Friday, December 31, 2010

Out with the old - in with the new?

One Love Newsletter 2011
As I reflect back on the past year there are more than a few things I've learned:

1.  I can do a lot.
2.  I get burned out doing a lot.
3.  I don't have to do everything.
4.  Sometimes opportunities arise and I don't necessarily have to take them.
5.  I would rather have peace that be "productive."
6.  I don't know when my last good-bye to someone is.
7.  I make up the rules most of the time and then I have to live by them.
8.  If I want more time with my friends or family, I have to give up something else, and this shouldn't be a hard choice.  Either way, I win.
9.  Maybe if I make my list smaller, I'd allow myself the opportunity to fully and completely dedicate myself to a task and feel more confident about my choices.
10.  Maybe if I look at my choices, I'd feel more confident about my life.
11.  Maybe if I feel confident about my life, I don't have to question my choices.
12.  If I believe in a universe that has a certain order to it and is constantly adjusting to that order, I wouldn't question those weird instances but look at them as "adjustments" to bring about a change.
13.  Maybe I could stop questioning the process and trust more.
14.  If I trust more, peace is in the process.

15.  This list could go on forever but it won't.

Happy New Year.

When you have come to the edge of all the light you have
And step into the darkness of the unknown
Believe that one of the two will happen to you
Either you'll find something solid to stand on
Or you'll be taught how to fly!

—Richard Bach

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas thoughts

A complicated time of year.   I went into a store yesterday and became very, very, present.  I made my way slowly, patiently and carefully through a crowded parking lot and a crowded store.  I watched as people often mindlessly rushed through, if you weren't watching where they were going, they were going to run into you.  And then there were those that were not mindless but intentionally "I will mow you down to get through this store."

I saw a quote today on Judith Hanson Lasater's Facebook Page "No one has to change for you to be happy.

What I saw was a lot of people.  A lot of different people.  There for different reasons.  Some a little more miserable than others.  But a lot of people similar to me, politely making their way through a very busy store.  When there's more of us around, we can see bad behavior.  But we can also see our inner light.  The ones saying "excuse me" or smiling or allowing people to cut ahead in line when they have fewer items.  It's been my experience that whenever I feel like that I'm not going to get what I want or what I think I deserve, or be cheated out of something that I act exactly like that and it pervades my consciousness and therefore the interactions in my life. 

Yesterday, my heart opened a little wider.  Maybe someday, we'll all get what we think we need.  Or realize we have exactly what we need right now.

Peace & Blessings to you all. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Moon Days - A Yoga Holiday

In my own practice or my own experience of life, I've noticed, perhaps a coincidence or not, that when the moon is full things happen.  When I worked as a waitress on the Full Moon, we would know that there would be unusual circumstances and unusual people.  People would come in and we'd be quite convinced that perhaps they came from another universe.  It would be people that we never saw before and never would see again.  

In the Ashtanga tradition, there is no practice on Full or New Moon days.  The theory behind Full moon is that the gravitational pull is stronger and we are affected by this pull, in ways of being less grounded, more headstrong.  On New Moons, our energy is lower.  As I don't always pay attention to my inner signals, this year I may pay attention to these days and perhaps not practice if that opportunity avails itself to me.  But as tomorrow brings two classes to teach in the morning, I may pay attention to my students and see if any of this corresponds.

As we approach the Winter Solstice, which also coincides with a lunar eclipse, I wonder what things may come.  The next 48 hours should be enlightening....

Monday, December 13, 2010

The big unknown

I had a friend pass recently, unexpectedly to everyone except for him.  In the days preceding his death, he passed along a box to a neighbor saying if he didn't make it back give it to his family.  When friends went out to his car to get it in the parking lot, all of his vehicle titles were on the front seat.  His home was in complete order, except for his storage buildings which are apparently a complete mess.  He was a pack-rat, had multiple items that he had picked up for free or nearly free and had a lot that he had given away but a lot that he kept.  He was known for getting amazing deals on everything.  He had given me (2) toasters at one time, I think he had six of them.  So in cleaning out the outbuildings, his family and friends are finding an abundance of stuff, all crammed in with other things that are possibly important.  Which is, post-humorously, humorous.  As though he left everything important and the rest to give his family and close friends a good laugh. Including leaving the toilet clogged, knowing his best friend would have to unclog it.

We all have different beliefs and faiths about life after death.  We have different thoughts and these get tested when someone close to us passes.  We question ourselves, our beliefs and in our mourning and loss, ponder our own existence.  Where will we really go when we're gone and is there anything beyond this carbon-based existence. 

