"Those persons with whom I have the greatest difficulties are the ones who give me the best opportunity to undo the hard knots of my karma. Karma is not a form of punishment or sin, but rather gift packets we have given to ourselves to help remove the armor of false protection from our hearts."
- Andreas Moritz

Joy to the World


Happy Holidays!!!
Peace on Earth and Goodwill!

GOD JUL (Merry Christmas) to everyone! JOY! XOXO

Practice & Menstruation


Hey you men out there! I bet you've already decided to check out after seeing the title to this blog. That's cool. I don't blame you.

Over the past several months I've been broached the question in regards to practice and menstruation. Should I still practice? Is it unhealthy? What are the rules? What do I do? No inversions?  Then of course I'm just waiting for it, because it always comes down to what students really want to know. What do you do? 

Weeelllll. Yes. I do. (Gasp!) Okay. Shocker. You got me. Hahaha. Seriously though, allow me to tell you more. Through the years I've taken the advice of many to heart, and what I've found is, when it comes to our own bodies and rhythmic cycles, there really isn't one rule. It seems to me that mensuration is as unique as the individual, depending on one's stress level, diet, body type, mental state, overall lifestyle, whatever, it makes a difference.

For me personally, I have a dip in energy about three to four days prior to my period. Often during this time I will lighten my practice if need be. Although, what I've found is from month to month my premenstrual time period is quite different depending on stress level factors, diet, etc, as mentioned earlier.  So, I play it by ear. I've learned there is no need to power through it. What may be different compared to some is on the day of menstruation I often feel a release, and more energized to practice. Whereas the days prior there is more of a build up and/or lack of energy. A light practice or none at all is needed depending on how I feel. In my experience, I have felt the need to continue practicing during the actual period. The body feels the need to move. It's a personal feeling. A personal choice.

I understand the theory of there being a downward pull of energy, and if I felt it were hurting me I would stop. Simply put, it makes me feel feel better to practice. However, I do take the advice of not doing inversions for long periods of time as to not disturb the downward flow. Often I will put my legs up against a wall for the majority of the finishing sequence. It works for me.

I realize there are concerns of missed periods when women practice Ashtanga yoga. Again, something that needs to be looked at if this is the case. For some reason I've been one of those strange birds who has never missed a period. I can honestly say from the day I've started, till now, I have never missed a menstrual cycle. Practicing Ashtanga yoga has never had an affect in that regard on my body. However, I have heard from other women that it has. If missed periods are happening, then I recommend that one take the time to look deeper into what is being promoted in the body.

It reminds me of what David Swenson said during a workshop I participated in - after asking three longtime female Ashtanga yoga practitioners what they did during their menstrual cycles, and receiving three different answers, he stopped asking. As a woman it seems only natural. We all react differently during this time. We are all at different stages of our womanhood. Even as we age, or at various times of the year, our cycles change, develop and evolve.

How I see it is the more you practice the more you will know what to do as you become in tune with the rhythms of the body, even the rhythms of nature. Everything works in cycles. There is a time to reap, there is a time to sow. Take your teachers guidelines and suggestions to heart, and also start by listening to what your own body is saying. Feel the energy cycling through and work with it, never against it. We are multisensory beings. As women we have the privilege to exercise our intuition and maneuver our body/mind through a sensitive time period. Key into it. Lean into it. Adjust as need be. I have never prescribed to superstitions when it comes to menstruation. It is a time to become ever more present. Ever more mindful.

Winter Solstice - Full Moon - Eclipse


Mysore Cleanse

Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.”   - Oscar Wilde

My welcome back to India included a night from hell. Food poisoning. Ugh. Lesson learned. I understand the meaning of mindlessness. We picked up a bag of mung beans, raw, from the store to make a salad with friends. This is something you never want to do in India. Meaning, eating raw sprouts, store bought. Against our better judgment we did just that. It was a mistake I will never make again. Ugh.

A night of vomiting, mixed with diarrhea, often at the same time, in addition to body shakes and aches. Ohhhh.  What a night. I took the entire next day to recover. Needless to say I didn't make it to practice in the morning. My first Mysore practice since being back. Those are the breaks.

Recovery. I slept, slept, and slept some more. With today being a moon day, more rest. Jokingly, we around here, call it the Mysore cleanse. Something that isn't entirely uncommon, but can be avoided.

I guess there is no better way to start out our stay here. Knocking it out from the very beginning. Now I must rest, and rest some more. I have practice in the morning.



