Saturday, October 3, 2009

Teaching Yoga: Breath Awareness

Over the next couple of months my blogging will be focused on the topic of “Teaching Yoga” and is especially geared towards Yoga Teachers. However, any person interested in self-growth and/or a regular student of yoga should not hesitate to read further. Looking through the lens of a teacher (of any subject) can be illuminating and enlightening. Enjoy!

All of the topics to follow are excerpts and/or summaries from my forthcoming book: Teaching Yoga—A Definitive Guide.

In the last few blogs I have been sharing with you a foundational approach to teaching and practicing yoga that involves cultivating awareness of the body, breath, and mind.

All yoga, no matter what the “style” or “tradition”, facilitates the development of these three things. Together they help anchor us in the moment and become intimate with ourselves.

What I have discovered through personal practice and in my teaching is that there can be an over-emphasis on the practice itself—the attainment of postures, the mastery of breath control techniques, and/or a successful meditation practice. It is an illusion that if we just perfect the postures, become more flexible, breathe just right, or sit for a whole hour in meditation, then we will be enlightened, then we will be “good enough” and deemed a real Yogi. However, when you stop focusing on whether or not you can touch your toes yet you free up your attention to be redirected inward where you then can begin to engage with your self—body, breath, and mind—in an enlightened way filled with awareness.

The next time you come to your mat ask, “May the practice of yoga help me understand the deep internal workings of my Self. May I become aware of my body. May I become aware of my breath. May I become aware of my mind. May I know my True Self through this cultivation of awareness.”

Breath Awareness

In my last blog I discussed how the development of Body Awareness is a key ingredient necessary for the experience of Yoga to occur. Today I’ll be discussing Breath Awareness, ingredient number two.

In yoga philosophy the breath or Pranamaya Kosha is seen as the second layer of the ego-self that must be illuminated for yoga to be attained and our true self to be discovered.

Breathing is a physical act. I remember when I first began yoga when the teacher would ask for us to follow the breath I would mentally say to myself, “breathing in, breathing out”. I was so disconnected from my body that it did not occur to me that it was my body that was actually doing the breathing. I was thinking about the process as it was happening, but I was, at the time, incapable of feeling it and thus being in my body.

Remembering this first experience and my gradual learning and embodiment of my self—body, breath, and mind, I would like to share with you a few ways to invite more breath awareness into your practice and/or teaching.

1.Feel the primary pathway of the breath.
As a teacher it can be helpful to realize that many yoga students (especially beginning students) have limited body-breath awareness. If you ask them to follow, notice, or be aware of their breath it is hard to say how they will interpret this. They may simply “think” their way through the practice. Providing your students with physical “breathing” landmarks can take them deeper inside their body and help them begin to expand their awareness. Try these examples. Use the word feel to elicit embodiment of the process versus the intellectualizing of it.

*The nose – tip and nostrils

*The windpipe

*The lungs – bottom to top, front to back, side to side

*Thoracic Diaphragm

Focus on just one area asking your students to feel the movement of the breath there or guide them in letting their attention travel with the breath along the entire path from nose to thoracic diaphragm on the inhalation and thoracic diaphragm to nose on the exhalation. This can be a stand-alone practice done while sitting or in savasana or it can be explored in any yoga asana.

2. Feel the secondary pathway of the breath.
More experienced students can be guided in feeling the secondary pathway of the breath. This pathway includes any movement that occurs throughout the body and energy field outside of the primary pathway (nose, windpipe, lungs, and diaphragm). Some areas to consider are:







A good starting point for beginners is to feel the movement of the breath down in the belly. Asking students to place their hands on their belly can reinforce body awareness and help to get their attention anchored inside. Instruct them to feel the belly expand into their hands on their inhalation and to feel their belly withdraw from their hands on their exhalation.

3. Utilize different instructional words for breathing and begin to note how they impact your practice and/or your students experience.
As a yoga teacher you may find yourself saying time and time again, “Take a deep breath”. While there is nothing wrong with this, I encourage you to define for yourself what it means to you. Once you are clear, share this with your students and allow it to morph and change as your level of embodiment and body-breath awareness deepens. People take deep breaths in a variety of ways and depending on an individuals life experiences taking a deep breath may actually be stress-inducing. Try utilizing these different instructions to invoke greater overall breath awareness.

