Month: December 2019

Mindful Monday: Manipura Chakra

The Manipura Chakra is associated with the Fire element and the color YELLOW.

Mantra: “I do or “Ram”

The Manipura is located between your naval and your solar plexus.

It governs your feelings of will, inner power, strength, ego, stamina and self-esteem.

When this chakra is balanced, you feel powerful, strong, confident, capable active and determined.

When it is blocked, you may experience feelings of unworthiness, lack of energy and determination, guilt and fatigue.

When it is overstimulated, you will experience control issues, stubbornness, be overly critical and tend toward perfectionism.

To balance this chakra, try Navasana (boat pose), dhanurasana (upward facing bow) or and standing twists like crescent lunge with prayer twist or revolved Trikonasana (trianglepose).

Be powerful, my dear yogis!

December 2019 Pose of the Month: Malasana or Garland Pose

Hey, yogis!

This is our final POTM not only for 2019, but for the entire decade!

Our December 2019 pose is Malasana or Garland Pose, sometimes simply called a yogi squat.

I love closing the year with such a grounding and stabilizing pose!

Let’s do it!

1. Start in a standing position with feet mat with distance apart and hips externally rotated with heels in and toes turning outward.

2. Draw your hands to heart center as you bend your knees and lower your hips toward the earth.

3. Rock your weight back and forward a few times until you find stability and balance.

4. Drive your feet into the earth, wrap your core around your spinal cord, slurp your belly off your upper thighs and lift out of your waistline.

5. You’ll feel Apana vayu, the downward and outward flow of energy stabilizing as you experience Prana vayu through the upforce of energy lifting through your spine.

6. Placed your palms together at heart center and use your elbows to pry your hips open even wider.

7. Other variations include expanding chest by grounding one hand and reaching in opposition with the other hand.

Enjoy, yogis!

Wellness Wednesday: Holiday Roots

Happy Holidays, yogis!

If you have not noticed yet, Nadja and I have started the tradition to kick start Christmas Eve by practicing together in a full room with the lovely YBD community followed by taking an annual photo before beginning our family festivities. Starting our day with a flow with the community is always a humbling experience as we can all gather to breathe, sweat and smile. We can remind ourselves of the good in humanity and return to the roots of why we celebrate this time of year.

It is inspiring to see so many students still prioritize their practice in the midst of the holiday chaos. I think the the true purpose of the holidays can often be swept amongst the details. While celebrations are intended to honor life’s more momentous occasions, these sentiments can be swept away by the stress of overloaded to-do lists and on-going holiday obligations. There are ways, however, that we can celebrate without running ourselves exhausted.

The holiday season may be the perfect time to take inventory of our personal values without the influence of social media and other external sources. We must allow ourselves to detach from expectations and adjust existing traditions in order to create the inner and outer fulfillment we wish to seek during this time of year based off aknowledging our deepest values. In doing so we may inspire others to reconnect to the purpose of the holidays. We have the ability to pause when the festivities become more of a hassle than a celebration. The holidays will be the most rewarding when we return back to it’s roots.



Mindful Monday: Sacral Chakra

The Svadhistana or Sacral Chakra is associated with the Water element and the color ORANGE.

Mantra: “I feel” or “Vam”

The Svadhistana is located between your genitals and just below navel center.

It governs your feelings of creativity, sensuality, pleasure and fun.

When this chakra is balanced, you feel creative, a sense of overall wellness, abundance, joy and synced into the ease and flow of life. You are brimming with passion.

When it is blocked, you may experience emotional instability, fear of change, sexual dysfunction, depression, or addictions.

When it is overstimulated, you can experience a quick temper, rage and are argumentative. You may engage in self- destructive behaviors and feel jealousy, codependency and possessiveness in relationships.

To balance this chakra, try goddess pose, Supta baddha Konasana or reverse warrior.

Be passionate, my dear yogis!

Wellness Wednesday: Mental Retreats

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

I am currently in North Carolina visiting old friends where I have had the opportunity to detach myself from the hustle and bustle of everyday life back home and enjoy the ease of new energy of a new location. While I do not think it is always a good idea to run away from stress, sometimes allowing a period to detach from our current environment may be necessary to fall deep into personal solitude where we can fully own and release our joys, sorrows and fears without interruption.

When we detach ourselves from the ongoing motion we experience, we can quiet ourselves enough to notice how our inner world reflects our outer environment. We may see that when we stray away from the things that distract us, we reveal the root of our emotions and how much easier it is to still our mind from racing thoughts.

Becoming overly focused on a thought may cause us to constrict ourselves into a small space whereas becoming detached enough can allow us to view the relativity of a situation may set us free. As we immerse ourself into a place we never been to before, the simplest pleasures are far from superficial. Our ability to meditate has a new quality because of the energy we immersed ourself in is unfamiliar. Our senses become heightened, as if we are experiencing life for the first time with fresh eyes.

