Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bio, Mission Statement, Yoga Brand

I just started reading Michelle Berman Marchildon's new book The Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga. A book to teach teachers how to authentically create a unique experience for their students and how to muster up inspiration to teach an awesome class when you are feeling less then awesome.

The first chapter suggest I do some journaling. Learn what I am selling and come up with a bio, mission statement and a yoga brand. She says this will not only explain to others what I want to accomplish but it will clarify things for me and serve as a quick reminder for why I teach.


Kim is proud to say she is an Anusara-Inspired Yoga instructor ERYT and Licensed Massage Therapist. She is currently going through the process to become a Certified Anusara Teacher. Kim has been sharing her passion of yoga for over 9 years. She has studied and is inspired by Adam Ballenger, Tiffany Wood, BJ Galvan, and Jen Hecht. Her classes teach biomechanics to keep your body safe, themes to focus your mind and a up lift your heart. Kim’s classes are powerful and playful.  

Mission statement:

Yoga has helped Kim heal her body, overcome addictions, and learned how to look for the good in life. With this firsthand experience Kim helps students feel vital in their body, steady their mind, and open their heart.

Yoga Brand:

I teach because I want to students feel vital in their body, open in their and steady in their mind.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ishvara Pranidhana

The first principle of Anusara yoga is called open to Grace , which is the practice of Ishvara pranidhana—surrendering (pranidhana) to a higher source (Ishvara). Ishvara pranidhana is a "big picture" practice. It shifts our perspective that helps us remember, open to and align with Grace.

Surrendering ourselves to something bigger than us – whether we call it God, nature, or the universe – is ishvara pranidhana. We spend so much of the day in our own heads listening to the endless chatter of our  thoughts.  This ingrained pattern is almost always in an effort to control our circumstances and gauge how we’re doing. When we open to Grace we are choosing to relinquishing this false sense of control and instead choose to open to something bigger.

I have been re reading my Yoga Sutras where Patanjali writes a lot about ishvara pranidhana. He says that if you can master this teaching you don't have to read any more of The Sutras because you’ll already have attained samadhi, the state of oneness which is the final limb of his 8 limbed path of yoga.

This teaching reminds me of another teaching from Patanjalis Yoga Sutras: Shraddha (Faith). When we have a deep abiding faith in the practices we have committed ourselves to then we can develop certainty on our path. We may not know exactly where we are going to end up, but with faith in our chosen direction we release fear and doubt, two very powerful distractions that will undermine the best of intentions.


Saturdays Anusara Yoga Class
Theme: 5th Niyama: ishvara pranidhana
Principles of emphasis: opening to grace side bodies long (physically opening ourself) + arm bones back (choosing to plug in/surrender/pranidhana)
Antidote: anusara certified written test

Centering seated

 Dynamic Warm ups - movement with breath, no holds, not technical, large muscles:

Tadasana- shoulder shrugs. Inhale: lengthen side bodies. Exhale: release 5x
Tadasana- shoulder circles. Inhale: on way up. Exhale: on way down. 5x each direction.
Tadasana: inhale: reach arms out around and up exhale: reach arms out and down. (Teach arm rotation at T)
Table- cat/cow
Surya Namaskar 3x

Poses that safely and effectively open hips and shoulders easier to perform, teach the actions:

AMV prep at wall: side bodies long arm bones back straight arms.
Low cobra one shoulder one at time sbl + abb - then both 30 sec. Rhomboid squeeze
Cobra in finger tips one shoulder at a time then both
Anjaneyasana shoulder blade plugging
Low lunge quad

Climax - poses that require the most strength, stamina and flexibility:

Eprk prep hands on hips or clasped behind back - life is good, clasped behind back- life is good. one at a time, then both at same time.
Ustrasana 2x hands on hips- life is good, clasped behind back- life is good. Side bodies long arm bone back one at a time, then both at same time.
Partner Ustrasana skull loop assist

Apex Pose:

Urdhva danurasana top of head with side bodies long practice plugging arm bones back. One at a time. Then both.
Partner urdhva danurasana practice plugging through elbows to back body. Option press up make sure shoulders are on back then partners hand behind head skull loop to power the opening of the heart.

•Counter & Cooling and quieting poses:

Twisting shoulders
Supine Twist of choice
Symmetrical thigh rooting



I love this quote from Elena Brower: “We can commit to seeing beauty in unexpected ways. We can serve others by giving our resources, time or listening. We can be confidently attentive to our kids, our parents, our friends or our colleagues. All of these small actions of noticing, listening and acknowledging connect us to that state of surrender, recognition, and devotion.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chapter Summarys of Bhagavad Gita

I have been re-reading my Gita's and made a new chapter summary. I posted another blog in 2010 summarizing the Gita with bullet points and quotes.

