to chest, and then one ear to one shoulder and other ear to other shoulder, then back to center

I like to start with a strap and pull up as high as I can and then pull down as far as I can. then I take the full pose by bringing my hands together. Just like in the sequence above: lengthen your side bodies, expand your chest opening your heart, draw arm bones back, squeeze shoulder blades together, draw floating ribs in, extend from pelvis into floor and from pelvis up through crown of head. I like to hold these shoulder stretches for 2 minutes.

Start with a block on the 2nd level horizontally placed below cervical vertebrae 7 (to find look toward belly button feel the back of your neck. That boney vertebrae that sticks up is C7) and slowly wiggle your way down stopping between each vertebrae from C7 to T12. Keep floating ribs pulling toward pubic bone to avoid kidney collapse. With each breath lengthen from hips up side bodies and draw arm bones back hollowing arm pits out. I like to hold each place for 2 minutes.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

holiday season

The holidays are upon us. It’s a time when the world around us is festive but the body needs more rest. Here are some tips to conserve your energy and enjoy this time of celebration.

1. Go to bed 1 hour earlier each night you are home. That way you will be well rested for the nights you are out celebrating.
2. Make a big pot of soup or stew and roast some root vegetables. Eating nourishing and grounding foods, rather than grabbing what is fast and easy will help you stay healthy and balanced this season.
3. Commit to your yoga practice and get to the mat each day. If you can’t make it to class, here are some short home routines to help get you started.
4. Take a 5-20 minute break each day. Turn off your computer, put down your phone and check out! Dance, draw, put your legs up the wall, have a cup of tea, take a walk, stare into space….
5. Start the day with 2-4 glasses of warm lemon water each day and continue to drink warm fluids throughout the day.
Wishing you a blessed holiday season!

Monday, October 21, 2013

35 Weeks Pregnant

35 Weeks!

Baby Size? Honeydew Melon

Baby development? Your baby doesn't have much room to maneuver now that he's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (about the size of a honeydew melon). Because it's so snug in your womb, he isn't likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times he kicks should remain about the same. His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he'll spend the next few weeks putting on weight. (

Gender? Boy!
Sleep? Horrible. I am up every hour checking on bleeding and worrying myself sick.
Food Cravings? any kind of sandwich.
What I miss? I miss my water birth plan at the birth center.
What I love? That I get to meet my sweet baby boy so soon!
Movement? yes
Highlight of week? I had 2 baby showers this week. One on Saturday that some girlfriends of mine did and one from my mother and law. They were so fun. My girlfriends had a fall theme with the most delicious sandwiches, salad, pumpkin pie, pumpkin chia, home made whipped creme and so much more. We played a guess who this pregnant celebrity is, and I am embarrassed to say I won. It was so fun to catch up with ladies that I love so much but don't get to see enough of. My mother and law had a "she is about to pop theme" with salad poppy seed salad dressing, poppy seed sandwich, pop corn, pop sodas with pop suckers, rice crispy treats, cake pops... it was so well thought out. I got to see a lot of women from her side of the family that I don't see enough and it was so fun talking about this baby boy. We played a prediction game where all the guest wrote down when I would deliver, how much baby would weigh, hair color, eye color, skin color... and she is going to mail them to me after the baby comes! A really really fun weekend of baby celebrations.
Symptoms? ANXIETY!!! Bleeding, contractions, and heartburn.

Exercise? nope on bed rest. 
Delivery? Oh how my plans have changed from that peaceful drug free birth center birth I was imagining for months. After so many episodes of bleeding the doctors and midwifes decided that it is safest for the baby for him to be delivered via c-section on TUESDAY (which is tomorrow) and we found this out today! I am nervous for the surgery but so excited to see and hold our baby boy and I am so so so excited to see my husband Tyler hold our baby boy. The c-section is in about 18 hours. Let the count down begin.
To my son,
I love you so much. Growing you has been a highlight of my life and one I will never forget. I can not wait to hold you close to me. I can not wait to get to know who you are and learn from you! I promise to love you for always. I have loved you for 9 months and I cant wait to feel this love I have for you, which is already so big, explode into even more love tomorrow when I meet you, my little man.
Your Mom

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I love all the pumpkin goodness that comes with fall. Pumpkin is an incredibly healthy food to incorporate into your diet.

