A Practice Before Practice

Namasté Friends! As promised, I am now using this blog to supplement my new book, Yoga Posts: Building a Steady Practice One Day at a Time. In book club fashion, this will be our space to reflect on each chapter’s challenge and the ways we honor it throughout the week. Please look to my last post to get more information on what to expect.

Here are my reflections for Week #1. The book’s first challenge provides us with a baseline to forge ahead in creating or reestablishing a personal yoga practice. No matter where we are coming from or where or we are going, regardless of the stage of life we are in and despite the types of burdens or expectations we hold onto – we are all starting here.

We begin by inviting ourselves to stand open. Although it appears simple, this first step is the most complex because it has many layers. In order to be clear, you must peel away the coverings that bind you and make you rigid. Like the stalk of lemongrass I used in my cooking this week – you need to eliminate the hard shell to access the soft core.

For myself, I am meditating on releasing my burdens by placing all of the guilt, anger and resentment I currently possess into an imaginary backpack. Each morning, I visualize myself carrying the backpack up a big grassy knoll, taking it off my shoulders and setting it down. Turning away from it, I imagine lying down on the cool, inviting grass. Then I visualize myself rolling wildly down the hill like I used to do as a child. It’s a wonderful way to release and let go!

One last note, this past weekend, I started reading a book that was gifted to me by one of my students called Drinking from the River of Light by Mark Nepo. I came across a passage that is so relevant to our studies and would like to share it with you:

“We can work long, hard hours with a dull mind or a calloused heart. Or, we can pause to sharpen our mind and refresh our heart. These efforts to be clear and touchable are part of the practice before practice.”

Enjoy your week and the clarity you receive! ☮️

And, please leave your comments and insights below so we can truly share this experience! 🙏🏼

Let’s Do This! Making Your Personal Yoga Practice Happen

I reached a wonderful milestone recently. I completed the journey of publishing my first book – a compilation of 30 plus years of learning and loving yoga!

This happened to coincide with another turning point in my life. The transition away from my teaching practice and long-time students here in Sedona, Arizona. After 15 years, my husband and I have decided to make a change and a new home in Prescott – another northern Arizona community one hour away. Fortunately, my farewell synchronizes with the launch of my new book. So with a sad departure comes a happy arrival – how fitting! 

After thinking on how I can make this transition easier for me and for my students, Continue reading “Let’s Do This! Making Your Personal Yoga Practice Happen”

Using Essential Oils for Yoga Practice – Part I Grounding

Lately I have been enjoying the benefits of essential oils in dozens of ways for my health and well-being. It seems only natural that I would start to incorporate the oils into my yoga routine. Today, I will begin a series based on the use of essential oils in yoga practice. I’d like to connect this usage to the more subtle aspects of yoga, specifically the chakras or energy centers.

In the past, I have posted frequently on the concept of the chakric system. Many books and articles explain how each chakra can be balanced or pacified. There are seven chakra centers that follow the body from its base to its crown. If you are interested in learning more about the specifics of the chakras, click here.

We will begin this series with the muladhara or root chakra. It’s the first chakra and is located at the base of the spine. It literally gives us our foundation and grounds us to the earth. Within yoga there are many poses that can help an individual to feel more grounded like tadasana (mountain pose), balasana (child’s pose) and various other seated and standing postures.

Chakras can also be influenced by the use of essential oils. When combined with the yoga postures, the benefit for this subtle energy system can be incredible.

In discussing the particular oils associated with a specific yogic quality, I will refer to the Young Living essential oils that are found in the Premium Starter Kit (see below). For the purposes of grounding, I suggest the blend Valor.

This is one of my favorite oils. It allows my “windy” personality and fluctuating nature to become still and rest. Valor is also known as the “chiropractor in a bottle” for its effect on the bones and alignment. I’ve heard stories of how worthwhile it is for those who experience chronic back pain or scoliosis.

Valor is composed of a mixture of oils, namely spruce, rosewood, blue tansy and frankincense. This combination is mixed together in an almond oil carrier base. All essential oils have a specific frequency and the oils in this blend tend to be in the lower frequencies in order to generate greater alignment and balance.

In addition, Valor can promote positivity and encourage confidence. Qualities that are definitely required if you want to feel more connected or grounded. Therefore, Valor may be helpful in cases of attention deficit disorder or hyperactivity since it is able to generate a considerable sense of peace and gentleness.

I would begin by placing a couple of drops of the oil on a damp, warm washcloth that you can apply to the bottoms of your feet. If you just use 2-3 drops you should not experience any oiliness on the practice mat.

Once applied, try a few grounding postures like those mentioned in my post Getting to Your Root.

If you are new to essential oils and want to get started incorporating them into your yoga practice, you can register with Young Living here and get your Premium Starter Kit. In the month of October, YL is offering free shipping for these kits. Once you are enrolled, I will be connecting with you directly to provide reference sources and helpful advice.

Namasté my friends!

Are You Ready to Start a Personal Yoga Practice?

As a yoga teacher, I know that a personal practice is the ultimate way to magnify all of the benefits that yoga has to offer. I also know that building and sustaining a home practice can be difficult and challenging – just like developing healthy eating habits can be. In my classes and through this blog, I have tried to design small yoga “bites” that are easy for students to digest and incorporate into their daily lives. But a blog is not the greatest reference for organizing content since it is written in a designated time with posts that are disassociated from other posts.

Looking back, I wished that I had a home practice resource for myself – one that would slowly and steadily introduce new concepts to build a personal yoga practice that was fulfilling and consistent. Since I was pretty positive that others would also appreciate a tool to develop their own regular yoga routine, I set a goal to generate a home practice book. The content was pretty much already available since I had been blogging frequently over the past three years. I had already written a great deal about my experiences, teachings and research on topics such as postures, breathing, philosophy and many other yoga related subjects.

