Really fun pop up class at YogaWorks Southbay today!

Really fun pop up class at YogaWorks Southbay today!

Thank you to all the students who joined me for a hot and sweaty Shiva Power class, with a lot of hip opening, and some fun and playful Arm Balancing poses. So good to see Kiera again. We used to practice together in this same room 10 yrs ago. Loved seeing Zvia in the front row. Zvia completed her Teacher Training with me almost 10 yrs ago. The journey continues. Please join me for a Shiva Meditation class tomorrow morning from 8-9:30am. There will be pranayama, yoga nidra guided meditation, and seated meditation practice. A very powerful experience! Hope to see you there. Namaste.

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Taking in Greece during the Elysia Convention

Taking in Greece during the Elysia Convention

Yogis! It’s that time again. I booked my flight to Greece yesterday. Want to come on an adventure with me? Join me at the 3rd Annual Elysia Yoga Convention, at the 5* Aegialis Hotel & Spa, on the Greek Island of Amorgos! The convention is March 28th - April 4th! It’s an incredible value! Accommodation, 3 gourmet meals per day, Island excursions, and full yoga program — all for one low price! There’s single, double, and triple occupancy available. I hope you can join me. Amorgos is a really special place. See you there!!! 

www.elysiayogaconvention.com

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Until we meet again.

Until we meet again.

Our final day together! Lots of fun and laughter. Some silliness and play. I love how everyone comes together like a family on these retreats. It’s a really fun way to travel. Bittersweet to say goodbye. Good memories. This week on the retreat was really packed with activities, and at the same time it just flew by and the last day was suddenly upon us. A very special group and a very special place. Thank you everyone and thank you Maui, Lumeria, and all the wonderful people we met on the island, for hosting us and letting us soak up all the wonderful energy on the island. I feel tired but also refreshed and rejuvenated from this experience. I’m already thinking about the next one. Where will we go next? The feedback from those on our last few retreats is — Croatia, Thailand, Iceland, Cuba, or India! Where do you want to go? Look out for one of these destinations in the near future. Until we meet again.  Namaste.

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Thanksgiving 2018 - Equinox Woodland Hills!

Thanksgiving 2018 - Equinox Woodland Hills!

Happy Thanksgiving! Really fun class this morning at Equinox Woodland Hills! Thank you to everyone who came out to practice. And thank you to those who brought donations for the food drive. You all practiced hard! You earned that extra scoop of ice cream!  Have a wonderful holiday. Love to you and your family and friends.  Grateful for each of you. 

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Traditional Hawaiian Bonfire Ceremony!

Traditional Hawaiian Bonfire Ceremony!

We had a very special Traditional Hawaiian Bonfire Ceremony on the last night of our retreat! Thank you to Makoa Quest for organizing and bringing us this experience. This was definitely a highlight of the trip for me. Hearing traditional stories about Maui and Hawaii, offering old patterns to the fire and letting them go, making a commitment to live the best possible life, setting new intentions, and a special Ava ceremony. Deep and powerful. And the words of the Hawaiian Cultural Practitioner aligned with all that we are practicing in our yoga practice. The truth is Universal. Grateful for this experience and to have been able to share it with my students. 🙏

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Reduce Tamas & Rajas. Cultivate more Sattva.

Reduce Tamas & Rajas.  Cultivate more Sattva.

Another Shiva Power class, on our retreat to Maui last week! Come into stillness. Concentrate. And breathe. Practicing asana reduces Rajas. Practicing pranayama reduces Tamas. Practicing concentration increases Sattva. This is Samkhya Yoga. This is Ashtanga Yoga. Reduce Tamas and Rajas. Cultivate more Sattva. Make the mind fit for concentration and ready for the higher Raja Yoga practices of concentration, meditation, and Samadhi. Ommmmm!

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The volcano Haleakala! It's been dormant for almost 300 yrs! Wow!

The volcano Haleakala!  It's been dormant for almost 300 yrs!  Wow!

The volcano Haleakala! It’s been dormant for almost 300 yrs. Incredible! I love the girls jumping in their Shiva Yoga shirts. Great shot! Maui has so much to see and explore. And the different parts of the island are so different. I will definitely be going back to explore a little more. Not enough time in just 1 week! And it’s so close — I can’t believe I haven’t been already until now. Beautiful! This incredible planet we live on. Let’s take good care of her and try to leave behind something better than what we found. 

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You are already 'there'!

You are already 'there'!

