Saturday, December 17, 2011

Love and Devotion

Grace.  My friend, Ishwar Puri, says that God's Grace is continuously flowing down to us.  Grace is what allows us to live with joy, beauty and love.  We are like a cup and where we focus our attention is what we are being filled up with.  This week I am once again trying to keep my cup upward and allowing myself to "catch" the grace.   I focus on the love and music in my heart, I stay connected to that and allow my light to shine.  Everything and everyone around me seems to be more beautiful, joyful and loving.

If we keep putting our attention on the world out there, with all it's dramas, heartache, suffering, economic strife, our cups will become drained, empty and bleak.  Especially this time of year as we enter the darkest time on the earth - the Winter Solstice - let's spend some time together and reflect on the light - reflect on gratitude, love, and giving and notice the beauty right in front of you, right here and now.

Namaste my friends.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How to Find Happiness

1.  Let go of being attached to every outcome in every thing.  2.  Meditate.  3. Where to find happiness:  Look within yourself.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What You Focus on Grows

In yoga practice, we begin to focus on learning poses, then realizing that there is more we have not explored about ourselves: body, our mind, our spirit, than we realized.  Each day my practice is to direct my mind to what I can do, what I want to create, rather than my fears.  This is not easy today.  Today I wake up and know that there are many obligations I have.  There are bills to pay, a business to grow, and my studio has been too quiet the past few months.  I have woken up like this almost everyday for the past 4 years.  Every day I shift my attention to what I can create to make a difference in the lives of those I meet.

If you are reading this, you are someone who cares about these things too.  So lets focus on this together.  What kind of life do you want?  What kind of world do you want to live in?  I find that when I talk with people about this, whoever is present gets excited about new possibilities.  So today, start a conversation with someone.  Tell them your dreams.  Your dreams will remain dormant unless you share them.

My dream is to see a thriving yoga business in my studio, to see many people coming in and out, sharing their joy in their yoga practice.  These people go home and their joy spreads to their families.  These families go out into their own lives and activities and the joy is then exponentially spread!  Get excited about your dreams and talk about them.  What a world we do live in!  A world in which our perceptions are what creates our realities.  If you want to get inspired, just look around you!  There is a world of inspiration waiting for you to just look!  Here is a video that inspired me yesterday:  Biker

Have a beautiful day!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Get ready for the 40 day yoga challenge!

November 1st through December 10th, 2011.  What would you want to get out of practicing yoga in a 40-day challenge?  Peace of mind? Clear mind? Lose weight? Sleep better? Improve your digestion? Support? Send me a message and tell me what you would want or ask a question. email:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yoga - Connecting Mind/Body

This journey of yoga is about connecting mind & body.  The spirit directs this journey.  The spirit or soul, wants what is best for you.  The mind sometimes does, sometimes does not.  How can we get the mind to cooperate?  When you decide to practice yoga and you hear that a daily practice is good for you, that the body/mind needs a day of rest...what happens next?

I know what happens to me.  I may stay up a little too late reading, or drink one too many cups of coffee, or watch a movie that I don't start until 9 pm, knowing I really could sleep in.  No one is making me get up early to meditate. . . really.  This is my mind hijacking me.

So how do you get going?  How do you have a regular practice?  You just do it.  You get on your mat or sit and close your eyes and you practice.  Everyday.  Simple.  It is the mind that complicates things.

But what about the mind/body connection?  That is where it can get interesting and habitually addictive.  After many years of practicing, paying attention to the feelings and sensations in my body in different poses, I can even feel the energy of the nervous system.  Bringing attention to any thing... you can grow your sensory awareness.  What if you practice doing this in the body?  What is possible in your life too?

Where in your life would more awareness benefit you?  How about in relationships with others?  What if you knew exactly where you could direct your attention and energy to make the most difference in each moment?  Is this possible?  I think it is possible to strive towards that and that this is the journey worth taking.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Invest in a . . . and save the world.

Fill in the blank yourself.  I just watched a short video saying invest in a girl and save the world.  As if just focusing on girls will do it!  We need to invest in all of our children.  By invest I don't mean money. . . I mean invest your attention and time.  It does not need to be alot of time.  Just a moment when you are completely present with another human being - see and listen to that person - see them as the amazing being they truly are underneath the covering of the body.  When we can do that which each and every person we meet, then the world will not need saving.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Thank you angels for saving my son from something worse than wrapping his pick up truck around a tree.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I wish you great good in your life, now and always.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Yoga Cold Remedy #1

I taught a beautiful hatha practice this morning to my level 2-3 students - I did some of the poses with them and talked them through some of the sensations you can become aware of during a yoga practice.  I started experiencing a scratchy throat, mild fever and stuffy nose yesterday and today it is settling in a bit.  However, I have been taking naps for 2 days in a row (getting ready for my 3rd after writing this!).

I just had to share this!  About 15 minutes into the class, my sinuses drained, my voice became stronger, and I felt a surge of energy in my body.  That is my #1 yoga cold remedy:  practice yoga daily and get plenty of rest, healthy food & water.  I actually feel great in spite of having a cold.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fav Homeopathic Remedies #2...

There's a chill in the air - Minnesota!  I woke up with a bit of a pre-cold runny nose/throat thing this morning and now I know what my fav #2 homeopathic remedy is!!!  It is called Muco coccinum!  It comes in a package with 10 tablets.  Those 10 tablets are enough to keep you and one or two other family members healthy in the respiratory system for the winter!  Now I am not selling this, and it's funny - in our country - the good old USA - I get nervous saying that - because people are not allowed to say, in our country, that anything heals something.  I didn't say that though.  Muco coccinum is a remedy that will "trick" your immune system to think it is being attacked by a cold, pneumonia, flu or bronchitis causing virus and your immune system will rally to defend itself, thus giving you that added boost to protect you - much like a vaccine - but with NO side-effects.
awesome!  You can buy it online btw : ) - just google it!