"The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart."    - Buddha

Mysore, India can feel like a time warp. Once you return it doesn't feel like you've been gone long or at all. It's strange that way. The same familiar faces of locals met in times past are still here offering a smile and warm recognition. They never forget a face, and rarely a name.

David and I had a bit of drama in regards to finding a place to live. The apartment we booked wasn't what we expected. Jet-lagged and tired, we used most of our first day scouting out places and coming up with absolutely nothing. Sigh. The funny part is after while the place we began with started to look pretty spectacular in comparison to what we saw, so we decided to stay with it. Make it work. It's my new motto, and it fits the energy of India. There are some things that just work here and I'm left wondering, HOW? Coming from the west I forgot how attached I can be to perfect, pretty, little packages, and well, India teaches me something different. Relax. Make it work. Among other things. 

The shala is quiet and not as intense compared to previous trips. It's sooooooo nice. Things have changed and evolved. Many have opinions regarding this and so is life - life is change. Nothing ever stays the same. At the end of the day it's all good. It's a joy to meet old and new friends, and I've always had interesting - developments/challenges/insights - practicing in the shala. For me it's a place to deepen. Simply put.

My first practice back a flood of energy rushed in. Samasthiti. Entering into a devotional space, I bring my little part where hundreds, even thousands before me have. There is a synergy that takes place with all this history, and it carries me, like having my very own set of wings. There is the many. There is the one.

Every trip brings it's own vibration. I'm not sure what this one will bring. All I know is it will be exactly what I need. Already, it is turning out to be an unique experience. What needs to be done? Well. To simply awaken to it all.


In many ways I feel as if I've come back home.



Back to India!


Leaving for India today! Looking forward to heading back, and having more time to blog! Stay tuned!



  • Big Head: Think big
  • Small Eyes: Concentrate
  • Large Ears: Listen more
  • Small Mouth: Talk less
  • Axe: Cut off all bonds of attachment
  • Rope: Pull you nearer to your goal
  • One Tusk: Retain good, throwaway bad
  • Trunk: High efficiency and adaptability
  • Blessing: Blesses and protect on spiritual path to supreme
  • Large Stomach: peacefully digest all good and bad in life
  • Prasada: The whole world is at your feet and for your asking
  • Mouse: Desire, unless under control can cause havoc, you ride the desire and keep it under control and don’t allow it to take you for a ride



My duty moves along with my song:
I am I am not: that is my destiny.
I exist not if I do not attend to the pain
of those who suffer: they are my pains.
For I cannot be without existing for all,
for all who are silent and oppressed,
I come from the people and I sing for them:
my poetry is song and punishment.” 

Pablo Nuruda 

'Tis the Season


Winter has been in full affect for many weeks now. Somehow, I've gotten used to the frigid temps. It's all about dressing correctly. Then I'm able to enjoy it more. Seriously, I wrap my scarf around my neck like four times around. I've realized what my problem has always been in my winter days of old. It was that I always resisted it! Now, I simply find ways to enjoy it, and honestly, there is something absolutely lovely about a Swedish winter. 

Practicing in winter here brings new challenges. In a good way. Yes, I don't sweat as much or get as warm, but I've learned to add more awareness to what I'm doing as I move and breathe. It brings a whole new dimension in continuing on in the face of change and discomfort. I like it. I move slower. With more intention. I go more inward. Which is fitting for the season.

Yoga Teachers, TEACH!


I came across the following article on Huffington Post. Wow, it drove home much of what I've been feeling about the whole yoga teaching scene, lately. In some respects, it has become too new age-esque (Yes, I made up the word) and even cliché. Whatever happened to sticking with the basics, building a solid foundation? I think often as teachers we forget the most important part of teaching and that is the students we teach. If we didn't have them, then what would we have? Offering the highest quality of instruction, being open to learn ourselves, and maintaining our focus to the most important aspect of the job, the students, is where the importance lies. Why get caught up in the side show? Cut the drama. It's as simple as that.

I love yoga. I've been a half-assed student (which might be an asana, I'm not sure) for close to 20 years. I remember the moment I fell in love with the practice. It was at Kripalu. The teacher was Stephen (Kaviraj) Cope. The pose was trikonasana/triangle. Following Kavi's precise verbal instruction and watching him model the pose with his beautiful (and beautifully human) body, I suddenly found that I was suspended in space in an unexpected way, my body draped into an unaccustomed but oddly thrilling design. It can do this, too?! I thought. How cool.

Kavi gave point-by-point instruction on how to find the proper alignment. Once there, we were encouraged to feel into it and then relax, including the awesomeness, including the oddness, the beauty, the discomfort and the enjoyment of not knowing what it was supposed to feel like. His instruction to establish the pose but "relax around the holding" has served me to this day, on and off the mat.

