Category Archives: Yoga

How Do You Stay Grounded When Life Flips You Upside-Down?

Note: This is not where I thought this post was going. I hope you find it helpful, especially if you have ever had your world flipped upside-down (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?).

In my yoga classes I talk a lot about foundation. Anything you try to build is only as strong as the foundation you build it on, be it a yoga pose, a business, or a big life change. So build a strong foundation.

This month as we have been focusing on being rooted in ritual, in grounding ourselves as we enter this new year, there is something we have to keep in mind – sometimes, usually quite unexpectedly, life flips us upside-down.

Then, no matter how much work you have done and no matter how grounded you have felt, what do you do?

If you have been focusing on grounding your feet into the earth and they are suddenly reaching towards the sky, how can you still feel grounded?

We practice this on our mats when we move our bodies into inversions. Instead of grounding with our feet and our legs, they are lifted to the sky as we root down into our hands, our arms, the top of our head.

And so, another lesson gleamed from the yoga asana practice – you can always root down, and you can always rise up strong.

We practice inversions and we come to recognize the importance of having a fresh perspective. When life flips us upside-down, that’s exactly what it offers us – a fresh perspective.

you can always ground yourselfFresh perspectives sometimes come with shock, with bone-deep pain, with a sense that the world will never right itself again. It will. And you will be stronger. And you will see the world in a new way.

What you take from the practice of feeling grounded, on your mat or off, is the lesson that you can. You can root down. You can root yourself in ritual, you can root yourself in breath, you can root yourself in practices that nourish you when the world feels like it is falling apart around you.

Sometimes we have the opportunity to cultivate these practices before life flips us upside-down again, and sometimes the practices grow out of the experience of being upside-down.

When the day is so hard that you cannot even get out of bed, a single glass of water can feel like a root burrowing into the earth, connecting you to nutrients that are vital for your survival.

When you cannot move from the couch because the world seems too hard to face, surrendering to the tears can be the way you cleanse yourself.

When the panic takes hold of your body and it feels like there is no way of escaping it, you can find your breath and let that guide you home.

You can. And you will.

So the next time your life gets flipped upside-down, remember this – no matter which way is up, you can always ground yourself.

With Love and Gratitude,
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What Is Life Without Intention?

IMG_20150828_165559We breathe all the time without ever having to think about it. When I find myself busy and on the edge of overwhelm, I am so grateful for my body’s ability to breathe without needing anything active from me, and yet those are also the times when I most actively bring attention to my breath.

In yoga, we link movement and breath. We give ourselves the time and space to deepen our breath, bring ourselves into shapes that sends the breath to those forgotten spaces within us that most crave it because they are most deprived.

In yoga, we breathe with intention.


What does it mean to breathe, to do anything, without intention? It is certainly how we live most of our lives.

We wake up, go through the motions of getting ready for the day, maybe do the same general things each day before collapsing into bed exhausted each night.

Is that living? Is yoga without breathing yoga?

Intention is a beautiful and simple way to create rhythm and ritual in your life.

Intention allows you to ground yourself which gives deeper roots to the practice that you create for yourself.

In Creating Your Practice, you will take the time to explore your intention for our time together and for your practice. You will learn the different forms intention can take, how it can hinder you, and how it can open up your practice.

Simple. Empowering. And we begin with the new moon.

For $27, which is about the cost of two yoga classes, you can jump start your home or studio practice, infusing it with fresh energy.

Are you ready?

With Love,
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Consistency is Key

IMG_20150809_085700I am deeply grateful that we gave our daughter an unstructured summer before she begins Kindergarten in a couple of weeks. She got to spend a lot of time with my mom during which she made her first quilt, discovered that she loves to run (she’s already planning her first marathon), and explored Morris Arboretum as told us that she wants to live there.

I am deeply grateful that I got to spend much of July teaching yoga, fully immersing myself in this new path that fills me up, and that I had a flexible schedule that allowed for all of our August traveling.


As we get closer to the start of the school year I am looking forward to something so intensely – reintegrating rhythm and ritual and consistency.

