Monday, November 29, 2010

Rose's request:)

 Hi there,
Rose, a student of mine, specifically asked for some yoga that helps with concentration during finals week.  

Here are four common yoga concentration techniques for the development of concentration (dharana) that you can experiment with:


Trataka (which means steady gaze) is a technique whereby the eyes are fixed upon a certain external point such as the horizon of the sea, or the flame of a candle.


  • Take a comfortable seated position outdoors, where objects at various distances between you and the horizon can be viewed.
  • Pick at least 4 objects (roughly spaced equal distance), the first being near the feet and the furthest at the horizon.
  • Beginning at the nearest object, concentrate upon it for 60 seconds.
  • Move you attention every 60-seconds to each successively further object until the final one at the horizon has been reached.
  • After focusing upon the last point for 60 seconds, reverse object by object (again concentrating 60 seconds on each) back to the first point.


  • Place a candle upon a small table, whereby the flame is at eye-level.
  • Sit a distance of between 6 to 10 feet away and place your concentration upon the flame.
  • Do not to blink and try to hold you concentration for between 30 and 60 seconds.
  • Close you eyes for 30 to 60 seconds and try to reproduce the image of the flame in your ‘mind’s eye’.
  • Repeat this process 3 to 6 times in one sitting.

Nasarga Drishthi

  • Take a comfortable sitting position and gaze open-eyed at the tip of the nose.
  • Hold this concentration until you feel tension in the eyes, then
  • Close your eyelids, but imagine that you are still gazing at the tip of the nose.
  • Hold this visualization for 15-20 seconds and then re-open the eyes.
  • Repeat this process several times.

Bhrumadhya Drishthi

  • Again, take a comfortable sitting position and turn the gaze to the base of the nose, creating a ‘cross-eyed’ position.
  • Raise the eyes slightly, so that this cross-eyed gaze now falls directly between the eyebrows, then…
  • Close your eyelids and hold this point of concentration ‘inwardly’.
  • Periodically open your eyes to see if this point is being maintained, then close them once again.
  • Hold this concentration for several minutes
Specific yoga postures that help with this are:

1.  Half Goddess pose:

Lie flat on your back and relax, especially in the legs, pelvis and lower back.  Bend your knees, bringing your feet in close to your buttocks.

Slowly allow your knees to part, allowing the weight of the legs to stretch the inner thighs.  Try to relax.  Do not push your legs farther than is comfortable.  Hold this positions for two minutes or more.

Bring your knees together again.  This should be done very slowly and smoothly, at all times breathe deeply and remember to relax. 

2.  Bridge Pose

Begin lying flat on your back with our arms straight at your sides, palms down.  Bend your knees, placing your feet parallele to each other, hip-width apart, so that your heels come just to the tips of your fingers.

Press into the feet (without raising your body) and feel the earth energy bring solidity to your legs.
Next, press your feet even more firmly into the floor so that your spine is lifted, vertebrae by vertebrae, much as you migh tlift a stand of pearls one pearl at a time, until you are resting on your feet and upper vertebrae.  (Clasp hands together under the back, pressing the chest upward and the shoulders together behind you.)  Ideally, the line from you r knee to your shoulders should form a straight plane.

There ya go Rose:)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Classes end this week

Classes end this week for my students who attend Central.  I have told them about my blog, and given them the option of getting dialed in and sharing what stood out the most for them this quarter while practicing yoga.  It always seems that just when the quarter ends, a small community has been established.  Perhaps if some could choose to be on this blog, then we could stay in touch about yoga offerings in the future, and also be in cyber community:)
If you are a student of mine, and have chosen to post about what stood out for you this quarter in regards to your body/mind experience...or whatever else you feel like sharing about.....Thanks for being part of my class this quarter, and I hope you have a great holiday and rest of the year.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Being Grateful

Just taking a moment to be grateful as Thanksgiving is approaching....
I remember back in the day when I didn't feel like I had much to be thankful for and this friend of mine said, "I can always think of something, hell...I am upright and sucking air!".  After years of practice, and the helpful reminder of Thanksgiving and making November a month to focus on being grateful. can get pretty hard to feel good when it gets dark early....
So what are some of the things I have to be grateful for?
My family and friends...
My son who is a caring, kind, and loving person.
A place to live, food to eat,  a vehicle to drive.
Music, Music, and more Music.