My friend was an athiest.  He had had prior poor experiences with various religions that made him not belief in anything.  Which, in my opinion, is a beautiful place to be.  When given the choices of junk, choose none of it.  We had conversations.  One of the ideas that he liked that I shared is that the universe has an order to it.  There is an order that alludes to the possibility of an intelligence behind that order.  My astronomy teacher had said that when we looked at the stars and the heavens and how math and physics play such a huge part in our ability to see that far.  As we evolve in our knowledge and consciousness and see outside of this planet, exploring beyond our own boundaries and borders, both physically and spiritually, we continue this evolution. 
The more we try to define and categorize, the more our definitions and categories will define us and then eventually become obsolete.  Can I continue to look at the world with awe and wonder, reaching beyond what I know and giving in to the possibilities?  The unknown. 

Death is the big unknown.  It is the very thing that we will all have to contend with.  The experience that at this point, we can't share with others on the physical plane.  Or so most of us think.  As the days and weeks go one, I will be listening for those things that can't be verified but may very well be my friend communicating with us from the great beyond.  Or maybe there will be none.  

So my message although not entirely original is this "So long Wade and thanks for all the toasters..."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The alchemy of yoga

I read this article written by Tim Miller, a well-respected and devoted Ashtanga teacher in Encinitas. 
In the article, he talks about the transformative power of the Ashtanga yoga in terms of asana practice and describes pretty clearly the eight-limbed path or philosophy of the Ashtanga system and how they are intertwined. 


Monday, November 22, 2010

Winter Song

Estes Park, CO
I've lived in Southern California for about 13 years now and winter here is definitely not the winter I experienced in Washington State.  At the moment my mother reports a 'balmy' 22 degrees in my hometown (that's farenheit not celcius) and there is snow on the ground and the "north-easter's a blowin" and supposed to at 60 miles an hour until 4 am.  That, my friends, is what I call OLD MAN WINTER.  But, regardless, the seasons do change here and our winter here has an effect on us.   One of the things I notice is the increase in frequency of colds that coincides with the weather shift.  We move into a cooler season, whether or not we have snow, the weather shifts and with it, our bodies.  In Aruyvedic medicine this is known as the Vata season.  As winter and cooling comes, so does drying of the skin, stiffening of the joints and other issues that I didn't attribute to a change in the seasons.

My experience with this coincided with my participation in Yoga Journal Conference at Estes Park in September 2009.  I fly into Denver on Saturday and took the bus to Estes Park, CO on Sunday which is 8000 feet in the Rockies.  Monday it snowed.  It was beautiful, peaceful and everything that I needed.  Except for my body.   Things were not going right, let's just put it that way.  I felt awful, thought it was from the high altitude but it wasn't getting better and kept feeling worse, digestive and all parts in between.  Luckily, my feeling bad led to not wanting a vigorous yoga practice and I migrated my way to Scott Blossom's workshop on Aruyveda.   Taking a more in-depth look myself, I discovered a lot of things, what my true constitution was in Aruyveda medicine (Tri-doshic, mostly Vata/Pitta), more specifically what I was eating that was really irritating me.  Aren't raw vegetables better than cooked ones?  Why isn't salad good?  All of those things were answered very quickly and 2 meals later eating different choices, my body felt better.

Which leads me to the season of Winter.  The reasons for eating within the seasons are to help the body adjust to the changes.  I eat more warm things, soups, cooked greens, root vegetables, brown rice, tea, etc.   One of the One Love Yoga Teachers, Lina, suggested a Aruyvedic remedy such as abhyanga . This remedy is traditionally done by two massage therapists doing long strokes of the body with oil.  You can do this yourself, starting with the joints, paying attention and massaging with some almond oil or sesame oil and then working your way around, end with a little meditation and then bathe to get the oil off.    This year, I noticed I was feeling off and not so hot and had been eating a lot of salads.  Remembered to get back to my "roots" and warmth and my almost cold went away on it's own. 

Yoga Journal sends out a newsletter every couple of weeks and they talked specifically about all of this in their last newsletter.  Made my life a lot easier after reading a few articles. I've linked a few to the bottom of this post for further reading.  

Regardless, take some time out for yourself, be kind, stay warm and if you can't afford a massage, give one to yourself. 