Once we acknowledge and create the space our mind craves, a broad perspective may wash to surface. This broad perspective may be just the thing we need in order to reinvigorate. This perspective may reveal to us what we deeply value and help us to understand the next steps of our path. Hopefully when we return home, we can take a little bit of this time stillness back with us and create the space for deep reflection on a daily basis. We may also come back to our life renewed and ready to take on the world.



Mindful Monday: Muladhara or Root Chakra

Good morning, and Happy Monday, Mindful Ones!

To review last week’s blog post, a chakra is an energetic center within the auric and physical body of all human beings. Chakras can be thought of as vortexes that serve as a non-physical highway through which cosmic energy travels connecting this energy with the physical body. This cosmic energy is what we know as life force or “Prana.”

Today, we’ll cover the first of the seven main chakras.

The Muladhara or Root Chakra is associated with the Earth element and the color RED.

Mantra: “I am” or “Lam”

The Muladhara is located at the base of your spine, between your perineum and genitals.

It governs your feelings of survival, groundedness, belonging, and stability. Your earliest memories are stored here, including whether or not your basic needs were met.

When this chakra is balanced, you feel strong, confident and able to stand firmly on your own two feet. You are confident that your basic survival needs are met and that you can handle anything life throws your way. You feel secure, stable and full of health and vitality.

When it is blocked, you feel unstable financially and/or emotionally, fearful, anxious, unsure, ungrounded. You may be easily angered or feel yourself shut down totally. You may become needy.

When it is overstimulated, you feel aggressive, cynical, materialistic, and greedy. You may engage in self- destructive behaviors.

To balance this chakra, try Warrior II, Malasana, or Tree pose. Seated poses also help to provide stability and groundedness.

Be courageous, my dear yogis! Until next week …

Wellness Wednesday: Be Good, Real Good


Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

I have strayed away from my practice convinced that it was not going to bring the freedom I need from the perfectionism mindset I held. I think the idea of losing faith in our practice is something we all can relate to in times of emotional stress that turns very physical. In these times we often hear the advice to just “show up” because “that’s 90% of your practice”. So that is exactly what I did. I forced myself to simply show up on my mat despite my racing thoughts and visceral sensations with no expectation to what my practice should or should not be.

Our ability to step onto our mat in a vulnerable state can bring us great courage to sit with the intense sensation we are experiencing. This may be the most important step as we accept ourselves to feel raw and fresh all at the same time. As I lied on my mat, convinced coming to a class was a bad idea, I felt reassured when a teacher I adore so much had said, “This time of year brings us so much pressure to be perfect. Why be perfect when we can be good? I mean real good”. 

Despite our best attempts to use the tools of mindfulness and emotional balance, sometimes we find ourselves again, trapped by the web of our own thoughts, locked behind the prison bars of unnecessary worry, expectation and judgement upon ourselves. The thoughts run themselves so intensely that we stand still fully aware of the storm that implodes as we feel no control over the momentum that occurs.

It is important to remind ourselves that we intend not to be perfect, to not be too selfless. Now, this doesn’t mean we do not strive to be our personal best. It just simply means we must accept that there is no such thing as perfection- especially with the ebb and flow of life. Many of us strive to be this idea of perfect. We take on extra responsibilities, other’s worries, we develop an all or nothing mindset and invest energy where it is not necessary with the intention of doing good by helping others and growing ourself. All to often we run ourselves depleted. It is essential that we detach and view our life to see that no one is strictly judging to see whether we are perfect or not except ourself. But sometimes the idea of perfectionism is ingrained to our core from our years growing up. We can now choose to let go of the idea of performing under the approval of someone just as we can choose to experience life as fun and free from resistance.

Our attempt to hold on to this idea of perfection may only cause frustration and unhappiness as we resist against what is. When we decide to live life without regret, we can strive to the best of our ability. We can feel satisfied in our efforts regardless how strictly others perceive our outcome. Instead, we can rest in the warm arms of our practice to reassure we can be good, real good.



Mindful Monday: Chakras

Good morning, mindful ones!

Well, we’ve covered the eight-limbed path of Ashtanga Yoga over the past two months!

Let’s continue our deeper study of yoga and familiarize ourselves with the chakras.

Perhaps you’ve heard the chakras mentioned but were never certain exactly what they are…

Well, it is scientifically proven that cosmic energy is in a constant flow around us, within us and through us. But with our unrefined consciousness, we are oblivious to this stream of energy. Therefore we are unable to access it consciously.