Another amazing group dinner at The General Store in Hali’maile! If you go to Maui — Mama’s Fish House and The General Store are really great restaurants. Highly recommended! 👍😁 

I will miss these group meals and especially this wonderful group. It is the journey! Enjoy the moments. Enjoy the laughter and the shared times together. There is no ‘there’! You are already ‘there’! This is it. Breathe into it. These moments are special.

Thank you for sharing such a fun week with me in Maui! Lots of great moments. Lots of wonderful memories. How incredible is this life? I am missing all of you already and can’t wait for the next adventure. 🙏❤️

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Hip Opening Workshop and Shoulder Opening Workshop, on our retreat this past week in Maui!

Hip Opening Workshop and Shoulder Opening Workshop, on our retreat this past week in Maui!

Hip Opening Workshop and Shoulder Opening Workshop, on our retreat this past week in Maui! We had the perfect balance of beautiful sunny days which allowed for lots of adventure and time to explore the island, and rainy, windy days where it felt great to be inside the yoga shala learning new things an deepening our practice. It was really fun to explore some deeper work on the retreat, as we might in one of my Shiva Yoga Teacher Training programs. We covered a lot in these workshops! From basic anatomy and asana breakdown, to sequencing, and understanding how yoga philosophy informs our yoga practice. Do you know the difference between the warm up and the deeper practices? My teacher’s would say that a lot of modern yoga is missing the bigger picture and the key elements that will allow you to experience a deeper connection to your Self, and really receive the full benefits of this incredible yoga technology. Make sure you are not just warming up to go home. 😂🤷‍♂️ Great work, Yogis! You were so focused in these workshops — we got to cover a lot in a very short period of time. 😁🙏👍

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Stand Up Paddle + Yoga!

Stand Up Paddle + Yoga!

We attempted to do a little yoga on the Stand Up Paddle boards. I have so much respect for the yogis who do this regularly and make it look so easy. It was really hard!!! Lol. What a fun day! Such a great group on this retreat. Almost everyone on the retreat was returning after having already done a previous retreat adventure with me and it was kind of like a reunion for a lot of us. So nice to see everyone and share another adventure together. Where are headed next?  Possibly Iceland, Croatia, Thailand, Alaska, or India. Stay tuned! Lots of fun adventures on the horizon! Don’t forget about the Elysia Yoga Convention next year in Greece too!

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Stopping of the fluctuations of the mind.

Stopping of the fluctuations of the mind.

Morning Shiva Power class! Rise and shine. It’s time for yoga! Yoga is the stopping of the fluctuations of the mind. This is another way of saying that yoga is concentration. Concentration is defined as focusing the mind on one object. Meditation is defined as sustained concentration. And deep meditation is called Samadhi. What happens in Samadhi? The subject and object merge. For a moment — it is as if you lose a sense of yourself as the meditator. No more body, mind, and ego. And in this moment — the yogis tell us — you get to experience the true nature of your Self. Yoga answers the big life question — Who am I? Am I this body? Am I this mind? Am I these thoughts? When you experience the true nature of the Self — love, kindness, compassion, energy, vitality, confidence, and bliss flow through you. Sounds pretty good! Sign me up for some of that. 😁 

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Control Your Breath, Control Your Mind.

Control Your Breath, Control Your Mind.

The breath is so important in a physical yoga practice. The yogis say, “if you can control your breath, you can control your mind.” Breathe deeply. Breathe down into the belly. This is called diaphragmatic breathing. Breathe into the side ribs. This is called costal breathing. Yogic breathing is often described as a combination of these two types of breathing. You want your breath to be long and slow. But you don’t want to fill the lungs so much that the collar bones lift and the upper chest lifts up towards the neck. This is called clavicular breathing. It is not recommended during your yoga practice. It stimulates the nervous system and is usually only used when the body is starving for oxygen. Breathe in and out through the nose. Let the breath lead you into the movement in your practice. Let the body follow the breath. Krishnamacharya says, “Let the breath be the Guru and the body be the disciple.” Ujjayi pranayama is very balancing. It can be performed in any asana. The Ujjayi pranayama is used to control the breath and slow it down. We can’t control the breath at the nostrils without using our fingers. But we can control the breath by constructing the throat muscles, as if we are sipping the breath through a tiny straw.

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Sun Salutation Workshop!

Sun Salutation Workshop!