Sending you warm thoughts and warm wishes,


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Someone else's shoes

"I used to have a sign pinned up on my wall that read: 'Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us."
Pema Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

I can get really caught up in my own stuff sometimes.  Little occurrences, missteps, changes in plans can sometimes become the focal point of my day.  Today someone was supposed to do the dishes and didn't which led to a chain of events that really didn't destroy the planet or end an endangered species.  But it interfered with my day and the events that were supposed to happen.  But then I run into someone who has something real happening.  Those "little earthquakes" that take you to your core.  Life stopped and then took a radically different direction.  Wasn't  a part of the plan that someone got sick or died, but they did and what is left is the rumbled remains of life as it once was but never will be again.  

I am reminded of the idea that you never know what kind of pain someone is walking around with.  That woman who was pushy in the grocery line, the guy who cut you off and yelled at you for it, the kid who trampled your rose bush, whatever it is.  The person who gives you a smile sometimes and their insides are dying but you'd never know it.  

I am reminded to treat others better.  Not about turn the other cheek or "let it go" but just treat others better.   No matter how it is or what I do, just better.  I am reminded to quit judging.  Someone may have an ocean full mind of a burden that I can't comprehend or begin to think of how to deal with it.    Is it important that I label it, dismiss their behavior or condone it?  Can I be less interested in the wrongs I'm dealt and more interested in the things I can do right? 

Last night in class I set the intention to cultivate and share more love.  That's an intention.  The action, is when I put it into action.  Maybe I can dedicate my practice to someone who might need that extra energy? Someone who needs some extra strength.  Maybe I can smile at someone and make their day?  Maybe I can just smile more. 

Someone lost their best friend.  Someone didn't wake up this morning.  Someone took the box to their car, the last one that was in that house that is no longer theirs.   Someone can't call their mother anymore.  Someone had to explain to a child that mom or dad isn't coming back.  Someone had to make that phone call.  If I can treat everyone like someone, maybe their burden may get a little lighter. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spiritually fed

I had to share this.
Like a lot of people, money continues to be a struggle for me.  It was difficult for me to write the newsletter this month about finances.   As a yoga teacher, I try to incorporate the ideas, aka practice what I preach.  The art of allowing for space for abundance in my life.  The idea that the universe provides for me.

I'm teaching at another studio in Eastlake this morning and one of the students walks up to me and tells me that she's practicing spontaneous tithing, and hands me a check.  She feels spiritually blessed and wanted to pass it along.

My heart just fills.  It's not about the money.  It's about the practicing of faith.  Faith that my body will feel better after a practice.  Faith that in spite of the many difficulties that may arise, that life will continue, not always as it was but in a new form.   The universe responds in ways that I can't begin to fathom.  So I will continue to allow it to do it's job and not question in what form it comes. 

This month, I'm practicing gratitude.  Gratitude for what I have, not what I don't.  Gratitude for my life in this moment, not what I want it to be.  Gratitude grows, this I know.  Life brings me gifts all the time, if I open my eyes wide enough to see.

Again, I Thank you for spiritually (and literally) feeding me. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thoughts on Yoga Philosophy

As I continue my education as a teacher and a student of yoga, I find there are things that I'd like to share.  Different discoveries and insights have given me new ways of thinking about yoga and my own life.

In a recent teacher training, my teacher and fellow students were discussing  the Western focus of yoga being of asana (postures) versus philosophy.  It came down to simply this:  While many practitioners may start off with asana practice, over time, things start to change more on the inside.   Our focus turns inward, subtle changes occur, maybe through diet and what we put in our bodies or how we think about the world and how we treat others.  Even if we come to this as a way of bettering our physical appearance, over time, our lives start to change in ways we couldn't have expected. 

A lot of experiences are like those from students as documented in the book Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates & Katrina Kenison:

"Yoga was physical for me at first, but it is not that physical now.  I t taught me that I need to continue to work on myself.  I thought it would be too selfish....but with yoga practice new things come up all the time.  I have a new awareness."

"I have been physical, but also very competitive, all my life.  Yoga was the one area in my life where I didn't compete.  I've settled into being a student. I am willing to learn, but it's not about getting better, or better than the person next to me.  Now I admire the other students for their dedication.  Yoga has cleared my mind, and my decision making is better."

"Yoga makes me feel more like taking care of myself, so I am more conscious of what I put into my body, and I am more present, more aware of how things are affecting me.  I feel more committed to taking care of myself."

As we move into the Holiday Season, I invite you to turn within.  Take time out to do a short practice if you can, or two minutes to just shut the eyes and focus on your breath.  Take some time to look over the past year and see what positive things occurred, what you would like to change, what small things can you do for yourself in the coming year.  Take time to breath and enjoy yourself, even if for one small moment. 

