Shiva Meditation Class at Kula Yoga.

Shiva Meditation Class at Kula Yoga.

Shiva Meditation class this morning at Kula Yoga in Port Orange! Powerful way to start the day.

Pranayama, yoga nidra, and seated meditation.

What is yoga?

The stopping of the movements of the mind. When the mind is quiet, in the stillness, you get to experience the true nature of your Self.

What’s left over in the stillness when for a moment the body, mind, thoughts and ego have disappeared?

You!

Our next Shiva Meditation class is tomorrow night at 5:30pm at Kula Yoga In Port Orange. Last one of the week! Hope to see you there.

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Exploring Long Island.

Exploring Long Island.

Hiking on Long Island with my Dharma Yoga sister! Diana has been hosting me here in New York and she is such a great host. Grateful for her. She has inspired me to eat so healthy since I arrived here in New York. It’s been a great way to start the new year. I’m feeling refreshed and recharged. And it’s been so wonderful to practice everyday with my teacher, Sri Dharma Mittra. 

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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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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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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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When you practice teaching others, you learn so much about what you know and what you don't know.

When you practice teaching others, you learn so much about what you know and what you don't know.

When you practice teaching others, you learn so much about what you know and what you don’t know. Our students, and teaching itself, is such a good mirror for us. Just like in your own practice, the yoga mirror shows you the things you need to look at, and the areas that are disconnected. Are you being effective when you are teaching, or not? Are you communicating with your students? Do they understand the things you are sharing? The real measure of a good teacher is not what you can do on your mat yourself, but how effective are you at connecting with your students, helping them to grow and transform. Show me pictures of your students. I want to see them. I want to see what they have learned. I want to meet them. Are they closer to balance? Are they more Sattvic? Do they have a deeper relationship with themselves, and deeper relationships with other people and the world around them?

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There is no more important relationship you will have than the relationship with yourself.

There is no more important relationship you will have than the relationship with yourself.

I met with my student, Andrew Oliver, last week in the Southbay. Andrew traveled to Cabo for our Shiva Yoga 200hr Program in August. I had lunch with him and his partner, Ei Ei — they own the yoga studio, ‘Yoga Remedy’s’ together. Andrew did an incredible job in the training program in Cabo and I was excited to hear that he’s now teaching 2 classes a week at Yoga Remedy’s. He told me that several people in his life came up to him when he returned from Cabo and asked him what he had started doing recently because they noticed this really positive shift in him, and one friend even said it was like he was a whole different person. This yoga technology will change your life. There is no more important relationship you will have than the relationship with yourself. When you change this relationship, it changes your relationship to everything. Proud of you, Andrew!

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Experiencing suffering in order to grow.

Experiencing suffering in order to grow.

This girl had such a big weekend in my intensive at Kula Yoga this past weekend! Look at your King Pigeon — Samantha! Beautiful.  We did so many backbends in my Backbend Workshop on Saturday afternoon. My teacher — Dharma, would be proud of us. Backbends are such great teachers. They are energizing, uplifting, stimulating, and intense — taking us out of our comfort zone and deep into the fire. They teach us about surrendering in the middle of the fire. They teach us about breathing into the discomfort. They teach us to open our heart and to let go of the ego. How quickly can you get past your fear and resistance? It’s not easy being vulnerable. Let go. Let it go. Open up and let go. All of our growth lies out of our comfort zone. One of my favorite definitions of Tapas is — “experiencing suffering in order to grow.” Are you ready to let go of your ego? Are you ready to grow? A lot of people don’t like Backbends because they challenge the ego so much. We develop complicated patterns and ways to avoid being vulnerable. The ego says — I don’t like this, I’m uncomfortable. Be uncomfortable. Be vulnerable. Be authentic. Feel your feelings. Yoga is real and authentic and sometimes painful. Go towards the pain. Don’t avoid it. That pain is a part of you that is disconnected and is trying to reconnect. Pain is how we heal. And the way we sharpen our intellect is by learning the difference between pain that is leading to growth and pain that is leading to injury. So proud of where we went in this Backbend Workshop on Saturday!

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Movement and Stillness.

Movement and Stillness.

I love listening to the sound of a group of students flowing together, breathing together, moving as one. One of the great things about a led class is being able to surrender to the group energy. Move, and then pause and feel it. Move, and then pause and feel it. The dance between movement and stillness. Feel this moment. Now — it’s gone. Feel this moment. Now — it’s gone. Moment to moment. Be here now. Be. Here. Now. Training ourselves to be more present. We open and we close. We open and we close — over and over again. Inhale and exhale. Inhale and exhale. Inhale. Pause. Exhale. Pause.

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Holding space.

Holding space.

Individual sharing at our Closing Ritual. Holding space. Active listening. Supporting each other. One of the most powerful things that happens in this Teacher Training program is witnessing the students allow others to see who they really are and seeing them getting more comfortable with themselves. Peel off the layers. Drop the mask. Who is in there? Trust. You’re enough. And you’re not too much. You’re perfect exactly the way you are and that’s who we want to get to know. We don’t have another you! Over and over again (in the program) I kept encouraging the students to be authentic. Spirituality is real. It’s grounded in reality. It’s intense, and challenging, and hard work. Walking a spiritual path is not filled with unicorns and rainbows and sunshine. It’s about getting to the truth and in order to do that we’ve got to peel off so many layers. Simple connection. Really listening and paying attention to someone. Seeing them and allowing yourself to be seen. Such deep connection with this group. Such beautiful communication from the heart at our Closing Ritual. Speak your truth, Yogis! Share yourself with the world.

