Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dear You

Hey there!

Many articles, videos and yoga learnings from this enthusiastic yoga teacher
have been posted here over the last several years!

This blog began as a resource for those who wanted to learn more about yoga. 
In my own unquenching desire for learning more, delving deeper 
and enriching my own yoga practice- I wanted to share the awesome stuff 
I was learning then, practicing and cumulatively, being the better for it. 

I'm more dork than eloquent writer but overall I've hoped to express that
tending to your yoga practice must come from the heart-
from the very essence of Being who You are- 
not me, not the gurujis or that one chick that always
looks/seems/acts/writes so cool on Facebook.

Practice is meant to fit it's Practitioner- You

You create the energy, you put in the diligent hard work-
be Your Self - Your Best Self!
I mean it- if anything, I hope my dorkery over the years has
allowed you to be Your Self with some swagger and
to make your practice fit that spectacular Being! 

Rather than keep posting the same info over and over for you, 
I'm going to let this beautiful bounty of information rest in your hands.

 It's here for you to discover and uncover practices that
resonate with you and that empower you to Live as your Best Self.

It's here to learn to help manage chronic health challenges, and 
to inspire strength and resolve in body, mind and spirit, 
regardless of health status. 

The posts that follow are a couple YE4CC Practice "Playlists".

Playlist One begins with ways to begin or to begin again to 
develop your personal yoga practice.
Reminders of why we practice or why'd we'd want to. 
Reminders of "the basics", things we may have forgotten or 
need to see again -now in this moment-  to grow from. 
I wrote the thing and I'll reread an article or rewatch a video
and still learn something new from it!

Practice Playlist 2 is a compendium of my most
revisted practices. These are the ones that help me the most.
The ones I miss when I skip them. The ones that I do every day
and am much better all around for.
The humbling ones, the ones that made me look deeper and
still do. 

I hope this blog brings forward practice, sight from a new light and some chuckles. 

I'll be taking a teaching sabbatical as of August 2014.

Please find weekly Breathing Breaks on Facebook.

Follow my Personal Practice/Photography blog:

chaos + understanding

a yoga practice extends beyond the mat
return to your breath




YE4CC Practice Playlist One

"Practice and all is coming." 
Pattabhi Jois

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

FAQ: Should I always lay down when practicing Yoga Nidra?

FAQ: Should I always lay down when practicing Yoga Nidra?

Nope. The inaccuracy lies with the inclusion of always in this sentence. If it said: Should I lay down when practicing Yoga Nidra? The answer would be it depends.

Through the cumulative practice- of both being present in breath and movement (in asana & in the world)- added to cumulative mindfulness practices over time, you are better able to see yourself as you are and to see things as they are: The goal of Yoga Practice. Things are ever-changing; whatever your things are.

Living with Chronic Conditions poses many challenges in our lives. Nidra practice teaches you how to listen to your body, with loving-kindness, and give it what it needs. This is especially useful for those having to adapt often. Our conditions (illness or not) are always changing, making me feel like I'm finding my new normal again and again at times. Yoga Practice gives me tools I can use to ride these waves- good, bad or neutral waves.

Learning to meet yourself where you are – however you are-  is the training. By learning this, exercising this – you can do many things/Practices to bring yourself to a greater place of balance and ease. 

Let this be one of your goals in Yoga: 

To practice listening to your body and mind with loving kindness. 
Then, give yourself what you need to create a place of greater balance and ease. 

Since things are always changing, even in the tough times – you will begin to understand this and see pain and suffering completely different. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

First, ask yourself a few questions:  Why am I doing this Practice? 
                                                                         What is my Goal? 
                                                             What Practice can I do to bring me closer to that Goal?

Finding out why you're doing each Practice should begin with listening to your body. Find your beginning breath. Use a quick 6 sense mindfulness meditation to settle in.  Bring your awareness to the sounds around you, the four walls, the ceiling, the floor, to your body (seated, standing- where ever you are in that moment) and finally to the sensation of your breath. Take 5-30 minutes to do this.

Nidra practices help you begin to really hone in on dropping in. Dropping in, meaning, that transition from a mind/body caught up in and not being paid attention to type of awareness to a more focused inward place to be able to meditatively listen to your breath.  Often not so easily done, when we're caught up in what the outside world is always ready to tell us. Nervous systems feeling fried with too much information... but I digress.

Then, notice how your body feels (think more descriptive words- less story). Notice things that may set you off, upset you or maybe you're neutral at the moment. Notice how your mind feels (again, just descriptive). This must be done without judgement but with a curious and loving mind. By taking the time to listen- you can then decide what your goal is.

Finding out what your Goal is should begin with how your body/mind feel. Not how you feel. How your body feels right now. How your mind feels right now. They are separate. Listen and by listening you know now what your body/mind needs.  Then, create: Personal Yoga Practice is an Art form! Do you want to feel more energetic, balanced... what's the opposite of what your body/mind are feeling right now? How can I get there?

