4 Main reasons for doing Sun Salutations.

4 Main reasons for doing Sun Salutations.

I taught a big Sun Salutation practice this morning at the Zhejiang Yoga Cultural Festival. Good attendance! It was very early in the morning and a little cold. But we persevered.
Sun Salutations have been practiced by yogis for thousands of years. When we practice them we are walking in the footsteps of our teachers and their teachers.
We practice sun salutations for four main reasons in yoga.
1. They help to quickly warm the body up.
2. They help to balance the nervous system and are a great preparation for meditation, or can be used as a meditation themselves.
3. They help us connect the idea of the brightest thing in our world with the brightest and lightest part of ourselves.
4. They are a gratitude practice. Each day, try to start the day practicing gratitude. Shift your perspective. Try to be grateful for the day, for this moment right here and right now. Practicing gratitude helps you open your mind and open your heart.
Enjoy this beautiful day!!! Namaste! Thank you, everyone for practicing with me this morning!

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From our Backbending workshop last week in Shenzhen at Dream Space Yoga!

From our Backbending workshop last week in Shenzhen at Dream Space Yoga!

From our Backbending workshop last week in Shenzhen at Dream Space Yoga!
I love this deep Shoulder stretch and Chest opener. It’s a great partner pose that is a real “feel good” pose for both partners.
I’ve been working a lot on opening my shoulders and my hip flexors to deepen my backbend poses.
If we are really honest with ourselves, the “yoga mirror” shows you everything you need to look at, all of your imbalances, all of your strengths and all of your weaknesses. Do you have the courage to look in the mirror — and are you willing to put the effort into making the necessary changes in your life — both on and off the mat to find balance?
What are you working on right now? What areas of your body need to open up or get stronger? What areas of your life need some attention?

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The story of Vacistasana.

The story of Vacistasana.

The story of Vacistasana is a story about a Great Sage, a sacred cow, and magical powers. But it’s ultimately about the journey from darkness to light. There was no sacred cow that gave the Great Sage Magical powers.
The power is within you! You just have to do your practice. Be consistent! Be patient! Train your mind to focus! Keep waking up. Everyday, wake up a little more. And a little more. You can do anything you focus your mind on. Some people might think you have a secret, a sacred cow, or are lucky, or have magical powers. But you know your power comes from your practice, from your dedication and hard work. The power is inside you. It’s inside all of us. You just have to learn how to access it! And then you can do anything.

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Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher!

Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher!

Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher! My teacher, Dharma is a master at the Head Balance pose or Headstand. You might have seen him in pictures balancing with no hands? Dharma tells this great story about practicing with his Guru and doing his best to copy his teacher during one of the practices.
We are following in the footsteps of the master teachers who have come before us. Think of how incredible it is that we don’t have to search in the darkness alone for the light. There’s others who have come before us who are a little farther down the path. All we have to do is follow in their footsteps. So grateful for Dharma and all my wonderful teachers. I am doing my best to follow in your footsteps. Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher! Copy the teacher!

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Working with my student on Upward Bow variations.

Working with my student on Upward Bow variations.

Working with my student on Upward Bow variations in our Shiva Yoga 40hr Intensive this past week!
The Upward Bow is a really nice backbend to help you open your shoulders in flexion. I’ve been working on this pose a lot in my own practice the past year. The work is really the same work as in the Downward Dog.
Hug the elbows in and push the biceps out. Keep trying to make space around your neck and keep the shoulders wide, as you move the arms deeper into flexion. Slide the shoulder blades down the back. Try to externally rotate the arms, as you push your chest through the arms.

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Hip Opening Workshop in Shenzhen!

Hip Opening Workshop in Shenzhen!

Hip Opening Workshop! Why do we open the hips in yoga? Some of the reasons you might want to have a full range of motion at your hip joint:
1. To protect the low back and the knees and prevent injuries.
2. To find balance.
3. To prepare the body to sit for pranayama and meditation.
4. To cleanse and release tension from the body and sub-conscious layer of the mind.
What a fun workshop — exploring a little deeper with this wonderful group of curious practitioners. Grateful to be here and grateful to be able to share these teachings and honor my teachers

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Finishing up day 4 at Yonion Festival!