Chapter 1: The predicament  

(Krishna teaches about karma yoga, the yoga of selfless action)
The story begins on the battlefield between two cousins the Pandavas (the good guys) and the Dhaartaraastras (the bad guys), Arjuna leads the Pandavas, they do what is right in the kingdom while the Dhaartaraastras use trickery and deceit so Duryodhana can hold the throne illegally. To uphold dharma war is necessary. Arjuna had the choice between having Krishna’s army or Krisha. He chooses Krisha to be his chariot driver and Duryodhana chooses Krishnas army. The story begins with Krisha driving the chariot out in between these two armies and Arjuna says “I can’t go through with it”.


Chapter 2: Arjuna asks the question
Karma Yoga

Arjuna tells Krishna “I am your student” and asks “what should I do?” Then Krishna begins his teachings. Krishna reviews the 5 acts of Shiva, he talks about how to be established in wisdom and says the supreme goal is to know your real nature and seeing the Divine in all.


Chapter 3: Get off your ass
Karma Yoga
Arjuna recognizes that he wants total freedom (moksha) and enlightenment. But Krishna tells him to get off his ass and join the battle. He says don’t avoid work, perform your duties but don’t be attached to the fruits of the outcome. Krishna also talks about obstacles on the path.


Chapter 4: Got Wisdom?
Karma Yoga
Krishna explains that he is absolute divinity manifesting in human body of Krishna. Avatars, like Krishna, appear on the planet when dharma has been disturbed. He explains the different levels of reality and that the duality in the world is ultimately an expression of wholeness, a single reality, Brahman. The gunas are mentioned. There is more talk about action and wisdom to see the oneness.



Chapter 5: See god in everything and align with that
Karma Yoga
Arjuna asks Krishna what path is better selfless action or the path of renunciation of action. Krishna says both actions lead to the supreme goal but the path of selfless action is better (5.2). The true goal of action is to gain knowledge of the Self, and Krishna encourages equal vision which is seeing the Divine in all. Krishna also talks about Samadhi.


Chapter 6: The Power of Meditation
Karma Yoga
Krishna gives an explanation of mediation similar to The Yoga Sutras. He encourages one pointed mediation and resting in the Divine.
One aspect of meditation is the process of noticing habits and tendencies that disturb the peace of the mind. Krishna says to meditate sitting, in a quiet, clean and uncluttered place, to purify the mind. He uses the terms sthira and sthitah, to indicate a sense of unwavering steadiness. He also talks about who the true yogi is. He encourages moderation on the path.


Chapter 7: I am the Universe
(Krishna starts talking about the jnana yoga, the yoga of knowledge)
Krishna is revealing the truth of himself to Arjuna. Krishna says “I am the cause of the entire creation and its ultimate dissolution.” He talks about Maya and suggests devotion as a way to find the divine in the ordinary. Krishna speaks about prakrti but not with duality like in The Yoga Sutras but in wholeness.


Chapter 8: Brahman
Jnana Yoga

Arjuna begins the chapter by asking about Brahman and what happens at death. Krishna answers by talking about the cycles of birth and death to teach about how there is the changing world which is a reflection of the unchanging Brahman. Arjuna learns the only thing that brings moksha (liberation) is knowledge. Krishna also discusses nature, celestial realms (lokas,) and cosmic time scales (yugas).


Chapter 9:  Krishna tells us a secret
Jnana Yoga
Krishna speaks about being the Supreme Being who has created the world and lives in his creation. He also says there iare many ways to become lost in the world. He talks about the secret knowledge that even if you hear it, it is rarely understood. He says “fill your mind with me; love me; serve me; worship me. Seeking me in your heart, you will at last be united with me (9.34)”.


Chapter 10: Krishna is Everything and Oneness
Jnana Yoga
Krishna reveals himself the supreme personality of Godhead, the source of all, the one who is the reality behind the many, beyond duality. Krishna is Arjuna’s inner most self, Krishna is Vishnu, the sun, Shankara, Indra, Rama, The Gayatri...all the seasons, al the flowers, the symbol Om. Krishna answers Arjuna’s question about how he should meditate and he tells Arjuna about his secret powers. The five acts of Shiva are brought up. After explaining all of this Krishna reassures Arjuna and says “But what is it to know all of these details, Arjuna? Just remember I am and that I support the entire cosmos with only a fragment of my being (10.42)”.

