Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yoga and the Movies: Enlighten Up!

I watched the film Enlighten Up! on Netflix instant play yesterday. The documentarian, Kate, is an avid yogini who persuades a regular non-yogi guy to embark on a six month worldwide tour of yoga teachers to see if he is transformed. If you've ever tried to take your boyfriend to a yoga class you will be able to relate to her. If you've ever felt "I'm just not getting it," during a yoga class, you will be able to relate to him.

She loves yoga. He, Nick, is an unemployed 29-year-old journalist living in New York City. Nick's personality and training in journalistic integrity make him an honest, trustworthy experimental subject, and at times his eyes sort of reminded me of Steve Carrell's in The Office--pleasant, a little confused, humorous. Soon Kate's aims in making the film become clearer and we realize how much she wants him to feel something from this yoga stuff, which is her passion. But like any non-yoga friend you've tried to drag to yoga, he won't be forced (unless maybe it's one of your first dates, and he's trying to keep you happy).

She takes him everywhere, to experience all different styles of yoga. It's kind of like celebrity-spotting for a yoga student. We get to visit the homes and studios of all the people we read about in Yoga Journal: everyone from David Life and Sharon Gannon to Norman Allen to B.K.S. Iyengar. Nick reacts honestly to every experience. I love it when he says, "Kundalini?? More like Kunda-LOONY!" (No offense to kundalini lovers: I practiced tons of Kundalini in Boulder and while I love it, it is definitely way loony)

My favorite teacher in the film turned out to be a guru somewhere in India who sits elevated above his visitors, taking questions, after someone else gives us a lengthy list of his credentials. I think I loved his comfort in his own pomposity. "Ask anything, as often as you want...There are no stupid questions. Answers are stupid." At this point Nick is nearing the end of an exhausting tour and still has not found any favorite teachers or real personal meaning in yoga. The guru tells him kindly, "just be yourself."

Whether consciously or not we don't know, but his is the advice Nick follows in the end. He moves from New York to Boulder (great choice!) and takes a job writing about rock-climbing. He does not continue to practice yoga.

I thought about the film during class this morning. I have a lot of Nick's desire for proof as well as Kate's emotional love of the practice. What is yoga to me? I tried out the guru's advice, to think of 'being myself' not so much as a practice I have to work towards, but just a relaxing into my own life, self, desires. Each physical action, grounding your heels down, stretching your arms to the sky, is an opportunity to be yourself. The given instructions are incredibly useful, but you have to inject a little dose of yourself into every action, too, to make it feel really good and really interesting. I'm glad I practice where I do because the philosophy is for the student to be her own teacher, a yoga scientist who is never asked to trust anything she doesn't feel for herself. The question of God of course comes up in the film, but Nick finally enunciates why he's really participating in this experiment: "I just want to know how to be happy."

Class Report Jan 27-Wed Flow 1

Hi hi hi! I have a few classes to report since the weekend, but I'm cooking up some spinach noodles and about to watch an episode of The West Wing and because these tasks are extremely demanding, I'm just going to do tonight's.

Good group! 8 people. Small crew of regulars, talked a bit in the beginning about working through a cycle.

Opened slowly, maybe too slowly. Impressing the heart, cat/cow on the floor, windshield wiper.

cat/cow bearing weight, plank, down dog.

tadasana. shoulder rolls/wise guy.

3 rounds sun salutes on their own. this was nice to see. really in tuned group.

crescent lunge series moving into revolved side angle. I was naughty and kept practicing with them, and due to this we got a bit out there. Okay, though, we set up the ground work for revolved triangle and in the next sequence nailed it.

Side plank in between vinyasas each side, first time both legs straight and second time option for top leg to lift.  Also flowed through upward bow and locust after the second vinyasa on each side, with a small break for breath with belly on the floor and arms out stretched. It was starting to get sweaty in there.

Second sequence: Warrior I to Warrior III, standing splits, drop the back leg to low lunge. knee to nose then triangle. I'm working from memory now, this might have been slightly different. Things might be out of order down below..

10 X dolphin push ups.

Choose your adventure time: tripod headstand or Tolasana/scale pose. most chose both!

Runners lunge/Pigeon

Hero's pose

bridge/wheel/plow/supine twist/savasana

I ended a few minutes after the hour was up.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yoga Binge


Two significant things happened yesterday. First, I went to three 90 minute yoga classes, or 4.5 hours of yoga. I went to Kira's Sweet Vinyasa in the morning, and then in the evening I attended Alana's Basics, then Kira's Yin. I'm so glad they went in order of highest difficulty to lowest. The second significant thing? I bought some Jelly Belly's. I'll get to that in a minute.