Finishing up day 4 at Yonion Festival!

We finished up a beautiful 4 days here at the Yonion Festival! I had a lot of fun. I met a lot of new students. I made some new friends. And I got to connect with some old friends who I haven’t seen in years. Grateful to everyone involved who made the festival such a huge success. Grateful for the experience. I’m so glad they invited me to teach this year. It was such a pleasure being here.

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Yonion Festival — Day 4! My last class at the festival. What a fun day!

Yonion Festival — Day 4! My last class at the festival. What a fun day!

Yonion Festival — Day 4! My last class at the festival. What a fun day!I taught a Shiva Power Class/Backbending Workshop. We had a thunderstorm in the middle of the class. We were dry under the tent but the power to the sound system had to be cut and it poured rain. It was so loud.
Part of our yoga practice is going with the flow. We shifted to a much more workshop style class. My translator and I tried to be as loud as we could but it was still hard for the students to hear us. I ended up gathering everyone close to the stage. We demonstrated a few things to work on and then I sent them back out to their mats to practice. We did this a few times and it was actually quite a fun way to present to such a big group. Sometimes you get these wonderful spontaneous moments from just accepting things as they are unfolding. My teacher Dharma always used to remind us — Everything is happening the way it is supposed to be. What’s that famous quote — Yoga is not about stopping the waves but learning how to surf.

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One of the greatest - Tymu Howard

One of the greatest - Tymu Howard

There’s some great teachers here at the Yonion Festival this year! I’m honored to be teaching alongside some of the best in the world. One of the teachers here is Tymi Howard. So nice of Tymi to come to my Shiva Power class today. Tymi has a big following all over the world, and especially here in China. She owns Guruv Yoga in Orlando, Florida too. I have been collaborating with her at her studio for the past year but we had never met and we finally got to connect in person here in China. Small world. This year she invited me to teach a small part of one of her Teacher Training programs too, which was a lot of fun. She has a wonderful community in Orlando. I’m excited to be heading back to Orlando in June to teach some classes and workshops at her studio again too. Love this girl! And I love this picture.

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Where is your journey taking you next?

Where is your journey taking you next?

I’m off to the Yonion Festival! Excited to be teaching at this festival in Xiamen for the first time. This is one of China’s largest yoga festivals. I’m honored to be presenting with some of the world’s leading international teachers, including my friends @tymihoward @diceyoga and @yogawithbriohny I’m in Brussels now. Waiting on my flight to Beijing. Where is your journey taking you next? If you show up with an open mind and an open heart the possibilities are endless. Enjoy the ride and breathe into every moment. The thought of all the travel I’m doing this year and being away from home for so long - several months on this current trip - made me very nervous at first and definitely took me out of my comfort zone. I’m loving being challenged like this, though and being forced to give up control. It’s such a beautiful practice. Let it go. What are you holding on to? Let it go. Trust. Have faith. The Universe has a plan for you. Just keep taking steps forward. Breathe. It’s not supposed to feel comfortable. Are you really nervous? Or are you excited and you’ve forgotten how amazing it feels to be excited, vulnerable and alive! Namaste, my friends. Thank you to all of you who I’ve met so far on this path who have inspired me to get out of my comfort zone. We are walking this path together.

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Tittibasana (Firefly Pose)

Tittibasana (Firefly Pose)

Demonstrating one of the variations of Tittibasana (Firefly Pose) in my Arm Balance Workshop at Pano Skylos! Thank you for coming, everyone. It was a fun day and a great weekend. I think we connected the dots today and made sense of a lot of things. The arm balance poses are advanced warmup poses. Each arm balance is either plank or low plank + one of the standing warmup poses. If you can hold plank and low plank and your hips are open enough you will be able to do many of the arm balance poses in yoga.

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Shift your perspective. Experience the true nature of your Self.

 Shift your perspective. Experience the true nature of your Self.

Really fun Shiva Power class last night at Siddhi Yoga Shala in Athens. Thank you @mariamaganariyoga for inviting me to collaborate and teach at your studio. Really nice group of students. Thank you to everyone who came to take my Shiva Power class.