*Take a deep breath

*Take a relaxed breath

*Receive the breath

*Drink in the breath

*Be breathed

*Breathe into the bottom of your lungs

*Breathe out until you feel an internal squeeze

Happy Exploring! I welcome any comments and/or questions you may have.

Next blog post I will be detailing the last foundational ingredient of yoga—mind awareness.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Teaching Yoga: Body Awareness

Over the next couple of months my blogging will be focused on the topic of “Teaching Yoga” and is especially geared towards Yoga Teachers. However, any person interested in self-growth and/or a regular student of yoga should not hesitate to read further. Looking through the lens of a teacher (of any subject) can be illuminating and enlightening. Enjoy!

All of the topics to follow are excerpts and/or summaries from my forthcoming book: Teaching Yoga—A Definitive Guide.

In my last Blog I outlined three fundamental ingredients essential to the experience of Yoga.

They are:
Body Awareness
Breath Awareness
Mind Awareness

When these three things are cultivated something special happens. You become present. Presence is the seed that springs forth yoga. Yoga is an experience of Ultimate Truth.

If you break down any tradition, practice, or style of yoga these three things lie at the foundation. Although they are often covered up with fancy words, elaborate practices, and other distractions of the 21st Century Yogi.

When you begin to shift your intention, as a practitioner and/or teacher, to the cultivation of these three foundational ingredients YOU begin to arrive. Instead of doing Triangle pose, you BEcome triangle. This occurs because you are not focused on how the pose “looks” or the outer shape but rather how it feels. Every pose then becomes a different expression of the self—body, mind, and breath. When you realize this you realize the Self and it is quite amazing.

In yoga philosophy the body, annamaya kosha (veil or sheath) is often perceived as the first and densest layer of the self that must be illuminated on the journey inward. Most yoga classes today are working on this layer of discovery.

Teachers--Here are three simple ways to actively facilitate Body Awareness in your yoga classes. Try them out in your practice as well and notice the impact on your overall state of being.

1.Encourage being in the feeling mode.
As a teacher a certain amount of your verbal script must address how to “do” the pose. This is especially the case in beginner classes where new students have no asana knowledge. However, a posture can usually be executed with about three or four instructions. Once the basic outline of the posture is established (don’t expect perfection!) guide your students to feel.

2.Give reference points for feeling
The action of feeling is much different than stretching, reaching, pushing, relaxing, etc. To feel is to openly allow yourself to experience “what is” in the moment, in your body. Although it is an action, it is a “being” action versus a “doing” action.

To get students into their bodies and out of their heads you must invite them to feel. But it is extremely helpful to offer specific guidance as to what they should feel. Our bodies tend to have numbs spots that our nervous system avoids interaction with. It is these areas that hold the potential to awaken us from our dormant lapse of true self knowledge.

Reference points for feeling can reinforce outer alignment, but from an inner place. Here is one point to explore. Focus on it throughout an entire class (or practice) and note the effects.

Feel the foundation—the foundation of any pose has the ability to create steadiness and alignment throughout the rest of the body or not. Often times our foundation is skewed. This can create serious distortion throughout our body that causes imbalances that lead to injuries and chronic pain.

One of the most basic ways to cultivate awareness of the foundation of a pose is to actively explore how weight is shifting down through it.

For example, in Tadasana--Standing Mountain Pose, you can ask your students to place more weight on the pinky side of their feet. Have them hold it and feel the sensation of it for at least seven seconds. This is the minimum amount of time required for the nervous system to fully register the excess weight and make a clear interpretation of it. Then have them roll inward. Finally have them center the weight between the inner and outer edges of their feet. Although this may seem very elementary, it is deeply complex.

When you focus your attention on your feet (or whatever part of your body is in contact with the floor/earth) you are “grounding”. Being grounded takes you out of your head, into your body, and makes the support of the earth available to you. When the body feels this support it releases excess tension and lifts upward towards the sky with ease.

