Friday, September 29, 2017

Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati Mantras

Navaratri, an Indian celebration of “nine nights” honoring the Devi, the great Goddess and the Divine Mother begins on the first new moon in early autumn. During Navaratri you invoke the qualities of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Below is a quick summary of each Goddess and a mantra for her. I suggest picking one Goddess whos qualities feel lacking within yourself. Do a practice of 108 rounds of mantra for 40 days. Let me know how it goes. I particularly love Durga!

Durga: overcome our fear and false ideas of ourselves giving us the ability to perceive our true nature and step up confidently again and again. Calling in courage and perseverance to defeat any obstacle.

Chant to invoke Durga: Om Dum Durgayei Namaha  

Lakshmi: abundance, both spiritual and material, to create beauty and recognize the abundance and beauty that exists within us and the world around us. Lakshmi war born from the turning of the ocean for ten thousand years by both demons and Gods. Can we turn into our practice, into our self, welcome the good and the precieved bad and through our practice let the beauty of our soul rise.

Invoking Lakshmi: Om Shreem Mahalakshmiyei Namaha

Saraswati: embodies wisdom, creativity and artistic expression. She cultivates eloquent, truthful speech and is an inspiration for creating. She is born from Bhrama and through her wisdom creates order from chaos.  

Invoking Saraswati: Om Aim Hrim Kleem Maha

Sunday, September 24, 2017

What I've Been Reading... Booklist + Summary

August Books Read 
Now that my daughter is 18 months I have declared she can no longer be an excuse of me not having time to read. 

The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion, & Connection by Brene brown 
This is an audiobook from a lecture. My favorite take aways from this book was on Shame and guilt. Shame is when we do something bad and we feel bad about who we are verses guilt we only feel bad about the behavior. We teach our children this self talk by how we talk to them. Now I am really aware of identifying the behavior in my kids or my husband I am not okay with while emphasizing I still love who they are. So many good points. I will be listening to this many times. 

No Mud No Lotus by Thich Nat Han 
This book is about suffering and happiness and how one does not exsit without the other. That is like thinking we can have a right side without a left. He talks a lot about mindfulness to be present to realize how much of our suffering is happening in the past or future. By being mindful we can notice if suffering is happening in the moment, how to turn into it and care for it like we would care for a crying child while also noticing the many blessings and reasons to be happy in every moment. I love the many meditations he gives at the end including mantra, pranayama and walking meditations. 

White Hot Truth: Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path ? from One Seeker to Another
Book by Danielle LaPorte
I have a crush on Danielle. The book was like one long conversation with a good friend that was honest, vulnerable with no bull shit and lots of laughs and crys. I love how she shares her personal experience of a women on the path of transformation, spirituality and service. I love how she shares about all the forms of spirituality and healing she has practiced without being preachy. I love how she shares her personal transformation, struggles and vulnerabilities.  She points out how spirituality and self help can become self criticism which I think is a very important thing to remember as someone who wants to keep improving myself while remembering I am enough and I am good. "You think you need an architect, but you are already a temple." I also love the quotes she uses throughout the book. I plan to read everything this women writes. She also has a terrific blog. Short sweet and deeply wise. I recommend this book. Visit

Light Is the New Black: A Guide to Answering Your Soul’s Callings and Working Your Light by Rebecca Campbell
I didn't like this as much as I thought I would. It had a lot of really good reminders in it encouraging readers to shine their light. I love the sourcing meditation she talks about frequently. Most of the stuff in this book I felt I already knew however it's always nice to be reminded and to focus on the light over the black. One of my favorite teachings from this book was that our individual obstacles didn't happen to us, but for us. "Believe that your tragedies, your losses, your sorrows, your hurt happened for you, not to you. And I bless the thing that broke you down and cracked you open because the world needs you open"

The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz
This book has been in my pile of books to read for so long. I love this author and the way he sums up such complex concepts in simple principles rooted in ancient earth wisdom. I love what he teaches about the track of fear and the track of love. I definitely feel myself getting pulled into the fear thinking of what ifs and not wanting to let people down. He also talked about partnership and how we need to love our partner for who they are without expectations and love ourself in the same way. I learned so many good things and have applied them to my marriage. Like only being responsible for my half of the relationship and not trying to manage my husbands side. 

