eight poses to survive the winter

Earlier today I was scooting through the new and slushy snow to my car, it started to gently rain. Well, the gentle rain might as well have been tiny steel balls being pelted at my achey, tired body. You could say winter doesn’t always agree with me.

 

Despite daily practice and a renewed commitment to really working on my body and my yoga, the cold air, cold snow and cold rain cause as much tension in my shoulders and lower back as holding plank pose with bad alignment for an hour. Cue yoga to the rescue (as always).

 

Here are the eight asana that have been saving my body this winter, undoing some of the tightness we see at this time of year.

1. Paschimottanasana – Seated Forward Fold – whether passive in a Yin practice, or active at the end of a sweaty vinyasa class, this pose relieves tight hamstrings. Forward bends also release and lengthen the spine, easing a contracted lower back.

 

2. Supta Baddha Konasana – Reclined Bound Angle Pose – this delicious passive pose is a balm for tight hips. It also softly opens the chest and shoulders, aids digestion and is great for headaches and menstrual cramps.

 

3. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana – Bridge Pose – A deeper opening for the shoulders and chest, I usually get a few “pops” out of my cervical vertebra (neck) during the active pose, and it feels good. Bridge also gently stretches the quads and hip flexors. Add a block or bolster under your sacrum for a passive version of the same pose.

 

4. Ardha Bekasana – Half Frog Pose – if you need a bigger quad stretch than Bridge pose, look no further. This pose requires a bit more activity and precision in the upper body, but is accessible to most people (a strap can be useful to find your back foot!)

 

5. Balasana – Child’s Pose – I know it’s really winter when Child’s Pose starts to feel like a big hip opener. My preferred method of child’s pose delivery mid-January? Two bolsters, one under your bottom, the other stacked on top of that. Stick a block under any extra “hang over” of the top bolster, fold forward and let go! Stay in this Restorative version of the pose about 10 minutes.

 

6. Gomukasana – Cow Face Pose – This pose targets the piriformis (outer hip/butt region) like GPS. You can add the arm variation to get into the chest and shoulders. Avoid any sharp or pinch-y sensations, taking Reclined Ankle-To-Knee is a good variation!

gomukasana pose

7. Jathara Parivartanasana – Simple Reclined Twist – Any variation of a twist on your back will detox your system, boost your digestive system and relieve aches in the lower back. Safest for the lower back is to be sure your hips are stacked!

 

8. Savasana – Corpse Pose – My home practice has included much longer Savasana than I might crave in the summer. In fact, my whole practice has been slowed down. When it’s cold outside we need more time to settle in each pose. Especially here! After 5 0r 6 minutes I am just beginning to experience total relaxation in my body. So I stay for 5 or 6 more minutes.

 

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I hope you are enjoying your own practice and staying connected through these winter months. What are you favorite poses right now? What helps you get through the cold months?

As always, Happy Wednesday and Namaste!

gratitude

Every year that passes I am amazed at the amount of gratitude my heart can hold. Each year it only seems to grow. I want to take this opportunity to express how grateful I am to everyone who has made my life so full. You are the individual colors that have created this palette, and painted my existence with rich and beautiful scenes.

To all of the students in my classes, my privates, the studio, thank you. I have the best job in the world and I couldn’t have it without you. There are many days driving home after a class when I think of the beautiful people and the graceful practices I witness, and tears come to my eyes. I’m not sure I could ever express how wonderful it is to share this practice which has changed my life, and to see it changing yours. I am indebted to all of you and will continue to bring you my best offerings, you deserve this and more.

To the family and friends who have supported me this year as in all the years before, I owe you everything. Many of you already know, I would be nowhere without you. You have seen me through my worst, and it is you who bring out my best. I’ve been given so much love, and I hope to bring you love in return.

I am grateful to the universe that has led me here, to the amazing man who loves me, supports me, and leads me to new depths in my heart. I am grateful to all of my teachers, and to every lesson and mistake along the way.

I hope that you and your loved ones are enjoying this day to be together and reflect on your own gratitude.

With all of my heart and its love, Thank You.

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transitioning through the fall

According to the tradition of Ayurveda (the science of life, an accompanying practice to yoga) fall is a Vata season. Vata is characterized by the elements of wind and air. A Vata season can bring with it Vata imbalances such as: dry skin; difficulty focusing; feeling frenetic, light-headed, or weak; trouble staying warm, or trouble sleeping; and indigestion.