Monday, September 19, 2011

My favorite homeopathic remedies: #1 Arnica

Arnica - homeopathic arnica is indicated for "trauma to soft tissues".  I have taken it before & after a surgery and it helped me not lose much blood; I gave it to my children when they got a bruise or took a major tumble as they were growing up; after childbirth to help to recover faster, after any emotional/mental/physical strain.  I took it once after being in a fire (our garage burned down - almost with me in it).  I know Arnica works, I had very clear indications:  bruises disappearing or swelling going down literally almost in front of my eyes, and when my son Josh was a mobile baby he fell on his head 3 times - from heights of 4 to 6 feet - never once did he shed more than a few tears over it as we had arnica on hand - the sooner you administer it the better - bruises didn't even develop sometimes when there was obviously a nasty fall.  It's also great if you are a runner - take it to prevent muscle fatigue and trauma - recovery is much faster.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Holistic Health and Yoga

I don't know if you know this about me as I always write about yoga and meditation: before I taught yoga, I taught people about natural healing.  Homeopathy, reiki, nutrition, herbs, acupressure, weight loss - these are the tools I taught about.  There are so many options available that actually work!

There is also alot of confusion about these options. We read in the media that a certain herb is good for something, then we read somewhere else that a certain way of eating is good for something else and we start to see so many options that we think we can't possibly take all of these in, get overwhelmed and just give up and end up eating what everyone else around us is eating. This can be okay or not depending on how healthy you and your family & friends actually are.

I feel fortunate that I started out pretty sick and now I'm not.  I had nothing to lose by trying out different natural healing methods.  I was constantly struggling with my weight (my father was very overweight most of his life); constantly getting colds (even bronchitis & possibly pneumonia once) and whenever I exercised, ended up injuring myself.

Before I shifted my diet and lifestyle so dramatically, I had bladder and kidney infections about every other month.  I even went to see a specialist - a urologist - to find out why I kept getting sick.  After a painful test, when the "specialist" said idiopathic (translation "we don't know why"), I gave up on medicine.  I prayed.  Then a new friend showed up in my life.

She was a vegetarian and went to a naturopathic doctor.  Since I was desperate for something new and intrigued by her health & vitality, I went for it.  Within 3 months, my bladder and kidney infections that I had suffered through for 8 years, ended.  My healing path began.

I then had a voracious appetite for knowledge of holistic, natural healing modalities.  Long story, many years later, I now have a certification in Natural Therapies, Certificate in Holistic Weight Management and Wellness Coaching.  I have also studied yoga now and it's therapeutic effects for much of the past decade or more.  I also have a B.S. in Psychology and Reiki Master/Teacher.

Healing takes place at many levels - the gross physical to emotional-mental to the spiritual.  True healing takes place at all of these levels and if you want to go down that path, the answers you seek will find you.

Since 1986 when I started on the road to wellness, I have completely transformed my own health and also helped many others along the way.  I recognize that there also is a political battle and financial battle in this country over health care.   Every year the pharmaceutical industry gets some senator or congressman to introduce a bill to take away our right to purchase some vitamin (or all of them) or herbs, or even to take away our right to find this information!  Even now, many vitamin companies are in danger of having to close shop because there is a bill that takes away our right to buy vitamins without a doctors prescription!

Now - I know we do not have to take "vitamins" - research shows that whole foods are what the body recognizes for food & healing.  However, there are some really great supplements out there that are whole-food based  - not chemically created individual vitamins - that are having a tremendous impact on individuals health & wellbeing.  And these supplements have decades of research backing up their claims!

Also homeopathic medicine and herbal medicines have hundreds of years of success at helping people with minimal or no side-effects.

We MUST learn about these and pass this knowledge onto others for future generations.  Knowing how to heal our bodies and help our loved ones too, empowers us.  Now is the time to take your life and health into your own hands!

Grow your own food if you can - eat more fruits and vegetables. Cut out meat; sugar & dairy products (all of these can make you sick if you eat them too often).  Read about natural ways of healing your body too!  Do you know that water is one of the most healing substances ?  Many of our ills are from dehydration?!

Since I began practicing yoga daily, I have had little in the way of health challenges.  The supplement I have  eaten for more than 20 years - is spirulina (I have bought from the same company - see - that's me - if you get a $35 lifetime membership it's 20% discount on it and less costly than co-op spirulina!).

When my cat is sick, I use food and homeopathic remedies and water that is reverse osmosis filtered.  My cat has not been sick since we started with that water and some food for sensitive digestion that has pro-biotics in it.

When raising my children, their medicine was homeopathic remedies and herbal teas and healthy food.  Why does yoga keep me healthy?  Well, the daily practice keeps my whole circulatory system, lymphatic and muscular, cellular and neurological system clean (detoxified), massaged inside & out, oxygenated and energized (with breathing/prana) and balanced.

Spiritually, emotionally, mentally I am healthier because of my meditation and spiritual life.  I read uplifting spiritual texts, I pray, I take time out everyday to meditate and contemplate and connect with God.

Socially, I stay in communication with the people I love.  And I balance it out with plenty of alone time.  I rest enough, eat healthy, entertainment is also positive and uplifting.  I am in charge of what I put into body and mind.

It is time to do this and to share this with others.  I will continue to share with you this knowledge and get into more detail in this blog.  Check back again soon, I will post some information on homeopathy next time.



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Seasons Change - What about change?

Today I am reminded of the nature of change.  It is always occurring and I catch myself resisting it, again.  Once more I surrender and allow it in.  Why do I resist and try to zone out?  What am I resisting? When I ask myself that, I remember something I read in the Bhagavad Gita - that as human beings, our greatest driving motivation is pleasure, and if that is so, then we are strongly motivated to resist anything uncomfortable.  Change is uncomfortable.

I relax again, noticing my breathing, being aware of my muscles being tense, consciously relax them, then ahhh, throw on a shawl while I sit at my laptop.