Yesterday was one of those days when I never quite wake up from my dreams; my brain remained half-hidden in the fog of a strange residual mood from dreams I couldn't quite remember. The mood and the fact that it was Monday morning made it almost insurmountably difficult to get out of bed and go to the morning class, but once I was out the door I was fine. I was so glad I went because we did some fun partner work, and got in a lot of good laughs.

The focus was on urdhva dhanurasana (wheel). It was useful to break wheel down into its many, many component parts, including the inner rotation of the thighs, the tucking of the tailbone, the "halleluiah" shoulders, the lengthening of the upper spine, and as always what to do with the head/neck/face. Suddenly, a pose that I have gotten a little complacent about contains endless areas for tweaking and further expression.

Later in the afternoon, I found myself in the local gift shop/hallmark store looking for supplies for my new project of learning to draw. I also snuck in a purchase of an adorable single-serving size box of Jelly Belly jelly beans. I am obsessed with these things, mostly because they are at every single Trader Joe's checkout counter tempting me, and I have never given in out of moral objection to the ingredients. Feeling about 5 years old with my art supplies and candy, I started walking in a jelly belly trance down the bike trail towards town and noticed that it was almost time for Alana's Yoga Basics. How could I not go? The Yellow Brick Ojai Bike Trail was practically carrying me to yoga again. I LOVE Yoga Basics! How appropriate that later that night Alana joked that I must have felt like I was going back to kindergarten. Little did she know, I was!

Yin (feminine, moon, darkness, yielding, unconscious, passive, soft, tranquil) yoga follows immediately after Basics. The mysterious, deep, quiet practice of yin yoga has been helping me feel balanced and accepting. Laying there in a pose like swan (yin name for pigeon) and mustering all my powers of acceptance to surround the intense feeling in my hip is excellent practice for accepting other, bigger difficulties that arise in my mind and in life.

I was hoping all that yoga would sow the seeds for some deep dreams but I was so physically exhausted that I just passed completely out beyond the reach of even my dreams.

Cora Wen Demos Headless Headstand

I'm both freaked out and intrigued by this approach to headstand. If only I had some yoga chairs..

Cora Wen Demos ‘Headless’ Headstand (video)

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, January 25, 2010

Private Practice

I had three cookies and a cup of coffee as big as my face this morning, and yet I just peeled myself out of child's pose, centered in a sunny spot on the floor. I guess a sugar rush isn't what it used to be. It's been a funny week at home, what with the breaking and entering and all. I'm sleeping poorly; waking up at odd hours, panic in my throat. I think what's most disappointing about this whole encounter is that I now feel like I cannot be alone, and I was enjoying it.

Regardless, I have some free, alone time today and I was hoping to devote a bit of time to practicing. I am working on my triangle pose a lot, but for some reason spent some time hanging in revolved triangle--the twist felt so nice and open to the side of my body. I've also been doing a lot of core work at home: dolphin push ups, bada konasana crunches (soles of feet together, knees wide and with hands interlaced behind my head, i lift my shoulders on the exhale), and old fashioned sit ups.

Someone was asking about music earlier; I'll post my play list soon, but here's a tune that's been inspiring me lately in my flow sequences. The link is from YouTube and goes to a Twilight thing, so if you can, ignore that and just enjoy the melody. I first listened to this song driving home from a weekend in New Mexico a few years ago, and something about it has such a lovely 'last dance' quality. It feels able to bridge the vastness. I've been playing it during Warrior II-Reverse Warrior flow.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Class Report

Saturday morning Pre-natal 1-1. Good class, she's about seven months and feeling good. Did loads of standing asana, and chilled in Triangle for awhile. Focus was on expanding across the side bodies, making space.

Saturday afternoon Flow. 7 peeps, 2 left early. Similar flow sequences, but I tweaked the ending so we could approach Half Moon a few different ways. Came into it from the Eagle/Bound Airplane flow, and then from Warrior I/Knee to Nose/Warrior III. Took a break for core strengthening and then ended up in Revolved Half Moon from Triangle. Did that twice, seemed to be received well. Everything else the same, except I did Camel instead of Wheel. Had them "om" in Camel to check in with space in the throat.