3.Slow down and give space to feel
As mentioned above, feeling specific things (like the sensation of equal weight in the feet) takes time. Of course certain things we feel instantly like those tight hamstrings in a forward fold. But there are many numb spots in the body due to chronic stress, injuries, repressed emotions, trauma, etc, that remain beneath our radar. Renewing sensation in these areas fosters greater body awareness and thus more presence.

As you teach don’t shy away from quiet pauses after a feeling point is referenced. You may notice uncomfortableness in your students as they greet their deadzones. This is ok and often a necessary step along their path to self realization.

Happy Exploring! I welcome your responses!

Next Blog post I’ll be writing about Yoga Ingredient #2—Breath Awareness.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Teaching Yoga: The Foundational Elements

Over the next couple of months my blogging will be focused on the topic of “Teaching Yoga” and is especially geared towards Yoga Teachers. However, any person interested in self-growth and/or a regular student of yoga should not hesitate to read further. Looking through the lens of a teacher (of any subject) can be illuminating and enlightening. Enjoy!

All of the topics to follow are excerpts and/or summaries from my forthcoming book: Teaching Yoga—A Definitive Guide.

The Foundational Elements of Yoga

What I have observed in teaching over the years is that there are so many angles to teaching yoga. There are so many styles, belief systems, philosophies, lineages, and “best” ways to align the shoulders, and breathe deep, and, and, well, you get the idea.

I see teachers who strongly adhere to the “one way” perspective and those that float from idea to idea absorbing as much information as possible. Neither is good nor bad. It is useful to go fully into one style or system of yoga to embody that path. It is the attachment to that “being the only way” that can create an obstruction to moving forward. Likewise, dabbling in many different styles and/or yogic ideas can also be beneficial affording you many choices and possibilities for teaching and practicing. However, sometimes the constant “seeker” is simply distracting him/herself from just being and learning from the teacher within.

I am always curious about what lies at the base of any organized and/or structured system or philosophy. I wonder, what are the key ingredients needed to educe the final product. I am most interested in the ‘product’ of healing. My definition of healing is, “the way we return to our essential state of wholeness”. This innate interest within myself is why I was drawn to Yoga and to all of the other body-mind modalities that I have studied.

Yoga to me is the end product obtained by doing all of the practices that we refer to as Yoga. Yoga is not asana, pranayama, meditation, chanting, etc. Yoga is the embodiment of our Essential Self. It is a state of being.

So, I have asked within my own practice and in teaching; what are the key elements that elicit Yoga? Yes, there are so many books filled with endless techniques to get me there. There are many teachers that “know” the way. And yet, what is beneath those practices, those teachings?

The Body seems to be one of these key ingredients, for it is here in the present moment. It may carry energy from long ago, but the physical manifestation of body is right here, right now and the vehicle in which we experience our Essential Self.

Ingredient #1: Body

The body cannot exist without the breath (at least not for very long) so it to must be a primary ingredient for this experience of Yoga to be had. Like the body, it is only here in the moment. Also, like the body, the breath may reveal the past and/or the projection onto the future, but it only expresses in the Now.

Ingredient #2: Breath

What else I have wondered can be in this moment as it is my belief that Enlightenment or Yoga can only be experienced in the present.

Mind. Another word that could be used here is Consciousness. There are many layers of the mind that can add or subtract us away from the moment. It definitely is primary to existence. Whether we are awake or asleep, consciousness is with us and impacts are state of being.

Ingredient #3: Consciousness or Mind

These first three ingredients: Body, Breath, and Mind do not = Yoga. Just like eggs, flour and sugar do not = cake. This is where you must actively choose to engage with yourself—to become aware.

Through yogic practices you start to develop body awareness, breath awareness and awareness of your mind. When you cultivate enough of each and mix them all together into alignment you achieve presence.

Being present precedes being enlightened, but it does not = Yoga.

A prolonged period of presence however does promote self-knowing. When you are in the present moment it is easier to be objective and to have clarity about the truth. When you are present your body, breath, and mind are aligned. As you become familiar with this state of being, you will realize more easily when you are not in the moment. You can begin to observe what it is that takes you away from the moment. All of this is information that can be useful on your path to enlightenment.

