Grateful to Have NOT Caught on Fire Today

Life gratitude: Today I went the entire day without catching on fire.

I am experiencing utter elation! It’s a peculiar sensation to be so happy about not catching myself or something on fire. Not that I am a pyro or anything, just that I usually go every day WITHOUT being grateful for NOT catching things on fire…

I came home from some “office work” feeling rather disheveled mentally. I was trying to heat up  food before leaving to take a Relax Deeply yoga class, when what do I do but run out of time for the food BUT forget to turn off the oven. I drive to the studio, do an hour and a half class, and drive home, when suddenly at the last few blocks I remember…


Does anything cook that long without catching the house on fire?!?!? In between prayers and driving just up to the upper speed limit I start having flash backs…

As a youth I was an accomplished fire starter. There was catching my dad’s business on fire by trying to broil bologna. Catching my dad’s business on fire by trying to boil water. Knocking over the candles I had placed on my bed. Trying to light a candle and instead lighting my thumb. My cat following my fire example and pulling the light fixture off the wall and into a box of combustible items…. But wait!

What about turkey?

Turkey cooks for a good 5 hours or more, right? Why can’t other food, vegetables and pasta maybe, why can’t that cook 5 plus hours?!? If my calculations are correct I may have another two hours and fifteen minutes of cooking time left to go.

Finally arriving home I race up the stairs looking for the familiar flames, fire engines, smoke and smoke smell, still praying with all my faith. And SURE ENOUGH…

(To be continued…)

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 – Twists

Twists are detoxifying. They increase blood supply to and around the spine and abdomen muscles. Some twists stretch the pelvic area, increasing blood flow and health there. Some help relieve calcium deposits in the shoulder and increase flexibility there. The spine is rejuvenated and made more flexible. Back pain and arthritis in that area is helped. Many twists also help reduce hip pain. Many trim the abs.

Twists remove waste matter from the colon in a mild way. The colon is exercised. Constipation is relieved. Waste matter and toxins are removed, helping the body stay healthy and relieving related diseases. Removing these toxins also helps the mind stay sharp. Intestines are strengthened. Digestion improves. Gastritis is cured. The abdominal organs are massaged, including the bladder and prostate, keeping them healthy and strong. Twists can stimulate the liver, spleen, and pancreas – this is particularly helpful for people with diabetes.

Examples of twists include:

  • Ardha Matsyendrasana/Half Lord of the Fishes
  • Jathara Parivartanasana/Revolved Stomach Pose
  • Parsva Bakasana/Side Crane

General Benefits of the Yoga Asanas – Inversions

Inversions can be heated and cooling, as well as calming. They stimulate blood flow to the brain and trunk. They warm the body, improve brain and body health, soothe the nerves, release toxins, and increase the energy. Memory is improved. Thinking ability and clarity increase. Inversions are believed to increase youthfulness and keep aging at bay.

Inversions can heal a wide variety of ailments. Blood flow is increased to the endocrine glands, encouraging them to absorb more nutrients and secrete hormones to keep things more balanced. Blood flow is also increased to the pineal and pituitary which improves growth, health and vitality. Some inversions increase blood flow around neck and chest which can help with lung and throat ailments. Lungs are made more resistant to infection. Colds and sinus problems are helped to heal. Headaches are soothed and fatigue is reduced. Sleeplessness and insomnia are overcome. The hemoglobin blood count is improved and anemia is helped. Inversions encourage the bowels to move, relieving constipation. Some inversions help with piles, epilepsy, and hernia. Finally, inversions develop and discipline the mind, body, and spirit creating harmony and happiness.

Examples of inversions include:

  • Salamba Sarvangasana/Supported Shoulder Stand
  • Adho Mukha Vrksasana/Hand Stand
  • Salamba Sirsasana /Supported Head Stand
  • Pincha Mayurasana/Forearm Balance

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 – Forward Folds

Forward folds create feelings of calmness and coolness. They increase concentration, making them a great vehicle for pratyahara (the Yogic principle of withdrawal of the senses). The heartbeat is slowed and the blood flows from the trunk to the head. They soothe the brain cells. They remove depression and calm people who get overly excited. They help cool down after a heated sequence. Some of the poses help prepare practitioners to do Sirsasana/Corpse Pose.