Chapter 11:  Trippy Spiritual Vision
Jnana Yoga
Arjuna asks to see Krishna “as the supreme ruler of creation”.  Krishna shows Arjuna his full nature as God himself, the Lord of the Universe. However this can’t be seen with physical eyes so Krishna gives Arjuna a special eye so he can see the endless forms, blazing suns, countless arms, mouths, devas, devils, saints, saddhus, heaven and hell. Arjuna gets afraid when the light of God becomes a fire that burns and consumes all things, he sees people being killed and burning. This teaches Gods radiance is both a great light and a burning fire. Arjuna asks for forgiveness and then asks to see Krishna’s more human face.


Chapter 12: The path of Love = Bhakti
(Krishna teaches about Bhakti yoga, the path of love and devotion)
After witnessing Krishna’s awesome Universal Form Arjuna wants to know how to be a devotee and Krishna suggests Bhakti yoga, the path of love. Krishna encourages Arjuna to have a regular meditation practice because love and devotion can be cultivated through regular practice. “Those who set their hearts on me and workshop me with unfailing devotion and faith are more established in yoga (12.2)”.


Chapter 13: Knower and the Known
Bhakti Yoga
Krishna explains the nature of purusha and prakriti, using other terms like kshetra (prakriti),  kshetrajña (purusha), and jñeya (also purusha). He explains more about jnana, values, attitudes, and having a mature mind ready for knowledge (brahma-vidya). Krishna says that by developing knowledge one can become free from material entanglement.


Chapter 14: Gunas
Bhakti Yoga
Krishna explains the three gunas more which are forces that bind and control all conditioned. A soul can transcend these modes through devotional service. Krishna says the gunas appear and disappear the one steady is Brahman, he alone remains. Atman is Brahman. The Jiva is Brahman. Understanding this and seeing the truth of Self is Brahma vidya.

Chapter 15: Detach from the tree
Bhakti Yoga
Krishna begins by comparing the material world to a gigantic, upside-down banyan tree of samsara. He says detachment is the key to see through the delusion of samsara. Krishna also talks about the jiva, the subtle body, reincarnation, the need for maturity, and the perishable verses the imperishable.

 Chapter 16: Spiritual Mindset
Bhakti Yoga
Arjuna asks how to move toward a spiritual mind set. What should he do? What should he avoid? Krishna lists 26 values that need to be nurtured and understood to gain spiritual wealth. Krishna lists the qualities to avoid. He ends the chapter by saying instead of desire, anger and greed one should cultivate positive qualities and follow the teaching of Vedas.

Chapter 17:  Shraddhaa
Bhakti Yoga
Arjuna asks why people behave the way they do. Krishna talks about shraddhaa, deep faith and trust. He talks about how the gunas related to shraddhaa in terms of peoples temperament. Krishna talks about performing rituals and about the yamas and niyamas. Krishna ends the chapter by explaining ‘om tat sat’.

Chapter 18: Open to Grace

Bhakti yoga
Krishna ends his teachings by restating the first teaching verse. “Giving up all karmas, take refuge in Me alone. I will release you from all karma; do not grieve”. We are also told this In The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali with “Ishvara Pranidhana” surrender to Ishvara, the Divinity. This is our first principle Open to Grace! After narrating this conversation to Dhritarashtra, Sanjaya predicts Arjuna will win the war because he is surrendered to Krishna.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hatha Yoga Pradipika: a quick summary

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is regarded as one of the three classic Yogic texts along with the Gheranda Samhita and the Shiva Samhita. This 15th century text was written by Swami Svatmarama, and is said to be the oldest surviving text about Hatha Yoga. This text has been translated into many languages, including English.

Chapter 1 In the first chapter  he talks about previous yoga masters and lists names and descriptions of yoga postures. He describes how a yogi should eat, how much, and what foods. He also gives cautions that should be avoided if one wants to have a successful yoga practice. And lists what will bring success to a yoga practice (I love this) including: enthusiasm, courage, perseverance, proper understanding, determination and avoiding excessive contact with people. He says anyone can practice yoga and that everyone needs to work on eliminating laziness! “Success in Yoga is not merely achieved by reading authentic texts, wearing particular clothing, nor engaging in endless debate. Practice alone is what brings success culminating in the final goal of Raja Yoga” (1.66-1.69).

