Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Seek Integration


“As you bring your hands together at your center, you literally connect the right and left hemispheres of your brain. This is the yogic process of unification, the yoking of our active and receptive natures.” 

The definition of yoga is to yoke, or join together. This week, we start to explore the ways that we can develop a more integrated yoga practice. We will begin with three easy techniques for uniting the main components of yoga: Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Seek Integration”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Lead With Your Heart


“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” – Rumi

A set of heart-opening poses may be the very most important piece of the yoga asana puzzle. Here are three reasons to lead with your heart:

#1: Emotional and Physical Revival – Psychologically, backbends can teach you receptivity, acceptance, compassion, and determination. Physically, backbends correct our tendency to hunch. Especially in this era of increased computer and cell phone usage, our “tech necks” and upper backs are in dire need of lengthening.

#2: Beat Bone Loss – The act of spinal extension or back bending can help to prevent or slow down the effects of osteoporosis or bone loss. Gentle back bends such as Salabasana (locust pose) or supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge pose) were included in a long-term study of osteoporosis reversal (click here for details).

#3: Energizing – Back bends bring energy into our subtle heart centers. The heart or anahata chakra stimulates our love for self and others and permits our brilliance to shine. Often times in class following a back bend, I can feel my students’ positive energy level come alive.

Here are some heart-warming poses to ignite your flame. Try to incorporate one of these essential back bending postures into your yoga practice each day:
Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Lead With Your Heart”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Stoke Your Inner Fire


“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

To stoke our inner fire this week, we are connecting with our Manipura or Solar Plexus Chakra and the asanas that relate to this energy source. The solar plexus is the region that covers the mid-body and can be associated with the stomach or gut yet is literally a ganglia of nerves located behind the abdominal region at the level of the first lumbar vertebra.

The third chakra is related to our power, our intention and desires. The balanced movement of prana through this area gives us self-confidence, motivation and direction.

Find your intention by balancing your Manipura (solar plexus) Chakra with these powerful, energetic postures: Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Stoke Your Inner Fire”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Zest Things Up!

“May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.” ~translation of Sanskrit Mantra Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

This week, we will continue to explore the individual poses of yoga or the asanas by addressing the second energy center that is located at the level of the pelvis. It is called the svadhisthana chakra or the pelvic chakra. It also strongly relates to the planet Pluto. A practice for this chakra will be very fluid and energizing.   Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Zest Things Up!”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Hold Your Ground


“Just being low down in a room tends to clear the mind. Maybe it’s because being on the floor is so foreign to us that it breaks up our habitual neurological patterning and invites us to enter into this moment through a sudden opening in what we might call the body door.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

This week, we will begin to explore the individual poses of yoga or the asanas. This is the 3rd limb of the yogic system. Although it is self-evident that a steady yoga practice will involve the postures themselves, in the vast scope of yoga the asanas have a specific role to play. The intention of asana is to bring attunement (or greater awareness) to our instinctual responses. For that reason, many of the poses derive from animals who, by nature, are strongly instinctive.

The other main purpose of the asana limb is to balance the energy or prana within our bodies. Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Hold Your Ground”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Do It Daily


“In the beginning you have to make room for yoga in your daily life and give it the place it deserves. But after some time yoga itself will pull you up by the hair and make you do it.” – Vanda Scaravelli

The most important aspect of supporting a steady yoga practice is creating a daily habit at home. This is a difficult task when you lack motivation or don’t know where to begin.

So, I thought that I would take this opportunity to bring back some tried and true techniques for establishing a daily home practice: Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Do It Daily”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Bow to the Teacher Within

Om Namah Shivaya

Our final niyama, Ishvar-Pranidhana, is often defined as “centering on your Ideal.” It is a simple pledge to honor the indwelling teacher. Ishvar-Pranidhana is a practice of attunement that brings us to the apex of our study of the niyamas.

This week, make an effort to salute yourself, your teachers and all of those who have come before you. Practice chanting “Om Namah Shivaya” at the end of each meditation or asana practice.  aware-1353780__180

In Sanskrit, the meaning of the chant is:

Om– Ever present, it is the pulse of the universe and the source of our whole being.

Namah–  A word that means to bow.

Shivaya– Literally it means Shiva; but more than that, it represents the inner self.

For your reference, here is an audio link to the pronunciation of Om Namah Shivaya

When understood fully, the phrase translates to “I bow to the inner Self.’ In class, you may have heard me say, “bow to the teacher within”.

A wonderful set of words that expresses exactly how I feel as I end each and every practice. Bowing to the teacher within me is saluting all of my wisdom and where it stems from. It is how I respect my journey and honor all those who have made it possible.

My deepest gratitude!