From this, I learned that the first step in asana practice is precision. Each pose has a magical kind of integrity that is awakened only when animated by your body. Without alignment, the integrity goes away. From this precision, an opening of the energetic body is created. The pose then starts to animate you. And the third step, to let go -- of expectation, judgment, hope and fear -- allows energy to continue flowing. In this way, honest transformation, the kind that transcends mere self-improvement, can occur.

Precision. Opening. Letting go. I had never related to myself in this way before, and it changed the way I felt inside my body. I still love yoga for the same reasons, only more so.
Since then, I've been to like a zillion yoga classes: Iyengar, Ashtanga, Kripalu, Anusara, "Power," Bikram, heated vinyasa, and on and on. I'm not a yoga snob, and I pretty much like them all. As long as I shvitz, I don't really care what the style is. Wherever I live, I just go to the studio closest to my house.

A long time ago, I stopped caring who the teacher was, too. (Apologies to all the incredible, devoted yoga teachers out there.) This is because I stopped being able to count on the skill of my instructor. Some time in the last decade, I found that deep knowledge of asana was replaced with an unchanging posture sequence spiked by a coaching vibe. I don't care for this, particularly. It's not that I don't like repetition; I do. I actually prefer it. But I don't want just anyone getting all up in my grille with their ideas about who I am and ought to be. First and foremost, I want them to know a lot about asana practice. If their knowledge on this score is great, I would maybe trust them to sneak in some ideas about life. Otherwise, hold the deep thoughts. I can tell when you're posing, so to speak.

And so I arrive at the point of this post, which is already turning into a bit of a rant. (Apologies.) Yoga teachers, I would like to be taught by you, not "invited" to do this or that. "Make it feel good" is not an instruction. Neither is "do what feels right to you" or "this is the pose I suggest, but if you prefer another one, go ahead." When I hear things like this, I can't help but sneak a peak around me. Often, people seem a bit confused, like they're supposed to know what this means but don't. Most interpret it to mean something sloppy or embarrassing. They may start rolling around or making some kind of baby sounds.

"Do what feels right" is actually a super-advanced instruction that requires tremendous self-awareness. Unless you know the proper alignment of a pose, doing what feels right is not a release into an internal energetic shift but more of a self-indulgent collapse.
Please, before offering too many choices, help the poor guy with his shoulders up about his ears in Downward Dog. Give the young woman who is jutting forward with aggression in Warrior Two permission to rise up out of her waist with elegance instead. I'm not saying we all have to become mini Iyengars, moving our femur bones about and whatnot, but it would be so awesome to focus on meat-and-potatoes alignment. The basics.

Encouraging us to do what we want is more often than not an encouragement to fidget, and I'm already pretty good at fidgeting. I excel at doing random stuff just to entertain myself. I would love to hear a yoga teacher counsel stillness. Waiting. Silence. Space. Allowing discomfort rather than chasing it off. What I really need to practice is the discipline of being with my experience, not creating endless distractions from it.

We live in a culture that eschews discipline as punishment. The truth, though, is that through discipline we find spontaneous, self-arising freedom. On the yoga mat or off. As a student or a teacher.
Discipline begins with coming back to the basics, over and over. Only then can real transformation occur. As the great transpersonal educator and psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo said of music, "spontaneous innovation can only arise from repetition," and this is one of the smartest things I've ever heard anyone say. Ever.

Beloved yoga teachers! I "invite you" to stop inviting us, your students, to do anything and instead to instruct us clearly. Teach from a place of your own inner knowing, from your own intimacy with the practice, from having screwn (yes, a made-up word) it up a thousand times, gone back to the mat, worked it out again and learned each pose from the inside out of your own body.

Don't humor us. Teach us. Don't overestimate our skills or the body's ability to take care of itself, which we so easily confuse with wanting to feel good/look good/deny the realities of age, injury and anatomy. Don't assume we need you to make us feel good or create any type of experience for us whatsoever. We can definitely create our own experience -- but only when your authentic (honestly attained, personal) wisdom is there to anchor it. The example of your personal presence will always be a thousand times more instructive than your words.

Deepen your practice and deepen it some more. Commit to your own journey, and from that commitment allow love for your students to blossom spontaneously. Then take your seat as an adept and teach us what you know.

- Susan Piver   

Link to Article

87 and Still Practicing Yoga


What a great attitude on life! I love her name too, Tao. Absolutely beautiful and stunning at 87 years old.