Being present gives you more choices about how you expend your energy, what you give your attention/energy to, and a place of orientation to navigate the world objectively.

You might choose to utilize your presence to go deeper into the experience of Yoga. Meditation can take you there. When this takes place your body, breath, and mind become expanded. Limitations are removed and there is a great sense of being at One with All That Is. The little body merges with the Big Body. The little breath unites with the Big Breath. And, the little mind becomes the Big Mind.

Then what?

My next post will dive deeper into these foundational elements of Yoga and how we address them in Teaching.

Stay tuned and please leave comments, thoughts, ideas that you have to share!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why Do You Teach?

Over the next couple of months my blogging will be focused on the topic of “Teaching Yoga” and is especially geared towards Yoga Teachers. However, any person interested in self-growth and/or a regular student of yoga should not hesitate to read further. Looking through the lens of a teacher (of any subject) can be illuminating and enlightening. Enjoy!

All summaries and/or excerpts to follow are from one of my forthcoming books: Teaching Yoga—A Definitive Guide.

When I first began teaching I was exuberant about it. I had no trepidation about sharing my experience and everything I knew about Yoga with others. I can equate this original feeling to standing at the foot of Mount Everest. Not yet having climbed to the peaks, but feeling as if I had by way of pictures I’d seen and books I had read.

And then, I took my first step and experienced the great feat that stood before my very eyes. I felt myself gasp for breath as I climbed higher, struggle for sure footing over rocky terrain, and feign having energy as I slept less and less due to altitude sickness. I lost touch with any belief in myself I once thought I had that “I could do this”. But in doing so, I paved a way back to something essential and potent that rested latent within.

The yogic journey, or any self-evolving practice, returns us to our essential self, that which is happy, peaceful, illuminated, radiant, and true. Because I teach yoga, and often teach specifically to yoga teachers, I have mapped out my journey thus far in detail and I take great joy in sharing this map with you.

In the beginning. . .

In Buddhist traditions there is a reference to having a “beginner’s mind”. When we choose to become a yoga teacher this is guaranteed. You’re traversing new terrain. No matter how well you have studied the map your first steps are sure to surprise you. You may even get knocked off any high horse you may be riding. My original yoga teacher training was at Mount Madonna in California. There motto, which has stuck firmly in my mind, is “teach to learn”. In this vein, I can say everything I share is an articulation to myself; a synthesis of my experience of life. Students who attend my classes are, in a way, a sounding board; an audience that efficiently educes my wisdom, often times, before I have fully become aware of it myself.

Why do you teach?

The first question I would like to propose to anyone already teaching yoga or to those who desire the occupation of teaching yoga is, “Why?” And then, I would ask, “Why?” again. Sometimes we are called to do something because of our ego attachments. We may identify with the role of being a teacher, a healer, a person with knowledge (specifically spiritual knowledge), or we may feel safe or comfortable with being in a position of power. This list could go on and on. If you give yourself permission to ask “why?” and openly allow for any answer to come you will have a useful piece of information to propel you forward on your self-growth journey. No answer is wrong or bad. It is simply information to gather about yourself or the persona you identify with. In yoga this is called Svadhaya or self-study.

Let your answer be a foundational seed that you will tenderly nourish throughout your lifetime. Watch how it grows and changes. Notice how your practice carves out more space for the light to shine down within. Realize how illumination only increases truth and your connection to the truth. In your teaching let yourself receive the great gift of being taught. See what happens when you approach your role as teacher with this attitude.

As you embrace the big picture of why you want to or already are teaching, relax. Begin to build your skill set, find your niche, be grateful for the opportunity to teach and practice, eagerly receive the teachings, and most importantly have fun.

So....Why do you teach? I look forward to reading your comments!

To assist you in building your skill set the next several blogs will outline the key aspects of teaching yoga successfully.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Therapeutic Yoga for Emotional Health

Therapeutic Yoga for Emotional Health

This Saturday, August 8th, 1-3pm

The Yoga Center of Minneapolis
Preregistration required

Emotions, often defined as energy moving, express on a biological, psychological, and energetic level. They inform you about your reality. More specifically, they inform you about what you believe.