Abdominal muscles, stomach muscles, liver, spleen, and kidneys are worked and toned. Liver and spleen are activated. Digestive juices increase, improving digestion. Forward folds relieve gastric problems and bloating in the abdomen. They cure stomach pain and reduce menstrual pain. They heal the spine and spinal nerves. Slipped discs are helped in some positions. Some of the poses help relieve enlarged prostate glands. Some of the poses help heal people suffering from chronic low fever. These things help make abdominal organs healthy leading to longevity, happiness, and peace of mind.

Examples of forward folds include:

  • Uttanasana/Standing Forward Fold
  • Paschimottansana/Seated Forward Fold
  • Prasarita Padottanasana/Wide Legged Standing Forward Fold
  • Upavistaha Konasana/Seated Wide Angle Forward Fold
  • Baddha Konasana/Cobbler or Bound Angle Pose


Standing or seated tall close your eyes and take a moment to do an inventory of how you are feeling right now – mentally, physically, emotionally. Then place yourself in one of the forward folds. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Stay there for 3 to 10 minutes. Then slowly blink open your eyes and come back to your original stance. Now notice again how you feel. What differences do you observe? You might want to write your experience in a journal or even post them here.


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.



General Benefits of the Yoga Asanas – Sun and Moon Salutations

Salutations are great for warming up, creating tapas (heat and burning away things you want to release), and as a moving meditation to intensify your practise intention. 

Used at the beginning of a practise they help prepare and warm the body. Muscles and ligaments are softened by the heat. Joints are lubricated by the movement. By starting softly and gradually building in intensity you get the body ready for more intensive poses.

Salutations also help release things. The movement, heat, and exertion release toxins (not just physically, but also emotional, mental, and spiritual, – all energy layers). If you are feeling stressed out the exertion of the movements can help burn away and work through the challenging feelings and thoughts.

Finally, salutations help quiet the mind when done with intention. The repetitive motions become a mantra or mandala. They help draw in the senses (pratyahara) so you can more easily focus and block outside distractions.


There are numerous variations of sun and moon salutations. Here is a variation of Sun Salutation A you can try now focusing on one or more of the benefits listed above.

  1. Tadasana/Mountain Pose/Standing Steady – Stand as tall and steady as possible with your feet together or slightly apart. Arms can be down by your side.
  2. Urdhva Hastasana/Standing with Arms Overhead -Staying tall, inhale and reach your arms overheard.
  3. Uttanasa/Forward Fold – Exhale, fold all the way forward and rest hands on floor or legs.
  4. Ardha Uttanasana/Half Forward Fold – Inhale halfway up with a flat back and rolling up the hands so only the fingertips touch the floor or legs.
  5. Plank OR Chaturanga – Exhale back down. Bend your knees. Touch the floor and step back into EITHER a plank on your toes or knees OR a bent armed plank variation called Chaturanga.
  6. Hold for an inhale. Exhale lower to the floor.
  7. Bhujangasana/Cobra – Inhale, lengthen the spine and try to pull your chest through your arms. Press the tops of your feet and toes into the floor and gently come up partway into a small back-bend.
  8. Adho Mukha Svanasana/Down Dog – Exhale, press knees into floor and push your hips up toward the sky to come up into an upside down V-shape. If this is not comfortable for you, just come onto hands and knees.
  9. Hold for 5 breaths. Really notice and breath deeply.
  10. Ardha Uttanasana/Half Forward Fold – Inhale, roll up to the tippy toes and press the rear up toward the sky. Exhale, bend the knees, look in between the hands and step or jump forward into Ardha Uttanasana as done earlier.
  11. Uttanasana/Forward Fold – Exhale back down into a forward fold.
  12. Urdhva Hastasana/Standing with Arms Overhead – Inhale, look forward, spread the arms out to the sides, and come up to standing with a flat back.
  13. Tadasana/Mountain Pose/Standing Steady – Exhale, lower the arms back down to your original standing pose. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and notice how you feel.




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.