Toe Eyes

I stand on my head
To see you through my toes
I breathe in through my nose
Gravity is my best friend
Keeps me grounded when
I feel like my legs
Are falling from me
I stand on my head
To see you through my toes
This is how we flow
Between asana sequences and glasses of red wine
I write poetry by candlelight
Because it feeds my insides
I stand on my head
To see you through my toes
Twist and unravel
Warrior stances
And moon dances
At being sore the next day
From a class I wasn't ready to take
I stand on my head
Stare at you with my toes
The feet are a gateway to the soul.

by Hawah © 2010 The Poetry of Yoga and The Everlutionary Trust

A letter to our supporters

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your support.
We started this in January 2010 as a means to provide qualitative yoga instruction at a financially available rates to support the space and our teachers. The donations we have received have not been enough to sustain the space or our teachers.  We would love to continue in 2011 and ask for your help to keep us improving our offerings and facilities.
Some of our highlights of 2010:

*Provided over 200 classes of a variety of yoga styles and levels.
*Provided workshops for meditation, yoga, teachers and new practitioners.
*Hosted events including raising  money for V-Day 2010 and awareness of this movement.
This is what we are asking for the rest of 2010:
1.  Ten for 2010:  Please give a financial donation of $10 before the end of this year in addition to your class donation.  You can give this directly to your teacher when you are taking class.
2.  Bring a Friend to Class:  Word of mouth is the best marketing we could ask for.  Bring a friend the next time you come to a class or workshop.
3.  Donate To the Church:  Give a donation directly to Swedenborgian Church of San Diego.  You can mail the check directly to them at 4144 Campus Ave., SD 92103 and your donation is tax-deductible. This directly supports us and all of the other things that this church does for the community.
4.  Volunteer:  If you can do a one time or ongoing volunteer to help clean up the church and hall, or any other ways you might contribute some much needed carpentry or marketing expertise or in an area that they need.  Contact the church directly to volunteer at 619-296-5662.
5. Spread the word.  Blog about it, take some flyers that are at the Hall the next time you're in class and post it at your local coffee shop, community center or your lunch break room at work.  Tell people about us.
6.  Facebook:  Become our Friend on Facebook and recommend us to your friends.
7.  Email:  Forward this email to your friends.  They have the option of subscribing or not but if you think someone would like it, please forward it on.
Please keep an eye on your inbox and our website for upcoming events and activities that we'll be doing.
Again, we started this with an open heart and thank you for responding.  It's only through you that we'll be able to stay and grow.
Peace and Blessings,
One Love Yoga San Diego

Friday, October 29, 2010


As the Holidays approach, I am taking the time to think and reflect about the past year before I plunge into the season.  I say plunge because this is such a period of time where I can either be in the happiness or merriment of the season or swim through a turbulent and emotional fraught season of family drama and unhappiness.

I told my now fiance about how I loved Christmas the first Christmas we spent together.  He, did not, which was a problem.   One of the reasons I love Christmas is because I have made it my own.  A long time ago there were some not so pleasant times of Family turbulence and drama surrounding this Holiday.  And when that hurricane blew threw, I made a choice to spend the holiday away from the family for the first time.  I was 18.  It was one of those moments that I cherish.  I remember leaving the traditional family get together and going and spending time with people who were struggling with addictions and had no family to go to.  I was one of them.  And for those hours on Christmas Eve we talked and shared and ate and slept and we all stayed clean together.  And since then I have continued to make the Holidays my own.

I started making my own Thanksgiving Dinner at about 22.  I became an excellent cook and even put on the feast for my family.  I made homemade rolls from scratch, pies from the pumpkin I grew in my garden, fresh cranberry sauce and a turkey that people still ask me how I do it.  I would make dinners here in San Diego and invite people to spend Thanksgiving.  When I became a vegetarian and figured out I was gluten intolerant, I stopped.  And I whined and put on my vegetarian crown and stood on my soap box for a couple of years.  But then someone told me how they looked forward to my Thanksgiving Dinner, they usually didn't go anywhere.  So I got off the box and shut up and made dinner again.  For some really grateful people.

The first Christmas I spent in San Diego, I had wanted to fly home but couldn't.  My boyfriend at the time and I waited until Christmas Eve to do our shopping and oops, the stores all closed at 4 pm.  We had no gifts.  But what we did have was something my mother sent to me when she found out I didn't have a tree.  We call it "Tree on a Wall."  It's a tree shaped, light infested artificial hanging that you can plug in and put on a wall.  I have kept it now for 13 years.  And the first Christmas that my fiance and I spent together, I had to convince him to let me put it up.  You see, he didn't have Happy Holidays.  He usually hid out in his dark man cave until it was all over.  I convinced him to let me put up my decorations.  When I lit it up, he cried.  It was the first time he'd had a Christmas tree in 8 years.  I convinced him that Christmas and any Holiday can be his. 