Drop Back Tips



Above are tangible tips for dropping back by Certified Ashtanga yoga teacher David Garrigues. I prefer teaching the overhead position when dropping back as well. Take a look.



"I am learning to understand rather than immediately judge or to be judged. I cannot blindly follow the crowd and accept their approach. I will not allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I have come to understand that life is best to be lived and not to be conceptualized. I am happy because I am growing daily and I am honestly not knowing where the limit lies. To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude." - Bruce Lee   

My technique is daily practice. It's as simple as that. Easy, no, not always, but a straight forward, direct approach. I guess you can say, there are no magic bullets. At some point and probably not in this lifetime, the practice in itself will have to fall away. No longer needing to be identified with the tool, but able to sit in the state of yoga alone. Perfect oneness. Hmmmm. Sounds wonderful. Can't say I know what that is like in my everyday living. Though, I've tasted glimpses. Tiny little trickles that keep me hanging on - knowing somewhere deep within the spaces, filled with conscious breath, will reveal the light, moving stillness brings.

I've had an interesting past several months. I took the opportunity to practice with a number of guest teachers. Self-practice is my bread and butter in between trips to Mysore, but I guess you can say I'm always curious about well known teachers. From awesome, to decent, to down right bad, I've experienced it all, and everything in between, and what I've found is there is always something to be learned by various teachers. Always. It's inevitable, there will be those we just won't resonate with, while others we'll hang on to every word and instruction like a treasure. It's never one size fits all.

Sometimes I'm left wondering what is really being offered? Did I sign up for an experience of staged charisma and a bagful of techniques to buy into? What happened to the internal alignment? Is this only about perfecting asana or is it about entering into the places inside left unopened? I don't have the answers but the yoga industry more and more is sounding like some type of new age "please fix me because I'm broken" type of thing, that well, seems to work for some and keeps them feeling as if they are doing yoga.

"It's not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential."            - Bruce Lee

There will always be differing points of view and it takes time to filter through it all. Understanding what feels good in this moment for me has become an important factor. I had one teacher out of the blue tell me I'll break my knees doing Bhekasana (Intermediate series) in the manner I was doing it, which not to mention, was clearly instructed to me by another very well known teacher.  Huh?! Well, to date, my knees have felt really good, and I just don't seem to understand the fear based instruction being offered. The attitude didn't feel good, and in the process my knee was tweaked by being pushed into something that the teacher felt structurally I should have been doing, that in the process totally bypassed the energetic component. Which is often missed. One thing I have learned, through experimentation, if a teacher breaks me, at least I know the practice will heal me.

I've been around the bend enough to tell the difference between being adjusted from the core versus the periphery. What do I mean by this? Well, an adjustment that aligns the energy to the central axis of the body versus molding it into an external structure, hence a "yoga journal" pose - alignment that may look good in the magazines but is all wrong energetically and therapeutically. It is easily felt. It feels like connecting only to the periphery. No internal engagement. It's so interesting, and even though the experience didn't feel good and had my knee popping in and out of place for several days afterward, I really learned the difference, and felt it in my body clearly from the experience. At least for that I can be thankful. A light bulb moment, knowing that, hey, I'm on the right track here. After 15 years of yoga practice maybe I know at least little bit about the mechanics of my body.

As a teacher, I have learned to see where there is no energy flow. It goes much deeper than just looking at the structure. Is there a free flow of energy running through the circuits of the body? Where is there dead space? It's amazing how many of us carry dead space in our bodies, and it's beautiful when it begins to awaken. Through time, a sixth sense begins to develop in feeling/sensing where these areas arise in students. With much to still learn, the subtleties and unseen parts, the spaces, are what leave me fascinated, and undoubtedly knowing there is a vast amount to discover and realize.

"A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at." - Bruce Lee 

Ashtanga yoga is an energetic practice. On so many levels. The importance of getting the body circulating first is key to the development of practitioners starting out, hence the internal alignment. I've seen how time and time again when starting from this point, through consistency, the practice and the body start to take shape. Which we see externally. The by product.

Exceptional teachers will adjust the body in a manner which will further the engagement or alignment internally. I have felt it many a times with experienced teachers coming from this place. Where when moved, I feel the central axis of the body more pronounced through the adjustment. The interesting part is how it looks on the outside may be amply different from person to person depending on what stage they are in - the further beauty of the Mysore method of practicing and teaching - working individually while having the energy of the group to carry one through.