The body adapts to the change in seasons too.  If we are aware of this and provide the nutrients we require, this time of year is a great time to keep eating those greens, start adding squash to our diets, all of the bright yellow and oranges give our bodies the vitamin A (via beta carotene) that we need to have healthy mucous membranes.  What that means is we are more resistant to virus taking hold!  Cleaner diets mean stronger resistance to those seasonal colds.  Avoiding sugar, other processed foods and animal products that steal our energy while adding these vegetables in generous (nature's abundant now!) portions, we revitalize ourselves.  Doing our asana practice- if only for 15 minutes each morning, keeps our organs and digestive system operating at peak efficiency.  Don't forget the water too.  Most of us are dehydrated, drinking pure water also protects us from all kinds of ills.  Some doctors say that drinking 2-3 glasses of water first thing in the morning before anything else will take care of just about anything that ails you.

One more thing - I add a few extra nutrients to my daily regimen:  spirulina everyday, some added fish oil on occasion and the calcium/magnesium supplement (whole food based).  Sometimes I add some vitamin C to my diet, but I try to get most of what I need by eating a plant-based diet and not overeating.  Overeating clogs up the digestive system and actually prevents you from absorbing the nutrition from your food, thus creating a vicious circle of lack of nutrients and excessive hunger.  Longevity research has proven that those who are slightly underweight live longer than if you are carrying around extra pounds.  I find that I am much more energetic if my meals are smaller and I eat my 3 a day.  My smoothie in the morning, late morning snack, late lunch & light supper.

If you want more of these type of tips and some great coaching support, try my "Boost Your Metabolism" 6 week program.  You will likely shed some pounds, and very likely boost your energy level.  We are also going to have Mary Battista's one hour workshop (power packed) called "Eating for Energy" on Sept. 30 at 11 am in the studio.   Also in September "Know Your BodyType" with Asavari Manvikar - another piece of the wellness puzzle is knowing your body type and what types of foods balance you or throw you out of balance.  (sign up for Asavari's workshop through Eden Prairie Community Ed's website).

So Change?!  I'm so excited for it - bring it on!  Namaste

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

40 day challenge nearing the end

How has your challenge been going?  Time to comment!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 26 Practicing Yoga

I wrote on the other blog today - for the 40 Day yoga challenge, here's the link

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 19 of 40

Something has shifted today.  I woke up to the sound of clapping.  3 claps.  No one was in the room.  Then Angus hollered from the kitchen "what did you say honey?".  He too heard something - a voice.  I knew then that  today was going to be a very special day!  I began with meditation and have been continuing my day with working on my new website, a break to clean the kitchen, then back to it.  I wanted to share this joy and excitement with you as soon as possible!  Today is a very special day - just watch for it - every moment something very special is going to show up for you today.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 10 of 40 day challenge

So The toughest part of a 40-day challenge.  The challenge, for me, is staying present to being in a challenge!  I forget!  Then I remember there is a group of people in this with me.  The past few days my challenge has been to stay in this game I have created to play - my life.

There are days, yes even for a yoga teacher/studio owner, where I feel like just hiding at home in bed.  I get overwhelmed by all of the many tasks that I am supposed to do.  My mind gives me multiple lists, I imagine that I must be missing something and that the house of cards called my life will come tumbling down if I miss that one thing!

Then it passes.  In the next moment, the next breath, I pay attention to NOW.  Right now, nothing is wrong!  There is no major disaster happening, the world is peaceful outside of my screened door, I can hear the birds singing!  Beyond those birds, I hear the traffic on the highway.  People driving to work or to vacation (it is Friday) and once again my mind tries to break free to think about all of the energy wasted, the noise, the pollution.  Once again, I rein in the mind and re-direct the thoughts...People will never stop moving!  It's so funny - we will keep traveling and keep seeking a way to do that and we all do care deeply about our planet.
Some of us just are not aware of that at the moment.

So do you see the mind-game?  The mind will not stop thinking.  The discipline of yoga is to keep reining it in, to keep bringing the attention back to the present moment.  To gain control over the monkey mind.  Which, by the way, is an impossible task.  So I practice ignoring my thoughts, re-directing my thoughts, and laughing at my thoughts.  It can be amusing you know - OH!  There's THAT ONE AGAIN! Ha ha ha ha haaaaahhh!

Keep it up - the practice of yoga.  Asana, pranayama, the yamas and niyamas, meditation, keep practicing.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yoga Prairie Studio: Nagin Sanghavi - a 93 year old teacher - how does he do it?

Yoga Prairie Studio: Nagin Sanghavi - a 93 year old teacher - how does he do it?

Nagin Sanghavi - a 93 year old teacher - how does he do it?

I have sat by Nagindas' side for 3 talks now and today & tomorrow one more each day is coming.  He chose two subjects: Hindu god's & goddesses and what their mythology means (with stories!) and the philosophy of Yoga - more about the 8-limbed path of yoga - what being a yogi really means. (not the physical exercise - that's a start)...

As I watch and listen to him speak, I am so amazed by his powerful delivery of words.  He talks about the power of the practice of yoga, self reflection, practice of improving yourself each moment, observing yourself and taking good care of yourself.  He speaks about true yoga being all of that and more in order to make a difference in the world around you.  He talks about where different aspects of yoga have come from many religions, but yoga is not a religion.  One surprise we heard was that Christianity added the aspect of service to others as a practice.  That this was not a part of yoga before Christ.

That these Hindu gods are for us to emulate.  That they are or perhaps were, real human beings that became gods because of their gifts:  wisdom, generosity, a willingness to give everything, power....

I am most touched by this 93-year old man, who emulates a true yogi, yet says that he is not one.  He still gets angry, upset, he says (although I have not seen it in the two days I have spent with him so far).  He is simple, humble, yet when he speaks, it is with a really powerful, booming voice & great authority.  And strength.  His posture is perfect when he speaks.  His words are delivered with precise intentionality.  His mind is more sharp than I can comprehend.  Just when I think he might be at a loss for words because he pauses, he delivers a powerful sentence that has me once again, looking at myself and having me ask my self - am I patient?   Do I practice without ceasing?  A true yogi is that, practices for a very long time with out ceasing.  Practicing by observing thoughts, actions, emotions, and trying always trying to improve.

Two more opportunities are coming this year to listen to him: today at 11 am at Yoga Prairie studio, and tomorrow at 3 pm at Om Collective studio in Minneapolis.  (see for more info)

Monday, July 11, 2011


Non violence in thought, word and action.  Read more on the 40 Day Yoga Challenge blog.

