Open As The Sky


"Colors blind the eye. Sounds deafen the ear. Flavors numb the taste. Desires wither the heart. The Master observes the world but trusts his inner vision. He allows things to come and go. His heart is as open as the sky." 
(Tao Te Ching, Translation by Stephan Mitchell)

Self Practice. Self Knowledge. Ashtanga Yoga Retreat.


We still have plenty of space left! I know there are plenty of retreats out there to choose from, and with that being said, this year I deliberately set my sights on developing a life affirming retreat, giving one the opportunity to dig deep, to open, and develop, uniting the invaluable tools of yoga practice and the application of yoga philosophy. With the passionate help of my co-collaborator, Sati Shannon Rose Chmelar, I hope we can inspire more to attend. It's gonna be great!

For program and schedule details, click here

For registration details,

Monday Inspiration

Let the waves of the universe rise and fall as they will. You have nothing to gain or lose. You are the ocean. 
(Ashtavakra Gita)

Friday Quote


"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude  will also break you with it's yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could." 
(Louise Erdrich)

Mysore. Is it Magic?

Outside KPJAYI

Mysore. Is it Magic? Yes, but not magic in the way you may think. Often I don't realize what is in the process of developing or what has been ignited until I leave. Something is always working just below the surface and can manifest in ways that may surprise, delight or even scare you, because truly it is about the unknown. I always find it interesting when listening to the criticism in regards to practicing at the source. Practicing here has a way of mirroring our own inner turmoil and then people blame the place. Be happy that it does because that is where the awareness can begin to shine it's wisdom upon our blocks and projections. Within that a new freedom can be found. I've had practices where I have felt shattered and broken, and often those are the best lessons that can be learned and experienced. If it wasn't worth it then I don't think I would continually feel the call to go back no matter how arduous the work is. Work that gives, and exposes, internally washing away the chains of conditioning. 

You may ask why go then? Good question. Why? Well, I will tell you. It is like no other place to practice. May sound like a canned answer with no depth and meaning behind it, but really it is as simple as that. At first you don't even realize how deep it begins to work under the watchful eye of R. Sharath Jois, but words can't really begin to illustrate fully, and I'm not sure I am prepared to try. However, in the same light, to describe practicing at KPJAYI as about unicorns and rainbows is a fallacy. Simply put, it is what it is. What arises will be your lesson and your lesson alone. The thing that is most interesting is the intensity of practice has a way of aggravating what we cling to. We then have the opportunity to see what no longer serves us and the definitive change begins only when we decide to lean into those areas through what arises. If we continue to practice and ignore, then we still live in the same delusion. However, that in itself can be a lesson. When traveling somewhere to simply focus on practice is yes, in a sense, a luxury, but one that gives an opportunity to reduce our worldly distractions and responsibilities for a block of time to then tune into our internal landscape facilitated by the energy and focus generated in the room.  Simply put, it feels amazing to be a part of it. 

Another thing to remember is the community that encapsulates all when in Mysore reaches not only far and wide, but deep, colored by a vast array of cultures and backgrounds enriches the experience of being there. Much can be learned not only on and off the mat but also how we interrelate and learn from each other as students and stewards of this amazing process. My recommendation is to soak it up.

There will always be spinmakers and haters who will plant a seed of doubt about it all. Funny how some of the biggest critics who say it isn't for them have never stepped foot inside KPJAYI. 
It is important to remember that it's not about getting or attaining something, it's about realization and recognition. I think that can be the frustrating part for those who feel they need an immediate payback, understanding or experience. All I can say is what develops is priceless. It's so much more than receiving a magical adjustment or given validation. Here you strengthen what cannot be seen with the naked eye. Never once has Sharath or being in the presence of Guruji when he was alive (however one could say he is very much alive there), have I gotten the impression that asana is of most importance. Quickly and clearly one learns just how minimal it is and in the same light how important the ritual becomes and the attentive awareness we open to as we touch a bigger and greater part of ourselves. The magic. 



"No matter what is going on in your life today, remember, it is only preparation. People come and go; situation rise and fall; it's all preparation for better things. You must stretch, reach, grow into your goodness. Without the preparation we receive through adversity, disappointment, confusion, or pain, we could not appreciate the goodness when it arrives."  
(Iyanla Vanzant)

Wild Woman Archetype

I had heard the author of "Women Who Run With the Wolves," Clarissa Pinkola Estés, speak on several podcasts and always found myself pulled into her talks like a rip curl pulling one out to sea, but never picked up one of her written works. The best way to describe her is being a women of innate wisdom, who also dances in the great mystery. Graceful, light, ultimately powerful. Recently, I struck up a conversation with an acquaintance who spoke highly of her most famous book and how moving it was. Being a book lover myself it motivated me to read it and already I am preparing myself to go on a great journey.