Chapter 2 In this chapter more asanas are described and as are techniques for ridding the body of certain injures and illness. He focuses a ton of pranayama (breathing exercises) and the effect breath has on the mind and the nadis. He explains how disturbances in the mind may be related to disturbances in the breath and learning to control the breath will bring steadiness to the mind as well as heal the body. He says the main reasons to practice pranayama 1. Get rid of the fear of death. 2. Purify the nadis. 3. Open the sushumna. He also talks about the six karmas, khumbhakasa and bandhas. “By proper practice of Pranayama, all disease are eradicated, but an improper practice gives rise to all sorts of disease." (2.15-16)

Chapter 3 Here he discusses various mudras which affect various parts of the body, and are meant to prevent disease and delay old age. Many of these exercises have symbolic as well as physical importance. These mudras are a way of focusing the mind and body. He talks a lot about kundalini and says that the main purpose for practicing the 10 mudras is to awaken the kundalini.

Chapter 4, This chapter discusses Samadhi and he gives us three definitions of Samadhi: 1) "When the Atma and mind become one"; 2) "when the prana becomes dissolved and the mind becomes absorbed"; and finally 3) "when al impulses to be anything just cease and there is the equality and oneness of self and super-self". (4.5 - 4.7).  He continues to talk about kundali, gives more pranayama exercises, and explains the four stages of greater integration.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Desert For Your Shoulders, a Video

If the video doesn't work go directly to the youtube video at

This is an awesome shoulder therapeutic technique that can clear up head, neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist problems. I often teach it in class with a long strap. I made this video for my baby wearing group I am in showing how to do this technique with a woven wrap. Everyone should practice this on the regular. If you don't have a strap or a woven wrap be creative and let me know what you use that works.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Svadhyaya: Self-Study


Heart quality: awareness, perseverance
Theme: fourth Niyama, Svadhyaya, self study.
Quote: Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.  -Chinese Proverb
Principles of emphasis: thigh loop, inner spiral, outer spiral, pelvic loop, organic energy
A way to self study: what did the results of the cause and effect of actions your took. A cause is why something happens and an effect is what happens. In an alignment based practice we perform a universal principle of alignment. That action is the cause. We intentionally take an action. The effect is another action that happens as a result of the first action.
Cause: we rotate the back leg in back and wide in an asymmetrical pose. (Inner spiral)
Effect: the belly and pelvis shift from the midline in the opposite direction the back leg rotated.
Cause: we drag the ball of the back foot asymmetrically forward (thigh loop)
Effect: the opposite end, in this case the top of the thigh roots backwards toward the hamstring (see saw principle)
Cause: wrap the front hip sit bone down and under in the front leg of an asymentrical pose. (Outer spiral/ pelvic loop)
Effect: that side glute tones and that side of the belly lifts and tones in.

We can also cause these effects. I
take inner spiral lifting my back thigh up and if my muscles are engaged it won't have the effect of shifting my hips. So I can cause my hips to shift. However it is not as beneficial as if I can create the effect of my hips shifting from taking the original action.

Off the the mat: after seeing the cause and effect of our actions on the mat we start to see the cause and effect off of our mat and we can start making more intelligent actions to cultivate the effects we want in our life. This take lots of self study to see what we care creating. By far this has been one of the biggest benefits in my life from Anusara yoga specifically. Looking at the cause and effect on and off the mat wasn't something I, personally got from a vinyasa practice. But I always say there are as many styles I fit the variety of students. I am happy I have found the style that resonates with my heart.

Cause: a consistent mediation and home asana practice
Effect: more peace, steadiness and joy in my life. Stressors of life bother me less.
Cause: lack of sleep from tending to baby
Effect: irritable, forgetfull. This is an effect I don't like. So I am working at changing the cause and getting more sleep.

Anusara yoga is often translated as aligning with the Divine. As you practice this Niyama of self studying, reflect and see if the actions you are taking are having the effect of aligning you with the Divine. If it is awesome! Keep doing that. If it's not start changing your actions so you an cause a different effect.

Low lunge glute work pick up back knee a few inches- L.l quad - l.l glute - hrl twist
Active eprk
 Eprk twist quad
Lunge- Tree - vira 3 - vira 1
Lunge- Stranding pigeon- vira 3
Upright dancer
Core work crunches
Urdhva danurasana
Partner eka pada urdhva danurasana  hands to hips help them organically extend from hips to feet. Then lift one foot partner takes hands to feet so they can organically extend ino partners hands
Legs up wall
Virasana blanket roll
Root femurs symmetrically

P.O.E: thigh loop

Arm circles 3x
1/2 sun 3x
Short short lunge thigh loop
Short lunge thigh loop
Lunge thigh loop
Mod. Plank thigh loop
Short anjaneyasana thigh loop
Anjaneyasana quad stretch
Mod. Plank
Tree- w3 prep thigh loop standing leg
Standing pigeon
Eprk prep
Mod. Mod. Parsvak
Mod. Parsvak
Supta root femurs

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Anusara yoga notes from my Thursday morning class at metric yoga.

