We are the voice of the holy

It is appalling that a fringe pastor with a congregation of 40 spouting insanity can gain a national and global voice through a press beholden to commercialism and willing to give a microphone to any nutcase whose venom will sell 'papers' by catering to our basest instincts of retribution and revenge.

Pastor Terry Jones is equivalent to Al Qaida and all other religious extremists who perpetrate ignorance and violence in the name of the Holy. I am not a Christian, but I call on all my Christian friends to speak loudly against this man and his actions.

Each of us is the voice the Holy. If religion has any place in society it is to act against our base and violent natures and hold up the holy in each of us. And each of us is responsible if we tolerate and remain silent in the wake of the speech of men like Pastor Jones.


Metta Meditation

Take a comfortable seat.  Be fussy, you might be here for a while.  Tend to your body, your posture, and your breath.  Find ease.

Envision someone with whom you struggle, someone who creates difficulty in your life.  Picture them standing in front of you. 

Picture them surrounded by a deep golden light.  Ask for them all that you want for yourself. 
For example you can repeat  the following mantra:
"May you be peaceful and at ease. May your life be happy.  May you have health and prosperity.  May you be filled with loving kindness.  May you be free."  (adapted from A Path with Heart, Jack Kornfeld and Freedom from Bondage in Alcoholics Anonymous).  

Choose words that work for you.  Offer this person all that you desire for yourself.  Allow the feelings of golden light and well-being to encompass both of you. 

Take this meditation with you into your life. Offer this meditation in your mind to everyone you encounter:  the bank teller, the grocery clerk, the person who cut you off in traffic, your spouse, parent or child. 

Your life will change.  You will become the change you seek to be in the world.


Echo Pranayama: A breath to clear the mind

Our minds have a proclivity to grasp at our worries. They attach to our recent dramas, our worries and concerns and they won’t let go. My recent mental obsessions have revolved around my son and my studio. If allowed, I find my mind returns to these subjects obsessively. Seemingly believing that more worry will resolve my issues. And my 'wise mind' knows I need to let things go, that worry will not resolve anything. But left to it’s own devises, my unfettered mind worries.

When the focus of your Pranayama practice is the exhalation, then the mind practices letting go. Our minds observe the action of the body letting go over and over again and follows suit. When we focus on our exhalation we release what we do not need to hold. We offer our anxieties to the universal breath. We begin to watch our thoughts just as we watch our breath and we have the ability to let our thoughts go. Our minds calm.

When we exhale we detoxify our bodies, literally releasing toxins into the air. Lucky for us, our toxins and waste products are another organism’s food and nourishment. As we relax into our exhalation, we relax into the dynamics of life. We become part and parcel of the life and energy that is exchanged between each being on this planet, between plant, animal, vegetable and mineral. Focusing on the exhalation is an exercise in trust, trusting the bigger process of life to hold us, to take what we do not need and return to us what we do need. When we surrender to this process we discover that we are taken care of by powers greater than our self.

In light on life, BKS Iyengar suggests Echo Breath as a Pranayama practice for minds that struggle to become quiet. Whenever we are confronted with mental worry or obsession, Echo Pranayama is a excellent practice to restore a calm mind. When you find your mind returning again and again to the same refrain, Echo Breath is a tool to release the refrain and find your own inner quiet again.

The practice is simple:
Take a comfortable seat, either on the floor or in a chair. Sit upright. Do not rest back into the chair seat or slump into the space behind you. Bring your rib cage to float like an inverted bowl directly over your pelvis. Bring your head to float directly above your heart. Soften the back of your neck. Once the neck feels aligned rotate your head forward to bring your chin toward the notch of your sternum.
  1. Breath through your nose.
  2. Begin with an easy exhale followed by an inhale.
  3. Gradually extend the length of each exhalation.
  4. As you find your maximum exhalation add a moment of rest after the end of the exhale. Rest for one or two seconds, long enough to notice but not long enough to cause anxiety.
  5. After a few cycles of this, add an additional exhale after the rest. And then rest again for another second before you receive a smooth inhalation.
  6. Do not grasp the inhale, receive it as a gift.
Focus on your exhalation, following it to the end, resting and then exhaling further. Continue to empty your mind with each exhalation. Offer your thoughts to the bigger mind of the universe and trust that what you need will be returned to you, just as the next inhalation is given to you.

