Finding Your Yoga Practice

Finding your yoga practice

Finding your yoga practice is an organic process that should take into consideration different factors. To me, there are three major ones.
First, who are you ? What body structure you are working with is important. A qualified yoga therapist can help you determine what your overall posture is and whether there are any imbalances.

yoga practice




The goal is not perfection, but rather, symmetry and balance. You can use yoga postures to strengthen dormant muscles, or areas of awareness, as well as to relax the ones that are highly over worked.

yoga practice








Second, what kind of time do you have? The time you can commit to may change, but usually we have enough of a tight schedule, that we can determine a bottom line clearly. When you know, then you can format things accordingly. Some poses require a lot of warm-ups so if you are not able to devote a lot of time, just keep things simple. Chose something that will be refreshing. If you have time to center, warm-up, do a few static poses, a few restorative poses, a savasana, then you can get a bit more complex. Don’t forget, that relaxation is a practice in and of itself, as is a restorative like viparita karani. Breathing practices that are simple enough can also form a nice simple practice. Check out my Yoga Mind Cd

start where you are

Third, what are you going through right now? Postures are neither one size fits all, nor are they all necessary or recommended for every one at every stage. I find several postures way too heating and agitating for menopause, but they work really well for someone who needs to ‘get’ energized and moving. Use what you have and again, strive to use your yoga practice, not for perfection, but for symmetry, harmony, balance…to the best of your ability. Get some qualified help too
yoga practice

Tension Taming Yoga

Tension Taming Yoga

A Mother’s Day Restorative Yoga Workshop to Tame your Tensions

Mother's Day Restorative Yoga Workshop

Mother’s Day Restorative Yoga Workshop

Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate the women in our lives who teach, guide, and support us with their love and direction to become the best variation of ourselves. Restorative yoga honors the peaceful and relaxed place in our minds, bodies and spirits, from which love emerges. Why not luxuriate in a practice geared to support you where you are by using the strategic placement of yoga props to help you align, rejuvenate, relax and heal? 

Mother's Day Holiday

Mother’s Day Holiday

Lower back pain and tight hips and shoulders plagues many of us, even when there is no structural impingement. Hours commuting, computing, lifting, and overall stress and tension can accumulate and irritate the lower back. Let’s focus on calming the tissues with a practice that promotes healing the body, calming the mind and soothing agitated emotions, all of which will help shift the inner status from tension to blissful  ease. Whether you are a mom, an aunt, want to bring your mom, or just want to come and send your mom loving Reiki energy from your peaceful inner place, you are all welcome to join us.  Makes a great gift, a lovely opportunity to spend time together, or just give back to wonderful you.  

Sunday Spirituality

Sunday Spirituality ~ My latest blog as published on MINDBODYGREEN
Whatever your personal journey, you are guaranteed an epic adventure. Here are 10 spiritual guidelines to remember to help live your best life: 1. You will forget everything. You start at the  Read

With all the asana tips out there, sometimes the spiritual aspect of yoga can get distorted. The goal of the physical practices are always to lead us towards a clearer state of mind and being — both off the mat as well as on it. But as a younger yogi, I think I used to believe that doing yoga would make me moreinvincible all around.

However as I mature in age and practice, I’ve come to realize that yoga is more of a multi-faceted medium. It gives me the tools I’ll need as life rocks on — I can roll with it, land on my feet, make nourishing life choices, or simply recover.

My teacher always said (and I believe he was quoting his own teacher), “We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” It is that level of spirituality — that context greater than our small selves — which leads to feelings of oneness instead of isolation, contentment beyond the craving for things, and open-hearted compassion, instead of anger and frustration.

While it is that extremely rare person who never has any negative emotions, dwelling in them, in anxiety, is clearly not the best path for a healthy, whole, productive life.

Here are three ways that can help you cultivate your spirit, when incorporated into your daily routine. I believe these tactics can serve as real spiritual touchstones — helping to manage some of the stress and turbulence we encounter along the way in our journey.

1. Bring appreciation home.

My husband and I use this incredibly grounding practice whenever we feel the pressures of life begin to mount. We simply tell each other what we appreciate about one another. It’s that simple! Usually it is something small, but the results of this practice are huge at the same time. Or maybe he makes my coffee in the morning, or I make him a lunch. Whatever it is, it is a moment to be thankful and show or tell someone in your home how much you appreciate them. Gratitude has the power to shift the mood toward more meaningful.