I will admit, and I know I am not the first yoga teacher to admit this, that my personal practice dwindled with the lack of order that existed this summer. As I look to my favorite season as a beautiful time for renewal, I know part of that is a renewal of my commitment to make it to my mat for myself, and to inform my teaching.

Consistency is a funny word and I think a lot of the time it can trip us up because we add so much judgement to it. In Creating Your Practice, we spend time focusing on a new understanding of consistency. I will share prompts with you that help you to discover what consistency means to you in a way that it can really become part of your ritual and rhythm.

Consistency is not an absolute. It does not mean that it is so set in stone that you will get down on yourself when you do not follow through. You will learn to create a consistency that you desire to follow through with and that you can return to again and again, knowing that there is always and ebb and flow to this journey of life.

I am all about making yoga accessible to everyone in a way that supports and safe and fulfilling practice. That’s why Creating Your Practice is just $27 – because I do not want the investment to be another barrier between you and your practice.

As I begin to renew my own rhythm and ritual this fall, I hope you’ll join me. All you need is a yoga mat and a willing heart.

With Love and Gratitude,
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Redefining Simplicity

IMG_20150808_073748There is something special about waking up to the sound of a rooster. It puts me back in touch with nature, with the simplicity of a way of life that once was (and if course still is for many).

A way of life where things have a slow pace, where life is guided by the seasons and the sun. As we passed by farms the other day on the way up to the mountains, I found myself feeling deep peace.

To rise with the sun, rest when it sets.

To be guided gently by the cycle of the moon.

To be in tune with the seasons and the different tastes and temperaments they bring.

There is something within me that yearns for that simplicity. I continue to shed layers, finding my way to my own version of simplicity and I know I am getting closer.

To wake as my body tells me to rise.

To write to begin my day with ritual and rhythm.

To connect my movement with breath.

To be present to the moment – I am still working on this one. It is a deeper layer, beyond the things I do and do not do. It is the layer of how I live my life.

The idea of simplicity is deeply connected to your yoga practice.

Your practice can begin simply and be guided by your body – what does it feel right now and what does it need?

They physical practice helps you uncover layers to get to the heart of who you are.

Even when you are on vacation, even in those times when the excuses pile up, you can come to your mat with the intention of simplicity.

Ask yourself why you are there, what you are searching for.

Sit rooted to the earth and reaching to the sky as you bring attention and awareness to your breath.

Stretch your spine long and then release what you do not need with some gentle twisting.

Link movement to breath as your body guides you to the poses that you need most in that moment. Choose with no judgement. Be open to the movement that comes and the possibility that opens up before you.

Trust yourself.

We are going to be exploring this and more in Creating Your Practice. I would love to have you join us.

With Love and Gratitude,
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Before we can begin, we have to get to the starting point

IMG_20150731_150853Yes, the practice of yoga extends far beyond the mat. It is the way we breathe, the way we face our struggles and our joys, the way we interact with others and of course with ourselves.

I believe the physical practice grounds us in all of this. In the physical practice, we ground down through out feet, our sits bones, our hands. We ground down in order to lift up, rise, and grow. Without the grounding, what do we have to build upon?

The physical practice forces us to do something that we spend most of our lives running from – it forces us to face ourselves.

You can create safe and sacred space on your yoga mat and it is in this space that you know you can let the world melt away. You can sink in and feel whatever arises. You can surrender the mental effort and learn to lead with your heart. You can trust that whatever arises is exactly what you need, and you can continue from that space to shine your truth.

All of this spreads out into your life in many ways. First, you must make it to your mat.

Now, this can be problematic for a lot of us because actually getting to the mat is sometimes the most difficult part of the practice. It takes a shifting of priorities and the ability to speak truth to your highest needs and desires.

The other day after class a student thanked me for acknowledging how difficult it can be to get to the mat. She expressed gratitude that I saw and understood that struggle.

Of course I do! I struggle just as much as the next person. There are days, weeks, months, when the struggle to the mat is stronger than others. And then I find my way back.