I was talking last night about the shift of perspective in yoga, and how profound it is when we make that shift. The mind is constantly falling down. When we are governed by the ego we are constantly judging, criticizing and commenting on everything. The mind is never satisfied. But when you touch the deepest part of yourself and realize that there is a part of you beyond the body, mind, thoughts, and ego, you start to see the world differently. You begin to move through the world with more gratitude. Love, kindness and compassion automatically starts to flow from your heart. The question arises in your mind — how can I be of service? How can I help others? This is yoga! Take the journey. Shift your perspective. Experience the true nature of your Self.

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Virabhadrasana. The Hero’s pose.

Virabhadrasana. The Hero’s pose.

Virabhadrasana. The Hero’s pose. Stay calm. Stay grounded. Breathe. Be vulnerable. Open your heart. The strongest people you will ever meet are also the most vulnerable. Courage is not avoiding the fire. Courage is standing in the fire and breathing into the discomfort of the unknown. A hero is strong but not wild and not out of control. Strength isn’t demonstrated by losing your temper, and giving in to your emotions. A bully is not strong but incredibly weak. Strength is demonstrated from restraint. Stand your ground. Find stillness. It is easy to be tossed and turned and pushed around by all of life’s challenges. Stay focused. Stay on your path. Concentrate. The battle is not with anyone else it is with yourself. The battle is between you and your mind. Who is in charge? Who is driving your car? Is it you or the mind? Each time you win this internal battle between you and your mind you increase your will power. Each time you lose this battle with the mind, the distractions, the patterns you are caught up in become stronger and have more power over you. Move through your life like a hero.

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Beautiful sunrise this morning on the Blue Star Ferry!

Beautiful sunrise this morning on the Blue Star Ferry!

Beautiful sunrise this morning on the Blue Star Ferry!
If you wake up early enough you sometimes get to see the incredible beauty of nature. A new dawn. A new day. We practice yoga first thing in the morning because this is a transformational time. The day moves from darkness to light. Each sunrise is a new beginning, a chance to reinvent yourself, to shift your perspective. This is a great time to set intentions and to head in a new direction. This is also a vata time — a time of intuition and connecting with source. Use your meditation practice to go inward. Let the light move through you. What inspiring thoughts and ideas are bubbling to the surface? What creative forces are moving within you.

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Following the journey - now on my way to Athens.

Following the journey - now on my way to Athens.

Woke up early today to go to the port. Headed back to Athens for a weekend of teaching at Siddhi Yoga Shala and Pano Skylos. One of the great things about getting up so early to catch the ferry this morning was seeing the incredible sky before the morning sunrise. Wow! There’s been so many breathtaking moments this week. I am sad to leave Amorgos. But I am excited about the next adventure. The journey continues. Where is your journey taking you next?

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Visiting Sister Irene in Amorgos.

Visiting Sister Irene in Amorgos.

After a long detour where we made a wrong turn and ended up taking a beautiful winding road across the island we finally got back on the main road and headed to see Irene at another monastery. Sister Irene is such a special woman. I love visiting her when I come to Amorgos. She has put so much energy and so much love into taking care of her monastery. It’s beautiful!

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Getting ready for the opening ceremony in the new beautiful Namaste Shala at the Elysia Yoga Convention.

Getting ready for the opening ceremony in the new beautiful Namaste Shala at the Elysia Yoga Convention.

Getting ready for the opening ceremony in the new beautiful new Namaste Shala here at the Elysia Yoga Convention. I forgot how special it is here. And what an amazing group this year! Wow! So grateful to be here with such wonderful teachers and students from all over the world. The feeling of community is so incredible. Wish you were here with me! It’s amazing!

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My apartment in Athens is right below the Acropolis!

My apartment in Athens is right below the Acropolis!

My apartment in Athens is right below the Acropolis! Athens is such a beautiful city. I’ve spent the last two days walking around and exploring little, narrow cobblestone streets, cute cafes — with incredibly fresh food, and checking out some of the beautiful architecture and historic buildings here. The city has a really nice vibe. I’m so glad I’ll be back next week and get to do a little more sight seeing. I’m teaching classes and workshops next weekend at Panos Skylos and Upward Dog Yoga! Excited to practice with you again Athens Yogis.

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