If this sounds familiar, no worries! Our yoga practice, as always, offers us what we need during this transitional season. Yoga can help tight muscles feel looser, cold bodies feel warmer, and we reconnect with the strength and vitality of our energetic life force. Consistent practice improves sleep and digestion. Problem solved!

In your home practice, try some of these grounding and strengthening postures to balance space-y Vata.

Fall Home Practice for Grounding Energy and Opening the Hamstrings:

Begin in Child’s Pose. If your forehead does not comfortably rest on the floor in this pose, place a block under your forehead.

begin deepening your breath, particularly focus on your exhales taking long and full exhales. Press all the air out of your abdomen.

Come to hands and knees for Cat Cow Breaths

Find Downward Dog. Focus on engaging the legs strongly, maybe with bent knees. Draw your thighs up towards your hips and back.

Go through your preferred warm up, Sun Breaths, Sun Salutations, low lunges, etc. and build heat through your body.

Take long deep holds in your standing poses. I recommend Warrior I, Warrior II, and Side Angle. Take Fan Pose (pictured below) between sides and hold 10-15 breaths. Focus on grounding evenly and strongly into both feet throughout these postures. The ball of your foot and your heel press down, the arches of your feet lift, your toes are relaxed and spread.

At the front of your mat take chair pose and twisted chair. Add balances here if you’d like to work on your balancing postures, including arm balances and inversions.

Backbend: Balance your spine with three Dhanurasa (Bow Pose) or Setu Bhanda Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Hold Squat (Malasana) 5 – 10 breaths, if you have knee or hip concerns, try sitting on a block or two in this pose.

Hold your favorite Pigeon pose for 10 breaths on each side.

Seated Forward Bends: Take Paschimottanasana and Upavishta Konasana for 10 breaths each (both pictured below)

Balance and Detox: Add your favorite seated or reclined twist for 5 – 10 breaths per side, you can also add Shoulder Stand and Plough pose here.

Savasana for 5+ minutes to energize and harmonize your body, breath and mind.

Enjoy!

Have you tried this practice? Please let me know your experience or contact me with any questions or for injury modifications.

Happy Wednesday!

Namaste

we do it anyway

After years of work, I am starting to see my inversion practice changing. I’m not floating across the sky just yet, but I am beginning to find core control in these challenging and exciting postures.

This has had me thinking about the physical practice, and more specifically about goals and achievements. If we are not supposed to be “goal oriented” in our practice, how does the diligent work I’ve been doing on handstand fit in? Is it okay for me to want to master handstands, or does that make me pushy and egotistic?

It seems silly when we talk about it this way, but I think these are really questions that come up for my students, and I know they can come up in my own mind as well. I don’t consider myself pushy, or a “type A” yogini. I’m perfectly fine to sit out a vinyasa, to take child’s pose, to opt for Gentle instead of Intermediate if that’s what my body is asking for. On the other side, I’m also willing to challenge my edge, reach a little deeper and find a little more, if my body says that it’s okay to do that. And, at least to me, that’s the answer.

Is it okay to have physical goals in your practice? Yes. Wanting to balance without a wall in your handstand is not actually that far away from the student who starts yoga to heal their torn hamstring. Increasing your body’s stamina, strength and flexibility is incredibly beneficial, and not only for the sake of sitting for hours in deep meditation. If you live in this modern world, you want your body to be prepared. You want to have physical and mental health, both, in abundance, and your asana practice will help. And how do our fancy poses fit in? Scorpion and Formidable and drop-backs? Well, there is a place for them, just like there is a place for child’s pose.
It’s all a balance, but chances are, you already knew that.

It’s okay to enjoy the beauty of your advanced postures, just like it’s okay to enjoy blissful restorative postures. The question you should really be asking yourself is: Does all of you love the pose, or is it just your ego? If every time you practice headstand you have an aching neck and you feel dizzy and light-headed, you don’t love headstand. Even if you are mentally saying “YES! I’m doing it and this is awesome! I AM AWESOME!” What you are really doing is probably creating injury, and you should go back to the headstand drawing board. It may be that you just need some alignment tweaking, but perhaps you are attempting a pose that you aren’t ready for, and that is certainly an ego thing.  Now re-read that and insert the name of any pose you are working on, where do you stand?