2. Sit still.

At some point in your day — it doesn’t matter when — just sit. And without trying too hard to fix your posture, set yourself up (with props if you like) so that your body is supported well, and just close your eyes. Focus on your breath and allow it to be full but very soft. Allow your brain to quiet down, encouraging the mind to silence itself, as all the thought waves begin to settle. As you inhale, you can mentally repeat “let” and as you exhale, mentally repeat “go.”

As Stephen Cope says in Yoga and the Quest for the True Self, “Clear seeing needs the calmly abiding self.”

3. Reflect on the meaning of “Namaste.”

When you really think about it, the true meaning of Namaste: “The spirit in me greets the spirit in you” is rather deep and enriching on many levels. I don’t sign emails with it generally, but I do believe it is a great tool to cultivate kindness, especially in your relationships, and that, to me is the very basis for everyday spirituality.

Photo Credit: Stocksy

Men Enjoy Restorative Yoga

Men Enjoy Restorative Yoga

I was fortunate enough to speak with this male student after my restorative class this Saturday. (For details on the time please check the Calendar..) This is a new student, who actually just dropped in on a whim, wearing jeans. He came in late, and I found out after that he has had back pain which was alleviated by the class.

back muscles

back muscles

Actually, pretty much all 12 students reported some kind of lower back and neck stiffness and discomfort to me when I greeted them. Now, NOT ALL back pain is created equal. However, “Back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under forty-five years old” (Dr. Loren Fishman) who also says “Back pain is a symptom, not a diagnosis…Yoga poses that cure one type of back pain might almost worsen an almost identical backache with a different cause”. This is why it is safest to have a private yoga lesson.

This being said, the restorative yoga class this particular evening focused on undoing some of the tension that we get from sitting at a computer, working out, carrying and nursing babies, and the emotional tensions that get lodged as pain in the neck.. Breathing exercises, relaxation, and postures that can help encourage flexibility, and eliminate some of the compression and tight, tenseness led to a positive experience for this student

Wisdom from practice




The best takeaway wisdom from teaching and practicing for me this past year was that if a student understands who he or she is it is going to make the job of cue-ing into an asana more efficient and lead to greater possibility that the student will actually benefit from what is being done. This is easier in a one-one setting, but I still try to empower students so they can figure out how to navigate themselves. This, to me, is a great skill to have off the mat as well, facing so many choices in our day. We can get a bit lost in tasks, stresses and relationships which distract us from the quiet inner guidance. You need to be able to figure some stuff out from the inside and thus heal, recover, rebalance.

Effectively, if you look at Yoga as a tool box for life management, it is “a process of deepening self-awareness which is inclusive of the body – a restoration of full awareness, a ‘remembering’ and rediscovery of our true, enduring self, that is at the same time a constant process of healing. The mental and physical obstacles we face are rooted in our limited self-awareness – i.e. preoccupation with the demands of the ego- which in turn lulls us into self-forgetfulness. The result is inefficient and even self-defeating patterns of movement accompanied by tension, pain, and even injury- whether simply physical, or moral and spiritual injury….Thus ‘yoga’ in the tantric sense, is ‘therapy’ – an ongoing process of self-healing- a healing of our awareness or understanding ” – Doug Keller

So next time you go to a class, don’t just listen to the Teacher and follow blindly. Interpret the directions based on who you are…



cultivating spirituality through yoga: Sometimes you need to read spiritual literature and words to go deeper into your Self. this is a positive prayer for the New Year, thought I would share with you.

“May I be at peace. May my heart remain open. May I awaken to the light of my own nature. May I be healed. May I be a source of healing for all beings.” – Buddhist tradition

The English word spirit (from Latin spiritusbreath“) has many differing meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance contrasted with the material body. (source) We pretty much are spirit en-clothed in a body. Taking care of the body as a vehicle that carries the spirit is, in part what asana is practiced for. This being said, we are often, during the day, caught up in thinking and doing, to the extent that we forget to breathe, or connect inwardly. That is why simple meditation is good, it reconnects us.


“The highest capacities of the human being to see clearly are rooted in the simple experiences of being seen.  We cannot see without having first been seen. We cannot wake up without interacting with a consciousness that is awake. Spiritual practice in the contemplative traditions works with the rudiments of the capacity to see clearly, and then it builds them into all the extraordinary potentials always present in the seed of human being.” ~ Steven Cope



yoga and avoidance

yoga and avoidance

yoga and avoidance

“the yoga pose you avoid the most you need the most” Sometimes these statements have different sides to them. I think we can agree that some avoidance keeps us safe, in safe range of motion. Some avoidance is healthy. Some avoidance is un-challenging in a healthy way, and sometimes, perhaps the meaning implied here, it is a cop-out.