(see previous entry for link)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

40 day challenge day 1

If you are following the 40 day yoga challenge, please go to this blog:
and click on "follow"  I will write on that one for these 40 days.

A little morsel for you:
The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.

(now what if your mind-stuff wasn't constantly bothering you?)

Saturday, July 9, 2011


As I prepare to paint a room and hallway today, I am thinking about preparation.  I spend so much time in preparation.

I prepare to teach, I prepare for a guest speaker - sending out invitations, discussing the topic with him by email for months, talking to his daughter who will be taking care of him here...preparing my husband and home for their stay. . .
I am painting the room he will stay in - I am using the "company's coming" energy to give me the motivation to do all of this!
Back to preparation. . . my mind is a busy preparation machine. . . I prepare too much, I'm making myself wrong for preparing so well; doh, there it goes again, the busy mind making me wrong!  Well, this is not fun.

The cat is fun.  He was chasing the drop-cloth (plastic) I put down for painting.  That was fun!

What would you like to do today to prepare for YOUR 40 day challenge?  (it starts tomorrow!)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Welcome to the 40-Day Yoga Challenge! (July 10-Aug 19, 2011)

If you are reading this, you have let me know you want to join the challenge. In joining the challenge you are participating by practicing yoga 4 to 6 days a week for a minimum of 60 minutes, with at least one day a 75 minutes of yoga practice. If you practice yoga 4 days, the other 2 days can be another form of exercise like walking or swimming.

Yoga practice includes: asana, pranayama (breathing practices), meditation and relaxation.  If you are walking slowly and focus on your movement with the breath, this is also practicing yoga.  If you are doing an intentional relaxation - focusing the mind on releasing your tension and breathing with ease, you are practicing yoga.

If you are eating mindfully, focusing on the texture, color, scent and flavor of each bite, you are practicing your yoga.  (however, eating will not count towards the 6 days of exercise).

If you are in this challenge, please place a comment on this blog, stating your intention for the 40-day yoga challenge.   What will you accomplish, have a breakthrough in - or transform?  Tell us what future you see pulling you through this challenge.

If you have not yet declared yourself a participant and are reading this now, please sign up as a follower on this blog post and post your intention!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Being a yoga teacher and the home practice

Being a yoga teacher gives me the added level of commitment to my practice that takes me deeper than I could have done without that.  I am responsible and accountable for a yoga studio (I own the business) being open to our community.  This is not a burden for me.  It is a great honor that has been bestowed upon me.

It also gives me a very powerful structure in which to practice.  What is a structure?  It is something that protects and supports you.

In my teaching I talk about your structures of support, starting on your yoga mat that's what ever body part is touching the mat.

In my life, I see the structures of support are my home and relationships to those closest to me.  This is where you can do your deepest work.  I have been teaching and practicing yoga for many years, and to remain true to the teaching, my teacher within, I must continue to delve more deeply in my life practice.  It is sometimes painful, yet it is the most powerfully rewarding experience imaginable.

Imagine not repeating patterns in your life - over & over - that you know are not good for you.  Imagine your relationships improving, your home life, your career.   Imagine that you live in a beautiful place all year around.   Imagine being very healthy.  Then let it go and imagine the opposite.  The truth is, whatever you are attached to, will cause you suffering.  Pain, pleasure, it is all very fleeting.  When you have an established and deep practice - you know that, you allow it all to flow through you.  You let go of the suffering and you let go of the pleasure.  It is all the same.  What is left, is so amazing.  That is why you see me smiling and tear-eyed all of the time.  What is left is Love, gratitude, joy, beauty and peace.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Minnesota Summer

Minnesotans love to talk about the weather.  What a beautiful day!  Oh, it's raining again!  It was such a tough winter!  When it is sunny and warm outside - we rush and hurry to get to our favorite outdoor destination.  All work stops.  We appreciate the beauty of nature more than any other place I have been, Minnesota residents appreciate when the weather is pleasant, we do not take it for granted.

In winters, I ask myself, "why do I live here"?  In summers, I say to myself "this is why I live here".  You have to be strong to live here, strong mentally and physically.  The fluctuations of the weather make us strong.  This is an observation. How do you perceive your environment?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


My teacher, Ishwar Puri telling an old story about why a monk would not receive a gift of gold:  "Contentment does not come by desiring things, trying to accumulate things, we accumulate so much stuff in our lives, and they become a baggage around our necks. We carry that baggage with us all the time. And when we feel the effect, the weight of the baggage, is when we meditate. That’s the best time to check out how much baggage you are carrying! Meditate and your mind goes to those very things which you are collecting, and which you have been accumulating all of your life."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Healing Now

Inspiration after a relaxing warm bath.  I sat down to write my thoughts with pen and ink on paper.  It is a slower way....

I just now sat down to write my thoughts on healing.  When I say what I know about healing, I often hear objections.  Sometimes anger from those I speak to, and I remained silent.  Until now.

This is my year - to be Self expressed.  Now, I have observed; studied; learned;.. suffered;.. grown;... and meditated.

It is all of these things, combined, and with one added ingredient, Listening to the teacher within.

In healing - you "know" where it is you need to go to heal.  You don't even have to think about it - you make an appointment, or talk to a friend, or pray.

You already know.  There is no right or wrong way for you to go about your healing.

Where the right and wrong comes in, is when the mind starts to exert its control.  Your mind wants to control what you are reading and thinking right NOW

That is your minds job.  Your mind is not wrong... or right.

NOW...what did you just think?

That not you.  It was your mind thinking.  Until you can see this, you may or may not like what you are reading.  Your mind will decide "yes, I agree" or "no, she is wrong".  Every mind will say that.  As I write, my mind is saying alot of things too.   That's what it does.  I choose to listen or to ignore those thoughts.

In healing, your mind can control or help you in your healing.  Your mind might say "I will not recover from this" or "I must have (this disease) . . because I (think, feel, or someone said) I do.