Advanced asana can make us feel strong, flexible, capable. We build confidence (which ELIMINATES ego). There are innumerable benefits for our organs, muscles, bones and overall well-being in advancing our practice. It is okay to want to go further. Just make sure that you are respecting your body’s limitations. Be sure that you are willing to put in the time to build the strength, the stability, the opening, and to practice it. Advancing your physical yoga practice takes years and years, don’t ask it to show up over night. Keep practicing, regardless of the results. Try, fail, try again. Do it anyway. And, when you need to step back for any reason, step back. That elusive backbend will only get further away if you push too far. Believe me, I know.

In the mean time I’ll be taking boat pose and working on my hand stands.

Happy Thursday!

Namaste

bigger

I had an experience recently that reminded me of my own ego. And even though it wasn’t awful, or entirely my fault, it didn’t feel good to be there.

Let me explain. Even though I’m a yoga teacher (which unfortunately is not different from being any other human), I get swept away sometimes in my own storyline. The little drama of what’s happening in my life, with my dog, my car, me. It’s not bad or wrong to have some interest in your own storyline, you should have concern for your family, your well-being, and your place in this world. However, we all sometimes get so wrapped up in our little dramas, and what we want and what we “deserve,” that we can become ignorant to others. We miss signals from our friends and family that they may actually need our support. And then what?

Well then one day you realize how much suffering someone else might actually have, and you? You feel like an ass.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Fortunately for us, there is something we can do. And it’s probably what you’re already doing if you are reading this page. It’s your practice. Simple, sweet, effective.

Every time we step onto our mats, or our meditation cushions, and we resolve to listen to our bodies and listen to our breath, we are giving the ego-mind some time off. Then we can listen to the other part of our mind, the bigger mind. Where the ego is lonely, isolating and shrewd; the bigger mind is connected, spacious and loving. It is from this place that we can find true empathy, that we can relate best to our families, friends, and communities (local and global). Although we use the ego-mind to protect and defend these relationships that we love, it is the bigger-mind that creates and maintains our relationships. When you practice you connect to this part of the mind, just by stepping outside of the ego space.

Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor has some amazing writings on this topic. She is a scientist who was studying the brain when she suffered a stroke in her left brain. She was able to study and document her stroke from the inside out and had the amazing experience of living entirely in the right brain. She discovered that it was the left brain that creates sense of individuality, self, separateness and the right brain feels limitless, does not differentiate between self and other, and her experience of this side of the brain was euphoric.  She’s written a book about this My Stroke of Insight, available in most places where books are available. Not much of a reader? You can watch her TED Talk on the subject and pretend you are!

In the meantime, happy Tuesday!

creating a home practice

My home practice is becoming more and more important to me lately. It’s also something that students often ask me about. What mine looks like, and what they can do for their own. It is SO incredibly beneficial to establish a home practice. That doesn’t mean don’t come in to class, class with a teacher who can observe you, correct you and assist you is going to keep you safe, deepen your practice, and educate you. This is where you learn the tools that you will need to bring home and build your practice independently.

At the same time, if you want to have a very dedicated and consistent practice, it is not reasonable to think you will always be in class. There are few of us, who are admittedly very lucky, who are able to make it to a yoga class that suits their specific needs every day. Even if you normally ARE able to make a class everyday, maybe there is a day you want something more supported, maybe there is a day you want something more individually targeted, or maybe you are traveling. Don’t skip your practice on these days! Just bring it to your home, your office, your hotel room, or your backyard!

I spent the weekend in Rhode Island with friends, some of whom are dedicated yogis themselves, and we set up a beautiful home practice in the back yard of our home for the weekend, right on the water! It was beautiful, we were motivating each other, and we had a gorgeous spacious atmosphere:

Rhode Island Practice

But, I will also say, it is rare I have a space like this to practice in. And if you are waiting for this scene to start your home practice, it’s not going to happen. In fact, if you are waiting for a space like this to practice, you will probably skip your practice even when you are in this space. That’s the way it goes, no consistency, no practice.

So I will show you what my home practice usually looks like:

My bedroom, small but sufficient.
my bedroom: small but sufficient, and Preston can supervise from the bed.

My room is smaller than many, although compared to my life as an urban New Yorker, it seems huge. I have space for my mat, I can turn it to the wall for any poses at the wall, I don’t need anything else for a deep and meaningful practice. This morning my practice incorporated the sounds of the construction workers in my driveway, jack hammering, spitting and swearing. It didn’t bother me one bit, in fact, I think being at home actually makes it easier for me to let go of these distractions, in the peaceful walls of my very own bedroom filled with my favorite things. Truthfully, there is more space here than in a crowded class, and we have all practiced with a half-inch of space on all sides between us and someone else. It may not be in your bedroom, but surely there is somewhere large enough for your mat to unroll in your home! There certainly is in most hotel rooms.