Myth and story has a way of igniting not only the mind but the heart. Think about it, before the written word, wisdom was passed down through oral traditions. Not only do they carry illuminating wisdom but energy. Carrying the energy of each person who has passed these great stories along.

"A woman's issues of soul cannot be treated by carving her into a more acceptable form as defined by an unconscious culture, nor can she be bent into a more intellectually acceptable shape by those who claim to be the sole bearers of consciousness. No, that is what has already caused millions of women who began as strong and natural powers to become outsiders in their own cultures. Instead, the goal must be the retrieval and succor of women's beauteous and natural psychic forms. 
Fairy tales, myths, and stories provide understandings which sharpen our sight so that we can pick out and pick up the path left by the wildish nature. The instruction found in story reassures us that the path has not run out, but still leads women deeper, and more deeply still, into their own knowing. The tracks we all are following are those of the wild and innate instinctual Self. "
(Clarissa Pinkola Estés, "Women Who Run With the Wolves.") 

Entering the Void


"Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose."   (Jedi Master Yoda)
The void. In our modern culture we will do anything NOT to feel what it is to sit in the void. Unavoidable, I have found myself here on a number of occasions. Sometimes by choice, others not, and in that I can see the design of modern life does all it can to stop us from entering into this space of empty awareness.  The void, a place of darkness that gives opportunity to experience the light. The light generated from mysterious unknowing.

Void: noun an empty space; emptiness. Something experienced as a loss or privation. Gap or opening; as in a wall. A vacancy; vacuum. 

When looking at the word more thoroughly for some it may seem scary when much of life is defined by how we fit into the world in relationship to others. How we stack up. How we coincide. Going back, my experience has been that I didn't. Growing up biracial never really completely melting with one group or the other I began to understand how important it was for others I be labeled as something. Funny that it wasn't me who was uncomfortable with being in a state of ambiguity it seemed to give more comfort to those around me. Who are you? What are you? Labels and criteria just distance us from truly seeing what is infront of us. With a label we then have set expectations or past experiences downloaded into our psyche at lightening speed. Separation ensues. Moving away from reality and clear observation.

Even the word is confusing because the word has it's own set of limitations depending on the heart and mind of the individual. I guess I could have said spaciousness, silence, emptiness, etc. The important point is it isn't always the most comfortable especially if deep issues of control are present unable to let go to the mystery we call life. Contemplate on it. Even with all the books to be read and all the knowledge we can acquire, what can be known if we are then not willing to sit in the depth of our own being, in the void?

In the void there is a pulsation like a heartbeat, but first there is only nothingness. Within the vast emptiness a lost feeling may arise. There is nothing to lean up against. There is nothing to judge or compare. There is nothing to know or acknowledge. However, never fear, because you are more home than you can ever know. Sit in the silence and feel the rhythm of the unexplained. Come face to face with unadulterated, pure and unlimited potential.

It's a place of pure love and experience. What can be frightening for some is every construct and definition is ultimately shattered, and that's the thing, we don't trust the void enough. This is true for myself, but somehow life keeps pulling me there, to nowhere, to no past and no future. Little by little, step by tiny step, I navigate the space with more clarity or at the very least a semblance of being here before as every seed of faith I have sheds light within the depths of what I can only call my soul's knowing. It's uncomfortable. At times the heat that arises is unbearable, and at others an intense cold, feeling desolate and alone. A flux that can only be described as the rug being pulled beneath without a moments notice to be ready and awake.

The void. The mind is obsolete. The heart knows all. The truth is available. We know it. We are it. I guess the deeper question is will we recognize it?

The Innovation of Loneliness


Really, really interesting.

Guru Purnima

Happy Birthday, Guruji.

LADIES: The Moon Cup


Okay. So this post probably won't interest male readers but I had to post in regards to my experience with the mooncup without going into too much obvious detail. Ladies only. Years back I heard about the mooncup and it piqued my interest. If you think about it, the cumulative waste produced from our monthly periods can add up. Think about it. In a lifetime how much?! Knowing that I can always do better when it comes to conscious choices in terms of my own personal carbon footprint I thought it was worth giving it a try. The resistance for me at first was connivence and ease. Can I still be active, go about my daily activities and such without hassel and worry?