Learning what Practices you can do to get more towards where you'd like to be – is part of the Art of Personal Practice. Think of pianists, potters, painters, musicians, writers – they get better at their craft with practice. Learning Mozart doesn't happen overnight. Neither does Yoga. With practice, you begin to understand what Practices work best for you in certain times. With practice, they begin to become what you do and part of who you are – without a set design. There's a blueprint for Personal Practice but the design is all up to You!

So... should you always lay down when practicing Yoga Nidra? Nope. Only when it would serve your Practice in bringing you to a greater place of balance and ease.

Find a comfortable position at all times.

 a yoga practice extends beyond the mat. 
return to your breath. 





Let me know what questions you have about your Yoga Practice in the comments section below or directly at 


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Self Study - I Am Home.

I am Home.

I am in a place of dwelling or even where I live but rather-  
I am. Home.
 I get it now. I didn't before. 
Home is in me, I never leave it. 
My breath is home.
To me, breath is spirit- washing in and over me.
 I get it. I take home with me.
 I never leave it- It never leaves me.

I Am Home.

Pain is inevitable- suffering is optional. It's true. I can decide, me - aka home, decides that it's okay and to go with it or it's not okay and to change something about it.

Pain sensation, sadness, anger or what I call the bad feelings that I don't want to experience... they need to be seen and heard just like all the rest, and when they are - they soften. Rather than fighting them - I welcome them, even though it's the hardest road sometimes - I welcome them. I am present and will even sit with them for a time getting to know them, hear them and just listen. I ask what they want, what they need and what action they need me to take in life. I listen. 

Most times it's clear; slow down, rest or forgive. Sometimes I don't know and that's okay too. The action, the intention and the practice of listening, to my own body's signals and messengers, is Yoga. The action of not labeling, filtering or judging but instead welcoming with compassionate and loving-kindness and holding it for everything that presents or arises on my path - is Yoga.

Life is happening right now. I may or may not get another shot (not sure what I believe there quite yet) but I want to enjoy this one. That's my most heart-felt desire - to enjoy this Life and to be present.

I can't imagine ever enjoying pain but rather than suffering the inevitability of pain I choose to welcome it as I practice welcoming everything. If I don't like something I can change the experience somehow. This helps me be present and not hate my body for hurting or not working right. I'd rather be present and enjoy (making the best) of every flippen moment I have with breath. On my last one I want to feel as if I hadn't missed a thing, knowing I Am Home and I've been here all along. 

 a yoga practice extends beyond the mat.
return to your breath.




Monday, May 14, 2012

YE4CC SUMMER Urban Retreat July 21st!

Yoga Empowered for Chronic Conditions 
1st Annual Urban SUMMER Retreat: 
a Day of Mindfulness & Yoga  

Saturday July 21st, 2012
10:00am - 4:00pm
the Good Shepherd Center
Seattle, Wa.

Retreat is one of the most enriching, enlivening 
and affirming things you can do. 
Join me for this special treat! 

This Retreat is being held for YE for Chronic Conditions students!
Open to new, old and current students.  
*All students must be able to get to and from the floor without assistance.

We will be spending the day in silence, practicing 
mindfulness meditations, gentle asana, pranayama and more.
Practice techniques we've learned in class and some new ones.
Learn useful techniques to help manage energy levels and enrich your spirit!

Tentative Schedule:

10:00- 11:15am
Opening Ceremony
Asana, pranayama and meditation.
11:15- 11:30am
11:30- 12:30pm
Mindfulness Mini Practices.

12:30- 1:30pm
Silent Mindful Lunch.

1:30- 2:45pm
Gentle Asana & Yoga Nidra Practice.
2:45 - 3:00 pm
3:00 - 4:00 
Closing Practice & Ceremony

As always,
you will be encouraged to meet yourself where you are
and to practice accordingly.

You will need to bring your yoga mat, a blanket or 2,
plus any props you desire. 
Bring your own healthy bagged lunch & snacks. 

Chairs and Tables will be provided. 
Hot water, tea and drinking water provided. 
There will be plenty of fans on site to keep us cool! 

Limited to 20 students. 
All students must be able to get to & from the floor 
without assistance.

Gross Monthly IncomeCost for YE4CC Summer Urban Retreat
Below $1,000  3 Scholarships Available.* 
Contact me at
$1,000 - $1,499   $ 65.00                           
$1,500 - $1,999   $ 75.00                          Registration 
$2,000 - $2,999   $ 85.00                                  is
$3,000 - $3,999   $ 105.00                           closed. 
Over $4,000   $ 125.00                          
 *Scholarships available on first come first served basis:
1 full scholarship & 2 half scholarships available.
(This is on the honor system- no need to provide income info-
simply register at the appropriate rate.) 