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Closing Ritual.

Closing Ritual.

Closing Ritual on our last day of the Shiva Yoga 200hr Teacher Training in Cabo! We are back where we started but we’ve been on quite a journey. Yoga asks you to shift your perspective and change your relationship to your Self. When you shift your perspective and change your relationship to your Self, you change your relationship to everything around you. Your experience of the world changes. The world hasn’t CHANGED for you but it has changed for YOU. Your experience of the world has changed. The transformation was all within you. Everything has a beginning, middle, and end. Then, it starts all over again. Every ending is a new beginning. Time is moving very quickly. Breathe into it. Enjoy the journey. Inhale and exhale — over and over again. Enjoy the moment and then let it go. Time to move forward.

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Friends on a similar journey.

Friends on a similar journey.

Friends on a similar journey. The power of community. We talked over and over during the past month in my Shiva Yoga 200hr Teacher Training program about holding space for each other, supporting each other, being respectful and kind, and creating a sacred space where we all could feel vulnerable and work outside of our comfort zone. This group did such a great job holding space for each other. It was incredible! And we got to go very deep and get a lot accomplished. How quickly can you move past your fear and resistance and go towards the discomfort? I learned a lot from everyone and together we created a space where everyone felt comfortable enough to take a look at the yoga mirror and all the things that were being brought to the surface. It’s not an easy journey. It’s hard to look at the things that you are doing that are holding you back and all the ways you are avoiding things. Proud of these yogis for taking the journey. Digging in and taking a closer look at themselves.

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Each of the students becomes my teacher too.

Each of the students becomes my teacher too.

Grateful for each of these students! I learn so much leading these Teacher Training programs. Each of the students becomes my teacher too. And we all grow together. It’s a wonderful connection. The teacher/student relationship is such a beautiful thing. I’ve been blessed with some incredible teachers in my life who have helped me learn about myself. I try to copy them and hold the space for my students and help them learn about themselves. We keep passing it on and we keep helping each other along. Nobody gets there on their own. There’s always so much help along the way. Gratitude.  Namaste.

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Communication is everything!

Communication is everything!

Communication is everything! I think you can solve most problems as long as you are willing to stay open and communicate. It’s hard when there’s a challenge between two people. It’s hard when there’s confrontation. Can you stay open and move towards the confrontation with an open heart and an open mind. This is yoga! If you shut down, close off, stop communicating, and run away — you’re not really practicing yoga off your mat. You have to take what you are learning on your mat off the mat. Go into the fire. Breathe into the discomfort. Stay present. And let go. Let it go. Whatever you are attached to — let it go. I know right away if someone in my life is practicing yoga, or if they are just doing yoga exercise. It’s the quality of communication. My strongest relationships are filled with healthy confrontation. Let’s not push something under the rug and deal with it later. Let’s figure it out right now. Let’s talk about it. Let’s communicate with each other. Are you living your yoga off the mat? What’s your relationship to confrontation? Are you practicing healthy communication? When things get challenging do you shut down? Close off? React emotionally?

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Look at the pose. Look at the position at each joint.

Look at the pose.  Look at the position at each joint.

Look at the pose. Look at the position at each joint. What other poses are in this family? What poses are going to have similar actions? If you learn all of the “Tug of War” actions in the Mountain Pose — these are the same actions you need in Handstand. If you are trying to work on a more advanced pose — think of a pose that is in the same family. If you’re not able to find the actions you need in the advanced pose, maybe you can find them and work on them in an easier pose that has the same actions? What are some of the other poses in the Handstand family? Mountain Pose? Head Balance? Plank Pose? Low Plank? What else? Chair Pose? Boat Pose? Tree Pose? Warrior 1? Warrior 3?

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Practicing and Presenting Everyday...

Practicing and Presenting Everyday...

We have been doing a lot of practice teaching this past month.

When I did my first teacher training — we only taught one pose at the very end of the training. I felt so unprepared to teach a class when the training was over. It was a great training program — but I thought we would have benefitted from a lot more practice teaching.

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Become an expert and share your knowledge.

Become an expert and share your knowledge.

Become an expert and share your knowledge.

That’s really what we are doing as yoga teachers.

I had the best teacher when I was in the 7th grade, His name was Mr. Oldenziel. He made everything fun. I never forgot how inspiring he was and I learned so much from him.

I’ve tried to copy Mr. Oldenziel and make everything fun in my Shiva Yoga® 200hr Teacher Training program. We learn so much when we are playing games, or roleplaying, and when we are being creative.

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Anything that is not serving you -- let it go!

Anything that  is not serving you -- let it go!

We have come together from as far away as Dubai, Japan and Brazil, from Los Angeles, the Bay Area, San Diego, Mexico City, and some of our group is from here in Cabo too! It’s been an incredible month. I will miss this wonderful group when our training finishes in a few days. Time is passing so quickly. Breathe into every moment. Enjoy this incredible time as much as you can. Love everyone. Life is too short. Hold space for people. Pass on what you are learning and keep learning and growing yourself. Anything that is not serving you — let it go. Anyone that is dragging you down — let them go. There are such amazing people in the world. If you start vibrating on the right frequency they will find you. Send out your signal. Yoga encourages us to change ourselves. Don’t ask the world to change for you. Shift your perspective and change your relationship to the world. Namaste, Everyone! Grateful for this amazing group that has come together for this training and for all the wonderful blessings in my life right now.

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