So I finally took the plunge and bought one. There are a number of different brands out there. The big difference from using a menstrual cup versus tampons or pads is - well, they are resuseable and from the statement on the package can last for years and years. Also, instead of absorbing menstrual flow, it collects it and must be rinsed out between uses. Between periods you can sterilize the cup by putting it in boiling water for 6-8 minutes or using a sterilizing solution. No problem.

When it came to establishing my size I was a bit miffed because the suggestions on the box didn't really go over so well for me. Taking into consideration that I haven't had any children and practice Ashtanga yoga regularly seemed to have made a big difference even though I am over 30 years. Something worth checking into.

At any rate, I feel alternatives such as this will become ever more important. Doing what I can to make more conscious choices on every level available is an importnat step starting with lessening the amount of "trash" I produce. For me using the mooncup will be an adjustment and practice will be necessary when it comes to ease of use. However, from those who have been using it for a longer time swear by it and actually prefer it. I'm still a newbee but a willing one. 

The Breeze


For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself.

From within, I couldn’t decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.


translated by Coleman Barks

Friday Quote


Letting go doesn’t mean we don’t care. Letting go doesn’t mean we shut down. Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave. It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment. It means we stop trying to do the impossible—controlling that which we cannot—and instead, focus on what is possible—which usually means taking care of ourselves. And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible.

(Melody Beattie)

Ashtanga Yoga Teacher, Elena De Martin


I've had the sincere pleasure of meeting Elena De Martin in Mysore, India on a number of occasions and I find her simply lovely, yet so open and honest. If ever in Milan you know where to practice. 

When Fear Meets the Line

Fear. It will always be there, it will never go away, but what we do with it is the deeper question.

Monday Inspiration: Life Has No Opposite


Death is not the opposite of life. Life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal. Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to “die before you die" and find that there is no death. Awareness is the power that is concealed within the present moment. … The ultimate purpose of human existence, which is to say, your purpose, is to bring that power into this world." 
(Ekhart Tolle)

Thoughts From Within - Woody Harrelson


Come With Light and Thunder

When the heart is hard and parched up,
come upon me with a shower of mercy.

When grace is lost from life, 

come with a burst of song.

When tumultuous work raises its din on all sides 

shutting me out from beyond, 
come to me, my lord of silence, with thy peace and rest.

When my beggarly heart sits crouched, shut up in a corner, 

break open the door, my king, and 
come with the ceremony of a king.

When desire blinds the mind with delusion and dust, 
O thou holy one, thou wakeful, 
come with thy light and thy thunder.

(Rabindranath Tagore)

Friday Quote: Clearing What is Untrue


Too often we do not say what we are feeling in our hearts and we hold back our true words of love, courage and compassion that should be said. When you become courageous enough to express the Truth of how you are really feeling you set yourself free and align with the vibration of your Truth. This is when miracles, synchronicities and amazing things begin to happen. At first it might be a little rough because you are clearing out everything that isn’t true for you. But it’s my promise to you dear friend that once you’ve reached a clean slate, your Truth will set you free, your Truth will make you happy and your Truth will always provide for you. My biggest promise to you is that your Truth will deliver a life greater than you have imagined. All you have to do is let go of what is not true for you and let it in what is. 
(Jackson Kiddard)

My Photo Diary: Stockholm Summer


I've always been such a visual person. I like to take in the beauty of my surroundings. I enjoy art, design, and fashion. It's kinda always been in my cells for whatever reason. I think it is in our nature to be creative as we ignite our imaginations. Though I love the art of writing, sometimes a picture has a way of setting a tone, like the old saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words." I find this to be very true.

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Steady Practice


"You should not be practicing to have a “good” practice, but instead to keep steadiness within yourself. Practice happily regardless of whether it is “good” or not. Sometimes some postures will not be possible, but when you accept the good and the bad and everything becomes equal for you, that is yoga."   
(R. Sharath Jois)

The above quote by R. Sharath Jois has been floating around lately and I thought I would share it as well. I can't express enough how important his words are. Remembering that it's the attributes and strength of character we bring to our mats that carry more weight versus how we perform and execute each asana. Obviously, it doesn't mean we don't still study and learn to more deeply inhabit the postures we practice, but going deep doesn't always mean being as flat as a pancake or as light as a feather. Everything equal. Embracing it all. Even in the mist of heaviness, ache, and stiffness. 

More Monday Inspiration: Strength in Motion


I love this video clip with principal dancer Tamara Rojo. Some of what she talks about really parallels with the trails and tribulations of longterm yoga practice and others differ. At any rate, I love hearing personal accounts from those who are the best at what they do. Absolutely lovely and inspiring. She is not only strength in motion but also a culmination of practice in motion. Think of all the work that went into what she has done. Beautiful. 