You see, what I know now is what is missing usually from the Holiday season is love.  And you put love back into the equation and there's the spark.  It doesn't have to be family that you spend Holidays with, it can be the family that is around you in your friends.  It doesn't have to be tons of presents under the tree, it can be that homemade fudge and cookies that you bring into work, and yes, you work on Christmas Day.  You see, even though I can't eat the cookies or the bread or the cake anymore because I would get very sick, I still make them.  I made a friend's mom absolutely happy when I made her homemade bread on Thanksgiving one year.  It came out perfect.  I never ate a bite.   But it came out that way because it was for her.  She needed that bread, her family had made it traditionally for years and there were only a few of them left, it brought her back good memories. 

So my message today is to do it for yourself.  Make your own Holiday.   Have your own tree on a wall, make your own Hanukkah Celebration, Happy Kwanzaa!  As I will be working on Christmas, I'll be seeing lots of people who either are caught up in the happy merriment or pretty miserable.  But regardless, it will still be my holiday. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010


If you haven't been tuned into any media resources, John Lennon would have been 70 this year.  Reflecting on his life has been much of the focus and I don't want to repeat a lot of what has already been said for the sake of writing about John Lennon.  But in my own reflections about it, I discover some wisdom for myself.

Back before I was born, Lennon was spending time promoting peace in a time where the concepts and his actions were largely looked at radical, subversive and even threatening to some.  The concept of peaceful protest and even cultivating larger ideas of world peace are often ideas that are met with violent opposition.  When I am reminded of places like Burma, China and Tibet, places where people have sacrificed their lives trying to promote radical ideas like Democracy and peace, I am humbled.   In my infinite freedom here, am I doing the best I can to promote or cultivate a better life for all? 

Some choose "radical" paths.  Others choose to cultivate peace within.  But regardless of anyone's path, it's only my place and my path that I get to choose.  Would I rather respond with anger today or understanding?  Would I rather focus on the differences in the "other" or cultivate our similarities?  Am I judging someone's actions to feel better about myself or can I put myself in their shoes for a moment.  Can I spend some time imaging a better world for all or just spend some time lamenting and wailing against the "opposition?" 

While I may never sing a song that inspires the world around me to cultivate some different ways of thinking, I can work on cultivating my own different ways of thinking.  I too, can be a radical, but not for the sake of being a radical, but being a better human being. 

Graphic Credit:  Kevin Boyd

Monday, September 27, 2010

Outside the Lens....

I think that this is one way we can take our practice off our mat.
Today I was SO happy to be able to donate 2 older digital cameras to my friend Debi to take with her to Africa.

The Daraja Project

The more I learn about this project, the more grateful I am to live in this time we are living. 

To give a voice to those that normally have the lens pointed to them, but their story is told from another's point of view.  This is an opportunity to tell their own story.  Click on the link above to see the blog and follow it.

Monday, September 13, 2010


There's a quote from Proust that I am reminded of:

"We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world. The lives that you admire, the attitudes that seem noble to you, have not been shaped by a paterfamilias or a schoolmaster, they have sprung from very different beginnings, having been influenced by evil or commonplace that prevailed round them. They represent a struggle and a victory."
Marcel Proust

Recent experiences have taken me to a place of deep sadness and introspection.    How do we look at the darkness, examine it, but not get taken down by it? 
I found myself in a bit of a spiral and having to honor my feelings.  I have suffered from depression and haven't experienced it in this capacity for a very long time, ten or more years.  It began to frighten me.

I trudged to my mat today.  I haven't felt like doing yoga, even though I teach it.  These experiences have left a dark and heavy impression in my heart.   Really, in my soul.  It's like that song from Peter Gabriel "Digging in the dirt/Finding the places where we got hurt."

When I arrived today at class, yet again, the transformation comes.

 As I'm flowing, my focus is on my breath.  It takes my thoughts away from these circumstances.  There is a playfulness encouraged by my teacher.  I become light-hearted again.  I release and let go.  I find some compassion for myself and in that, find compassion for others. 

While the journey isn't over, I am reminded again the solution is come to my mat.  Come to my mat and begin again.  Come and be present with this moment.  Breathe. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Regulations? Responsiblity? Training?