Through yogic study, we know that the human body consists of numerous nadis or energy channels that reside in the deeper koshas or sheaths of the body. The main nadis, ida and pingala, run along the spinal column in a curved path and cross one another several times. At the points of intersection they come into contact with the divine energy of the sushumna nadi forming strong energy centers known as chakras.

The sushumna (most gracious) nadi is the body’s great river, running from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, passing through each of the seven chakras in its course. … In subtle body terms, the sushumna nadi is the path to enlightenment.

Chakra is most often described as a spinning wheel or disc. These swirling wheels of energy correspond to massive nerve centers in the body. Each of the seven main chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs as well as our psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of being. Since everything is moving, it’s essential that our seven main chakras stay open, aligned, and fluid. If there is a blockage, energy flows are restricted.

The drain of a bathtub is often used to illustrate how the chakras work. When the plug is removed from a bathtub full of water, the water is sucked into the drainpipe, and the rotating water forms a vortex. This is how a chakra functions. In the same way as water being sucked into a drainpipe forms a whirlpool, cosmic energy is drawn into the chakras in a circular motion and guided towards the next point of intersection. This cosmic radiation influences and guides our feelings, thoughts and qualities according to our spiritual and karmic susceptibility. It’s important to keep the drain pipe clean and clear, lest the bathtub gets clogged.

Keeping a chakra open is a bit more of a challenge than keeping your bathtub drain clean; but not so difficult when you have awareness. Since mind, body, soul, and spirit are intimately connected, awareness of an imbalance in one area through meditation and mindfulness practices will help bring the others back into balance.

Take for example, a woman who has recently suffered the loss of a loved one. She develops acute bronchitis, which remains in the chest, and then gets chest pains each time she coughs. The whole heart chakra is affected in this case. If she realizes the connection between the loss and the bronchitis, healing will occur much faster if she honors the grieving process and treats that as well.

There are seven main chakras that we will cover throughout the next several weeks.

Have a great week, friends!

Wellness Wednesday: The Cost of Your Energy Investment

“I lied and said I was busy.
I was busy;
but not in a way most people understand.

I was busy taking deeper breaths.
I was busy silencing irrational thoughts.
I was busy calming a racing heart.
I was busy telling myself I am okay.

Sometimes, this is my busy –
and I will not apologize for it.

― Brittin Oakman

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

We preserved through the first holiday of the season! It has made me heart warm to see so many of us gravitating towards our restorative practice in order to keep our mind and body in equilibrium for the next holiday to come. All too often we become highly engaged of the preparation of festivities that we may not realize how much personal energy we invest during this time of year. This energy investment can leave us feeling out of our element, disconnected from the joy we wish to experience. However the missing piece to our connection is always there.

Think of it as fresh air. We are continuously breathing in and out the air around us, surrounding us, moving through us. At times we must set ourselves free physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically from the situation we are in to make the conscious decision to take a fresh, deep breath until we feel renourished again to continue forward. Yet the air we welcomed into our bodies remain the same. It was our intention and perception that changed our moment.

It can all be too overwhelming for us as one power source to connect to a multitude of outlets. It may be necessary to unplug and consciously reconnect to areas that help us replenish such as our meditation practice. We may feel that we are neglecting family and friends for investing time for ourselves but it takes great awareness and stillness to acknowledge that soundless solitude is what we need. Closing ourselves off does not have to be a negative experience. When we are conscious of our behavior, a closed circuit may remind us how wholesome it feels to observe electricity connect and flow properly. In a way, our bodies work the same way. As we make the connection internally, we can bring ourselves back to the connection we wish to experience externally.




Mindful Monday: Samadhi

Good morning and happy Monday! We begin the very last month of this decade! Time keeps marching along, doesn’t it?

Last week we covered the difference between Dharana (concentration) and Dhyana (meditation).

Dharana sets the stage for Samadhi, which means harmony, “to bring together, to merge.”  

These final three limbs are generally studied together: dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. These final three are at the most sublime and esoteric level of our study of yoga.

In Samadhi, subject and object merge as one. This eighth and final stage of yoga brings on super conscious awareness. One loses a sense of “I” and enters this Samadhi state where the meditator, the process of meditation and the object of meditation becomes one.

Samadhi is actually a series of states and experiences. Yoga Sutras describes various types of samadhis. One has to go through the different types of this Samadhi experience. Finally the practitioner reaches the highest stage of illumination called ‘Dharma Megha Samadhi’, which liberates the practitioner from all limitations of body and mind.

This identity without differences is a liberated soul that enjoys pure awareness. The mind and the intellect have stopped and there is only the experience of truth and unutterable joy. Which is the ultimate aim of our yoga practice.

Dear friends, wishing you a lovely week filled with mindfulness and increased awareness of all things.

Annica! Annica! Annica! Be happy! Be happy! Be happy!