So, space, check! Now, what are you going to practice? I know it’s overwhelming if you are not a teacher to think of creating a whole practice on your own, but there are some simple guidelines you can use to create a rich and yummy practice with poses you already remember from class. If that is still too intimidating, there are tons of yoga DVDs, and websites with practices led by wonderful teachers, you can find one you like and use that at home until you’re ready to explore on your own! Here are my own basic guidelines for building a practice at home that will satisfy and create space:

start slow: let your first few poses be very simple stretches, laying on the floor, sitting cross-legged, or kneeling. Take them slow and go for feel good over depth

warm up: flow through some sun salutations to warm up your body, take as many or as few as you’d like but keep in mind, your heart rate should come up a little and your body should feel warm and even sweaty after this section. (a sun salutation means standing, folding forward, taking a vinyasa, holding down dog, folding forward and then standing again! if you’ve taken yoga, you’ve done these in some variation before)

standing poses for strength: whatever lunges you would like, warrior I, warrior II, variations, do what feels good and challenges you here. Try to incorporate some that feel more like work and some that feel more like a stretch (triangle or other leg stretches). You can have fun making up variations of these poses to target the parts of your body you were hoping to work.

twists and core work: boat pose, twisted chair, twisted lunges, boat pose with twists! It doesn’t matter if it’s a “real pose” just do what feels good.

have fun: arm balances, inversions, backbends, balances… all of the above? What strikes your fancy? As a rule, unless you are a teacher, you shouldn’t try something at home that is new to you. Learn these tougher poses in class with the support of someone who knows them, but if you are comfortable with them in the studio, why not take them to your mat at home!

cool down: stretch at the wall, on the floor, or whatever else feels like “mmm, good” at the end of your practice.

savasana: enough said. Don’t forget to take a few minutes in this neutral, relaxing space to absorb the benefits of your work.

Your home practice can be as long or as short as you need it to be. Whatever you’d like! And that feels good. So get your mat out and start exploring, and don’t be afraid to ask me, or your regular teacher, for advice about building your practice at home!

Happy Monday! Now go do some yoga!

seva, and how it really serves you

Seva is a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service.” It’s considered an important part of yoga in fact, of the four major paths of classical yoga, one is Karma Yoga, which is the yoga of serving others. (The other three styles being Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion, music, chanting and art; Jnana Yoga, the yoga of knowledge, study and intellect; and Raja Yoga, the most familiar path of meditation, pranayama and asana.)

 

I have always considered Karma Yoga and seva to be important for spiritual growth, but have also always considered that being a “very busy person,” (which quite frankly, who isn’t these days?), that my Karma Yoga was donating to different organizations, participating in fundraising events, and being generous with friends and peers. Don’t get me wrong, these things are good things to do, they are simple acts that do help in the long run to make the world a more friendly, more comfortable place for other people, but at best these acts are still small.

 

Recently, I was given a few opportunities to really make seva a part of my regular life. And gratefully, I accepted. I was lucky to participate in a community performance of the Vagina Monologues in April which raised several thousand dollars for two separate organizations serving abused or needy women in Fairfield County, CT. This performance also raised a lot of awareness about the abuse and violation of women world-wide and really gave me an opportunity to get in touch with my own feminism and the power that I had personally as a woman to serve other women. By participating in this performance and the community of women it drew, I connected with my own need to help women in my community. You can find out more about Eve Ensler’s work and how you can get involved, here.

 

As my own karma would have it, a couple of months later I was given another amazing opportunity for helping women in my community when my home studio connected me with a staff member at Project Return. Project Return is an amazing organization working with young women in crisis, there is a residence for at-risk girls as well as several off site programs. For the last couple of months I’ve been teaching a class for the girls in the house as well as the staff members on duty. Kaia Yoga donated their space so the girls get to come in to the studio and leave the house for yoga, which seems so simple but can be really exciting when your life consists of group therapy, high school and living with a handful of other girls dealing with a wide range of problems. Imagine being at the awkward high school age and on top of it living in a house where it is not uncommon for three or four other high school age girls to have an emotional melt down all at the same time, complete with screaming, door slamming etc. Let’s just say that they all need yoga, for sure.