I'm in need of a hot and slow class, might check in with one tomorrow morning. Last night I had an unexpected 'visitor' at 4 am, and by 'visitor' I mean, someone broke into my house. Ugh. I'm getting a new lock installed tonight. However, I'll hazard to guess by the way I yelled last night, whoever it was, won't be back. Right now I'm going to head upstairs and have a nice grounding practice. Any suggestions?

Reporting My Practice

Laziness overcomes me. Or is it resistance? Or giving up? Or just "busy-ness" even though all I was doing, really, was reading a book? My mind still told me I didn't have time for yoga until I got through the whole thing.

Even though it's not much, in the name of accountability and honesty, I am dutifully reporting my practice yesterday, which consisted of a meager 5-minute upavista konasana (wide-legged forward fold)....

while still reading my book... (Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which I highly highly recommend to absolutely everyone. Ayaan is an inspiration.)

not very mindful of me. And what a difference from my yoga over-achiever practice of the other day. What haaapened?

But it still felt good!

empanadas and espresso

People of Earth:

Ms. A. Loweball has pressured me to create a post that will change your life, and I believe this moi can do it.

First I'd like to say that my dog Benny, featured most recently in the Top 10 Yoga Experiences of 2009, is truly honored that he made the list. He'd like to thank his beautiful mama, me, and his beautiful ate, Ashley, for introducing him to the art of yoga and providing him with a wood floor on which to practice.


See? Happy as a clam.

Perhaps some of you remember the entry I wrote about Dahn Yoga. I sometimes think about that studio as I waltz past it on my way to this great Empanada place on Clark St., but mostly I just don't. However, recently, I flipped open either the November or December issue of Glamour magazine and found this. Interesting. (But not as interesting as the amazing food you'll find at Lito's, natch.)

A recently-hired co-worker of mine happens to be a certified yoga instructor AND a neighbor of mine, so we will see if anything transpires. I hope to begin practicing with her on a semi-regular basis. My ultimate goal is to someday do yoga with my future nephew - due March 24th! - in Japan on Enoshima.


On a baking note, I've attempted several delectable treats within recent weeks. I've experimented with several cookie recipes, with mostly successful results. I'm working on creating culinary masterpieces with my baking stone. While this is most often used to bake pizza, I've found success using it for other items - including frozen mini corn dogs (yum!) and several cookies. Baking stone vs. air insulated baking sheets? It remains to be seen. I want to work more with oatmeal and will attempt an apricot oatmeal bar this weekend. The first run went sour. After calling my mom to complain, her reaction was this: "Those are the bars from hell!" Lovely.

Finally, my latest indulgence is Fritz Pastry. Best croissants I've ever had. Delightful Gateau Breton. Great prices. Aqua walls. Thank you Nathaniel Meads et al.


Best wishes for a happy 2010. My resolutions are these: shop crewcuts endlessly in a quest for the cutest little boy clothing on this side of the Pacific (not easy! considering I'm competing with Japan), learn how to bake the perfect pastry shell, not date anyone named Andrew Kim.

xoxo

Friday, January 22, 2010

Class Report Friday Morning 1/22 + Strange Encounters

Last night was a bit of a nutter, if I do say so myself, and the events that unfolded distracted me a bit from planning. While having dinner at friend's, I got a phone call from the local police telling me my front door was open, and I had to return home immediately. To make an extremely long and complicated story shorter, I'll just say the door was open, one of the families that lives in my house called the mingjian, or people's police (like neighborhood watch), they came and called the real police. I came home and all was fine. I felt a bit shook up, though, and eventually another friend came over and I confess we poured ourselves a whiskey. Dealing with the police in China always gets me jittery. Don't ask me why the door was open, or what my neighbors were doing on the third floor, because I don't even know.

In any case, my plan had been to change up the sequences from the last few classes. I like the idea of growing with the crew that shows up for class, but wanted to tweak a few things.

This morning was quiet, five people, one non-English speaker. Did some demoing which seemed useful to all. The vibe seemed very chill and open, and felt like a good time to dip into new ideas.

I can't quite remember how we opened. It was different than usual. I remember cuing easy side plank, a seated side stretch, and an extended cat/cow.

First sequence was Crescent Lunge with vinyasa between each side.
Chair and chair twist with vinyasa
Then moved into Warrior I with vinyasa between each side, and checked in again with baby side plank.
Warrior II dance with Prasaritta on one side and Horse with heel pulses on the other, vinyasa each side.