In essence your Emotions are a tool that you've been gifted with. However, few people learn how to effectively utilize them. Yet, if you consider yourself a seeker, in search of your true self, the emotional plane must be traversed.

In Yoga philosophy the self is described as being composed of six different sheaths or koshas. They are:
1. Physical Body (annamaya kosha, awareness of sensations)
2. Energy Body (pranamaya kosha, awareness of breath and energy)
3. Emotional Body (manomaya kosha, awareness of feelings and emotions)
4. Intellectual Body (vijnanamaya kosha, awareness of thoughts, beliefs, images)
5. Joy Body (anandamaya kosha, awareness of desire, pleasure, and joy)
6. Ego Body (asmitamaya kosha, awareness of the witness or ego sense of “I”)

These six sheaths act like veils that cover up your Essential state of being which is unchanging and eternally present.

As you gain awareness of these sheaths your attachment to them lessens. This often occurs naturally as you engage in a regular practice of yoga. However, when you are identified with your emotional body (manomaya kosha) you become whatever it is you are feeling. If you feel happy, you are happy. If you feel angry, you are angry. This would not be such a bad thing if you always felt happy. But, most people experience “negative” emotions that make them feel bad.

To stop feeling your emotions (or at least the ones you don’t like) is not the answer (although many people attempt to do this with drugs, alcohol, TV, excessive business, falsified enlightenment/detachment, etc.).

To just stop identifying with your emotions is easier said than done.

So, what is the answer? How do you shift your relationship with your emotions so they can serve in your best interest and help you navigate earth in an informed way?

Here are some suggestions to explore:
1. Gain tools to help you center yourself in the midst of emotionality. Several yoga practices will be explored in my workshop this Saturday that effectively anchor you in your center where objectivity can be accessed. Such proven tools include meditation, pranayama (breathing techniques), and asana (postures).

2. Create a dialogue with your emotional body. Your emotions are responses to what you believe. What you believe is a result of your conditioning. In Yoga all of your conditioning is referred to as Samskaras or imprints of experience. Samskaras organize and create vibrational patterns that crystallize into belief systems, veils and illusions that keep you from seeing the truth, unhealthy behaviors you have learned, habits you've developed, skewed perspectives that you perceive with, etc. All of your samskaras together structure your body-mind complex or ego identity. Here are steps for dialoguing with your emotional body:


If you believe your emotions or a particular emotion is bad you will have a hard time hearing what it is trying to tell you. You are in a state of resistance. Try asking yourself, “what if my anxiety (or fill in the blank) wasn’t bad?” “What is it actually trying to tell me?” When we accept what is we connect with the flow of life and the flow of life is ever-changing. Sometimes the mere acceptance of what it is you are truly feeling allows that emotion to liberate you from the confines of your mind. Rather than remaining powerless to what it is you are feeling it begins to serve you in a positive way by informing you about your reality.

Once you’ve accepted your emotional body, invite yourself to feel it physically. Emotions (energy moving) are meant to flow. However, when we resist them or numb out to them they get lodged in our being and create health issues.

As you feel your emotions, name them. “I am sad, angry, anxious, etc.” See if you can describe how it feels in your body and mind: “my heart is racing”, “I want to run away”, “I feel paralyzed with fear”, “my body is trembling”, “I feel like I’m going crazy”, “my hands are sweating”.

Emotions express physiologically through our body. The neuro-endocrine system releases hormones that are distributed via the blood stream to every cell in the body which creates feeling states on the physical plane. Sometimes it can be beneficial to support the metabolization of these hormones via movement. For example, a really angry person may find relief and a more receptive state after a kick-boxing class. A sad person may feel lighter after a good cry.

The intention is not to eliminate your emotional body, but rather have it serve you and your unfolding life. Your emotions are the result of what you believe. To gain freedom from chronic emotional upset you must begin to examine your belief systems and your samskaras or past conditioning. Often the life you live is based on belief systems that you do not actually believe in! There are limitless approaches available to explore the deeper meaning behind your emotions. Here is one simple practice to begin with: (from Traveling Free by Mandy Evans).