Continue Echo Breath Pranayama for 3 to 5 minutes. Rest in Savasana (relaxation pose) when you are finished.

If you become anxious or short of breath during Pranayama immediately return to your normal breathing pattern. Rest and try again another day.

You can practice this Pranayama any time anxiety or obsession pull at your mind. As you bring your breath under the guidance of your deeper mind, so you will be able to turn your thoughts where you want them to go.


Rest Stop Yoga Lesson II

The journey's not over. You pull over at yet another rest stop.  Walk around, use the loo, and then take a short yoga break. Here are some simple poses to ease travel weary bones:Seated Twist
Seated Pigeon
Bench Lunge
Bench Spinning Lunge

Seated Twist:  Turn around and sit on the bench. Sit forward so that your spine is upright over your pelvis.  Take your left hand to your outer right knee and your right hand to the bench seat behind you.  Twist your spine from your tail bone to the base of your skull. Breath deeply and lengthen up into the twist.   You'll want to stay very vertical as you twist and breath.  Repeat 2 to 3 times each side.

Seated Pigeon:  After the twists, return to center.  Bring one ankle to the opposite shin.  Sit up nice and tall and allow the knee of the lifted leg to drop down toward the earth.  Keeping your spine long, hinge at your hips to bring your chest closer to your lifted shin.  Rest here for up to 2 minutes and then change sides.  This is a great relief for low back pain and sciatica.

Bench Lunge:  Stand up again and turn to face the bench.  Bring the sole of one foot onto the bench and keep one foot on the floor.  Lunge forward, always keeping your knee over your ankle.  If you need a deeper stretch hop the back foot farther from the bench.  Press the back ankle toward the floor and bend the back knee as you like to deepen the stretch in the front of the back hip.  Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Bench Spinning Lunge: Reach one arm across your body and take your elbow or forearm to the outside of the lifted knee.  Turn your chest over the lifted knee and reach your free hand behind you. Breath deep into your hips to stretch the hip rotators.

Find a pole or the corner between two walls. Reach one hand straight up and back to hold onto the wall or pole.   Pivot your body away from the lifted arm to stretch through your upper chest.   You can walk your hand up and down the pole to change the position of the stretch within the fan of the pectoral muscle.  Take a deep full breath while your here.

Finally, talk a walk, keep breathing, drink lots of water.  Enjoy the journey as much as the destination!

Rest Stop Yoga Lesson I

You've been driving for hours, or you've just got off the plane, or your still trapped on the train. Here is a sequence to relieve your back and your spirit:
Bench Cat/Cow
Bench Dog
Bench Flying Cat
Seated Twist

Bench Cat/Cow:  Stand about 1 foot in front of a bench seat, bend at your waist and bring your hands onto the bench. You'll want to find a position where your feet are directly under your hips and your hands are directly under your shoulders. Begin in neutral spine and wag your tail right and left to stretch the sides of your low back. Return to neutral.

On your exhale arch your spine upwards toward the sky,

 On your inhale lift your tail bone, your heart and your gaze as you arch your spine toward the earth. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged all the while. Move back and forth from Bench Cow to Bench Cat 10 to 20 times cycling with your breath.

Bench Dog:  Take a step back, lift your sitting bones and bring your head down into the space between your arms for bench dog. Stretch way back through the armpits and the spine. Keep your knees soft so your low back can release. Try wagging your tail again. Breath deeply.

 Bench Flying Cat:  On an inhale step forward again so that your shoulders are directly above your wrists.  On your inhale lift opposite arm and leg while keeping a very steady center.  Hold for 3 breath cycles and then switch sides.  Repeat 3 to 10 times each side.


Why Yoga?

First and foremost, because I feel better when I practice yoga.