Here is where your choice or free will comes in.  What is true for you?  You only know what is true for you.  I cannot tell you this..., only your own inner teacher, Self, knows.  If you are thinking, or "trying to decide", or "confused", just keep practicing...listening.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Moodling about the One Year Anniversary of my bike accident!

My new favorite word (about what it takes to write creatively):  moodling.  I got it from a book about writing - that I bought at a garage sale recently - If You Want to Write - A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit, by Brenda Ueland - Brenda was a published author and teacher of writing who first published this book in 1938.  She received an international swimming record for over-80-year-olds and was knighted by the King of Norway.  She died at the age of 93 in 1985.  She's a new one on my hero/heroine list.

In the words of Fievel: (from Fievel goes West)  "Be your own hero".  So I am moodling...get the idea?  If you are still with me, then that's good.  There will be a point to this.

One year later - what have I learned?  I have learned to listen more than talk. (and it is not easy for me)  I have learned that it's okay to cry every single time you feel like crying.  I have learned it is okay to not cry every single time you feel like crying.  It is very interesting having your filter off for a few months - I cried, laughed and talked too much. (and I still cry, laugh, and talk more than I used to)

What I got from being injured that badly, is a renewed belief in the human body's healing capacity.  One year ago today, my face was bruised, scraped, and I could not type.   I couldn't remember anything a second after I said or heard it (short term memory loss).   I could not walk without holding onto the wall, bed or railing (vertigo for 6 weeks).  I had severe bruises on my pelvis and knee and milder ones on shoulder and hands. And lots of headaches.

I could not do any yoga asanas without falling over. 
I could still teach - and my students still came to my classes and
I learned that they love me and so do the teachers I work with in my studio. (thank you - all of you--I love you too)

I learned that there are crystals in your ear that get out of place and when they do, the whole world spins. 
I learned that spinning causes intense nausea and that anti-motion sickness medicine is very useful and it slows down the spinning.

I learned that even though I hit my head really hard, that my brain would recover fully and
I got to see a picture of my brain on an MRI - with a brain tour given by the Dr. Noran himself of
Noran Clinic-  who, by the way, said I have a beautiful brain and that it is not damaged and I will heal completely.   He is the kind of doctor I like - tell it like it is and can be.

I learned that even the head of a corporate medical clinic is human and can even remind one of St. Nicolas. 
I am very fond of him, and I told him that!

I  learned that a simple maneuver - Epley maneuver - that can be done at home even with your husband helping - can get the spinning to stop immediately.  However, it takes a couple of days sitting up all the time to get them to stay there.  (you can find out how to do it on the internet!)

I learned that I don't need as much sleep as I think I do and that when you have a head injury the brain needs alot of sleep.  I also learned that eating brain food DOES help you brain to heal plus USING IT!

I learned lots of exercises.

What I got out of the whole experience was something that is difficult to put into words.  Anyone who has had a brush with death and lived through it will know what I mean.  My body is not immortal, but I am.  There is a peace about knowing that - no matter what pain you suffer, or circumstance, you, the essence of you, is still the same, unchanged.  Yes, here are the words to describe this experience.  I became connected to the essence of I am.  Sometimes you have to get knocked out of your head to get that.  Do yourself a favor though.  Meditate - practice meditation.  It is really less painful.

To conclude this chapter of my life, this big event, this past year..  It is in the past.  There.

Want me to say more (yes? read on then)  no?  Stop reading!

I want to say more.  I want to say that I lived through a trauma.  Someone hit my bike, then left.  That someone, a school bus driver, probably did not even know he(she) knicked my bicycle.  That person was in a hurry.  How many times are we in a hurry and don't even know what we are creating or destroying because of that?

All of that experience was a trauma.  I also had symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.  It was not the first time I had this (PTSD) and recovered.  Some people think you cannot recover from that.  You may have heard this:  If you think you can, you can, if you think you cannot: you cannot.   Once again, when I spoke to Dr Noran, a neurologist, about how I was having reactions to seeing school buses and hearing sirens, he said "that's post traumatic stress disorder,  it will fade away, you will heal and be fine".  Thank you Dr. Noran : ).

Now - I still get growley at school buses, then..I laugh at myself.  I still hear sirens and cringe a little, who doesn't? I had to let that go.  I live very close to the fire and police stations and bus garage!
I let that go ...and now?  I am learning internal martial arts, I am planning to teach yoga teacher training in Costa Rica, I am married to a beautiful, loving and spiritual man.  I have a future to live in to that is filled with love, beauty and joy.  Namaste

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Structures of Support

In yoga classes I have been talking to students about building structures of support. In an asana (pose), we begin with where our body is touching the mat, the ground. In seated pose, or in standing poses. Where our body is touching the mat is where it begins.
We are building from the ground up. Wthout the feet being solidly planted, we cannot stand firmly. When we stand firmly, the rest of the body feels supported. We bring our awareness up and out from that grounding, that support.

This is only one thing yoga teaches us, and it is one of the most powerful practices we can do now. In March 2011 we – all human beings on the earth – were knocked off of our feet. Our planet, the earth, shook us at our foundation. It moved so intensely (even before Japan’s earthquake it had started), that the earthquake and tsunami was felt by us all around the planet.

We were shocked. Those closest have died, aftershocks are continuing, we are feeling it in Minnesota. I see it in my classes and on that mat – this impact. No one was left untouched.

People are experiencing helplessness, confusion, disorientation, shock. . . This is all the first stage of grieving. We want to deny change and fight it. Resisting change is painful, so we try to numb.

As we allow ourselves to experience our pain at the fullest, that experience is like a tidal wave, an emotional, psychic, tsunami.

Those of us who have had a practice of grounding, be it in martial arts, yoga, meditation practice. Or prayer and the practice & discipline of going to church. We have something – someone – many someones our community to turn to. . . Wherever we have been practicing planting our feet or our seat.

When something knocks us off our feet, it is time to wake up, look around – look what happened, start rebuilding – from the ground up. It begins for me at home. I stay home and reflect. Look at my house – it needs cleaning, I clear it. I realize where I have not been connecting in my community. From my home base where I gather my strength and rest, I reach out and say “I love you”.