Once I am back I almost immediately sink into that place of, “oh right, this is why I love yoga so much.” It fuels me in so many ways, and I know it can fuel you too.

If you’re like so many of us who desire to practice and yet struggle with the act of making it to your mat, I’m excited to share that Creating Your Practice is open for registration again and we begin on September 13th, the final new moon before the autumnal equinox.

You can learn more and join us here. I hope you do.

With Love,
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The Ghosts of Our Psyche

IMG_20150725_094230Walking down the street on the way to teach a yoga class, I hear a song that takes me back almost 20 years.

“…only in my dreams…as real as it mean seem…”

On the streets of South Philly, coming from a radio on a man’s motorcycle, was Debbie Gibson.

I think it made my day. And I might still have my cassette tape, I’ll have to check.

This got me thinking about something I have been talking about in yoga classes recently.

We store memories so deeply. If you have seen Inside Out, you have had the pleasure of a visual explanation of part this. Our bodies, our brains, are so incredibly powerful.

Things we though were long forgotten or released come back to us in the most unexpected moments. Sometimes they take us by surprise, appearing like ghosts of the psyche.

We can work through a lot on a conscious level – talking, writing, creating our way through problems, emotions, and memories.

And yet the strongest fibers still remain, literally engrained in the tissues of our bodies, unable to be worked through and loosened in the same way.

So what do we do? Yoga.

Surrender some of this work, the work you have no conscious control over anyway, to your body. Just as you surrender the work of breathing 99.9% of the time, allow your body to release.

Sink into yoga poses and send your breath to those forgotten pockets deep within you, calling forth what is taking up space yet no longer positively serving you.

In the weeks to come, I will be sharing more about this and also sharing an exciting new offer with you. For now, breathe deeply.

With Love,
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The Truth about Modifications and Adjustments

A few months ago I was having a conversation with a friend about her yoga practice. This was my response to a perception she had about modified poses and adjustments. There is so much more I could say about so much of what I write here. For today, here is my message to you.

When you show up on your mat, it is *your practice*. That means that the ‘right’ way to do any pose is the way that gives you the most benefit. That is not going to look the same for anyone because our bodies are all so beautifully different. Think of teaching. When you try to teach a roomful of kids (or anyone) the same thing, it’s not going to land in the same way for everyone. Some will need to hear it explained in a different way. Some will need to see it, some experience it, and some will need to let it sink in over time. In many ways, yoga is the same.

The incredible thing about modifications and adjustments are that they are a doorway to learning more about yourself.

A pose that you thought you couldn’t do becomes one where you can discover your strength when you are guided to the understanding that you reap the benefits whether your knee is up or down.

The invitation to skip a vinyasa and take a few extra breaths in downward dog, child’s pose, or any other place where you can return to your breath is an invitation to listen to yourself.

The gentle assistance of a teacher in a pose that you may know well and feel strong in helps you to see that your strength goes even deeper than you realized.

None of this is judgment. None of this is wrong. Quite the opposite. It allows you the opportunity to meet yourself where you are, embrace it, and be with it.

Being with it can be scary so we often run. We tell ourselves we’re not good enough. We tell ourselves needing support or guidance is a bad thing. We tell ourselves we’ll never be quite who we want to be. We tell ourselves we don’t have the time, money, energy, space or opportunity. We tell ourselves so much that keeps us from living the life we want to be living.

Your practice of yoga is a chance to be with yourself. To explore where you’re holding on, where you’re letting go, where you are allowing and opening.

When you are open to receiving support that comes from a place of love, you are opening that door and stepping forward, ready to journey deeper into yourself.

With Love,
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The Journey of Yoga Mala

Yoga MalaI began a little after 6am. The light was hidden behind rain and clouds, yet it was beginning to emerge on the longest day of the year.

I gathered my stones, lit a candle, and came to my mat with intentions set.

To honor my past and release what was no longer needed.
To hold space for my present self and all the love.
To trust in my future.
To believe in my power to manifest my sacred becoming.

So I set out on the journey go traveling the yoga mala – 108 sun salutations to honor the wholeness of myself, the summer solstice, and International Yoga Day.