Anxiety, depression and bipolar spectrum disorder are common afflictions in my family of origin. As I raise my children, I am treated to the pleasure watching these struggles arise in the next generation. And as I have watched my children, I learn more about myself.

I have structured my life to support my mental health. Through the years, I have learned that to maintain good mental health, I must also maintain good physical health. The body and the mind are not separate entities, but a single functional unit. I have learned that vibrant health is the basis for a vibrant and happy life.

Yoga is the best medicine and most efficient path to vibrant health. I move, stretch, and strengthen my body through its full range of possibility. I exercise with as much presence as I can muster, and I follow the practice with meditation and stillness. I challenge myself toward practices that seem unattainable and marvel when I master something new. My anxieties are lessened and I am able to face my struggles with poise. I am able to do things that seem impossible when I am not practicing yoga.

I saw a yoga student at a social event yesterday. We talked about these issues and how yoga made us feel. She said, "when I do my 30 minute yoga practice every morning, I just feel better." That's it. We feel better. We rise to our days with grace and joy.

Yoga is a daily tune up for the self. It keeps our spirits and our bodies running at their highest potential. It feels good to take this medicine. It is a pleasurable cure for what ails us.

Come along, give it a try. If you want to experience true change in yourself, practice regularly. Take a couple classes each week and work toward a daily practice of your own. Half an hour a day will make profound differences in how you feel for the other twenty three and a half hours of your day.


Time to live as if oil cost $20/gallon

I suppose this is off topic, but I have to start doing something. And writing is one thing I can do. Please join me in changing the way you live.

The Gulf of Mexico Oil spill is incomprehensible. 19 million gallons of oil, likely more, have poured out of a hole we drilled into the sea floor. There is no way I can fathom the volume of 19 million gallons of oil. I try to wrap my head around it, I look at pictures on line, but the numbers are so big that I cannot really understand. It is beyond the possibilities of my imagination.

I live in Oregon. I have been to the Gulf of Mexico a few times in my life. I know the water is warm. The waves are small. Novels I have read paint the picture of an easy slow-paced life in a rich abundant landscape. I can imagine vacationing at the shore and feasting on shrimp po’boys and seafood gumbo. I can imagine the wetlands, the beaches, the smell of the air, the call of sea birds.

And I can imagine the oil washing on shore. a black sticky blanket of death. Death spreading and spreading out from a small hole we poked in the earth. The death at the surface and the edges of the gulf is relatively easy to imagine, but the death is deeper, thicker and wider than my imaginations can conjure.

We may have killed the Gulf of Mexico. The ecosystem is unlikely to recover in my lifetime. The oil is spreading from the Gulf into the Atlantic Ocean. If the oil continues to spill, the world is going to change. It feels as if we have crossed a precipice, stepped off the razors edge, and that we are falling to toward an unknown end.

And I feel powerless. Any action I can imagine feels small and inconsequential. And yet, taking those small actions are exactly what I can do to make a difference.

I consume much more petroleum than I need to. Every day I throw away plastic packaging. That packaging is petroleum that I used just once, for a short period of time, and is now headed to the landfill. Every day I get into a car to drive somewhere. Every day the cheapness of petroleum means that disposable items are cheaper than reusable items. The disposable culture is a luxury of my lifetime. Really, only in the past 40 years or so have disposable items been so cheap and abundant. It is time to change.

Here is something we can do today: live as if we bore the real costs of petroleum. Live as if gasoline cost $20/gallon. Live as if plastic containers doubled or tripled the cost of an item. Live as if the meat you ate bore the real cost of the petroleum it took to bring it to your table. Live as if you were aware that the price of your plastic to-go cup was an oyster bed, a coral reef, a school of shrimp, a fisherman’s livelihood.

Watch carefully every day, the small accumulation of petroleum products that you use. How many pieces of plastic do you dispose of each day? How many miles do you drive? How much meat do you eat? Can you slow down your consumption? For just one day, can you live without disposable plastic? For just one day, can you walk or bike everywhere you need to go? For just one day, can eat a vegetarian diet?

