Everything is Yoga

Everything is everything.

Everything is yoga.

Today I took my imperfect yoga practice off the mat and into my street wardrobe. I went the entire day (unknowingly) wearing sunglasses with a price tag sticker still on the side band AND a little SUV rating sticker on one of the glasses. That’s pretty bad! Or good I guess, depending on how you look at it, lol. Well, what can you do but laugh, right?

Sometimes you will find this same type of imperfection happening in your yoga poses. Whether it is an inability to defy gravity as you float from Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand)  into Chataranga (the bent armed plank pose), or a tight calf muscle in your Adho Mukha Svanasana (down dog). Whatever the “imperfection” notice it with loving kindness and keep going. Eventually, all of these things will pass. You will be left with what is most important – the love and kindness you have grown on the inside.



Sit in a comfortable position for meditation. Take a moment to think of something you did recently that was embarrassing or imperfect. Close your eyes and visualize, imagine, or pretend an image of yourself doing that less than perfect thing just in front of you as if there was a TV screen or hologram a few feet away from you. With each inhale imagine breathing in the pain or embarrassment or hurt from that other you. With each exhale imagine sending back love to that image of yourself. Keep with it. You might start adding a mantra like, “I love you. I love you.” Eventually, imagine any hurt being breathed away and just breathing love and acceptance to yourself. If there is still some hurt or embarrassment left that is OK too, but just keep sending the love.

When you are ready to end your meditation gently blink open your eyes keeping the loving feeling inside. As you go through the rest of your day periodically send that love and acceptance back to yourself with a breath or two.


Wisdom tells me I am nothing.
Love tells me I am everything.
Between the two my life flows.

Nisargadatta Maharaj


Monkeys Gone Wild – How to Tame the Beasts of the Mind

I just finished the most monkeyest-mindiest meditation ever. “Monkey mind” is a term used to describe a restless mind that is jumping from one thought to another, just like a hyper-active monkey swinging from tree to tree. 

Today 100 or more monkeys swung by and tried to hang out in my meditation. They were trying to help, telling me things like 1) what I need to do today, 2) what I need to do this month, 3) things that happened in the past, and even 4) the horrible, gruesome news story my co-worker told me today and that I wished she had not. All of this and more.

Sometimes meditations are like this. At other times, there are no monkeys and sitting for 30 minutes feels like 3.

Weirdly, after all of the monkeys, I felt calm afterwards and still have this good, tingly-brain feeling. I can’t get over the number though. I’ve never seen that many before – definitely a Monkey Extravaganza!



If you are doing a meditation and having a Monkey Extravaganza try adding a counting breath.  There are lots of counting related meditations, but this one is easy, forgiving, and soothing.

Sit down in your desired meditation position. Close your eyes and start taking some deep breaths. Add a steady count with your inhale and exhale. In other words, as you breathe in count, “One, two, three, four…” Exhale and count, “One, two, three, four…” Try to keep the inhale and exhale even so they both last the same amount of time and extend with the count. You don’t have to count to 4. You can pick any number that works for you – 5, 8, any number you can match with your breath.

Keep the count going during your entire meditation. When you are finished, gently blink open your eyes and keep the relaxed feeling with you as you go about your day.

General Benefits of the Yoga Asanas – Back Bends

Back bends are energizing and open the heart/emotions. They stimulate the chakras – heart chakra in particular. They help the lungs and breathing because of the expanded chest space. They stretch and strengthen the spine and abdomen muscles. Some also stretch the pelvic region, increasing blood flow and health to the gonads and entire pelvic region. Some stretch the neck, which helps the thyroid. Blood flow is increased to the thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenals. Blood circulation in the spine is increased. The spine becomes more elastic. Back pain and spinal injuries such as lumbago, sciatica, and slipped or prolapsed discs can be relieved and healed.* A healthy spine helps create a healthy nervous system. Healthy nerves lead to a sound mind and body.

Examples of backbends include:

  • Bujangasana/Cobra
  • Shalabasana/Locust
  • Setu Bandha/Bridge
  • Urdhva Dhanurasana/Chakrasana/Wheel
  • Ustrasana/Camel


Described below is a gentle, restorative back bend exercise to do after a stressful day at work, if you are feeling worn down, if your heart is achy and in need of nurturing, and/or if you have just been going, going, going all day and need a pick me up.