My idea was to arrange the book into 52 chapters – one per week for a year. In this way, a new task could be presented and practiced for a full week to build a steady, life-long commitment. The concept of gradually setting up a practice plan with small, enjoyable doses of yoga was the key to my objective.

I also wanted the book to represent the complete system of yoga. So I built the content based on all eight limbs of yoga: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. But I also thought that the book should address some of the more subtle aspects of yoga including the chakra system.

The book needed to include the foundational elements one needs to develop a home practice, the supporting features (the 8 limbs) for practicing yoga and some ways to invigorate or strengthen the practice once it was built. I saw it as being ideal for students who are beginners yet also great incentive for those more advanced practitioners who have always wanted to formulate a true home practice. I also viewed the text as an excellent tool for teachers who were looking to generate new life into their classes.

After many months of planning and developing, I am happy to report that the book is ready! Or, at least the kindle version is. I chose to do it all myself so that I could control the daily tasks of creating, formatting and marketing the product and it took a while to produce. To be honest, the writing aspect was the most fun for me. I had that accomplished nearly a full year before I started exploring and implementing the book’s layout and construction. I hope you will click on the link below to check it out!

Yoga Posts: Building a Steady Yoga Practice One Week at a Time is now available for free on amazon kindle for a limited time. We anticipate that the paperback version will be available early next month.

Namasté, Kim

My Latest Essential Oil Discovery: Frankincense

I periodically reevaluate my inventory of essential oils and select one to research and investigate. I love making new discoveries and learning how to incorporate the oils into my health regime.

Since there is little to no large scale scientific research involving essential oils, I think that it is very important for us, as users, to share our discoveries. For example, one of my first explorations was with the oil blend Peace & Calming. I tried it, thanks to my acupuncturist, when I had a bout with a facial nerve disorder. My journey with that particular oil was the reason that I started using aromatherapy for health purposes. Click here to see the original post.

Recently, I have delved into the world of Frankincense. This week I’d like to share my experience and tell you what Frankincense has done for me over the past month.

Continue reading “My Latest Essential Oil Discovery: Frankincense”

Reactivating Your Yoga Poses

Moving through my thirty some years of personal yoga practice, I have definitely fallen into ruts and habits from time to time. It usually takes a good workshop to redirect my ways. A workshop is also a good vehicle to reenergize my practice and my teachings. Last week, I shared a portion of my newest discoveries. I hope that it was a spark to rekindle your yoga flame.

Today, I am continuing with the idea of stability and fluidity by focusing on the posture Parighasana or gateway pose. This sequence includes some of the key takeaway points I learned in my online Yoga Journal Master Class with Carrie Owerko. If you are looking for a fresh take on traditional postures, this is a worthwhile class.

I created my own warmup and added transitional poses to construct this unique sequence.

Continue reading “Reactivating Your Yoga Poses”

Increase Your Mobility Through Stability with Yoga

Happy to be back writing Yoga Posts! While I was gone, among other things, I took a Continuing Education class based on the Iyengar style of yoga. It felt good to revisit the principles of alignment. I was reminded how important it is to study the core elements from time to time; especially when your practice is more advanced. In moving back to the essence of Iyengar, I have refreshed my way of practicing yoga.

So this week, I would like to share what I have been learning. The first concept I focused on was how to generate mobility through stability. While I know that grounding is important to keep a pose steady, through this training, I’ve discovered that establishing an effective base can actually improve your pose.

I created the following sequence for my personal practice and class sessions by choosing a group of poses for the upper body – specifically the neck, shoulders and main torso.

Centering and Warming Postures:

  • Seated Melting Meditation is a great way to bring awareness to the upper back body. Sit comfortably and visualize yourself melting from the base of your skull to your hips.
  • Experiment with this Myofascial Neck Release to relax the deep tissues of the neck. Briefly stretch your right ear towards your shoulder then return your head to center. Massage your left ear cartilage and the area around the ear. Then, repeat the stretch to feel the effects of the massage.
  • Try this mini vinyasa flow that moves from a Kneeling Urdhva Hastasana to Anahatasana to build stability for the upper body. You can also add a kneeling open twist with your arms extending forward and backward.

Focus Poses:

  • Practice Standing Marichyasana and Revolved Side Angle by using a chair facing the wall. This is the heart of the Iyengar workshop I took with Carrie Owerko. It is an awesome method for focusing on what needs to be grounded or stabilized for the openings to occur. We placed our hands on the wall to activate the shoulders and used a yoga strap to anchor the hips (by connecting a large loop from the back foot to the front hip).

It is amazing how effective this was for myself and for my students. We could truly create space to move more deeply into these poses.


  • Then, I chose to isolate the upper body with Warrior I variations. First, flowing from a cactus arm position to a shoulder hug and then by pushing and pulling the arms away from and into the body. In the end, the traditional pose felt easier and more stable.

Poses to Wind Down:

  • The sequence winds down and resolves with Constructive Rest Pose. Simply lie on your back, bend the knees and place your feet mat width apart. Allow your knees to rest together to neutralize the pelvis.
  • End with a version of Supported Savasana. In the example below, the spine is lifted with a bolster to open the shoulders and a blanket wrap anchors the ankles and feet in Buddha Konasana.

This is a practice I will revisit often. Its lesson is invaluable as it affects us both physically, mentally and spiritually. It is particularly important to keep in mind when we are transitioning or facing new challenges in life.

Through preparation, we can provide ourselves with a stable base so that we are better equipped to move into action. A pretty important concept for those of us who like to step out onto the ledge from time to time.

Photos by Yoga Journal & YogaU