5 reasons why you should eat more pumpkin:
Pumpkins are full of fiber, which aids in digestion and elimination.
Pumpkins are rich in a variety of minerals, including potassium, which helps prevent your muscles from cramping after an intense yoga class, as well as magnesium, zinc, and iron.
Pumpkins contain tryptophan, which helps your body to produce serotonin, your natural mood-booster. Eat pumpkins = feel happy
Pumpkins are also anti-inflammatory which means they reduce your risk of disease and cancer.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 34 Again

Week 35 Week 34...Again

Update: At our first appointment with our new hospital midwife (after being transferred from the birth center) we were told that our estimated due date is actually November 18, not November 10th like we were previously told. The reason the switched our due date was because the first ultra sound we got gave the due date of the 18th and later an ultra sound gave us the due date the 10th. The 10th dates lined up so well that the birth center thought it was more appropriate to go with that date. However at the hospital it is “standard protocol” to go off of the first ultra sound because it is most accurate.

This was hard for me to hear. Yes it is just a number and baby boy will come when he is ready…. But this number is one I have been counting down from for the past 240 something days. On the bright side if do go past my due date having a later estimated due date will help by me time before they push induction on me. Super good news the midwife took me off of bed rest and put me on “modified daily activities”. I still cannot teach, hike, or do anything vigorous. But I can lightly clean, gently stretch, and go for short walks. This has been terrific!
34 weeks 6 days

Baby Size? Butternut Squash

Baby development? Watch what you say! Your curious baby is listening in to your conversations at 34 weeks -- and might enjoy a lullaby or two -- so go ahead and sing to him. Some say that baby will recognize songs mom sings while he’s in the womb, and may even be more easily soothed by them if he’s used to them once he’s on the “outside.” At week 34, you might breathe a little easier, since baby may descend lower into your pelvis and give your lungs some space. (Ahh!) Of course, some babies don’t do this until the day they’re born, so we’re not making any guarantees. The pitfall of this descent, of course, is even more pressure on your bladder, so be prepared to make even more trips to the ladies room over the coming weeks. (

Gender? BOY

Sleep? I am getting insomnia. I used to go to bed around 10-11 and now I am up until 1am!

Food Cravings? Butternut squash soup, pumpkin pie (this could be that the leaves have changed color and its feeling like fall).

What I miss? I miss teaching my yoga classes and seeing my yoga students so so much. Not being able to do it reaffirms for me how important it is to me, and how much it lights up my being. I find myself day dreaming about teaching or scheming on how I can get away with teaching one class or one workshop before the baby comes. I also miss taking the dogs on hikes. I love being in the mountain’s during this time of year and taking in the fresh air and beautiful colors.

What I love? I love that I am allowed to move now! It was so hard staying in bed and I was getting so sore from laying on one side or the other. I have been doing some much needed stretches (what a previous post about my gentle prenatal sequence) to help undo the bed rest soreness and fatigue. I have also been loving going on short walks with the dogs and I breathing the air and walking through falling yellow leaves.

Maternity Photos. Yesterday my good friend Alyshea owner of Alyography Photography came to do maternity pictures for Tyler and I. Our plan was to go to memory groove but it was raining so we stayed at the house. They turned out so good. I think the pictures capture the love Ty and I have for each other and this baby boy in my belly. (Maternity photos below)

Movement? So much.

Symptoms? Insomnia, congestion, frequent need to pee, heart burn, sore feet, sciatic pain, tired, and anxiety.

Exercise? GENTLE: stretching and walking.  

Meditation? Yes it has been especially helpful with the changes in the birth plan and the pregnancy complications to help me calm and help me keep my positive birth experience while letting me go with the flow a little more gracefully.  