1. Choose a belief to explore: “I believe_______________________.”

2. Ask yourself: (all answers are correct)
a. Do I believe that?
b. Why do I believe that?
c. Is that true?

3. Now ask yourself: “What would happen if I didn’t believe that?”

4. Then ask: “Would that be ok?”

Another approach that I have been utilizing for many years is UTUE Clearing. UTUE stands for Universal Truth, Ultimate Education. This system eliminates negative emotions as well as the underlying beliefs, rules, illusions, behaviors, etc that limit us. It works! Feel free to contact me directly if you’d like more information about this approach or visit UTUE online to learn more.

To explore these ideas and learn more about how Yoga can support your emotional health sign up to attend my workshop this Saturday, August 8th, 1-3pm, at The Yoga Center of Minneapolis, Pre-registration required.

I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Turning Upside Down--Handstands

Turning Upside Down--Handstands

Workshop this Saturday, July 11th, 1-3pm

At The Yoga Center of Minneapolis

Preregistration required.

Standing on your hands may be something you did when you were a child. Young and carefree, turning upside down was an act of play. Now, older and wiser, standing on your hands is scary. You could fall over. Your arms could buckle right beneath you. And, even if you did make it upside down, would you even be open to that perspective? The world looks quite different with your feet reaching towards the sky!

I’ve been practicing handstand since about 4 years old. As a young gymnast standing on my hands was something that came easy to me. I did not think about how or if I would get upside down. I just did it. I remember having the coaches use me as their “demo” to show new tricks we would be practicing. I was fearless and had an innate trust that my body would do whatever it was that I asked of it.

Because of my early training, the practice of yoga asana was a natural fit for me. I found a thrill and joy in contorting my body into different shapes, attempting to balance once again on my hands, and reconnecting with my body in a more conscious, adult way.

Although handstand has come easy to me, it has also been one of my biggest teachers. This is because being in the pose—body, mind and breath aligned, is no simple task. I can flip myself upside down and possibly have the good fortune of balancing just right to stay inverted for a few delicious moments. But, I have discovered another way that is rightfully much more satisfying and I would love to teach it to you.

One gift of practicing yoga asana is that it helps us connect to our body. The mind begins to expand within and consciousness awakens in every cell. As we start living in our body we experience greater ease in aligning our intention with our actions. What we say, do, think, and feel match one another more easily. Yoga off the mat happens effortlessly as the alignment found through our asana practice slowly anchors itself as primary and becomes our main way of being in the world.

Handstand is one of those poses that will challenge your degree of body-mind connection. Like all balance postures if the mind wanders away from the task at hand you will find yourself easily swayed out of alignment and most likely out of the pose. Add the complexity of going upside down to the equation and you have yourself a challenging asana sure to inspire growth on many levels.

There are several approaches to handstand. The steps outlined below will be explored more in-depth during my workshop this weekend along with several others.

1. Learn how to stand upright, in alignment with your core engaged before attempting to go upside down.

Many of us have compromised postures. We avoid standing in our center and either pull forward (recognized by the ribcage thrusting forward) or slouch backward (recognized by a sunken heart). Standing in a neutral or centered way can feel strange and extreme (if you normally thrust your ribs forward, standing in neutral may feel like you are slouching). When you go upside down you will be accompanied by your habitual posture and remain out of alignment. You might attain what appears to be handstand but your core will not be engaged properly and there will be a feeling of disconnect throughout the body. You will not realize this is the case at the time, unless there is pain—which always indicates something is out of alignment. You will only come to realize you were out of alignment when you have achieved greater alignment. You then have a point of reference. The feeling that accompanies true alignment, in any pose, is wholeness. When your mind expands throughout the body and you feel a sense of connection to your whole self—that is alignment.