What I've also come to discover is the vast difference felt with those teachers who continue to work with a teacher themselves even if they have reached a certain apex in their work, especially in the tradition they are teaching in. It means a lot to me, and I seem to connect to those who continue working with teachers or go to the source so to speak or have done so long term. It is a different experience when practicing with those who use the name to further their reach as teachers but in the end don't really respect where it is coming from. Because in the end, what are we promoting?

“Zen is not “attained” by mirror-wiping mediation, but by “self-forgetfulness in the existential ‘present’ of life here and now.” We do not “come”, we “are.” Don’t strive to become, but be.” - Bruce Lee

Happy Thanksgiving!


There's much to be thankful for. A practice in gratitude.

Here in Sweden it is just any other day - any other snowy day to be exact - winter is in FULL affect right now! And so, I take time to count my blessings, big and small, and feel the beauty and grace that surrounds me like a warm, cozy blanket. Gratitude does exactly that - it warms me.

Have A Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! XOXOXO

A Tradition


For those who aren't familiar with my history, well, I'm a Buckeye. I graduated at The Ohio State University and was a cheerleader for all my years there. So, I guess you can say I was intimately involved with game day. The memories are still a part of me and somehow I have a feeling they always will. They were good times. Go Bucks! Beat Michigan!

Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation


Many of you have heard about my experiences with the liver and gallbladder cleanses. Following the guidelines of Andreas Moritz and totally blown away by the results of his recommendations I was then inspired to browse his other highly recommended book. A wealth of information, I especially appreciated the chapter on living in tune with the bio rhythms of the earth. It's fascinating, and a true testament to how our bodies naturally want to be healthy and in state of homeostasis.

No. He isn't a physician which in a way comforts me, especially when he has found his way to radiant health while previously suffering from ill health. When it comes to health I always look to the author as an example, and he truly is. It has to be an experiential experience. I've already been experimenting with some of his recommendations when comes to my daily routine and it's been wonderful. Prevention is key, and why not do little things to keep everything in check? It's like having my own health insurance in a way. It's really good stuff!!!

Maybe nothingness is to be without your presence,
without you moving, slicing the noon
like a blue flower, without you walking
later through the fog and the cobbles,
without the light you carry in your hand,
golden, which maybe others will not see,
which maybe no one knew was growing
like the red beginnings of a rose.
In short, without your presence: without your coming
suddenly, incitingly, to know my life,
gust of a rosebush, wheat of wind:
since then I am because you are,
since then you are, I am, we are,
and through love I will be, you will be, we will be.
Pablo Neruda

Lino Miele {Navasana}

"Give me, for my life,
all lives,
give me all the pain
of everyone,
I’m going to turn it into hope.
Give me
all the joys,
even the most secret,
because otherwise
how will these things be known?
I have to tell them,
give me
the labors
of everyday,
for that’s what I sing"
- Pablo Neruda



One of my dearest friends from across the pond sent me this poem. We always like to give each other anecdotes, inspirations, and support over cyberspace. Though not always as good as the real thing it's a testament to how important it is to continue to stay connected. I feel so much love and appreciation to those who have continued to encourage me even through all my faults, foibles, and periods of withdrawal. Yes, we are one. I love this.

"Called beyond the confines of this 
Chrysalis by a force I cannot see 
or name, I am compelled by pain 
And something bigger than myself
To leave the protection of all that I
have known. There is struggle, doubt, 
an awkward setting forth. Finally I 
Break free of the cocoon and find 
myself surrounded by air and light. 

I dare to act, still not knowing what
I am; instinct, or maybe faith bids me 
move forward, make the leap, explore
this mystery of change and fight. 

I find myself with wings that dwarf
my former world. Unfurled, they dry 
quickly in the sun. I who expected 
to spend my days crawling, now
teach myself to soar. Such a rush 
of wind and freedom - that first 
flight teaches me more than I had
learned a lifetime of crawling."

- Unknown



"Intuition, on the other hand, is the Voice of the Unified Self. It is abstract rather than linear, that is, it literally interconnects outside of time, space, and matter. Therefore, it can appear to be irrational to our intellect, and what it tells us seems to defy all possible explanation. It is the Unified Self's mode of communication and problem solving. Since intuition is a knowing, or foreknowing, it operates in leaps without any logical procedure or formula. It "just knows." Our intuition hold the key to absolute knowledge, or Truth. It is our natural inheritance. And It is infallible."