 

I’ve so enjoyed working with these girls, only yesterday one girl, 16 years old, told me she secretly dreams to grow up and be a yoga teacher, too. It warmed my heart and I was smiling the entire day thinking of how this could really be a possible dream for this girl. Working with these really wonderful young girls, and the amazing staff who support them, has been a hugely heart opening experience for me. I am ALWAYS in a better mood after I see them then before. And in fact, I’ve been so inspired by this experience that I am hoping to continue volunteering with them outside of the yoga room as well, spending time with the girls in their house and mentoring them during this really volatile time in their lives. This hasn’t been confirmed yet, but I am sure the staff and I will find some ways for me to participate in Project Return in a fuller capacity.

 

The truth is, the more I spend time in service of others, the better I am feeling in my own body and mind, and isn’t that what yoga is all about? So, selfishly, I am now seeking new ways to participate in my community all the time. There is little that takes you out of your own problems the way that working with others can. And particularly to see the work that can be done just simply in your own back yard certainly reminds me of how fortunate I am. And not in the pretentious “I’m so lucky not to be in THEIR shoes” kind of way. I feel fortunate to share smiles, laughs, and particularly to share YOGA while helping to brighten the day of someone who’s days maybe aren’t so bright. Even though my schedule can get full, I am finding myself actually carving out the space to add more service work into my life because of how meaningful it has been for me.

 

What are some ways you can get involved in your community? What’s your passion and how can you carry that into service for others?

 

As always, Happy Thursday!

 

Namaste

when there isn’t any time

I could tell you about my summer, and how busy I have been assisting a 200 Hour Teacher Training (which was a great opportunity and wonderful experience).
I could tell you how lovely it is to have the time and the capability to spend the summer with friends listening to great music, going to new places, exploring neighborhoods new and old.

 

I could give you a bunch of excuses as to why I haven’t written a blog post in over a month… but in the end what difference does it make, really?

We all are busy sometimes, and our busy-ness can come from any number of sources. Work, friends, birthdays, new relationships, old relationships, tragedies, opportunities, joys, etc.

 

Whatever the source, sometimes we find ourselves short on time and up on commitments and what happens to our yoga in these situations? I know some of my teachers maintain a daily home practice each morning of about 90 minutes. I know many more people who do not have a practice like that and would not even know where to start.

 

For myself, my practice this summer has looked pretty different: I have been taking group class and workshops probably about one a week. I’ve been in several trainings that included a lot of practice. I’ve gone running maybe once each week. It doesn’t sound so bad, but it is certainly not what I am accustomed to. So to make up for what I felt I was missing, I have been practicing more on my own, and looking at my practice in a less rigid way.

 

The trouble is, for most of us if we are quite busy then we are probably also quite tired. If we are quite tired, the thought of dragging ourselves onto our mats and practicing a sweaty vinyasa yoga sequence sounds insane. I barely have enough energy sometimes to practice sitting-on-my-couch-asana, but these are the times when I can most use a practice. When my day is busy and crazy and my energy is low, I allow my practice to be something restorative. Perhaps some supported postures close to my mat where I can breathe and renew. Perhaps it’s meditation at my altar for 20 minutes of recharging. Perhaps the one class I made it to was a Gentle Yoga class. Or, when I have tons of energy, tons of time and I want to balance THOSE aspects, then a sweaty Vinyasa practice at home or in the studio is perfect!

 

The truth is: it’s all good! Meditation, Relaxation, Vinyasa, or just a few minutes of headstand, whatever you’d like to practice go for it! Don’t let your own expectations of what your practice should look like prevent you from practicing. If you have 20 minutes, practice for 20 minutes, whatever you want. A few seated forward bends and a savasana will do wonders for your day and your mood. Don’t discount a practice because it is “too short” or “too mellow,” what is your alternative? Doing nothing.