So a lot of discussion lately within the yoga community and the world about whether or not yoga needs to be state regulated. I recently watched a video of a CBS news report about injury and the rising number of yoga injuries, etc. 

Yes, people can get injured in yoga class.  Not all postures are good for all bodies.  Yes there are inexperienced teachers out there.  I was one of them.  Even with a 200 hour certification, you can't be prepared for what happens in a class until you actually start teaching them. 

What was interesting about the video is while the woman who was injured, had bulging discs, blames yoga for the injury, she never did state why or how she thinks she got injured.  I can probably take an educated guess.  One pose, Uttanasana, standing forward fold, can be VERY dangerous for your back if done inproperly.  Even though I tell students, "bend your knees to bring your chest to your thighs to protect your back from rounding" most students don't do it.  Even when I physically walk over to a student and tell them,"bend your knees to protect your back", pretty soon, they're back to doing the same thing, round back to get their hands at the floor.

Roger Cole writes some great articles for Yoga Journal about protecting the back and what is going on in the back in forward folds.  There is so much that yoga does that benefits the body but yes, you can get injured from doing the poses, whether in proper alignment or not. 

But more specifically, when more yoga classes are being offered in gyms, condominium activity rooms and corporate conference rooms, places where props are often not offered or even discouraged from use, where does the responsibility lie?  This video really doesn't offer any solutions, nor does it specifically or clearly outline a problem.  It's claim that the yoga industry is unregulated and therefore, regulation would solve the problem.  Is the oil industry unregulated and did that stop the gulf spill?  I do think there should be some sort of guidelines and the industry is responding to that with 200 and 500 hour certifications.  But even at that, there are some studios and corporations that offer those and their offerings are more of a way to earn income than properly educate teachers, as we see in this reporter's "certification."  There was a recent article about finding a plastic surgeon and how you should be careful and choose one that's certified through one of THREE different board certification governing bodies.  It's really confusing and difficult to find someone who is a DOCTOR who has a certification to do a medical procedure.  More regulations aren't always an answer and just because someone has a certain certification doesn't make them a better doctor or yoga teacher. 

I am pretty bodily aware now.  I've been doing yoga for 10+ years, also running and dance.  What I can tell you is this:  When I'm in a class at a gym and a teacher is telling me to jump from one place to another, I don't jump.  Because I have a bad knee and the impact from jumping would hurt my knee worse.  Just because a teacher is telling me to do something doesn't mean it's good for me or that  I have to do it.  If a teacher is telling me that I could injure myself doing something not quite in alignment, I should listen to that.   There's a balance between personal responsibility and teaching responsibility. 

As a teacher, I'm responsible to continue my training and learning.  I'm responsible for teaching what I know and not what I don't know.  While I hope that my students listen, sometimes they don't.  While in some environments, like studios, I have the ability to take time and really work on alignment issues and use props.   In some environments, like gyms, often the emphasis is on fitness and there aren't props to help students work with their imbalances so I do what I can. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More on the practicing yoga on a budget....

So here's the deal,  as a teacher, I find it difficult to make my living entirely off of teaching yoga.  It's a common misconception that yoga teachers make an enormous amount of money.  Trust me, I wouldn't be waiting tables if that were the case.  I wouldn't be doing accounting jobs either.  There are times that physically I need a break.  But if I am injured, sometimes I still have to teach.  Which is why I think Jennifer You is a rock star because from seated, she has been teaching with a torn achilles.  Pattabi Jois (founder of Ashtanga Yoga) taught from seated later in his life.  He no longer practiced the vigorous sequences.  Which brings me to my next misconception.  That we have to do a certain style of yoga each time or it's not "right" for us.  That is a big misconception.  When I am venturing into a new class, there may be something that I don't prefer or like about a class.  That doesn't mean that the teacher is bad or that the class or style is bad, it's just different.  It's not wrong.  Some people respond to a teacher that yells at them or hits them.  That may be what they need.  It's definitely not for me.  But it's not my journey.  Which leads me to my last point or misconception.  That somehow if it's donation, or inexpensive that it isn't quite good enough.  That somehow that diminishes the value of the practice.  I have many friends that were not only introduced to yoga at their local YMCA, but practiced for years under a teacher that had DECADES of teaching experience.  So with those things to think about, I give you my latest recommendations for doing yoga all over San Diego on a budget:

Fitness Chains
They have locations everywhere and I teach for them.  Yes, their rooms are not the best for yoga.  No, they don't have mats.  But with so many locations, variety of teachers to choose from, students come because they love the teacher and they practice wherever.  No, you're not going to get the kind of instruction that you would at a studio.  You can get a monthly membership for around $39.  Sometimes cheaper. 