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Choose To Make More Beauty

Being on modified bed rest has been a great opportunity (looking for the good) to go through old yoga notes. Yesterday I was reading my notes from the Anusara-Inspired teachers gathering in Tahoe during Wanderlust, during it John Friend said, “Every day we get to choose to make more beauty, to make more light, to bring more love into the world, or not”. This really stood out to me. We have a choice! Meaning we can choose to bring more beauty + light + love into the world or we can choose to bring more ugliness + darkness + hate into the world. I hadn't thought about the flip slide of this before. I just thought laa dee daa I am bringing more beauty into the world. I didn't think that all those times I don't feel good, don't hold the door open for someone, flip someone off driving, make rude judgemental mental comments in my head at the market, gossip with friends about someone, be in self pity, or just leave the house in a bad mood. In all those examples I am choosing to negatively impact the world we live in and share.

This made me think about emissions. We are all emitting energy all the time, it is often called our aura or the energy field that surrounds our body. Think about what it feels like to be physically close to someone who is happy and how it makes you feel to just being near them. Now imagine what it would feel like if that person was sad, or angry. The energy they are emitting and you are experiencing just from being in their field is drastically different. In this way just by choosing our attitude we are choosing to either add more love + joy + enthusiasm to the world or we are choosing to add more  hate + sadness + angry to the world. (Not to say we should never experience these feelings it is healthy to experience the full spectrum of emotions but not healthy to stew in it... another topic for another post.)

When I think of things that emit in a way that brings more beauty and love into the world I think of the sun, artists, flowers, happy dogs, color full leaves, rainbows... when I think of things that pollute the world I think of smoke stacks, cars, oil spills, garbage, cigarette smoke.... Which do you want to be? I want to be a bright flower that makes people smile + feel better.



This simple yet profound teaching has struck a chord in my heart and now I am so much more aware every time I open my mouth to speak (or sometimes too late, and I notice it after I have already spoken...change comes at first with awareness).  I am a big fan of the gratitude practices, of writing in my journal, often at night, a list of things I am grateful for. I do this especially when I am feeling sorry for myself. Well I am starting a new practice! A Shri (beauty) practice! I write down how I added beauty + light + love to the word for the day. It has been making me feel really good to look at the list and brings happiness to my heart as participate in creating a happy earth for all. I invite each of you to become more conscious of the ways that you contribute more beauty to the world each day.

Look, touch, speak, and breathe beauty!

E·mits: To give or send out (matter or energy).
pol·lu·tion: The presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance or thing that has harmful or poisonous effects.


The word ananda with a long "a" at the beginning meaning  as “vibration of bliss”, the long "a" is very important or the word becomes without bliss. We chant "ananda" in the second line of our invocation- “saccidananda murtaye.” Another translation of this word could be “deep contentment”. For me, the practice of yoga (specifically Anusara yoga) has brought me deep satisfaction and joy in life. It has fostered a feeling of calmness and happiness with in myself during the many fluctuations of life. I find myself not bouncing around in the extremes of emotion, but centering myself in my heart which is always content + fully rejoicing in it’s experience.

Definition of contentment (n)

  1. satisfaction: a feeling of calm satisfaction
  2. something that makes somebody contented: a circumstance, or a feature or characteristic of something, that gives rise to satisfaction

Definition of bliss (n)

  1. complete happiness: perfect happiness
  2. spiritual joy: a state of spiritual joy

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Review About Me from 2010

I just stumbled upon a blog post someone wrote about one of my classes and me as a teacher. I remember both the students. Oh so sweet! I remember when I started taking Anusara classes how I did not like demoing poses (in fear I would do a bad job) and did not like partnering up (again afraid I would do a bad job). Now I love demos and partnering because I learn so much more then I could by myself. Thank you for the lovely blog post Doris.

September 06, 2010

Friday, October 11, 2013

Stretching/ Prenatal Yoga on Modified Bed Rest

After being on bed rest for 10 days I got the midwifes approval to do some light prenatal yoga and I am now on "modified" bed rest. Yippie!! I was so excited to start moving my 34 week pregnant body again.

Here is a gentle sequence I have been doing. My hips feel tight and misalignment from all the side lying I have been doing, my legs feel super tight from like of movement and stretching, and I feel like my circulation is no good. My intention this practice is to wake up my body, open my hips (in preparation for birth), re establish alignment in my hips, tone and lengthen the muscles of my legs and increase circulation.

