"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.

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