This morning the vinyasas were varied--did some floor bow, cobra, locust work. I was cuing updog, but no body was biting so we did other things. 

Paused for core strengthening series--10 x dolphin/plank push ups. This seemed like enough for the group today, and so we did Compassion of Kira (as I like to call it) and moved on.

Second sequence was Warrior I, moving into Knee-to-Nose (Parvotasana?), Tumbling tree/Standing splits and then curling the extended leg in three times. Vinyasa with big plank in between, second round of the sequence we ended in pigeon.

Did Reverse plank twice with seated forward bending to counter pose. Two rounds of bridge with option for wheel on third round.

Ended with Happy Baby to Thread the Needle to Cow Face and an extended plow.

Supine twist and Savasana.

Rolling Breath. Om.

After class I felt really relaxed and chilled. Settling. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Class Report

Last night hour long flow, ten or so peeps, if I remember correctly. Good energy in the room, nice heat.

opened with a sit and intention.
childs, table, cat/cow, dog

My intention was to open up the side body in the beginning, prepping for Half Moon later on, so we did 'baby plank' or side plank with knee, vinyasa, 'mama plank', or side plank with straight leg, and then later on worked up to 'papa plank', or side plank with leg and arm.

Crescent lunge series, my favorite, with Halleluha arms, Parvitta Parsvakonasana with option for what I refer to as the Jaws of Life arms, which is just the extension up and down with arms (for some reason, I get a really strong image of Jaws of Life when I open my arms up. Or like a big '<' greater than symbol.)

Core Strengthening:
ten rounds of Dolphin/plank push ups, or holding Dolphin for ten breaths
ten rounds of Bada Konasana crunches up
ten rounds of Boat Snaps, or holding Boat for ten breaths
(had planned on doing Twisted Root x10 but this felt like enough)

Warrior II dance a few rounds to get warmed up.

Eagle two rounds
Bound Airplane
Warrior III
Tumbling Tree/Standing Splits
Ardha Chandrasana
Fold forward

Vinyasa to floor back bending
Floor bow to airplane to locust with arms reaching forward

bridge x 2, second time supported
option for wheel or supported bridge
plow/deaf man's pose/shoulder stand

supine twist with eagle legs

savasana!

rolling breath

namaste

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Reporting My Practice

In the Yoga Jam Session this weekend, I did my first ever scorpion (vrschikasana). Well, with a lot of help from Casey and Chair. Eager to experience this again, I set up a chair here at home. I could not remember for the life of me how to kick up into it, but I found a YouTube video where the guy starts out in headstand and then drops down into scorpion, lifting his head. I'll share the video because I thought it was helpful, simple, and beautiful. Of course, my scorpion was wayyy clumsier and not nearly as curled as this, but it still felt pretty cool and I'm excited to play more. It's a total-spine experience, from front to back and from top to bottom.


Illogically, I did scorpion and THEN did the following sequence. I only did it like that because I hadn't planned to practice for real:

Easy Lunge Salute (R leg leads)

Uddiyana Bandha x3

Lunge Salute (L leg leads)
-Low Lunge
-Dog with Uddiyana Bandha (I find this breath much easier when my torso is upside down)

Tadasana, tuning to Ujjayi breath

Lunge salute (R leg leads)
-Lunge
-Twisting Lunge
-Low Lunge
-Runner's Lunge (clearly i needed some hip attention)
-Prasarita Padottanasana A (wide-legged forward fold)
  • with legs in that position I did tripod headstand
  • bow and arrow twist from jam session with hammock after each arm
-back to Lunge
Dog
other side the same except while in prasarita legs I did:
  • hammock
  • 3 uddiyana bandhas in hammock
  • bow and arrow twist
-back to Lunge
Dog
Two embarrassing plank chaturanga push-ups that almost did me in
Extended childs to recover from the failure of that
Baby Cobra...Locust...Bow...Windshield Wiper

Yin Frog
Roll to back, feel effect

Yin Saddle (came into it from supine by tucking feet under hips)
Pause, feel effect

Tailbone curls/arches
Shimmy
Knees to chest wobble (didn't feel like doing a long yin counterpose to the saddle, but these moves seemed to smooth out the compression wonderfully)

25 bicycle crunches

Supine twist pausing in savasana between sides (I like imagining that this is balancing my Left and Right Brain Hemispheres)

Savasana
Namaste

All in all it took about an hour and a quarter, not counting vrschikasana (the hardest sanskrit word ever).