 ..."Ironically, we need to befriend uncertainty in our life, because that is precisely where we will find the opportunities to learn to develop Trust. In learning to trust our Unified Self, we gradually become liberated from the ego-self's constant obsession with the intellect as being the supreme intelligence and protector of our safety and well-being. As our perception becomes more and more healed and whole, our Unified Self emerges in our awareness. We will acknowledge that the ego-self, with its limited frame of intelligence, can never transport us beyond it's restricted abilities. Only the Unified Self, joined with The Source through Unified Will, can reveal within us the gifts we were born to enjoy as Co-creators."

- extracted from Take Me to Truth: Undoing the Ego, by Nouk Sanchez and Thomas Vieira

Above is some of what I've been working with, among other things. More later ...



Ha. I've been feeling a bit cheeky lately ... This makes me chuckle because I've been exactly that - on occasion.

Hopefully Not Forgotten


Yes. I've been gone - hopefully not forgotten. It's an interesting time. Yes, I always say that. I feel as if I've been spinning like the above spinning dervishes.

I'm learning the art of stillness in movement. To pay attention. A vigilant act that needs attention in every moment. Lock, step. I'm feeling lighter as I enter into darkness ... I've passed another dark period. Interesting how in suffering I've been able to see the clarity in pain. It's necessary. It's how I've grown. One wouldn't have happened without the other. Life is good. My perception is where it all begins ...



It's inspiring when someone immerses themselves into the act of creating simply for the love of it. My boyfriend, DF, just released his debut album, a labor of love shared with his music partner, Chris. It's a cool thing. I was lucky enough to observe some of the creative process that goes into producing a musical compilation. Let me tell you, it takes hard work and love to continue on without any guarantees of success. It's always about the journey, and when that happens, awesome things are created. Whether one person likes it or one million, I couldn't be prouder. Congratulations David, and Chris!!!!!

Interested? Visit www.sonicscandal.com. The album is available through iTunes, CD baby, and Amazon. My favorite songs are Lost, and Reach. Check it out.

Hierarchy of Needs


Still Ticking


"Love is fed by the imagination, by which we become wiser than we know, better than we feel, nobler than we are; by which we can see life as a whole: by which and which alone, we can understand others in their real as in their ideal relations."     - Oscar Wilde

Lately I've been barely able to keep my head on straight while dealing with a bout of fatigue. When the weather changes it seems to hit me. Though, thankfully I haven't fallen ill. I'll take a dose of tiredness any day. It's all about balance.  I've continued on with my Swedish language studies, but if I were to be completely honest, I'm a little disappointed with the SFI program. I tend to be a stickler for organization and there seems to be none. Like, where's the curriculum? So, I'm learning to go with the flow and not be overly concerned with what could be better. Riiiiight. It just pisses me off at the same time because I have to devote four hours a day, five days a week, to it. With that being said, comes frustration. Along with the dissatisfaction comes a really bad attitude. Haha, it interesting to observe myself in these situations. Nobody's perfect. I'm still learning, but very slowly. Yeah. Some government programs sound great in theory, but how they are implemented is where the meat of the matter is. It can only be as good as the people who run them.

Jag har fått nog! Det gör inget!

I do speak a bit of Swedish, and when I do I have the added benefit of sounding cute. You see, an American accent, when speaking Swedish is something like when we in America enjoy hearing British accents, we like it. We like the sound of it. There is something endearing about it. Well, I guess the same goes for Americans speaking Swedish. So I guess I lucked out on this one.

Along the way I've learned how to identify languages quite well. Living in Stockholm, not only do I hear Swedish, and often English, but a litany of other languages. This is most certainly a international city.  When on the train, out in the street, I hear it all - a mosaic of various languages. I also find it amusing how just by the looks of other Europeans you can tell what country they are from. My boyfriend especially has an eye for this. Without a second thought he'll be like those are Germans, French, Danish, whatever. Interesting how with any given country there is a collective identity that comes with the territory.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Practice continues to develop. It's always about constant internal refinement. I just finished a weekend with Certified Ashtanga Yoga teacher R. Alex Medin. From Norway, he brings with him a vast current of experiential knowledge when it comes to the practice of yoga and philosophy. Deeply rooted in pranayama, he really pushed us to our edge. Something I found highly challenging, and at the same time, appreciative to be guided into new pathways of my awareness. When it came to Mysore practice Alex balanced the use of physical adjustments with many subtle adjustments, seamlessly. It takes a keen eye to observe where students need to grow when it comes to the subtitles of the practice. There were times when he told me to take my dristhie even further in various postures, even verbally telling me to root my feet firmly down toward the earth, grounding, as I raise my hands over head for the first movement in Surya Namaskara A. I was pleasantly surprised how much of a difference it made. There is more to the practice than the physically challenging stuff, obviously the paradox that comes with a Ashtanga yoga practice. He stressed the importance of settling into the postures, and relaxing into the energy of effortlessness. Yes, sounds easier said than done, but really there is no reason to use the practice as another thing to beat ourselves up over. Cultivating a space for centered movement is what it's all about, and how it is expressed physically is something of second importance.