From my foundation, my structure of support, I go to my job – the yoga studio – and teach others how to build their body foundation. Plant your feet so that you feel powerful. Don’t lean, have your feet be strong and flexible first.

From that foundation, and practice, you can reach out and help those who need it – right next door. Your neighbor, the person you meet. You are not helpless. You can be aware, take care of you, get strong, rooted and grow up from there. Go help, and recognize when your body and mouth needs a rest. There are many human beings. We are all connected. Trust that there is a plan to handle it all without you doing it all.

Whether you are alone, or with others, the most powerful practice you can do is listen. Listen to what you need to be well. Listen to your heart. Listen to your soul’s yearning. In meditation listen. When you are with others: listen. My spiritual guide, Ishwar Puri, gave me a simple way to remember this:

“The Mind always talks and never listens. The Soul always listens and never talks.”

Listen for the whispers of your soul, if you are ignoring that, you cannot listen to others. You will be in the practice of “not listening”

With that I leave you with Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Listening to Give Relief”

"Deep listening, compassionate listening is not listening with the purpose of analyzing or even uncovering what has happened in the past. You listen first of all in order to give the other person relief, a chance to speak out, to feel that someone finally understands him or her. Deep listening is the kind of listening that helps us to keep compassion alive while the other speaks, which may be for half an hour or forty-five minutes. During this time you have in mind only one idea, one desire: to listen in order to give the other person the chance to speak out and suffer less. This is your only purpose. Other things like analyzing, understanding the past, can be a by-product of this work. But first of all listen with compassion." Thich Nhat Hanh


My last blog I wrote to stay tuned for more about our weekend away.  Once a year is a gathering I attend with my meditation group it is called "Bhandara".    People arrive, we greet old friends, meet and make new friends, sit down, listen to a talk, eat good food prepared with love and devotion.   We get to celebrate abundance.  Words cannot describe the experience.   . .
Bhandara -  Celebration of abundance & receiving our gifts...

Abundance - what blocks it?   fear
What if I cannot handle the success/abundance? business of it all.
The longer you block it, the more you are holding back
At some point you either give up or you allow it in
I allowed it, it is just as intense as I was afraid it would be
It causes my heart to race - my mind says is this panic? am I dying? am I sick?
I cannot breath - what is wrong?
Then Ishwar gave me some words to satisfy the mind
Take 3 words out of your vocabulary
Hope, Fear, Anticipation

what will happen now?
Only what your soul creates in the moment
I say all is well.   I have all I need right now
Enough help from others
Enough energy
Enough food
enough CLUES to satisfy the mind
I received a book - inside the author wrote his Acknowledgements to all who helped him
and the last sentence read:
  " I thank God . . who wouldn't let me sleep until I wrote this book"

Thank you God

What (who what where how) is God?

God is love, abundance, all that is
the word GOD is too small, too short to hold something that is so infinite
many have tried to name that which cannot be confined or named - how many religions?
how many names of God?
we can agree on that

Thursday, March 31, 2011

April 2, 2011 Bhandara

We are going to see Ishwar in Rice Lake for our twice-annual meditation group retreat.  This year, is very special!  It is the year that there is a major shift in consciousness, earth changes, energy.  It will be very hard for many, not hard for some, I don't really know what will happen.  I simply know that we are where we are supposed to be and the practice of yoga, grounding, being strong, eating healthy.  Be happy.  Be loving.  It is all good and will create the safest and best way to do this.  More next week...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Practice every day

Many of the great teachers - the ones we can trace our lineage back to, have all said the same thing.  Practice.  The past week, I have appreciated my practice more than ever.  My practice is a daily habit.  Every morning.  Meditate.  If I cannot focus, take care of something for someone (service with love & devotion).  Then practice my asanas.  Observing my breath, my body, how I use my body, how I feel, my mind.  Observing it all, at the same time keeping my body strong, alive & healthy.

The practice - when it is a habit  - it supports you.  How?  Well, do you remember how you feel so much better afterward practicing yoga?

You know that when you are not in the habit of practicing...when you feel sad, sick, low energy, upset, busy - any number of human excuses - the last thing you want to do is go sit on a yoga mat or meditate.

If it is a habit - like brushing your teeth - you have to do it.  You cannot not do it.  No matter how I felt before my practice.  I feel alot better after.

How to get into the habit?  Read about the 40-day yoga challenge or 108 Sun Salutations in my blog...
Live with Beauty, Connection & Love. . . 


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

108 Sun Salutations Spring Equinox

Sunday we did our quarterly 108 Sun Salutations event for the Spring Equinox.  Now it seems like spring, but the forecast is more wintery stuff coming.  (When is that Basketball Tournament?)  In Minnesota, spring is like the biggest party ever and it is known that the state basketball tournament is the unofficial mark of the end of winter storms.

Back to the 108...4 of us attended and we donated proceeds to Salvation Army's efforts in feeding people in Japan who have been devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

As I was going through the 108, it is like a moving meditation, I focused on my body.  Usually it takes about 30 Sun Salutations for me to feel really warmed up, but this time it took more.  The counting is a challenge too, to keep track of which one I am on, so I probably do a couple more in case.  However, it is not about how many I do.  I realized during the last 30 or so, that the reason I can do them has nothing to do with my strength or endurance...I've done them with a head and neck injury, during times when my energy is really low, . . .like yesterday.  I have been recovering from the Minnesota ick that many yoga teachers have mysteriously come down with (and other people I know who almost never get sick).  I have had the lingering cough now going on the 3rd week...

No, it is not endurance or strength that gets me through this.  It is that I never give up.  That's it.  I don't stop.  I rest a little after each 27 (1/4), but then I continue until I've done 108.  It is not rocket science really.  It also helps to have an intention.  When I thought about how long it was taking, my mind went to the survivors of Japan's earthquake, tsunami and now dealing with rebuilding and possible radiation poisoning.  It is not an option for them to give up.  To stop.  So I won't either.