Monday, Moon Day, Inspiration

"Begin where you are. Where else IS there?

If pain, sorrow, regret, confusion or fear are appearing in your present experience right now, do not turn away, do not use the labels ‘dark’ or ‘negative’, do not assume any kind of cosmic deviation or ‘sin’. For these are sacred and intelligent life-movements, all, undivided from the vastness of creation, waves of the limitless ocean of Self. They are your beloved children, all, forgotten movements of yourself, longing for your warm presence - a moment of undivided attention. “Remember me!" they cry, one last time, and will you ignore them today? Or will you finally accept your birth right? Will you remember that everything you long for is already appearing, disguised as everything you reject?

Will you remember that you cannot be anywhere other than Home?

(Jeff Foster) 

 Complaining continues to create the vibration of what you don’t want. Today, take your focus off of what is wrong and focus on what is right and how you desire things to be. Put all your love, energy, mental power and decision making towards what you want and do not entertain thoughts that are to the contrary. You are MORE responsible for the way you feel than your environment, circumstances or relationships. Step towards Love today, step towards the solution.

(Jackson Kiddard)

When you start to really know someone, all their physical characteristics start to disappear. You begin to dwell in his energy, recognize the scent of their skin. You see only the essence of the person, not the shell. That’s why you can’t fall in love with beauty. You can lust after it, be infatuated by it, want to own it. You can love it with your eyes and body but not your heart. And that’s why, when you really connect with a person’s inner self, any physical imperfections disappear, become irrelevant.

(Lisa Unger, Beautiful Lies)

Enlightenment is a demolition project. It simply shows you that everything you ever believed was true isn’t.
(Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing)

What are the Benefits of Mediation?


 Simple explanation

More complex explanation

Let the Practice be the Guide


Now be silent. Let the One who creates words speak. He made the door, He made the lock, and He also made the key.


Practicing and teaching I've experienced resistance  on various levels in myself and have observed it in the students I assist on a daily basis. Sometimes the resistance we face comes across quite clear as it screams at us for attention. Other times it sneaks up without a warning dressed in disguise. Resistance. It's always around lurking. I've been fascinated with the topic in that I've felt it on a personal level over the past six months. It seems to run in cycles often making itself known more prominently at certain times than others. What I have found is acknowledging its presence no matter how much you wish it wasn't there, even in the mist of feeling to simply show up takes every bit of energy you have, there is an opportunity for growth in the struggle. Afterward, when the clouds have cleared usually on the other side of it a wellspring of growth and expansion awaits. 

Allowing what is to be is one of the most arduous of internal practices we face on and off the mat. Because after we have experienced our honeymoon period from attaining the "goodies" of yoga practice have worn off some of the most extensive work is about to begin. This is the yoga. The goodies only give a small taste of the true experience. A fractional glimpse into the eye of the proverbial storm, but we have to go through the storm at some point and resistance is part of that storm. 

Not all situations will be ideal. There will be days our bodies will feel stiff, and our minds will  feel as if it sits within the depths of hell. In turn we may experience apathy and boredom as we are seduced by our expectations of how things should be. Of course, this is the play of the mind and the craving of the ego. There is really is no need to judge when resistance crops up because it is inevitable. However, what will we put in its place? A question worth contemplating. 

I know for me the practice has evolved and changed over the years. In the beginning there was an abundance of excitement and enthusiasm. Everything felt new and every challenge was something that motivated me to tread forward. I still feel this to some extent but more and more the focus rests in the quiet unchanging part of myself because after while the realization that the body is in a constant state of flux and ultimately impermanent is experienced. Change is always happening and acknowledgement of that makes the ride all the more graceful. The important thing to remember is the effort and steadfastness we put forth to practice as we rest in this quiet space of awareness is more important then any of the postural goodies we can acquire. Even in the mist of injury, apathy, boredom, fatigue, and depression, all these struggles must be faced head on and there is really no need to wish it were different. Everything in time passes. Grace happens when we let go of the need for it to be any other way. 

As a teacher it can be one of the most honest discussions I can have with a student. No, it won't always be easy, and no it won't always be fun, but I will tell you, it will be worth it. 

Underneath all of your desires is a truer desire—the longing for the truth, the longing to be free. This realization can be profoundly liberating because it makes all other desires irrelevant. Getting what you want no longer matters as much as truth. Whether you are comfortable or uncomfortable in the moment no longer matters because what matters is the truth. What matters is Oneness. 
(Nirmala, Nothing Personal)

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