San Diego Yoga Collective Hopper Pass
This is available and the best deal in town for this kind of thing.  OB Namaste Yoga in Ocean Beach, Prana Yoga Center in La Jolla and Little Yoga Studio of San Diego teamed up and created this.  Most of these studios already offer a discount, first week or first class free to new students.  What the hopper pass enables you to do is go to each of these studios.  Three classes for $30 or 15 classes for $175.  So you can hopp around and get some of the best instruction, I've been to all three studios and thoroughly enjoyed each of them.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Money isn't the object

Get off your _____ and get on your mat!
Here is a list of places, besides One Love Yoga San Diego, where you can get donation based or discounted prices on your yoga:

San Diego Yoga Loft
Downtown San Diego a lot of offernigs at a Donation.

Red Lotus Society
Downtown San Diego, lots of offerings, meditation, etc.

Poses-Yoga, Eastlake
I work here, one of the best deals is for local, Eastlake or Chula Vista residents, 7 days of yoga for $7.  It's a smaller studio, smaller classes, gives you more of an intimate feeling and more attention than the big "churn and burn" studios.  Local owners, beautiful studio, worth your time to check out. 

Akasha Yoga, La Jolla
Yes, I work here too, but obviously not all of these places I work.  First time students can get a 3 class for $20 pass.  That works out to be a little less than $7 a class and it gives you a month to try out the studio.  They also have different membership levels,offering great discount.  This is a small studio, classes never get too big so you have a more intimate feeling and it's locally owned. 

UCSD Recreation Department
I know a lot of people who work in the La Jolla area by Torrey Pines in the Biotech 'farms' up there.  Rather than get into your car and spend the next hour sitting on Genesse to get to the 5, go take a yoga class up the street.  Most of the classes are in RIMAC, as a part of the FIT LIFE program there.  Yes you have to pay for parking, but sometimes you get lucky and find a spot nearby.  And trust me, everyone is trying to get out of there so you're more likely to not pay.  The cost varies depending on what class you want to take.  But for example, one of the Saturday classes cost $55 for the quarter.  That was 8 classes for $55.  Do you need me to do the math on that?  There are also unlimited class passes available for the quarter.

I'm going to do a little more research and keep posting these things that I find.  Stay tuned....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rolling with the waves

If change is inevitable, then why do I panic sometimes?
Einstein spent about 7 years struggling with failed attempts and dead-ends. 
Why is it when we "fail" at something that it can become a stuggle to keep our chin up.
Can we learn from our mistakes? 
Or can we view them differently.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bringing balance

This afternoon I practiced the first in the Ashtanga series with Jennifer.
It's the first time this class is offered.
It's not my first time doing Ashtanga.  
I practiced for a bit in 2006.   I went to classes and tried to practice at home.   My monkey-mind would not take it.  I didn't understand the dedication to the same postures, same sequence, etc.  I thought "this is going to be boring."  I moved on to Vinyasa.  We move.  We move a lot.  Breath and movement.   I thought "yeah, this is what I want.  I can't be bored here."
As I practiced today and I had to modify a lot because of a knee issue.  As I went into one side, modified, I then went to do the other side and realized that if I didn't modify as well on the other side that I might be overdeveloping one side, going deeper in to one side and therefore bringing further imbalance to my body.
I then thought of what I was doing and the point of the practice that I was doing.  To bring balance.  The description of the class is Yoga Chikitsa, which means yoga therapy, realigns the spine, detoxifies the body, and builds strength, flexibility and stamina.  So if I'm this class, I'm here to heal.  
Still boring???  I don't think so.  There's the intention.  There's the reason.  That's the practice.  
So I'll be modifying...and practicing. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

To "hot" or not

There is a lot of discussion around hot yoga and it's benefits and drawbacks. I can only draw from my own experiences of it and what works for me. As always, the opinion of your personal doctor and your experience and knowledge is what counts.

Not all yoga is good for all people.
Oh...let's repeat that.
Not all yoga is good for all people.

We all come from various backgrounds and experiences. Some of us have had health issues that prevent us from doing certain types of postures. That doesn't mean that yoga is bad or that we may not overcome some of these issues. But what it does invite us to do is be very in-tune with our bodies and what's going on with them.