Shakti Meditations by Sally Kempton
I have been a student of sally Kempton for many years and devour her writings and soak them into my soul. I loved all of the  meditations, visualizations, mantras, teachings, and beautifully told stories about each goddess. I could see them so clearly in my minds eye and feel them so powerfully alive in my body.  I have stored many away into my tool box to call upon when varies challenges come up in my life. 
Here are some brief notes on each goddess:
Durga (Hard-to-Conquor), the warrior, cosmic protector, and empowering Mother. Durga and Kali have been the main goddess
I invoke regularly. 
Kali: (the Black One)—the mysterious terrifying, fiercely loving goddess who brings radical change into your life, and ultimately dissolves all forms into the Void. Among her forms are Tara and Bhairavi.
Laksmi (Auspicious)—the goddess of good fortune, wealth, and inner and outer abundance. 
Saraswati—goddess of creative intuition, music, eloquence, and speech. 
Lalita Tripura Sundari—Goddess of sacred sexuality as well as the highest form of mystical experience, whose blessing unites the energy of the body with the energy of spirit. 
Dhumavati—the crone goddess, who teaches us how to turn disappointment into spiritual growth. This goddess was the most fascinating to me!!! 
Sita—The faithful wife, guardian of the womb, goddess of the earth and its mysteries. 
Radha—the goddess of erotic devotional love, who carries the gift of divine longing and mystical surrender
Bhuveshwari—Goddess of sacred space, who dissolves all limitations into herself, and then creates new forms out of the infinite space.
Parvati—Goddess of the sacred marriage, the divine yogini, who embodies the power of creative will. “By practicing the Five Agreements, what you are really doing is respecting everything in creation. You are respecting your dream; you are respecting everybody else’s dream. If you use these tools, your effort is really for everyone, because your joy, your happiness, your peace, and your heaven are contagious. When you are happy, the people around you are happy too, and it inspires them to change their own world.”

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Short Yoga Sequence + Anatomy Lesson (Video)

In this video we go over the anatomy of chest and upper back. What the comment misalignments are that move us away from optimal alignment and toward DIS EASE and actions to bring us toward optimal alignment and toward EASE. I teach you basic poses to practice these alignment actions to fight "tech neck" "smart phone neck" and bring us toward a posture that cultivates health, joy and clarity.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Muladhara Chakra Workshop

Theme: ground into yourself and find comfort
Antidote: during the transitions of the seasons I often get sick and feel a lot of anxiety. Two common symptoms of being ungrounded. Today we will focus on our root chakra, ground into earth and feel safe and stable through all aspects and transitions of life 
UPA: muscle energy 
Apex: urdhva danurasana 
When muladhara is out of balance symptoms: weight gain (or loss), depression, anxiety, constipation, pelvic pain,and incontinence, insomnia/ restless sleep, lack of focus, stress. 
When muladhara is balanced symptoms: feeling connected, safe, "in the body", clear, settled. 

Seated meditation: Begin your practice seated. Close your eyes and feel the earth beneath you. Feel every part of your body that is touching the ground and sense an energetic exchange happening between your body and the earth. It is supporting you. Take a deep breath in through your nose. As you let out a long exhale, feel your feet, legs, and pelvis releasing into ground. As you begin to surrender to that downward current of energy, notice that in response the inner spine becomes lighter. Feel the resulting lift from the root of your tailbone and through the crown of your head. Set intention: be grounded rescive comfort from earth
Sequence (*L= lunge, *AMS= down dog)

Warm up:
Inhale cat - exhale cow to Childs 3x 
Tadasana eyes closed feel feet To take it up a notch, try stomping. Remind yourself you belong here. You are here on purpose. You have a right to be in this body, in this life, and you have a sacred responsibility to stand with intention
Tree - L leaning forward- Tadasana 

AMS- L back knee lowers and lifts slowly 3x- w2 
High runners lung twist- Parsvak 
Low lunge quad stretch - half hanuman 
Goddess pose - twist- wide leg forward fold hands clasp behind back

Parsvak- goddess pose 
Scandasana - half moon- standing pigeon- w1 leaning forward 
Supta virasana block and bolster (apex) 
Septu bandhasana 

Urdhva danurasana  

Cool down: 
Root femurs 
Supine Twist core
Double pigeon
Malasana side stretch - Parsva janusirsasana mod foot on floor 
Wide leg forward fold 

Meditation: Now that you have spent some time connecting with the first chakra through asana, breath, and intention, please take a comfortable cross-legged seat. Keeping your eyes closed, begin to chant the bija mantra for muladhara chakra which is LAM. You may either chant it out loud or silently to yourself. Think of this mantra as a code. As you chant the code begins to unpack itself and reveal to you the sacred intelligence of the first chakra energy center. As you chant this mantra LAM, try to sense the vibration of the sound in the pelvic floor, the root chakra. Feel free to experiment with pace and volume and chant in a way that resonates with you. Spend at least 2 minutes with your chant, more if you like.
Shavasana supta Baddha konasana with bolster and blanket? 
Closing seat 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Finding the MAGIC in the MUNDANE

Special shout out to Elisabeth Stich's dance class who took this class via I hope you learn alignment actions in this class to help your body stay healthy and safe while moving on and off the dance floor!
Special shout out to Heather Skies who celebrate her birthday with friends in this yoga class, such an honor to be able to celebrate with you! Thank you for demoing and letting us celebrate you with our voice!