The average American consumes 3 ½ gallons of oil each day. Some of that in the form of gasoline, but the list of petroleum products we consume includes: solvents, floor wax, football cleats, lipstick, cortisone, computer parts, hair coloring, dice, house paint, tooth brushes, DVDs, eyeglasses, tents, clothing, toothpaste, golf balls, vitamin capsules and thousands of other items around us.

With just a little forethought, I can reduce what I consume. I can remember to take my bags to the grocery store. I can remember to take to-go containers with me to restaurants. I can give myself enough time to walk or bike to my destination. I can purchase items in bulk and choose products that use the least amount of packaging.

It may only be a tiny drop when compared with 19 million gallons of oil, but it is my drop. And if we all make the decision to use less, we can decrease the demand for petroleum and stop poking holes in the planet.


More yoga for digestion: Apanasana Cycle

Prana is the yogic word for the energy of life. The yogis describe a variety of Pranas that flow in different directions through and around the body. Each prana has its own purpose in our physical function and health. Apana is the energy that cleanses the body. It is a downward flowing energy that keeps us connected to our earthiness. Apana is the energy of elimination and of letting go. Apana is the energy that moves with nourishment through the physical body. As such, a good flow of Apana is necessary for good digestion.

Apanasana is designed to stimulate the flow of Apana (posture). To practice Apanasana begin by lying down with your back on the floor, your head supported with a small lift as necessary, your knees either bent or your legs extended along the floor. Make sure the low back feels comfortable.

Draw first your right knee into your chest and give it a gentle squeeze. You can rock your knee right and left as you hold the knee into the belly. The left leg can rest with either the sole of the foot on the floor or the leg fully extended along the floor. Make sure your low back is comfortable. Hold the knee into the belly for 20 to 60 seconds. Then release the right leg, rest for a few breaths and repeat on the left side.

Second, draw both knees into your belly at the same time. Support your legs with your hands holding either outside or behind the knees. You may draw your head up from the floor and curl in toward your knees. Do not lift your head if you have any neck pain or irritation. Hold the knees into the belly for up to 2 minutes. Then rest.

Third, return to the first position with the right knee tucked into the belly. Hold your right knee with your left hand and extend your right arm along the floor, directly out from your right shoulder. Draw your right knee to the left, to hover over your left hip. Breath into the right hip for about 6 breath cycles, opening and stretching the hip. Then draw right knee further to the left, rotating your hips to come into a supine twist. There is always some balance to find between either drawing the knee to the floor or keeping the shoulders on the floor. Find the position that optimally stretches the back and compresses the lower abdomen. Hold for up to 2 minutes and then repeat on the second side.

These poses massage and stimulate the lower digestive track. They are particularly useful when you are having digestive problems while traveling. These poses should not be practiced during pregnancy.


Yoga for Belly Aches and Digestion

Part II of yoga for digestion:

A second action for massaging the abdominal organs is Nauli or abdominal churning. Nauli is considered a Kriya, one of the cleansing practices of yoga. It's intention is to stoke the digestive fires. Nauli should be practiced with an empty stomach and never attempted while pregnant. Nauli should be avoided by those with high blood pressure, hernias or ulcers.

In Nauli the practitioner learns to isolate different parts of the abdominal muscles in isolation. When mastered, the surface of the abdomen appears to move in a wave like fashion from side to side and up and down.

You begin as in Uddiyanda Bandha, inhaling and then exhaling completely, dropping your chin toward your sternum and hollowing the abdominal muscles upward.

As a beginner, try engaging the abdominal muscles on the left side separately from the right side, and vice versa. You can imagine you are pushing the organs toward the left side of your low back, then the right side, and back and forth.

As you gain some ability to work side of your abdomen in isolation, then begin to create a wave like motion across your abdomen.

You can create a similar action engaging a wave that moves up and down the front of the belly.

Don't overdo Nauli. Give it a try, be playful. If the practice makes you anxious stop and try it again another day.