Side Crow Revolution

I've been locked up in our little yoga room for the past hour basically dedicated to crow and side crow. I've never felt as light as I'd like in crow, and often flash back to the time I fell straight onto my nose during TT and so spend the thirty seconds working up to it with some anxiety. However, I think I've stumbled upon a few nuances I've been missing.

In side crow, I've been approaching it with blocks under the hip that would be leaned into, so to speak. I bring my hands out to that side as well, so I'm starting out pretty smashed up. We did this once at a workshop in Boulder and others had great success and I wonder if I've been attached to this method hoping it would work for me. It doesn't! Just a few moments ago, out of nowhere, I thought, wait. Why don't I try this another way? I started as if I was coming into regular crow and then shifted my knees and pulled my core in tight, and found a tiny bit of freedom!

It's funny the ways you notice how you're thwarting your own success, getting into patterns or routines, and even stranger how much time can pass before you realize you're not benefiting from yourself. It's good to get out of your own way now and then.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Yoga Jam Sessions Rendezvous 2 is TONIGHT!

I'm officially turning in my homework now. It's a 90 minute sequence that builds up to a pose...I chose triangle because even though it's not too flashy, it feels glorious, and it's got a lot going on anatomically. I cannot even describe what a huge mental obstacle it was for me to do this. It's like years in the making.

It only took me two attempts to get this all worked out. The first time, I just practiced and wrote it down as I went. The second time, I filmed myself as I followed the sequence I'd written and talked through it out loud as though I were teaching it, adjusting and making notes on timing as necessary.

Sit for 5 minutes

Warm-up
Cat/cow rounds
EZ Side Plank
Extended Child's
Squat
Cowboy Negotiation
Tadasana with Ujayyi Breath down front, back, and middle lines

Lunge Salute 1 (L leg leads)
EZ Sequence with high lunge only

Shoulder work with Strap
Uttanasana with Hands clasped (or strap)
----------------------------------------------------
--To get to this point takes 30 minutes or so

Lunge Salute 2 (R leg leads)
Lunge
Twisting Lunge
Hammock
Dog
Other Side
Baby Cobra-Locust-Big Cobra
Windshield Wiper
Rocket Cat
Plank
Dog
Step forward, Half-Arch
Uttanasana
Tadasana

Lunge Salute 3 (L leg leads)
High Crescent Lunge
Warrior II Dance 5 x
Trikonasana (Triangle)
Dog
Other Side
Baby Cobra-Locust-Big Cobra
Windshield Wiper
Rocket Cat
Plank
Dog
Step forward half arch
Uttanasana
Tadasana
-------------------------------
--At this point we're at about one hour

Triangle to Half Moon with bow and arrow arms
Squat
Uttanasana
Tadasana
Other side
Squat
Roll to backs, hug knees to chest, wobble

10 Slow Bicycle crunches
Eye of the Needle (I originally had bridge but decided we need some more hip work in this class)
EZ Supine Twist

Savasana

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Yoga in Literature















Above: I love the look of this first-edition cover.


Just read The Mystic Masseur by V.S. Naipaul. The story is about a man named Ganesh, who lives in a remote village in Trinidad and loves to read more than anything. He posts a sign calling himself a Mystic, writes a book inspired by his toilet-paper holder, and soon brings glory and the first paved road to his village. Most of the story takes place in the 1940's. When I read this paragraph I laughed out loud because the description sounds like some of my blogs (endless, minute examinations of the state of my soul).

"And at about the same time Ganesh discovered the Hollywood Hindus. The Hollywood Hindus are Hindus who live in or near Hollywood. They are holy, cultivated men who issue frequent bulletins about the state of their soul, the complexities and variations of which are endless and always worth description." (p. 106)


Monday, January 11, 2010

Went a-meditating in Ventura on Saturday. A local Zen Buddhist practitioner and professor named Kevin leads a free community gathering once a month that includes: 30 minutes of sitting, walking meditation, 30 more minutes of sitting, a chat, and Japanese tea and snacks (his wife is Japanese). We practice shikantaza style, or just sitting there. The only instructions are to sit straight, focus on a drishti (focus point) at a 45 degree angle, and be as present as you can with your being. After some years of practices, including yoga, in which I tether my mind to various tasks, not having to do anything at all seemed liberating. And yet I rebelled.