Registration closes Wed July 18th! 
Register above through PayPal or 
contact me to reserve your spot and mail check 
payable to Yoga Empowered to:
Yoga Empowered 
PO Box 17341 
Seattle, WA 98127

 I'm so thrilled to be able to offer this Urban Retreat at
the Good Shepherd Center again!
This historic building has so much character and feeling- 
 We all fell in love with it at the Winter Retreat in January.

There are plenty of areas to explore and it's a definite RETREAT from the city. 
It feels like you're on a grand estate... 

Upon paid registration- 
you will receive more information.

Please don't hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns. 
I'm very much looking forward to this, now twice a year, Practice! 
Hope to see you there!

 a yoga practice extends beyond the mat.
return to your breath.




Cancellation Policy for Retreat
  • 14 or more days prior to Retreat = Full Refund (minus $3 fee if paid with credit card)
  • 7 to 13 days prior to Retreat = Class Credit
  • Within 7 days (1 week) prior to Retreat = No refund or class credit
  • If Yoga Empowered cancels the Retreat, a full refund will be issued.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

YE4CC e-Course Spring Schedule - Register today!

Yoga Empowered Online for Chronic Conditions presents:


Teaching Yoga Empowered for Chronic Conditions students and living with chronic pain myself, I have learned, practiced and put together some of the best information on how to manage chronic pain with Yoga tools. I am thrilled to offer this 6 week Series on Managing Chronic Pain in e-Course form encouraging you to work with the information at your own pace in the comfort of your own home.

Learn yoga tools you can use to help manage pain (physical &/or emotional). Learn how and why chronic pain functions the way it does and much more. Empower yourself with the knowledge and tools to learn to manage your own chronic pain. 

This is no empty promise- if you practice at least one of the practices presented in this e-Course once a day with diligence and a good heart  and do not feel better able to manage your chronic pain in 6 weeks ... I will happily give you a full refund!

YE for Chronic Pain Management e-Course 
Spring Schedule

Start dates for each 6 week Series: 

Sunday April 29, 2012  -- Registration is closed.
Sunday May 27th -- Registration is closed.
Sunday June 17th -- Registration is closed.

for the next Develop Your Personal Practice e-Course.
Please note: This in no way obligates you to register but 
allows you to receive registration information 
before it goes public.

Cost $35 USD
Actual Value $65

*Registration closes 48 hours before start date of each Series. 
All previous Series have filled quickly- don't delay,  
Register now!

  • Rediscover peace with your body and within your body. 
  • Learn about chronic pain, why it functions the way it does & how it communicates with your nervous system.
  • Begin to learn about Neuroplasticity, it's relation to Yoga Practice and how your brain can retrain pain responses.
  • Begin to better manage fear of the unknown and to welcome times of change. 
  • Empower yourself with restorative practices. Learn practical and tangible Yoga tools to bring yourself to a place of relaxation and ease when you need it most.
  • Some asana. More Yoga Philosophy and lots of heart. 



  • Weekly emails (on Sunday) with new lesson (PDF), video and journal prompts.
  • Weekly Practices focusing on managing chronic pain.
  • Personal video messages delivered to your inbox with a corresponding lesson to print out and add notes to.
  • a Journal or something to write with. (optional)
  • a Body
  • Breath
  • a Heart 
  • a yoga mat (optional), a blanket or 2, a couch cushion or 2, a pillow or 3. 
  • simply, an internet connection that can watch this video without trouble.

  • Those willing to Practice to empower their well-being. Movement and all practices are appropriate for any body - as long as you can breathe – you can do Yoga!  
  • Those who are self motivated and will do the work. 


  • Those that are seeking a quick fix with no work. Those that just want a nice ass in yoga pants. 

  • Cumulative Practice by You.  
  • Continue supporting your Yoga Practice by taking classes in your area that support Chronic Pain Management. 
  • I will happily offer a Level 2 YE for Chronic Pain Management e-Course if you demand it. 

Find out more: Frequently asked Questions regarding this e-Course.


"This has been an illuminating experience -- and it's not over yet. In fact, I think it will never be over. The habits I've (gradually, in my own time)  picked up along the way while participating in this course have made me realize how possible it is to make big changes by taking on new habits in small increments -- changes that will remain, because they've been made gradually and have therefore not been overwhelming.

I will be forever grateful for this opportunity because it has encompassed so much more than, say, adding a few asanas to my repertoire. It has meant new ways of seeing, thinking, and feeling. New ways to embrace the part of life that we refer to as pain. I feel like I have a much better idea of how to embrace the world, everything that is, and that of course includes what is called pain as well as what is called comfort, and what is called happiness." C.S.

"I just had to thank you for this most wonderful e-course.  It has improved my life physically and emotionally.  I cannot believe it.  I feel that now I have more substance and purpose.  I am sleeping better now, even walking better.  While walking I remember to "lift up my heart". I love that.  It feels so good.  Thank you - Thank you - Thank you..... " 
Gloria S.