My heart goes out to everyone there.  And as many of my students have heard from me. . . the best thing we can do for them is to be a light in our own part of the world. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Living the Dream

I found out yesterday that Larry Schultz passed away over two weeks ago.  I didn't know until I went to a friends Facebook page, then read an article on Yoga Journals website, then kept going and reading and watched a little You Tube video he had made recently.

Larry Schultz was one of the most important yoga teachers in my life.  I took his workshop in 2004 thinking it was an Ashtanga yoga teacher's workshop, and found out it was a Rocket yoga workshop!  Rocket is Ashtanga yoga, but taking it to another level....a fun one.  The Rocket changed my attitude about alot of things.  Larry changed my yoga practice, my teaching and after his death....taught me something else.  He taught me to keep it alive...the dream.

In his You Tube video he was talking about his "ashram".  His home estate yoga center where students could come and just focus on their own yoga.  There's a community kitchen, sleeping areas, beautiful outdoor practice area...  It is not his dream that struck me, but that he achieved it.  Then he left.

Well, it's not that he left either really, just, well, what happens when you do achieve your dream.  Carpenter's say that when they finish their house, then they die.  I don't think that is necessarily "the truth".  The message here is that you have a future.  You have a day you die.  I don't know if you have a say in "the day", but you certainly have a say in your future.  To live it like Larry THAT is juicy.  He was so ALIVE.  He taught people all over the world how to access that.  These people that Larry taught.  These are teachers to learn from.  Not just any of them.  If you are looking for a teacher.  Look them in the eye.  Do their eyes twinkle?  You do know what I mean don't you?  If you can't find it in yourself.  You better look harder and keep looking until you find it. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Costa Rica Yoga Retreat

I have just returned from Costa Rica.  After spending 7 days at Samasati, I am feeling great!  As one student put it "the view alone is worth the trip" then after eating lunch, she said "the food alone is worth the trip!".  I agree on both.  The view - the rainforest mountain overlooking the ocean - is breathtaking, it is nature at her finest.  The greenery, the vibrancy of life there will feed your energy like nothing else can.  Then there's the food that Samasati's cooks lovingly prepare 3 times a day. 

We all started out hungry for live fresh food.  In Minnesota winter, that is not something that is easy to find.  I wrote down a few of the meal menus while I was there:

Lunch Monday:

Cooked green beans w/tahini sauce
Fried plantain
Steamed vegetables (cut into cubes): yellow & green squash & carrots
Blackbeans & rice
Rice pudding w/cinnamon

Dinner Thursday evening:

Brocolli cream soup
Garbanzo burgers w/tomato sauce
Cooked Spinach w/spices (onion, jalapeno, etc)
Roasted Vegies
Cucumbers & tomatoes
Dessert:  Coconut cake

Breakfasts always included the choices of fresh cut local fruit (papaya, mango, watermelon, cantaloupe, banana, freshly blended juice (local fruit); blackbeans & rice, cereal, granola, yoghurts, fresh baked bread w/butter & jam selection, eggs

As you can imagine, I was stuffed full each meal - there was so much bounty of live, healthy food.  By Tuesday, I had my fill, so I naturally cut back on my meal portions.  With the healthy meals and all of the yoga and walking, I feel slimmer, stronger and greatly energized now.

See more about the trip in the next post

Monday, January 17, 2011

Motivation: Freedom from Pain

Six months after my bike accident I am dealing with new developments in healing.  If you are new to my blog, I was in an accident in May 2010 when trying to avoid a bus.  I don't know if the bus actually hit me, although the 911 caller said a bus hit a bicyclist.  I was knocked unconscious and suffered a concussion, neck injury and serious bruises.  I am doing well considering.  My head injury doesn't affect me much anymore, headaches are mostly gone.  My typing skills are almost back to normal, although when fatigued I type some words with vowels reversed. I also sometimes have trouble getting the words out when I talk too much - so on long teaching days that shows up too.

The healing process is slowed by my scoliosis as I am also working on improving that with my chiropractor.  As my body unwinds and my nervous system repairs I sometimes feel more crooked than I did before the accident, although it is greater nervous system feedback I am experiencing - that's a good thing.  My lower back is currently the pain giver.

On Sunday I was practicing yoga and I seem to be getting much of my strength and balance back, but I cannot practice as long and hard as I used to.  So I am heading to the gym at Snap Fitness to walk on the treadmill and use the machine that is like an elliptical machine.  I put the setting on 12 minutes to warm up on the treadmill, then switch to the elliptical for 12 more minutes.  As I watch the timer count down (I set it on the strength training setting), I am experiencing pain in moving. I take it slow so that I can keep my movements symmetrical as possible.  This is a challenge with a twisted pelvis (from scoliosis).  I think about pain and how I tell my students that they needn't experience pain to make progress in a yoga practice.

I also think about the person next to me - she seems to be working hard & strong.  It is not easy for my ego.  My ego says I am going too slowly and I don't look so good (and I'm glad they don't know who I am - a yoga teacher!).

I realize that the pain I experience in this work must be experienced because it isn't the pain of over-doing.  It is the pain of getting the muscles to obey and re-learn smooth movement.  It is also discomfort - my body isn't used to working that hard right now.  It is from being out of shape.  So I work through it.  I keep going, I begin to feel warm, as my muscles warm up I experience more freedom of movement.

I fantasize running a race again.  I used to run 5K and 10K races, years ago before I was a regular yoga practitioner.  I realize that when you reach a certain level of fitness and are working the body aerobically, the muscles and organs are pumping with oxygenated blood and the brain begins to experience endorphins.  That is the pain relief I have been seeking.  The flush of healthy muscle, oxygen flowing into the body, sweat. 

It is an experience I have when practicing a more vigorous form of yoga: Ashtanga yoga.  Yet, I cannot yet practice that form of yoga fully because of my injuries.  I want to let everyone know how great it feels to really move the body.  I want to let everyone know that there is a point beyond the initial pain of starting to move like this - that you will experience a sense of euphoria - after you have worked through the "I don't want to move" part. 