You would think, with all that freedom, that I could manage to follow 3 simple rules, but even those my wild mind raged against, especially the drishti point. First my eyes wanted to glaze over. Then close. Then I became manically obsessed with finding the perfect drishti point that was perfectly centered and perfectly distinct from the rest of the carpet I was staring at. Then I found myself becoming annoyed with this one limitation. I could almost see my mind pouting like a child. So I gave it some sympathy. "Aw, poor mind, you do not want to do this work? But this is good for us!"

And then I got my reply, a reply that explained much more than my drishti-commitment issues. As soon as my mind 'obeyed' me and focused on a drishti point, I felt sad. Somehow I realized that the drishti had become a symbol of the future, and by focusing on it I had to let go of my attachments to the past. The fog of thoughts in which I'd been lost yet comfortable momentarily revealed itself as a barrier to my growth. It's Change that I am against. Afraid of. Every yes means not just a no, but infinite no's. Doesn't being in the present mean a kind of forgetting of the past?

The drishti is simultaneously too intense and too boring. My mind is an expert at arguing against anything that is going to be good for me, especially meditation and yoga. If I've defeated the notion that the drishti and therefore living in the present will be too emotionally intense, then my mind will switch tactics and tell me, how borrrring. Why, Ashley, Why would you stare at the carpet when you could be so productive with this thinking time? Mentally write your next blog, for example (that can be a dangerous one)! Or make a pro and con list of growing out your bangs. Etc.

It is hilarious, frightening, and comforting all at once how quickly I can go from feeling like I'm going to explode with meditative discomfort to spacing out and thinking about my bangs. The mysterious, fascinating experience of being. Somehow I come out of this wild ride feeling calmer and more energized. For about 5 minutes.

Friday, January 8, 2010

6-Legged Yogis

Lots of yoga going on in my life right now, which is exciting. I'm finally starting to design a yoga class, which means more personal practice time, I went to yin yoga the other night, I'm observing Kira's classes, and I even practiced yoga with Sarah in Shanghai via Skype. On the other side of the world in Shanghai she is working on some of the same stuff we are working on at the Lulu School headquarters, thanks to the miracle of the internet.

And now, for your enjoyment... I thought these guys put my Warrior II Dance to shame:























The mantis above is appropriately called Idolomantis Diabolica.

















Above: Best arms. He is clearly feeling the prana from his heart to his...mantis hands.
















Above: This coquettish mantis is dressed in the colors of a Hard Tail ad.

















Above: This multi-talented mantis understands how to layer patterns to a fashionable effect as well as how to sequence a good yoga class, as she is on her way to trikonasana.

Can you imagine having to teach yoga to six legged creatures? "Put all 3 of your Left Limbs on the earth. Your Right Bottom and Middle Limbs will reach to the sky. Do whatever you have to with your Top Right Arm. Try not to eat your neighbor just now. And you'll have a chance to shed your exoskeletons before savasana. Good. Tune to the feeling in your antennae and chant OM."

Hundreds more wondrous photos of bizarre animals at the photographer's website. This got me wondering, are there websites out there with good yoga photography?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Top 10 Yoga Experiences of 2009

Happy New Year, Yogery! May your year be full of inspiration, muffins, french toast, and joy. I looked back on this strange year and picked out my favorite yoga moments. Listed in chronological order...

  • Yoga in the thigh-deep Iowa snow. I cleared a spot and did handstand against a tree, unafraid of falling into the pillowy snow.
  • Birthday yoga with Mom. We liked it so much we signed up for an eight-week course together. Afterwards, we ate chocolate croissants from La Mie. Pretty much every week.
  • Yoga taught by S-Lo when she came home from China to visit
  • A summer night practice session on the amphitheater stage on the Des Moines River, ending in a sudden thunderstorm
  • Chicago Savasana with Kelly's dog Benny



















  • A sweet present from Alain during the Crib (it pays to have a blog about yoga AND pastries):













  • The Crib (my fourth annual!) was a radical change and felt like arriving home in many ways. I am endlessly, infinitely grateful.













  • Loved Erich's class, especially the yoga free-for-all. I practice listening to "big mind" whenever I think of it, and the results are sometimes surprising.
  • Shikantaza meditation in Ventura...that morning session has been so valuable in helping me learn to accept my practice as it is
  • Being back in Ojai, at safe, sweet Lulu Bandha's, where I learn so much


















Thanks for reading! I can't wait to see what this year brings!