You have to know who you are to decipher a concept. “Clear seeing needs the calmly abiding self” ~ Stephen Cope.

One of the concepts in the yogic view of the world of time and space is that there all phenomena in the world manifest in an interplay of opposites. This could mean light and dark, or pain and pleasure, as well as attraction to and avoidance (aversion) of. As Stephen Cope says, “Yogic scriptures everywhere acknowledge that the polarization of life’s energies is one of humans’ central problems..In itself, the apparently dualistic nature of our phenomenal world is not a problem….The problem is that we human beings inevitably tend to choose for one side of the polarity and against the other side, artificially attempting to split life down the middle…We cling desperately to pleasure and attempt to banish pain”

Great segway into the word balance. I think sometimes we need a new approach. Perhaps you could learn how to do that revolved triangle appropriately for your body in a private yoga class and then you can include rather than avoid. Or perhaps you have carpal tunnel syndrome and need to modify downward facing dog. Maybe you have an addiction and need to avoid temptation or maybe you need to set new boundaries and confront the person you are hiding from .new year, new choices

quality of life

Quality of Life: cultivating a quality of life on a daily basis through the practices of yoga…what does that mean to you? “At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want” Lao Tzu

quality of life

“The key element of an optimal experience is that it is an end in itself……The autotelic experience, or flow, lifts the course of life to a different level. Alienation gives way to involvement, enjoyment replaces boredom, helplessness turns into a feeling of control, and psychic energy works to reinforce the sense of self, instead of being lost in the service of external goals. When experience is intrinsically rewarding life is justified in the present, instead of being held hostage to a hypothetical future gain” ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Yoga has fast become an activity to many, whereas it is a seamless practice of awareness and considerate actions, a moving meditation. As we have read and discussed here this week, cultivating mindfulness over time can lead to a more positive state of mind, that can get you through the thick and thin of life.

When you go within on your mat, you have to navigate the body with a wordless intelligence. This state of flow or concentration, if you start to engage it more off the mat can lead to a more enriching experience even when things are challenging or stressful


yoga and addiction recovery

yoga and addiction recovery

If you are wondering what is addiction, one definition is that “Addiction is a disease of “lack.” At the core level, we feel something is missing and we set out to try to fill the void through a set of behaviors that leave us further depleted. We damage the systems of our body and sap ourselves of “life force.” Our endocrine system gets taxed. Our nervous system is overworked. We live in nearly constant fight or flight, bringing on the horrible consequences of stress.” (source here)

There is a fantastic video blog here which describes the disease and other things you need to know to understand the “what”

How does yoga help?

yoga for addiction recovery

yoga for addiction recovery

“The use of yoga to help break addiction patterns is growing. Body centred treatments such as yoga, acupuncture and massage; along with traditional therapy are on the increase and are being used in many treatment centres. Yoga cultivates bodily awareness in a kind, nurturing way. It allows students to start connecting with the body and breath and learn to sit and look within.Compassion for oneself arises and with it, a new ability to deal with stressful situations, leading to positive change. New coping strategies and changing patterns start to emerge, bringing about change both on and off the mat.” (source here) Also “Many people with addiction problems find it very difficult to be present and will commonly ‘act out’ or use their substance of choice in order to change the way they feel.” (source here)

One of the things to keep in mind is that yoga is a toolbox, and you definitely need tools when trying to re-pattern; understandably, yoga can be a valuable part of an addiction recovery strategy because it very powerfully reinforces being in the present moment



cultivating strength

cultivating strength through yoga: “strength doesn’t come from what you can do. it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t”

Great quote to reflect on as you take time to practice yoga today, in whatever way this is…whether restorative, active, both, meditative, self-reflective…

Feeling strong has different components, and yoga has different ways to cultivate endurance. People sometimes equate pushing themselves too far with building strength, whereas this just creates strain.

“When done right, nearly all poses build core strength in the deep abdominal muscles.” source 

“Beginning a yoga practice early in life – twenties, teens, and even younger will help the bones strengthen at a time when conditions are maximal” (Dr. Loren Fishman)

I spoke with someone recently who is new to yoga but not to sports. This person was surprised at how weak they felt in yoga class. There is definitely something to be said for the presence of attention, spreading awareness throughout your body, breathing with purpose, at the same time as recruiting muscular effort. You may have to wake up dormant areas and relax some overworked ones to build up your endurance.

“The deeper the alignment of your pose is, the less effort you will need. And the more you refine your alignment around center, the closer you come to true balance” (Rodney Yee)

cultivating strength