Principle of emphasis: organic energy
Apex: hanumanasana
Heart quality: sensitivity
Theme: adhikara, studentship
Antidote: as I am waiting for one of my teachers BJ to watch, review and hopefully recommend me to be an anusara certified teacher I am full of nerves. As I dig last my nerves I feel so vulnerable. So open. I can't wait to hear what she says. It's been a while since I have gotten feedback on my teaching from a certified teacher and I am excited that there will no doubt be growth in my teaching after I get her feed back.

I have written this so many times on this blog and I will write it again. I love that this practice is about refinement. I used to shutter when a teacher would call across the room "raise you arm in warrior 2" or something like that. I would feel like a failure. Now I love when I get a verbal or physical adjustment of how I can make my pose even better! I am so glad this is my new view. When BJ gives me my critiques I won't think I suck, why did I send this to her. I will think yippie! Now I know how to refine my teaching so it is even better!

I think that is an important thing for a student to remember. When a teacher verbally or physically suggests an adjustments it's only to enhance the brilliance that is already there. Not something you should feel bad about. This morning in class someone said I didn't even need an assist in a pose. I responded that I love the assists. That working with a partner helps up shift my practice tremendously.

How do you measure your progress?
Begginer a mind?

Active eprk
Active eprk quad
Low lunge glute work- low lunge quad - low lunge back knee lifts a little glute work- anjaneyasana
Dancer upright
Core work
Torture pose
Urdhva danurasana
Blanket roll virasana
Hanumanasana 2 blocks foot to wall organic energy
Baddha konasana innerspiral outerspiral organic energy out know one side at a time 3x
Knees to chest ground femurs symmetrically

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sat Chit Ananda

Tuesday anusara yoga class
Props: block
Heart quality: celebration
Principles of emphasis: muscle energy and organic energy
Theme: sat - chit - ananda
Today we are going to focus on the second line line of the invocation “Sat-chit-ananda-murtaye”. Sat means truth or is, chit means remembrance or consciousness, ananda means bliss or celebration and murtaye means form. A murti is a Hindu statue of a god, and it is believed that the forms hold the qualities of consciousness that are associated with that god. Together this whole line means “This essence inside takes the form of truth, consciousness and bliss”.

I love this verse because it holds within it the two main reasons for doing yoga. Chit and Ananda. To learn more (which is really just remembering because we already know but we forget) and in this learning (or remembering) we find bliss which is cause for celebration.

Ultimately what we are re-learning about ourself is that we are awesomeness. Just imagine for a moment that you were the pure awesomeness and you wanted to experience yourself in a body. But once you became a body you forgot. You thought you were seperate and you became self conscious and doubted yourself.

When we chant the invocation, when we practice yoga it's an opportunity to remember! That you are total awesomeness!! And once we remember ourselves as pure awesomeness, we start to recognize others as that pure awesomeness too.

Chit is the remembrance (or re-learning) and ananda is the feeling in our heart when we do. When ever I chant the invocation the feeling tone in my body-mind-heart changes.  I feel connected, full of peace, and happy. These are all truth that I am reminded of.

 The yogi is on a constant search of remembrance and of celebration. We will forget. It is part of the dance. We forget and then we remember and celebrate. In this way our lives become this celebration! Life becomes a party as we walk around celebrating.

So today we are going to focus on that remembrance, remembering ourselves, our true selves as deeply awesome. :) And also remembering each other. So we are going to do some fun partnering exercises, to held remind each other, and celebrate each other.

Lunge side stretch
Low lunge glute work pick up back knee a few inches- L.l quad - upright twisted quad
Hrl twist- L.l quad twist
Eprk quad- Eprk twist quad
Lunge- Tree - vira 3 - vira 1
Lunge- Stranding pigeon- vira 3 -parvrita ardha Chandra chapasana block
Core work crunches (modified heel slides for pregnant ladies)
AMV partner
Urdhva danurasana
Eka pada urdhva danurasana partner
Janusarisasana - Parvrita janusarisasana strap
Root femurs symmetrically

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Awesome + Terrific

I have been watching videos of my self teaching so I can refine my teaching and prepare to go through the rigorous process to become Anusara Certificated. One thing I have learned watching these recording..... I say AWESOME and TERRIFIC so so so many times. I have decided I need new adjectives to describe the awesome and terrific actions students are making on their mats. I got into my dictionary and thesaurus and these are some of my favorite. (If you have a favorite that isn't on the list please share):


These have been added to the list from your comments. Thank you for your feedback. I am loving my expanding vocabulary:


(My favorite from the new list. Solid. I am seeing I like the adjectives with S a lot)

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...