Table- gentle cat/cow very gentle I don't want to compress the belly with to much core work but I do want to puff into the kidneys during cat. For cow this big belly already causes a back bend so inside I focus on length.
Table shalabasana wrist and ankle circles to help reduce swelling and increase circulation.
Parsvotonasana [2 blocks]  inside of front leg to avoid compressing my belly. Focus on drawing back thigh in and toward the back of the room which shift my hips more over the front leg and then add contacting spiral pulling front hip down and under to avoid binding in the hip flexors.
Low lunge quad stretch again i am focusing on inner spiral on back leg shifting the hips over the front leg + contracting spiral on front leg pulling glute down, under and pressing into heal. This is a back bend and like I mentioned above pregnancy already gives me the tendency to collapse into a back bend so I have to use gentle strength to pull the floating ribs in a puff into the kidneys without to much abdominal work. Then full extension rooting down from the hips into the floor and from the hips up through the arm pits and crown of head.
Deep low lunge quad stretch same alignment as above.
Pigeon quad I love how repetitive Anusara yoga can be. Its practicing the same alignment ques in different poses that help me better understand the incredible depth that these principles offer. That being said. Same work here. Tone the leg muscles, draw back leg thigh in, back and wide shifting hips over the front leg. This will create a deeper crease in the front hip (a collapse) so I scope my front hip under moving my front sit bone closer to my tail bone then extending into the floor. This will create space around the hip flexors. This again is a back bend. So i draw the floating ribs in, expand into the kidneys, and lengthen up through the side bodies to give me baby lots of space.
Deep pigeon One thing that makes me cringe as a yoga teacher is watching students move into a deeper pigeon. Often a student will sit off on there front hip side grab their foot and swing it forward trying to get the foot in line with the knee. They do this with no muscle energy in the front leg. This is a NO NO NO NO!!! With no muscle energy in the front leg all the flexibility they are getting is in their knee and pigeon is about opening the HIPS not the knees. We do not want more flexible knees. The way I get in this pose is starting in a narrowed version of pigeon I curl my toe nails into my mat this will engage my front leg and ankle. Keeping this engagement I slowly lift up my front knee (my front foot is still anchored to the floor) and move it back a little, then i move my back knee back and I either stay there or repeat until I get the angle in the front knee I want. When the front knee is narrow the front foot should be flointed (pointed with the toes pulled back) and when the knee gets to 90 degrees the front foot should be flexed pinkie toe spreading into the mat. Okay there is my little rant. I just love knees and don't like hearing stories of people blowing out their knees from yoga.
Malasana Squat depending on how long I want to hold this pose for I find it nice to sit on a block on the second level so i am more supported. Very nice prenatal treat.
Baddha konasana [block]5x this is currently my favorite sequence ever!! It opens my hips so much which will come in handy for labor. I start in baddha konasana soles of the feet together engage the muscles of the legs especially the outer hips. Keeping the muscles drawing up toward the hips I extend from my upper inner thighs out through my knees pressing the knees to the floor (with muscles alone no help from my hands). Next I grab my block and put the narrowest version of the block between my feet and repeat the alignment. Then I turn the block to the medium width put that between my feet and repeat the same alignment. Then, you probably guessed it, I turn the block to the widest aspect and put it between my feet and repeat the alignment actions. Lastly I remove the block bring the soles of my feet together and repeat the alignment yet again. I try to catch my jaw as it falls to the floor in shock at how much more open I am. Depending on how much time I have depends on how long I do this for. I will hold each version of baddha konasana for 2 mins, 3 mins, or 4 mins (i use a yoga timer app which is awesome for this). This is something I will do all by itself to. Its a nice way to spend 20 mins and get into the hips.
Double pigeon
pre pregnancy my knees would touch in this pose. Now my hips are much wider so there is about a fist space between my knees. I want my knees to line up with my hip sockets. More knee alignment stuff includes lining up the second toe with the middle of the ankle, I like to spread my toes with the help of my hands and squeeze my heels toward the mid line.  I also make sure my inner thighs are rotating in toward the floor creating a healthy lumbar curve in my back. Lastly organically extend from hips into floor and lift chest toward sky. I will do gomukasana arms during this pose to sometimes for a shoulder stretch.  
Ardha hanumanasana - hanumanasana tone the muscle of the legs, rotate back leg in back and wide shifting hips over front leg, scope front hip under pressing out through the ball of the foot. That will help square up your pelvis. I really like playing with muscle and organic energy in this pose. Drawing from the feet into the hips SO much that it feels like my leg bones get shorter because they get so plugged into the hip sockets. Keeping that engagement I extend from the hips out through the feet. This entertains me so much I forget what a killer stretch this is (especially after bed rest!)
Supta pada A- B [strap] With my leg perpendicular to the floor or foot slightly forward of the hip i use a strap and ground my whole femur bone into the hip socket as I extend from my hip back into the strap to create some space around the joint. I make sure my bottom leg is tones, second toe in line with ankle, knee and hip and inner thigh strongly rooting toward earth. Next I loop my strap together and put the strap behind my head, right at the base of my hair line below that boney bump. I practice skull loop as my leg gets pulled closer to my face. If you dont have the flexibility to do this or it doesnt feel good just hold the strap one in each hand. I have been doing this for years and love it. I dont need a strap. Then i grap the outer edge of my top foot and open my leg for pada B. Strong bottom inner thigh work, and strong hip scoping work on top leg.
Femur rooting/psoas release