And, as the end of the fall quarter approaches I am particularly grateful to have the ability to teach yoga and to practice yoga.  I am grateful for all the yoga students who have been in my classes...  When they show up and just practice the simple practice of yoga with me, it is beyond words the gratitude I have for their presence and curiosity:)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

in and out, in and out

Breath will make life easier.  10 deep breaths in and out, and you will experience not only a change in perception, but a change in your para sympathetic nervous system.  For the better I might add.  You have important parts of your nervous system, and there are:  para sympathetic, and sympathetic.  Sympathetic often gets out of whack...which can make you whacked.  Para Sympathetic is your part of the nervous system that loves you, wants you to experience total bliss.  So how do you increase that Para S?  Well, take ten deep breaths...the important thing....KISS (Keep it simple sweetheart)  is to take a deep breath in-count to three..... THEN take a deep breath- count to three.  Put the Missississippi's in if you need to...but slow it will feel better after...I promise:)

Oh, if you are feeling anxious and you take 10 deep breaths and don't count to three and/or breath will feel like a train wreck causes you to feel more anxious breathing shallow, which is how you got yourself worked up in the first place, shallow breathing....

Let your breath be a sacred guest inside your body......The Latin word for breath is espiritus (I think that is spelled right:) With the root of the word being Spirit.  

You can even soften your belly right now, and just let your belly cradle the breath.  Awe...there ya go:) 

Monday, November 8, 2010

where are your hips?

I took an anatomy workshop over the weekend in Spokane with this amazing teacher.  Her name was Julie Gudmestad, and she is a physical therapist/yoga teacher.  She has written anatomy columns for yoga Journal and now she is writing an article for Yoga International.  She enlightened on my on some very simple things....I took them back to my students today.  Out of three classes there was one student who knew where the hips are in the body, due to having hip problems as a child.  So, I was able to give students an opportunity to learn! 
Here is where the hips are:  If you find your pubic bone, and then move outward from your pubic bone 3 inches on each side, that is where you will find your hips.  It is that simple...nope they are not up by your waist...or out to the side of your butt...whatever we have all been taught...check it out..go find your hips!:)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Monkey Mind

As a yoga teacher I teach people about monkey mind.  It is when your thoughts are kinda moving through your mind in such a way that it is almost hilarious, because you know it is what it is.  Monkey Mind...most people can relate.  I also think of a hamster that is on a wheel in a cage...thoughts can be like that too.
I think most people would prefer their thoughts to be like a lake with no ripples.  A smooth piece of know, instant zen.  Except there is no instant zen, and tonight I was telling my students that a great teacher of mine, she said to not make it a goal to accomplish anything.  Just sit.  Just sit and do nothing.  Sit with the monkey mind, sit with the hamster in its cage.  Just notice what it is like to have thoughts be thoughts each one arising and passing away in boundless awareness:)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

weiner dog

Oh, and one more thing.  Tonight in yoga class we had a weiner dog!  Yes, that is artist in the community brought her weiner dog to yoga!

weiner dog

Oh, just one more thing...Tonight in yoga class we had a weiner dog.  Yes, that is right!  One of the artists at the Gallery brought her dog in!  So cute!


Hi everyone,  I read this great new book called, "Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead".  It talks about connecting with people through a blog source.  So, I am connecting with you now.  I feel much like the Grateful Dead in my style as a yoga teacher, because each yoga class that people attend is a little different from the one before.  I try to be an ordinary person, just like the Dead did, and I make mistakes and my students don't seem to mind.  My students come to class with all different kinds of intentions for yoga, but mainly to connect with other members of the community through yoga and relax...much like an art form, or like is energy shared among community members.  So, when people come to my class, they are making yoga together,  and feeling better in their bodies when they leave.   The notes are the same for each class, but they are jumbled around a little, just like a good jam band show...depending on the energy of who shows up.  And, I might have a class that some folks might think is a dud one day, and then a fantastic adventure with the body the next.  It is all up to the intention of my students and what they want to create for themselves.  I just show up, create space, and share yoga with my students.  Just like a good Dead concert, people help create the experience. 

Right now I teach my clasees at Gallery One in Ellensburg, and Raw Space in Ellensburg.  One is a community ARt Gallery and the other is a performing arts venue.  It is important to have the place I teach be open to supporting creativity and the experience of sacred movement for all of my students.
Oh, and last but not least, I teach at Ashley and Lydia Rowan's studio.  They are the nicest, most kindest, most wonderful yoga must meet them sometime:)

So, I am getting tired of typing right now, but I will be blogging to you all....students or non-students.
And, for my students, thank you allowing me to give and for allowing me to receive support from you all.  Whether that be just showing up to class and saying hi, or sharing a little about your story and your journey.  I am very honored in allowing you the dignity of your own process of light and love through yoga in this life....Namaste.