As with most journeys, it taught me what I am made of.

I marveled as I not once lost focus on my breath, as I sometimes do in my regular yoga practice. My breath guided my movement, told me when to rest, when to step instead of jump, and when to be fully immersed.

I learned I had the strength and power within me to accomplish what I set out to. At the start of the journey we are often filled with excitement and also with doubt. As I moved the stones and got closer to completion, the doubt began to melt away.

And here is the lesson I want to share with you.

You are capable of so much.

There is a strength inside of you that burns so bright – even if you have only had small glimpses of it, and even if those glimpses are yet to come – it is there.

With Love and Gratitude,
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Sometimes What We Think We Do Not Like is Exactly What We Need

The waves washed over my feet and I felt a strength I did not feel when I last let the ocean kiss my feet. Yes, something in the last year shifted deep within me and I could feel an unwavering confidence which I do not usually associate with the ocean. I enjoy being by the water, breathing in the air and opening my ears and soul to the sounds of the waves. Being in the water has never been a place of comfort for me.

This day, all I wanted was to be in the water. Every time I walked away, it beckoned me back and I have to believe that it is a sign that I have cultivated an inner strength that felt weaker a year ago. I have grown, and this is how I was able to see that growth that is so often intangible.

This shows up in my yoga asana practice as well.

A few weeks ago I was standing in my kitchen and suddenly found myself in Natarajasana. Coming into a yoga pose in a place as unsuspecting as my kitchen is quite normal for me (the other day I fit in a full 30 minutes of yin in my mother-in-law’s living room while we were hanging out). What took me by surprise was the strong desire to take a shape I typically shy away from. Natarajasana, for whatever reason, is one that my mind has programmed me to believe I do not like.

When we can trust our bodies more than our minds they will lead us to what we need.

Natarajasana evokes strength and power to me. Finding our strength while balancing on one leg, while stretching ourselves out in both directions, while creating circuits of energy between our hand and our foot as well as our fingers as they connect in jnana mudra. It necessitates taking up space, trusting that we can remain semi-still as the world keeps moving around us, believing in our own power, and knowing that we have all we need contained within us.

Maybe that day in the kitchen was a moment of Tarot-Yoga for me. Maybe I pulled that pose from somewhere deep within because I needed the medicine of what it had to offer me.

What do you know deep within you need? What might it unlock when you allow for it?

With Love and Gratitude,
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Clearing the Fog to Let Your Light Shine

Uncloud Your Light with nameYou throw a pebble into the pond and watch the ripples move outward from the center point. Although the pebble may have been small to begin with, it holds within it the essence of a pebble and so is able to spread its energy far beyond itself.

The pebble does not try to be something it is not. It does not hide behind labels. It does not try to convince itself or others that it is anything other than a pebble.

With our human thinking minds comes much greatness and creativity and also a clouding of our essence.

Your essence is a never-dimming light at the center of your being. Surrounding it are all of your experiences, beliefs, stories old and new, expectations – yours and others.

Imagine for a moment this bright light shining deep inside of you. Connect to the light with a deep and unwavering trust in its existence, even if you cannot feel it, even if you cannot find words to label it.

As we live our lives, we clutter our minds with stories and beliefs, many of which no longer serve us, and all of which create a fog around the light that is our unwavering essence.

When you begin to recognize the clutter for what it is, you can begin to peel back the layers to reveal your essence. You begin to learn what you value most and what you want to contribute to the world. You discover your essence, just as the pebble knows its own.

When you know your essence (mine is love), you know. You can feel its presence in your physical body and it becomes part of how you live your life. It resonates through your thoughts, words, and actions, and in doing so your essence spreads to those around you.

In my life, yoga has been one of the tools that has helped me to more clearly see my essence. When I am on my mat, so much of the clutter melts away and I am able to experience, if only for a brief period of time, the essence of my being. With that experience held in my heart, I can step off my mat and begin to do the work of releasing what I no longer need, lifting the cloud that surrounds my light.

And then my light shines brightly into the world, illuminating the light of other by the power of love.

With Love,
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