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I love practicing this Ayurvedic self massage technique. Especially during the fall and the winter to help balance my vata dosha and keep my skin nice and moisturized. When I feel my mind getting really flightly and full of clutter it is a sign that I need to bust out my oil and practice abhyanga.

Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic treatment you can do for yourself. Like food for your skin, warm oil (sesame, sunflower or coconut) massaged into your body relieves fatigue and rejuvenates the mind and body while lubricating the joints and making the skin soft and supple. This is traditionally performed in the morning to get your circulation moving and remove the toxins that accumulate during the night. However you can also try it in the evening to promote restful sleep.

In Sanskrit the word sneha means both “oil” and “love”, Abhyanga is like saturating yourself with love! Let the oil soak in for up to 15 minutes to penetrate the subtle channels, then take a hot bath or shower.

The benefits are numerous and include; soft, supple, beautiful skin, tones the muscles, lubricates the joints, slows down aging, nourishes the body, promotes restful sleep, stimulates the systems of the body, enhances circulation, calms the nervous system, increases immunity…

A nice wintertime habit is to massage warm sesame oil into your feet before bedtime. Wear a pair of natural fiber socks so you dont get oil all over your sheets.  In addition, if you find yourself dry from the heater always running, anoint your nostrils and ears with sesame oil.

 Use organic sesame oil, and warm the oil by rubbing it between your hands before applying.      

Here is a good youtube video:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Opening to Grace on Bed Rest

Open to Grace is the first principle of Anusara Yoga. It's physical applications include lengthening the side bodies, expanding into the back body, and having a good foundation with earth. To me emotionally open to grace has a lot to do with trust. It is taking a deep breath in, feeling my feet on the floor and trusting that everything is going to be okay.

I got put on bed rest last week in my 34th week of pregnancy from a big bleed. I am no longer able to practice physical asana but I am amazed how much strength I find by working the universal principles of alignment off of my yoga mat and in my bed and in my head. They say Open to grace is the most important principle and its the one you keep going back to over and over again. That's how I feel, I will establish an attitude of open to grace and a minute later it is gone and I have to bring myself back to it and then maybe 5 minutes later it is gone and I bring myself back to it. It is a practice of remembrance. Of remembering that I don't want to feel totally scared and all alone. I want to feel connected, loved and safe. These are the feeling I get when I trust the universal and open myself to Grace.

Being pregnant really takes you into the front of your body. If you think of a pregnant women her belly sticks out forwards, her boobs get bigger pulling her forward and her head is often forward along with her thigh bones. Everything is pulling her into the front of her body. The front body represents the "I" and the individual self. I know I can get really wrapped up in myself. What is going on with me, my baby, my body, my family, my future... When my head gets full of me, myself and I the world gets smaller, I start to run on fears + desires and I start to feel disconnected from others.