2. Open the shoulders

Standing on your hands requires deep flexion in the shoulder joint. If your current range of motion does not allow you to accomplish this you are not ready to go all the way upside down. Again, you may attain the final pose if attempted, but in a compromised way. The wrist, elbows, and shoulders will struggle to be aligned and thus the rest of the body will not have a solid base of support to rise up out of. Injury could result. Here are some pre-requisites to full handstand:

1. Ability to hold downdog for at least 10 breaths without a lot of effort through the shoulders

2. Ability to hold ½ handstand (downdog with heels against the wall, walk your feet up the wall until legs are parallel to the floor) for at least 10 breaths without a lot of effort in the shoulders

To achieve effortlessness in the shoulders while in downdog and ½ handstand the core must play an active role. However, if your shoulders are not open enough your foundation will lack adequate support and even the strongest core will not do the job—so work those shoulder openers!

3. Clarify your intention: align your mind with your actions for manifestation

Wherever you are in your handstand endeavor create clarity around the small steps leading you to your final goal. An example of this can be (think, feel, and do):

1. Align your hands shoulder-width apart and spread your fingers wide

2. Focus your eyes on a point between the hands

3. Bend your right knee and kick off your right foot

4. Touch your left foot to the wall

5. Etc, etc, etc.

Each step brings you closer to your end goal, but at the same time, each step is an accomplishment in and of itself. Yoga is the outcome of the practice we do. When your intention is aligned with your actions in this way you remain in the moment. The more constant we are in the present the more in touch we become with what is real. Rather than living in the past or future we come to just be. In being we experience the truth of who we are.

Happy Exploring!

I hope to see you this Saturday, July 11th, 1-3pm

At The Yoga Center of Minneapolis

Pre-registration required.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Upcoming Yoga Therapy I Workshop

Yoga Therapy I workshop—Building a Foundation
July 17-18 (Friday 6-9pm, Saturday 12-4pm, 5-8pm)
At The Yoga Center of Minneapolis

Preregistration required.

In my Yoga Therapy workshops I present an approach to healing that addresses the universal needs of being a human being while honoring the uniqueness of each individual. Yoga, Somatics, and Energy Work techniques are weaved together to provide a structure for developing an articulate way of working therapeutically with people to help them heal from any ailment.

In Yoga Therapy I—Building a Foundation we’ll explore the most primary need we have as human beings; to feel bonded to the earth and present in our body. When we are not in right relationship with the earth we must fight gravity.

Fighting gravity is a stressful act that makes our bodily environment feel hostile. Because of this, we check out and live in our head. The lack of consciousness below the neck can only continue for so long before the body will demand attention, unfortunately, usually in the form of pain. Sometimes the pain will be physical, other times, emotional or mental as the body and mind are intimately woven together and impossible to separate.

Some of the things we’ll explore in Yoga Therapy I include primary reflexes that were first activated and experienced when we came out of the womb and landed on dry land. These basic reflexes ensure we bond with the earth and feel supported.

We’ll also investigate dysfunction in the first and second chakras and discuss psychophysical dis-eases that occur as a result. Various yoga practices and hands-on-healing techniques will be utilized to integrate and promote healing first and foremost within ourselves.

When we have traveled consciously on our own path we then cultivate greater potential to facilitate others in a positive way.

Please join me at The Yoga Center of Minneapolis on July 17-18 for this transforming workshop!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

In the Beginning. . .

Greetings and welcome to my first blog post.

I have been teaching Yoga since 2000 and exploring Somatics (an experiential learning process of the body-mind complex) and Energy Healing since 2002. Over the years I have blended all of my healing arts studies in my private practice helping people heal physical ailments as well as emotional diseases.

What I have learned through my years of study, practice, and personal self growth is that the healing process is extremely unique and at the same time universal. There are certain things that all humans need, however, the process in which we gain these things is very different. When certain needs are not met, we become misaligned, developing unconscious strategies to cope. Our body becomes stressed and our mind cluttered with ways in which it attempts to make us feel whole. Health lacks overall and life becomes a struggle. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

I’m currently writing several books on yoga, wellness, and healing and would like to develop a conversation around the concepts in the books and a community to explore new ideas.

Thank you for taking the time to read. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Shine bright!