Yoga for the Innards

Dear Yogini: Are there any asanas that help out the smooth involuntary muscle, particularly the pyloric valve between stomach and esophagus. For a lot of people if they could just keep that puppy tight and working as designed (as a one way valve) they would have a lot less trouble. I prefer sanskrit names because there's less ambiguity about what it is. --- Belly Aches

Dear Belly Aches,
First a definition for those who are not familiar with the anatomical words, the pyloric valve is the control valve at the lower end of the stomach. Food passes from the stomach, through the pyloric valve into the first section of the small intestine. Food should pass just one way through your digestive system. When food backs up it brings with it digestive chemicals that will irritate the higher parts of the system. The most common complaint is acid reflux or heart burn which happens when partially digested food backs into the esophagus. When food mixed with bile in the duodenum (upper small intestine) backs into the stomach it causes gastritis.

While I know of no asana or yoga practice specifically focused on the pyloric valve, there are many practices focused on digestive and organ health. Uddiyanda Bandha and Nauli are said to aid digestion. Uddiyanda Bandha is a deep engagement of the abdominal muscles, ‘flying up,’ timed with breathing. To practice Uddiyanda Bandha, come into a easy high squat, knees bent and hands on knees, or you can sit forward on a chair seat with your hands on your knees. Lift your heart and take a big deep breath, then exhale completely, drop your chin toward your sternum, and hollow your belly up and under your ribs. Hold the exhale for about 4 counts, then take a long smooth inhale while you lift your head and heart. Repeat 5 to 10 times and then rest. As you are comfortable with this move, you can begin to add a stomach pump: while you are holding the exhalation engage your stomach muscles more strongly in small pulses. Effectively squeezing your anatomical stomach with your abdominal muscles with a short count of 2 or 3 squeezes per second. Squeeze the stomach 4 to 10 times and then take your next inhalation. Again, repeat the complete cycle up to 10 times and rest either sitting or standing when you are done. Practice Uddiyanda Bandha only with an empty stomach. Uddiyanda Bandha should not be practiced during pregnancy. If you become light headed or anxious while practicing Uddiyanda Bandha stop and rest in savasana.

More yoga for the innards tomorrow ☺



Right now, how many things are you doing? Are you talking on the phone and reading email at the same time? Do you drive and eat? Do you drive and eat and talk on the phone? How many tasks can you juggle at once? Many of us pride ourselves on multitasking well. I do. There is a time and place for it, and if it is a constant undertaking, it takes a toll on our health.

Our brains do multiple things very well. Right now, as you read this article, you are breathing, digesting, pumping blood, building new tissue, processing waste and accomplishing a million other organic processes without your having to give them any attention whatsoever. If we couldn’t multitask, we couldn’t live. Here is a challenge, stand up and walk across the room. Try to name everything you have to do to walk: pick up foot, propel from standing foot , shift weight forward, flex ankle, etc., etc. If you had to think to do each action of walking, you wouldn’t be able to accomplish the task. These processes happen in what I refer to as the ‘undermind:’ that part of our mind that works without our conscious attention.

When we multitask we shift processes that usually occur in the conscious brain into the ‘undermind.’ For example, if you are having a phone conversation while you drive, you shift the process of driving into your ‘undermind.’ If you are an experienced driver and know where you’re going, you’ll more than likely get there safely. But you probably won’t remember the journey. And if something unexpected happens you will not be able to react quickly and you are therefore more likely to get in an accident. That is why driving and talking on the phone at the same time is dangerous.

We have taken to living lives of perpetual multitasking. It takes a physical and emotional toll on our bodies. It puts us into a state of perpetual stress. Our adrenal glands, designed for intermittent emergency use, become permanently activated. Many of our common physical ailments are caused or exacerbated by the resulting state of perpetual hyper-vigilance.