Theme: Finding the magic in the mundane. When we are present we get the opportunity to ground our self in the magic that is constantly unfolding within the present moment. This awareness of the here and now allows us to align our body, mind and hearts in a healing way.
Anecdote: When I move through my life and I get bored, or worst irritated, and everything feels so dull I normally have fallen into a habitual collapse. Whether its in my mind, my emotions or in my body. For me nothing good comes from staying in a habitual collapsed pattern. Its like when I drive home and I arrive without clearly remembering how I drove home. Thank goodness I didn't crash! Compared to when I am present and I pay attention to my drive and I consciously keep myself and others safe. Most regular moments could be considered boring but with attention, alignment actions and attitude all moments can become magical.
Universal Principle of Alignment Emphasis: shin loop, thigh loop. pelvic loop

Warm up 
Tadasana (align legs with shin loops aka slight bend in knees, thigh loop aka slight bend in hips, pelvic loop belly in. This is the alignment we are training in all the poses avoiding hyperextension in knees, hips and low backs so we can ground ours self in the magic contained in the mundane) 
Uttanasana- Ardha uttanasana 3x (watch those knees! are they bending backwards during the transition?)
Ardha uttanasana- tadasana 3x (keeping the same alignment in the legs use the power of the hips to bring yourself up to standing with a flat back and without losing the alignment of the legs. Check when you come up to standing if the head of the thigh bones press forward.)
Uttanasana- tadasana 3x 

Tree (whats the bottom leg doing? Is the knee bending backwards? Keep the top of the shin forward, top of thigh back, belly in) - Eagle 
Uttanasana- parsvotanasa 2-3 blocks (use props to get the best action instead of sacrificing action for depth) - lunge - vinyasa- uttanasana- repeat on second side 
Warrior 2 (watch the back leg again you can hinge forward at hips to work the back leg: top of shin forward, top of thigh back, then use the actions of the hips to bring the torso up and the action of the glutes can help align the front knee over the ankle in line with the second toes (that's outer spiral))
Mod Parsvak- Parsvak (same actions as above) 

Prasarita padottonasana (this is starting to sound repetitive, but same actions use a block to take the bend out of the spine, shines forward, thighs back, tone the belly stretch down through the feet and through the spine)- trikonasana ( start with block inside of foot hinge slight forward, set up lower loops, then use pelvis to lengthen spine forward and possibly moving block to outside edge of foot if you can maintain stability in lower loops and length in spine) block
Half moon- utthita padangusthasana B prep ( watch the bottom leg same set up as in tadasana, knee forward, thigh back (you can even lean forward to help with this action) then lift belly and use glutes aka pelvic loop to bring chest upright similar to the transition between Ardha utt and tadasana)
Low lunge quad (active feet, hinge forward, thighs back! then use pelvis to get torso up)
Half hanuman regular (watch front knee it often bends backwards, the stretch should be felt in the hamstring not the back of the knee, to stretch the hamstring lift the top of the shin while dragging the sit bone backwards and rooting the femur bone back)- take front foot wider to stretch the medial hamstrings - eka pada kindenyasana 2 (optional)
On side (I call this super model pose) grab top foot uttitha pada b
On block psoas stretch (block goes under low back, on leg straight heal on the floor other knee toward belly, then take knee out wide with hand you can use other hand to hold opposite pelvis for stability. Watch alignment! Tendency is for lower thigh to pop forward and externally rotate and knee possibly hyperextend. Tone leg, heal down, shin up, thigh down, medial leg internally rotates) 
Supta padangusthasana B 

utthita padangusthasana B 2x (grab pinky edge of foot in hand, hinge forward (similar to Ardha uttanasana) active legs tip bottom/ standing knee forward thigh BACK, extend foot into resistance of hand out to the side (like a ninja) the leg doesn't have to straighten the alignment actions are more important then the depth of the pose, keep the alignment of that bottom leg and use the actions of the hips to bring the torso upright. If your extra modbil and you get upright and your lifted leg hip is higher then your standing leg hip scoop the hip of the lifted leg under more and lift your belly. Root down through the earth and rise up through the spine)

Cool down 
Double pigeon 
upavista konasana root femurs (active legs, push heals into floor drag them towards hips this action should lift the top of the shins up, keep the shins lifting up while rooting the sit bones down and thighs down. IF you hips are really mobil tone belly in and up)
Dandasana (I think this pose is so difficult, its like Ardha uttanasana but the floor is unforgiving, same actions, active legs, press heals down drag them toward hips until top of shin lift root femurs down, create a lumbar curve and extend spine up.)


    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...