Thank you, Alex! See you in Mysore!

 After a very sweaty practice!

A Tear and a Smile


I would not exchange the sorrows of my heart
For the joys of the multitude.
And I would not have the tears that sadness makes
To flow from my every part turn into laughter.

I would that my life remain a tear and a smile.

A tear to purify my heart and give me understanding
Of life’s secrets and hidden things.
A smile to draw me nigh to the sons of my kind and
To be a symbol of my glorification of the gods.

A tear to unite me with those of broken heart;
A smile to be a sign of my joy in existence.

I would rather that I died in yearning and longing  than that I live Weary and despairing.                     
I want the hunger for love and beauty to be in the
Depths of my spirit,for I have seen those who are
Satisfied the most wretched of people.
I have heard the sigh of those in yearning and Longing, and it is sweeter than the sweetest melody.

With evening’s coming the flower folds her petals
And sleeps, embracing her longing.
At morning’s approach she opens her lips to meet
The sun’s kiss.

The life of a flower is longing and fulfilment.
A tear and a smile.

- Kahlil Gibran 

In the Stock


In the Stock.
David Robson and David Fredriksson.

I've been unbelievably behind on my blog posting over the past several months. I really miss it. I miss the process of writing something, checking in. David and I have had the pleasure of having friends come through Stockholm.  It doesn't seem to be too far out of the way for those we've met and developed relationships with during our stays in Mysore, India. We are lucky indeed!

Yogayama hosted David Robson for a full weekend of Ashtanga yoga. It was a pleasure. His sincerity, and reverence toward the practice really shines through in his teaching. It's lovely to be around those who continue to trust the process while guiding students in a selfless manner. I've been around a long list of teachers and would not hesitate in recommending David Robson. There are truly special teachers out there who may not be portrayed in every media outlet available, who steadily, and quietly move forward on the path of yoga, unflinching, bringing with them an endless amount of wisdom, and experience not to be missed.

We love Stan Byrne's blog, Miss Stan! I've mentioned it before. It's wonderful hearing the perspective of a woman practicing Ashtanga yoga while balancing life as a new mother, and work. David and Stan make a wonderful team. Oh! We can't forget Holden Owl, their son, he's the absolute cutest.

I only wish we would have had better weather during their stay. Unfortunately it was cold, cloudy and rainy. Typical autumn fare here, although we do get beautiful sunny days, as well.

Here's to good friends in the beautiful backdrop of Stockholm, even when the weather decides not to cooperate.

To learn more about the vibrant yoga scene in Toronto visit www.ashtangayogatoronto.com, and for Stan's blog visit, www.missstan.com.

Infinite Love




I'm just about done with the new Guruji book. What an amazing compilation of stories and dialogues. There were numerous instances where I felt resonance with the practitioners/teachers interviewed. Their experiences touched, and reaffirmed many of the insights that come about through sustained practice. To feel a kinship to those in the book, that in turn, spread to all who devote themselves to this practice, is a special thing. I know I tend to repeat myself, but once again, to feel the deep sense of gratitude towards Sri K. Pattabhi's for his tireless love and devotion toward his students is beyond inspiring. The power of one person is immense. Truly.

As I continued to read the book, in Sharath's chapter he mentioned, shraddha. The word sprang out at me like a jack in the box. Right away, it held meaning. As I read on, Sharath went on to say:

"Shraddha is more than faith. It is also surrendering your sense organs, your body, your everything, surrendering to the practice. "

Most people know the story of Guruji starting his study with Krishnamacharya with 100 students, to then, end up with only three. As students were jumping ship, Pattabhi Jois continued on. Why? What force led him there and what made him stay? Those who left, must thought it madness. What allowed him to steadily move forward on the path, with joy, through hardship and uncertainty? Shraddha.

Through his example, he was more than a yoga teacher, a guru - yoga embedded his being and lead his life. It was one and the same. What really struck me was not only his vast dedication to his students and their progress, but also how with money, without it, with one student, or many - none of it changed him - he had the same fervor and passion for teaching without the fame with only making 17 rupees a month. That takes more than a leap of faith, it's in joining what you love and do, and living it as one.