Although pregnancy physically pulls the body more into the front plan what you cant see is how much strength is coming from the back body. The low back supports the growing uterus and prevents her from falling over in all that misalignment, her upper back muscles are strong from holding up those boobs and the back of her legs are extra powerful from carrying around all that extra weight. The back of the body represent the Universal. When I feel myself get stuck in my head and in the front of my body I have been pausing to remind myself how strong the back of my body is especially during pregnancy. I can just settle down and rest in that strength and the remembrance that no matter what happens everything is going to be okay. That I am supported by so much: Grace, friends, family, doctors, muscles, yoga... When I shift from front body to back body I feel many changes. My skin and brain feel like they soften, I stand up taller within myself, and my breath becomes deeper and fills in the back of my waistline up to the back of my kidneys. This kind of breath feels like I am making an offering and bow to my own heart and to Grace.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

33 & 34 Weeks Pregnant

WEEK 33 & 34

Discharging from hospital!! 34 weks 3 days

Dad to be doing homework and hanging out with me in hosptial.

Size of baby?

33: Pineapple

34:  Cantaloupe


This week’s major developments?

33: This week your baby weighs a little over 4 pounds and has passed the 17-inch mark (about the size of a pineapple). He's rapidly losing that wrinkled, alien look and his skeleton is hardening. The bones in his skull aren't fused together, which allows them to move and slightly overlap, thus making it easier for him to fit through the birth canal. (The pressure on the head during birth is so intense that many babies are born with a conehead-like appearance.) These bones don't entirely fuse until early adulthood, so they can grow as his brain and other tissue expands during infancy and childhood.(

 34: Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (about the size of a cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long. Her fat layers — which will help regulate her body temperature once she's born — are filling her out, making her rounder. Her skin is also smoother than ever. Her central nervous system is maturing and her lungs are continuing to mature as well. If you've been nervous about preterm labor, you'll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies.

Gender? BOY


Update: Last Monday I had a big bleed and we had to go to the emergency room. We stayed at the hospital for a few nights while they monitored me and baby. They kept saying how good baby looked and how active he was. We got discharged to go home to continue bed rest. Unfortunately the doctors decided I am no longer a candidate for an out of hospital birth. So I had to say goodbye to The Birth Center I was planning on going to and my plan of having a water birth. They do have midwives at this hospital so we will be transferring our care to a midwife at the hospital who has a backup OB doctor. It’s been an emotional time but I am so grateful for the health of my baby, that he gets to cook in my belly longer and for all the love and support are friends and family have shown us.


Sleep? Not very good. I am very sore from laying down all the time and it’s very hard to get comfortable. I also get up 5 times a night to waddle to the bathroom.


Food Cravings? I haven’t had any specific cravings while being on bed rest. I have been munching on lots of fruit and veggies and sandwiches throughout the day.


What I miss? Being on bed rest has been quite the adjustment. I was teaching yoga 3x a week, taking the dogs on hikes, practicing yoga, swimming. Now I can’t do any of that. What I miss the most is teaching my classes. It was such an abrupt end. I didn’t get to say bye to my students and I miss them and teaching very much. Can’t wait to start up again in December/ January. I also miss being able to clean the house and nest. I just lie in bed and see dust everywhere and I just want to clean but I can’t.


What I am loving? I love that this boy is still in my belly. I love feeling all of his big movements and hiccups.  


Movement? Yes. Every week I am surprised how much you can see my belly visibly move as he stretches and moves and the next week the movements are even bigger. My belly is no longer perfectly round either. It is lopsided with a big lump (which I think is his butt) where he is hanging out.  


Symptoms? I just want to move and walk soo bad, very exhausted, feel weak. I think these are bed rest symptoms. Other symptoms include, back pain, vivid dreams, and heartburn which I think I get now just from breathing.


Exercise? No allowed


Yoga? I have been doing pranayama breath work and reiki on myself and on baby.


Meditation? Yes daily it’s keeping me sane and helps me feel connected to baby.


Appointments? We have an appointment with our new midwife on Wednesday.


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...