Find a bolster or fold up some blankets to make a prop that is about 5 – 8″ high, about 10″ wide and about 30″ long. Postion your legs in any comfortable way, either straight out and maybe with a pillow under the knees, or with feet together, knees bent, and a pillow under each thigh. Move the prop about a hands width away from your tail bone. Lay back resting your middle and upper back and head on the prop. If you want a more intensive back bend turn the prop sideways and lie back so your rear, shoulder, and head rest on the floor while your middle back is arched and supported on the prop.

Place arms out to the sides with palms face up. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths.

Start to pretend you are breathing the breath into your chest area, circulating it around in there, and breathing it out through the chest area. If any emotions come up, just notice and breath into them with loving kindness. After 5 – 20 minutes roll to the right off your props, gently press up to a seated position, softly blink open your eyes. Notice how you feel now, compared to when you started.


*By the way, here and throughout the site, when I mention healing benefits of yoga I am sharing the beliefs of this tradition, unless otherwise stated. I am not a doctor. Be sure to see a doctor where appropriate for any physical or psychological conditions. You can ask your doctor about yoga, breathing, meditation, etc. and get his or her approval on anything you are adding to your treatment. As a free human being, we all have the right to investigate and follow our own paths, and that includes sharing ancient traditions and ancient healing practises.

General Benefits of the Yoga Asanas – Standing Postures

Standing postures are good for grounding. They help you find steadiness in poses and in life.

Standing poses improve posture and the way a person carries him or herself. They help increase feelings of lightness, agility, power, and harmony. They help prevent fatigue and create feelings of vigor. Even the mind is made more agile and sharp. The good posture affects the mood and energy in a positive way. The expanded chest encourages better breathing habits. The balancing standing poses help create a sense of poise and balance.

Standing poses also tone and often strengthen the leg, feet, and ankle muscles. Many of them help tone the spine and nerves. These poses can help prevent deformities and keep the spinal elasticity. In the poses where the arms are raised overhead it helps relieve stiffness in the arms, shoulders, neck, and upper back. They also reduce body weight.

Finally, standing poses make it easier to do advanced forward bending poses and help beginners progress to more challenging poses.

Examples of standing poses include:

  • Tadasana/Mountain Pose
  • ViraBhadrasana I/Warrior I
  • ViraBhadrasana II/Warrior II
  • ViraBhadrasana II Variation/Reverse Warrior
  • Vrksasana/Tree Pose


Standing up, bring your feet together or slightly apart to come into tadasana. Feel the weight on all four corners of your feet. Press into those corners to lift your feet arches and your entire body. Tighten and lift the kneecaps and thighs. Allow the pelvis to lengthen down toward the floor. Draw the abdomen and all four corners of the ribcage up. Roll the shoulder up, around, and then down the back. Lengthen the neck and crown of the head up toward the sky while keeping the chin level. Roll the arms and palms open, fingers spread wide, toward the front of the room. Close your eyes. Notice your breath. And then start to breath more deeply. Hold the posture and take several breaths.

Keeping the eyes closed, visualize, imagine, or pretend red roots growing out of your feet and out of your tail bone going down through the floor, through all of the layers, and deep into the earth. Keep imagining it going deeper and deeper until you see it enter the core of the earth, really rooting down and giving you strength. Notice how that steadiness feels. Ideallly, you might feel some tingling and unusual sensations.

Next, visualize, imagine, or pretend a healing white or blue light coming down from the sky, filling you with lightness. Take some breaths just soaking this in.

Finally, imagine the two energies still flowing into you and merging inside your body. You are very steady and grounded (sthira), but also light and relaxed (sukha). Savor and observe for a few more breaths and then when you are ready softly blink open the eyes and go about your practise or daily activity. Try to recall this sense of groundedness each time you are in a standing posture.



A Healing Oasis

Near the beginning of each yoga class I teach I offer students an option of setting an “intention” for their practise. By intention I mean a wish, a quality or feeling desired in practise and/or life, a goal, a sankulpa  – anything and everything good, healing, and even magical.

I am offering that same type of dedication here. I set the intention for this site to be a place of healing, learning, love, and community. Whether it is one or many who come here, may what they find be true, lovely, excellent, and praiseworthy. May we think about these things here. May this be a healing oasis. 

If you have a “wish” for yourself or a loved one you can leave it here. Imagine tossing a stone or seed in the water above and planting your wish. Then visualize that it is already here and you have only yet to see it unfold to your physical eyes.