With shraddha being more than faith, it's funny how when something strikes, it comes at you again, and again. As I flipped through a copy of The Bhagavad Gita I came right to a page mentioning shraddha. Okay. I get it. I need to look deeper. So I did, and it has stayed with me ever since. Here is some of what I found. 

"That concept is shraddha, and its nearest English equivalent is faith. I have translated it as such, but shraddha means much more. It is literally "that which is placed in the heart": all the beliefs we hold so deeply that we never think to question them. It is the set of values, axioms, prejudices, and prepossessions that colors our perceptions, governs our thinking, dictates our responses, and shapes our lives, generally without our even being aware of its presence and power.
This may sound philosophical, but shraddha is not an intellectual abstraction. It is our very substance. The Gita says, "A person is what his shraddha is" (17.3). The Bible uses almost the same words: "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he," Sharaddha reflects everything that we have made ourselves and points to what we have become. But there is nothing passive about shraddha. It is full of potency, for it prompts action, conditions behavior, and determines how we see and therefore respond to the world around us."
- The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Eknath Easwaran

Sounds powerful. Yet, we don't do it for power, we do it for the love. We do it when we are moved beyond rational thinking. We do it because we have to. We do it because it is who we are.

"Yet shraddha is not brute determination or wishful thinking. When St. John of the Cross says "We live in what we love," he is explaining shraddha. This is our world. Our lives are an eloquent expression of our belief: what we deem worth having, doing, attaining, being,. What we strive for shows what we value; we back our shraddha with our time, our energy, our very lives."
- The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Eknath Easwaran

It reminds me of a student, who later became a friend and mentor of mine. A woman of over 60 years and still as young and vivacious as ever, told me, "Laruga, it almost doesn't matter what you surrender to, as long as you do." Letting go to it all, and riding the wave of devotion brings with it unexpected, luminous gifts. To this day, I still contemplate all that it means. To allow the movement of my heart to lead the way no matter what the external world says, is a dynamic that requires trust, that where I stand, and where I'm going, and what moves me to my very core, should, and will, define my life. I need only listen and be aware of my internal light. A light I have one too many times ignored, and in the end always return to. Nothing else has given me comfort in this knowing. And, when I let go, and allow the knowing and living to join, not much gets better than that. Not much at all.

"Like our thinking, therefore - like we ourselves - shraddha evolves. The purpose of karma is to teach the consequences of shraddha, so that by trial and error, life after life, the individual soul acquires the kind of faith that lead to fulfillment of life's supreme goal. Krishna explains the dynamics:
When a person is devoted to something with complete faith, I unify his faith in that. Then, when faith is completely unified, one gains the object of devotion. In this way, every desire is fulfilled by me. (7:21-22)
- The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Eknath Easwaran


 "How do you recognize an awakening of MIND? When you no longer rely on your thoughts to tell you anything about your true Self. How do you recognize an awakening of HEART? When you no longer rely on your feelings to tell you anything about your essential Self. How do you recognize an awakening of GUT? When you no longer rely on your fears, your survival instincts, to tell you anything about your natural Self." 

- Adyashanti

Adventures Inside H&M


You'd have to be living under a rock to not know H&M. Yes. The wildly popular Swedish retailer born in Stockholm. I had always heard of H&M, previously. They are all over America now, well, all over the world, however, I had never shopped there. Not for any particular reason, it's just that H&M and I had never crossed paths. Oh wait. I did step inside one in San Francisco.  A really big store, which seemed a bit overwhelming. I lasted only several minutes.

Living in Stockholm, H&M screams out at me. In the center of the city, in one city block alone, there are four to five stand alone stores. Big ones too, along with the corporate offices. You'd think with that many stores in close vicinity they wouldn't be crowded, teaming with aggressive shoppers. WRONG. It doesn't seem to matter.

When I walk into one of the many of H&M stores in Stockholm it's like walking into the lion's den. I literally have to give myself a pep talk before I enter. There have been days where I was planning on going in and I quickly change my mind because I didn't have the strength. Sad. I know. But, if you aren't hungry enough to shop, you just might get run over be someone, because I have, and it isn't pretty. You think I'm exaggerating? Well, let me just say - I'm not.

I mean, I thought I was strong willed, but there is something about fighting over pairs of leggings that make me go weak. I'm easily intimidated by shoppers who won't let anything stand in their way, even me, looking at a particular item first. Craziness. To the maximum. I've been pushed out of the way as if an after thought. Does anyone know how to say "excuse me" in the joint? Ah-em, I mean ursäkta mig. It doesn't seem to be in the vocabulary, and I've got bruises to prove it, lol.


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