 

This summer what I have needed was to let go of my ideas about mastering handstand and work with the calming and grounding aspects of yoga that I so needed. A couple of poses and savasana followed by some meditation and I am able to handle my day, teach classes that meet my own standard and be present for my students and my life.
So what is stopping you? Practice, however, whenever you need it. And let your practice come to meet your standards, it should never be any other way.

wanderlust! pt three

in which i fall even more deeply in love with elena brower, and myself

I first met Elena Brower last year at Wanderlust. She was assisting a teacher workshop taught by John Friend. I knew who she was, of course, you can only do yoga for so long before you hear her name, stumble across her blog (The Art of Attention), or notice one of her Mindful Smacks being spread around the interweb. But meeting her last year in action, well, that was something else. Elena was adjusting me in Downward Dog, she wrapped her arms around me and held my rib cage and my shoulders in place (I tend to collapse, as some of us do). Then she did something that blew my mind, she pressed the space between my shoulders to open my heart without letting me collapse. That’s not so remarkable. What’s remarkable is that she did this by nuzzling her head and face into the back of my heart.

So this is the kind of adjustment that would only fly with someone you know well, or at a gigantic yoga festival full of excited and bright eyed devotees. I fell into that second category since I had never laid eyes on Elena before, but from that moment, I was in love. I rearranged my schedule to take more of her classes, she adjusted me more and more. She taught my body things it had been trying to learn for years. I have spent the last year of my practice trying to recreate the alignment she so easily taught my body. I haven’t, but I’m getting there.

I knew this year that I wanted to dedicate some time to seeing her again.

I took two workshops with her this past weekend, the first Interior Relationship, was an Advanced practice that focused on cultivating the relationship you have with your yoga. We did a lot of movement with the eyes closed, brought more attention to the deeper muscle layers in the body, released the Psoas (a muscle that is said to have a direct relationship to your emotions) and went slowly and deeply through a really beautiful practice. Garth Stevenson played us softly through on the cello (or perhaps it was a bass?). This was such a skillfully crafted practice, led in such a way as not to intrude on your personal experience but to deepen the intimacy of your connection without invading that sacred space. Truly, I felt upon leaving a new depth of connections and an incredibly special kind of bond to my body and heart. It was beautiful beyond belief and I’m incredibly grateful to Elena for her skill in leading me to this place. I was expecting clever alignment and poignant meditation, but received so much more than that.

The next day I took a Restorative workshop with Elena, again accompanied by Garth. We did some standing poses, a little warm up, and then a few deep backbends with minimal props (really just one bolster and my rolled mat towel). Although I prefer more propping, the depth of these poses was a nice balance to the activity of Wanderlust and was a great release to prepare me for the next day. Garth’s music was lovely again, there is a softness in the way he plays that creates a gorgeous atmosphere without drawing so much attention to the music. This is a great skill and a great gift for a yoga practice. The vibration of his instrument was felt in the body and the air of the space.

I was not disappointed by Elena this year, in fact, I was blown away even more than last year. Some of the deepest and most meaningful time I spent at Wanderlust was on my mat in her workshops. It is something rare and very special to me that I find a teacher who can lead me to myself, without inserting themselves into my experience. It is my personal goal to be such a guide for my students and so inspiring to be led by a teacher who has achieved that balance. The intimacy of these practices had me practically blushing on my way back out to the WanderWorld.

It is a goal of mine for this year to make it in to the city for workshops and practice with her. Her graceful slow style of teaching is absolutely inspiring to me as a teacher and student. There are classes that I take for my students, to learn to be a better teacher. Elena’s are classes that I take for myself, to learn to be a better human.

Forever grateful, Namaste.

wanderlust! part two

So I made it up to Vermont last night by 10 o’clock and went straight into the Wanderlust village for a beer and a chat before Kirtan.

Gaura Vani was amazing! I’m so excited that he’ll be playing with Sita and the Hanumen at Kaia in a few weeks. He blended Eastern and Western musical traditions in a way that was fun and spiritual at once. My hands were pulsing from clapping along. If you’ve never experienced kirtan before, I encourage you to give it a try. It’s a little more “woo woo” than some of our other practices, but the tradition of chanting is much more about the vibration and the letting go than it is about any particular belief system. For me, it’s about connecting with my own rhythm and opening the subtle energetics of the body through song. Pretty powerful and neat stuff!

This morning was a Mandalasana workshop with Schuyler Grant of Kula Yoga. Wow! Tough stuff but a really rewarding payoff when I was able to experience the full movement of the pose for the first time in my life. I’m eager to keep playing with that in my own practice at home! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, think headstand in your upper body. Now think of your lower body walking around in a circle while your upper body remains still. If you still don’t know what I’m talking about… Google!

I’ve got Elena Brower (a personal FAVORITE) and Rodney and Colleen Yee this afternoon, and Ani DiFranco performing tonight, I am feeling pretty blessed!

Until later, Happy Friday!