Sun Salutation Workshop with my students in Qingdao! Breaking down Sun Salutation 1. This Sun Salutation is often associated with Hatha Yoga and it’s not as popular as it used to be. It’s a traditional Sun Salutation with 12 positions, making it perfect for the Vedic Sun Salutation chant. I love this Sun Salutation and practice it daily. Grateful to my teacher, Dharma Mittra for showing me this sequence and teaching me the traditional variation as well. Grateful to my teacher, Mr. Ramaswami for teaching me the Sun Salutation chant. The Sun is the brightest and lightest thing in our world. It is a symbol of the brightest and lightest part of ourselves, which we sometimes call our inner light.

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Teaching my students different ways for beginners to come into the Bound Head Balance Pose.

Teaching my students different ways for beginners to come into the Bound Head Balance Pose.

Teaching my students different ways for beginners to come into the Bound Head Balance Pose. The ‘Tug of War’ actions in the arms and the shoulders will keep pressure off the neck. Once you are comfortable balancing, take your gaze to the middle of the eyebrows and concentrate. Let the Pose work on you. The Head Balance Pose is good for the heart and the cardio-vascular system and good for the spinal discs, which need to be squeezed in order to get nutrients. More importantly — this pose is a mudra, and has an effect on the nervous system. Combined with the Shoulder Stand, it helps to bring about a state of balance. In Raja Yoga — we work towards a state of Sattva, a place where the mind is fit for concentration, meditation, and Samadhi. In Hatha Yoga, we work towards perfect balance, a place where the Kundalini force awakens, a place where Samadhi automatically occurs.

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Every training program I lead begins with an opening ceremony.

Every training program I lead begins with an opening ceremony.

Every training program I lead begins with an Opening Ceremony. These are one of my favorite parts of each training program. It’s a chance for all of us to get to know each other and hold space for each other. We set basic rules for our time together so everyone’s expectations are clear. We create a sacred space and honor our teachers and we commit to honoring each other and those in our lives who inspire us and help lift us up. A light ceremony reminds us to move towards the brightest part of ourselves and let our inner light shine through. I feel like after these ceremonies we come together as a family. Now, we are ready to be more intimate with ourselves. Now, we are ready to be more vulnerable. Now, we can work on letting go of old patterns and replacing them with new patterns that will lead us in a more positive direction. Yoga is the technology that you can use to change your life. Make this space different. Mark it as special. Do what you need to do to create a sacred space for yourself and experience the power of this technology.

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What are you embracing right now?

What are you embracing right now?

Demonstrating an intermediate variation of the Shoulder Stand, with Plow Pose options, in one of our Shiva Power classes, in my recent Shiva Yoga training program in Qingdao, China. One of the great things about learning to teach with a translator is that you have to make sure you speak clearly and you have to slow down, so that they have time to translate what you are saying to the students, and the students have time to digest everything. I think teaching with a translator the last 4 yrs has helped my teaching in general. Embracing something new. What are you embracing right now? What is challenging for you? What are the new things you are learning by opening up to this new challenge? Did you notice initial resistance to the change and to your own growth?

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Different Pigeon Pose Variations!

Different Pigeon Pose Variations!

Different Pigeon Pose variations! The Pigeon is from the Dove family — a bird symbolizing peace. What happens when your yoga practice deepens? What happens when you experience the true nature of your Self? The yogi’s say your heart opens and love, kindness, compassion, energy, vitality, confidence, and bliss, flow through you. It’s not easy to open your heart. There’s often a lot of resistance, control, and fear, holding you back. Choose love over fear. There’s nothing to be afraid of. The only thing to fear is fear itself. Let yourself be vulnerable. Let things be uncomfortable. The unknown can be exciting and exhilarating! Breathe into it! Feel how good it feels to be alive!

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You have to have context in order to make sense of things.

You have to have context in order to make sense of things.

You have to have context in order to make sense of things. It’s really important that we understand how Classical Yoga Philosophy compares to the other philosophies which competed with yoga, as a way to understand the world and our place in it, around 2000 yrs ago. These philosophies influenced each other and influence traditional yoga practices. Modern yoga classes are using these traditional yoga practices. It’s important to understand why. What is the goal of these practices? And, once reaching the goal, what is the experience once we are there? If you want to learn more about yoga philosophy, please join me for one of my Shiva Yoga Teacher Training programs next year. We have a 200hr program in Cabo San Lucas next year July 15-August 16 and we have a 300hr program, spread over 3 modules, in the fall, in Port Orange, Florida!  Check out the upcoming trainings page! Now, is the time for yoga!

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