I realize that we are all seeking freedom from pain.  Exercise can go a long way toward freedom from physical and emotional pain -  and this is a real way to achieve that - with no pain killers or anti-depression drugs.  Rest doesn't work all by itself.  Yoga isn't the cure-all.  I wish it was - it would be easier for me.  But healing isn't easy.  It's simple, not easy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Yoga Path, Christianity, Meditation

I don't know if most people realize that I began on the yogic path by way of Christianity.  I was one of those kids who went to Sunday school morning, church Sunday night and every Wednesday night too.  Every summer: Bible Camp and Backyard Bible School.  As a teen I taught "Backyard Bible-school" and had a blast with the other teens as we taught and acted out Bible stories for little kids in backyards.

I had a profound spiritual experience in Bible Camp, where we were taught about being "born again".  I was moved to tears by a man sharing about his experience with Jesus.  He was formerly an alcoholic and he prayed for help and had an experience of Jesus coming into his heart.  Well, it moved me to tears.  He quit drinking and dedicated his life to God and prayer.  I loved his story.

Later on, our church took a strange turn.  Us teens were being trained to bring other teens to our church.  There we would have overnight sleep-ins - -  they would keep these young people up very late into the night preaching to them - trying to get them to be born again - to turn their souls over to Jesus.  It occurred to me as kind of weird & creepy.  I didn't like that there was so much pressure - it just felt wrong.  I drifted away from that church after that - it was disturbing and looking back, it looked alot like brainwashing.

Drifting church-less, I began a search for 'the truth'.  I read the Bible-- every word.  I took many of the passages literally and did not like how some people interpreted it.  I kept coming across coincidences - a book here or there that was not a church-sanctioned book about Jesus, but even so, reading it with some trepidation, I couldn't find anything in the book that disagreed with the Bible - the book that I was told was the ultimate truth.  I began to think that - if God is all things, omnipotent, why did 'He' stop giving us 'His' word - what 600 or more years ago? 

On further investigation, I learned that the books of the Bible themselves were chosen by a team of men - and there were actually some books that were considered, but not chosen.  I wondered - why?  One point of view I remember reading, said that they took out references to karma and rebirth - more Eastern philosophy, so that people had to depend on the Church for their salvation.  Hmm, I thought - rebirth - born again - is there a connection there?

Around this same time, my health had deteriorated.  I had been having recurring bladder infections.  After 8 years of these, it kept going into my kidneys and I was on antibiotics every other month by that 8th year.  My marriage wasn't working out so well either and I was very unhappy.  One night, I was feeling particularly alone, unhappy and unhealthy and I yelled out to God  in desperation..."help me - please!". 

More coincidences showed up then. . . the most important one - I became pregnant with my daughter Jasmine! When she was born, I fell in love and vowed I would be the best mom I could be.

I believe that coincidences - the little things that just happen to show up and be helpful to you, are God's way of guiding us or blessing us and that by paying attention to these, your life will go according to God's plan for you.

I had been working on finding the source of my bladder infections (with the help of a Naturopathic Doctor)with a food rotation diet, literally cleaning out my system, eating only very healthy foods and keeping a food diary.  I quit drinking beer when I found it was the trigger.  I kept eating that healthy diet, came across a yoga book and started reading it and practicing some of that yoga.  Over the span of a few years, I became a little bit healthier, and a voracious reader of spiritual books.  I had broken free of the brainwashing that said I could only read the Bible and any other spiritual books were "satanic".

The yoga I was practicing was pretty much one or two poses.  Usually a shoulder stand.  Ha ! That is probably not the first pose most anyone should try as it is considered a level 3 yoga pose.  The practice of these simple poses, had me become aware that I was making healthier choices for my body.  When my body felt better, I was a little happier.  The road to health was a very long one, however, my first guide to healing was. . . Jesus!  Jesus was a healer!  I knew he was a healer and also took something that he was quoted as saying - literally (again).  Anything I can do - so can you. (my paraphrasing).  So I held Jesus up as the ideal human potential.

I studied healing, spirituality, yoga.  This intensive studying took place throughout my marriage to my kids' Dad, Mike.  Looking back:   I am very grateful to him for traveling those years with me and the kids.  Without his support as a father and provider, I would not be where I am today.  Though I am remarried (very happily now), he and I are good friends now, another blessing in my life.

I realized at some point, that I had alot of information about nutrition but it was rather disorganized.  I found a study course I could do at home that was a 2 year home study in Natural Therapies.  I completed a certification in that in 1995.  After that, I found that I was missing some information and education in the mind.  I then enrolled to complete my bachelor degree in Psychology at the University of Wisconsin.  Receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in 1998. 

After all the science, I went back to my study of spirituality, Love in particular.   I also studied Reiki - an energy healing modality.  About the time I became a Reiki master, I decided to become certified in teaching yoga.  That is when I started practicing yoga daily.  I immersed myself in my yoga studies and became stronger, happier and more grounded in my self.  Before doing the yoga training, I also met Ishwar Puri, a master of meditation.  I was ready to commit to a spiritual life after meeting Ishwar.  He taught me how to meditate and now I practice that daily as well.  Ishwar said that you didn't need to leave your spiritual roots, the religion you grew up with to be on the spiritual path, and that meditation will only strengthen your faith.  I teach meditation now too.  My life is now nothing like it was before I started down this path. 

I view all religions as a form - a structure in which we can deepen our own connection to God or our higher Self.  Looking back to my Christian roots, I think about the stories of Jesus praying in the garden.  I realize that there is something beautiful there that all people can take, but in particular, those who, like me, were raised in the Christian tradition.

Here is a meditation Christians can use to learn to meditate.  Borrowing the Eastern tradition of using a mantra - words to keep the mind busy, so you can explore your higher consciousness.  A Christian mantra could be taking a verse out of the Bible - such as the Beautitudes - and repeating them over and over in your mind as you sit with eyes closed.  Before sitting, ask for guidance from the Master (Jesus).  You can also focus on something you would like help with - what you would like to understand or a problem that you would like to solve.  While repeating your mantra, just sit and listen and be at peace.  You can begin practicing this for 5 minutes, then 10, then keep adding time to your meditation.  The results will be amazing and I cannot tell you what those will be for you. 

Here are the Beatitudes: (from the website: )

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10