Meditation and Yoga are two of the best tools for calming the mind and body, relaxing adrenal overload, and learning to ‘monotask.’ Short daily periods of monotasking, allow the body to return to it’s natural resting state. The entry point to the mind shift is through the breath. The breath is usually controlled in the undermind. We can bring the breath into the conscious mind. It takes mental effort to watch the breath. We begin watching the ‘natural’ breath, there is no need to manipulate it. We watch its rise and fall, its rhythm, its touch, its sound, its smell and its flavor. Our heart rate will decrease from this exercise. Our adrenal glands and other stress markers will ease and slow. Our bodies begin to recover from multitasking. With time, we advance to more challenging breathing exercises (pranayama). A regular Pranayama practices is the way to cultivating Yoda-like calm in the midst of any storm.



patience. my sons and husband told me today that I am not patient. perhaps this is the next spiritual frontier for me. not only do i need to practice waiting (see last newsletter), i also need to practice patience. particularly with my family. in spite of a world that seems to spiral out of control around me, most of life will happen in its own time, regardless of my impatience.

in this effort to develop more patience, i am recommitting to a sitting meditation practice. daily, even if it is only for 5 minutes, i will sit. sitting still is yoga for my mind. i will slow down, i can slow down, if only for those precious moments.

i can also practice patience when i am eating. i can slow down and consume my food slowly enough to savor each bite. then each meal becomes a meditation. i can eat a single strawberry and find nirvana in its flavor and aroma. i can take the time to cook a meal and enjoy the process of cooking as much as eating.

i can practice patience in my garden. noticing each new blossom as it arises. savoring the abundance without worrying over weeds or pruning. i can feast my eyes on the growth of spring.

i can practice patience as i wait for the unknown future. so many things i anticipate occurring in my life. sometimes i am so anxious for them to occur, that i miss the opportunity to savor what is happening. this too is a meditation, enjoying the process of preparing, of waiting, of being in the time before.

to quote john lennon: life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. our challenge is to enjoy life as it happens. we still need to make our plans, to work toward the future, and while we are on that journey, we stop to smell a flower, eat a strawberry and laugh with a friend. nirvana happens when we stop the grasping and drop into savoring the moment.


Prayer, Mantra, Intention

Prayer is a means of changing our minds. Prayer is a means of getting inside the mind and shifting its focus. It does not matter whom or what you prayer to. God, Goddess, Allah, Buddha, St Francis, Zoraster, Nergal, any one or no one will do the trick. My personal prayers are generic, to an unnamed receiver, or more generically to the universe and all that is. So perhaps the word mantra is a better semantic choice for me. If you don’t like either of those words, think of this as setting your intentions for the day.

My first mantra today was of gratitude. I said thanks to the universe for including me. I was grateful to my body for waking up, to my spouse smiling at me, to the dog thumping her tail at the bedroom door, to the roof over my head, and the delicious warm water that flowed from the shower head.

After bathing I anointed myself, making a tangible and tactile prayer of love and thanks. I rubbed rose-scented cream into my face and invited myself to step into the world with an open mind and willingness to receive what is offered. I rubbed lemon scented shea oil into my arms and hands and I said thank for to them for all the work they do each day. I rubbed shea oil with ‘creativity juice’ into my feet and legs and said thank you for carrying around all day long. And I rubbed ‘mama love’ lotion into my belly and was grateful for my babies (now grown) and my health and the organic functioning of this body. Then I looked in the mirror, smiled at the whole package and said thanks beautiful!

As I walk forward into my day, my ongoing mantra is for willingness. May I continue this morning’s self care ritual with each step of my day. May I be willing to eat healthy, fresh foods that nourish my body. May I be willing to move and exercise in a way that brings joy to my flesh. May this self-care provide the base from which I can help others be happy and at ease in their physical beings. May my small contributions make the world a better place today.

I bow to the miracle of this body. I bow to you and the miracle of you. I bow to this world with awe at the beauty that surrounds me.


Celebrate your body!

Celebrate your body. Your body is your most precious possession. You’ve got this one vehicle to experience life. There are no trade-in’s. These are your feet, your legs, your belly, your chest, your arms, your neck and your head…, your one and only chance to be alive. Love it! Look in the mirror each day and say thank you. Thanks for this opportunity to breath. Thanks for this opportunity to move. Thanks for this opportunity to take in the world.

Look into the mirror and say ‘hello beautiful!’ ‘hello handsome!’ Every time you see your reflection wink and flirt with yourself. Fall in love with your body. Fall so deeply in love with your body that you are willing to give it the best of care.