Some of hot yoga benefits are detoxification, improving joint mobility, flexibility, increased circulation. There's even studies going on that tout the benefits for diseases such as Hepatitis C. (Squires,

Some of the downside are potential for dehydration, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and overstretching muscles.

My experience with hot or heated yoga came through my own teacher training. Learning vinyasa in a heated room was at first a really aggravating experience. My first experience with heat was overwhelming, the river of sweat that ran off me in down dog was embarrassing. Over time, I got used to it, and even "enjoyed" it for a while. I enjoyed the flexibility that I got when I was in a heated room versus not being in a heated room. I went to an early morning class once that wasn't heated and I could barely go into some postures, I just wasn't warmed up enough. When in heated rooms, my muscles were already warm and it enabled me to go into postures and hold them longer. I went into the hot style classes a few times but really became overwhelmed and experienced dehydration and heat exhaustion.

In reading more about it, and learning more about myself, this type of yoga isn't recommended for someone like me with my dosha type, nor is it recommended for people who have experienced heat exhaustion. Hot yoga is also not recommended for people with the following conditions: Pregnancy, high or low blood pressure issues, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, eating disorders, sleep deprivation, a history of heat-related illness, and being overweight. (Waxman,

Would I do "hot" yoga again? Yes. Under what conditions? I have found that on a very cold day, if I start the day with a heated vinyasa class, it warms me from the inside out. I actually do enjoy it. But I have to take precautions. I make sure that I am properly hydrated, not just that morning, but the entire day before. I make sure that when I'm in postures experiencing that extra stretching capability, that I am firming the other muscles to make sure I don't go too far. And I since I don't attend heated room classes on a regular basis, I lessen my risk for heat related conditions. And how hot is too hot for me? Anything over 80 degrees. Most heated vinyasa classes go from 93-100 and 40-60% humidity, hot style 105 with 40-60% humidity. Too hot for me. I have to stay in tune with what works for me. Not "if it's hotter I'll go farther" but what is the benefit of this type of yoga for me? Does this really work for me? Why do I need to do this today? Is this my ego talking or is it that I really would enjoy the warmth? Am I experiencing any muscle strain that might be aggravated if I go too deep?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Spiritual Choice

Elizabeth Lesser from the Omega Institute:
"....Everyone one of us longs for something more than just getting up and battling our way through life. We have a sense that there is something more, something more meaningful in our journey. This longing is spirituality. Religions formed to try to answer these questions, who am I, what am I here for, what does this all mean."

We all have that inner tug which draws us to different belief systems that help us on our journey. Those belief systems, whether it's Christianity or Buddhism or Atheism, are our individual choices to make.

In a yoga class, we aren't actively participating in a religious practice. A goal in class may be to unify mind, body and spirit. There are many ways we do this. First by focusing on the breath or a mantra to help quite the mind from all of the mind chatter. Second, we bring ourselves into our bodies by focusing on anatomical alignment or stretching and strengthening areas that are holding a lot of physical and psychological tension. Third, we come to yoga because something in our spirit takes us there. We want something different. We want to feel different. And if you practice on the previous two things, you will be different at the end of a class. This is where your journey comes in. It's your unique choice and expression. It's your spiritual choice.

Often times, students come in and are afraid or refuse to go into savasana because it might contradict their religion. There are a few things to consider. One, the physiological benefits of a savasana for your body is what is most important. By lying down, closing the eyes and simply bringing awareness to the breath, a person is slowing down the flight-or-fight response in the body with their breath. They are also taking away all of the information that the central nervous system tries to process through the eyes. These are putting the body into a relaxed state, which reduces stress, relieves tension and may lower blood pressure. Secondly, taking time to put oneself into a relaxed state, whether it's a nap or it's a savasana, is a great demonstration of self-care. It's been proven that people who take naps are more effective after taking a nap than those who don't. By taking time out for yourself, you become more effective at caring for others. You can call savasana meditation or you can call it focused relaxation, it's your choice with those few moments on the floor.

Friday, January 22, 2010

This is why we do what we do

We got this email:

I just found out about One Love Yoga and am so excited! I think that what you are offering the community is phenomenal. I am ... nonprofit employee, and while I am passionate about my work, I have to admit that I oftentimes have to make sacrifices because of my salary, and that is not always easy. I seek the simple life, and simplicity means having to go without "luxuries" -- so I gave up on the idea of doing yoga in any group setting. I simply can't afford the classes. But today I was so excited to find out about you! I cannot wait to attend my first class next week. And while I may not always be able to donate financially, I hope that I can help out in any other way... just let me know how!