How to take care of your body: Feed it nourishing, healthy, fresh, delicious food. Eat beautiful fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and meats raised as close to your home as possible. Move and exercise your body in a way that you enjoy and that gives you pleasure. Movement should be a joyful celebration of being alive. Find a loving and compatible partner to share intimate touch and pleasure.

Do not abuse your body. Do not self-flagellate. Do not self-injure. Do not self-denigrate. Do not self-chastise. Do not allow others to abuse your body. Do not allow others to poison your mind. Protect your body from abuse, physical, spiritual and emotional. Hold your body up as the sacred and holy vessel that it is. Avoid consuming cultural materials that make you feel inadequate, that is, avoid magazines, television, radio, or any advertising that holds up unhealthy body images as beautiful or normal.

You are worth it. You are worth rejoicing over. You are a miracle, just the way you are!


Happy Earth Day! Love Your Mother!

Today, in honor of the earth, take many mini retreats:
Fill up a glass with cool fresh water, drink slowly, savor it, repeat often. Say thanks!
Stop often and take a deep breath, smell the fresh spring air, stand next to a lilac bush and let yourself get high on it's perfume. Say thanks!
Eat local fresh fruit and vegetables. Slowly. Savor each bite. Say thanks!
Dig in the dirt, plant a seed. Marvel at the abundance arising from the soil. It is a miracle. Say thanks!
Look around you. Like a small child notice all the little miraculous gifts of spring: earth worms, flowers everywhere, emerging plants, baby squirrels, birds nesting, birds calling, birds returning to the Valley for summer. Say thanks!
Feel your body. You too are part of the earth. Your physical, primal, animal body is the biggest gift you have. Say Thanks!

Happy Earth Day! Love you Mother! Love yourself!


yoga desk posture

you're probably sitting in a chair right now.
stop and look at your shape:
  • are you slumped into the back of the chair?
  • are your shoulder rounded toward your ears?
  • is your belly loose and collapsed?
  • is your upper chest concave?
  • is your head forward of your chest?
  • are your knees or ankles crossed?
while a chair slump might feel comfortable in the short term, it will yield significant long term body pain. so, lets make some adjustments:
  1. draw yourself forward so you are not leaning into the chair back;
  2. place the soles of both feet on the ground, steady, parallel, and comfortable;
  3. rock your pelvis back and forth and side to side to soften the hip sockets;
  4. find a central alignment for your pelvis, neither hollowed in the belly nor the low back, but balanced, your pubic bone and tail bone feel almost level;
  5. lift your pelvic floor (the trampoline beneath your digestive and reproductive organs);
  6. lift your lower belly;
  7. interlace your fingers and place your palms on your upper chest;
  8. float your heart toward your hands and breath into your palms;
  9. turn your palms away and stretch your arms out in front of you, move your shoulder blades forward and back a dozen times or so, and then gently hold the shoulder blades loose and low on your back;
  10. bring your palms and your interlaced fingers behind your head;
  11. rest your head back into your palms like you resting your head on a pillow;
  12. stretch your elbows wide while you gently lift the back of your head, lengthening your upper neck;
  13. release your hands and arms;
  14. let your upper arms dangle from your shoulder blades;
  15. bend your elbows to rest your hands on your thighs or the desk in front of you;
  16. close your eyes and tune into how your body feels right now.
this position takes strength: ab strength and back strength. When you go back to your work you may find yourself unconsciously returning to your slumped posture. Don't berate yourself. Just notice and then take a moment to bring yourself back into alignment. You may need to do this 100 times a day. And you will be in less pain, happier and stronger at the end of the day for effort.

Here's to a happy and healthy body! Cheers!


be a puddle: savasana

lie on the floor
feel the back of your body on the floor
notice all the places where you touch the floor
soften into those places
let your weight fall into the earth, like sand melting through an hourglass
release deeply
release so deeply that your tissues seem to melt
and your bones fall to the back of your body
your abdomen begins to feel like a mountain lake
deep, clear, and dark
your breath blows gently across the surface of the lake
and you see the reflection of the sky, the stars, and all that is
you are a reflection of all that is