Sunday, December 30, 2007

Upcoming Workshop and Personal Resolution

December has been a very powerful month! Much change, quiet power, and hopefully some growth. The winter solstace week was packed with yogi's, energy, and intention. Here's what some have said,

"I just wanted to thank you again for a wonderful workshop last week. I really appreciate both the physical and mental enlightenment I receive from your classes." L.W.

"I am excited to take all that I learned this past week and work with it in my practice! I am sure that writting all this in an email does not come across with half as much gratitude and excitement as I intended, but I hope you know that you are a great teacher and one that passes down the yogic tradition with such great passion and reverance. Thank you for a wonderful week! I hope you have a great holiday and I'll see you in the new year!!" K.C.D.

"As always, I feel so fortunate to be able to attend your classes and continue to learn from you...your method of teaching and the way you share your experiences with students is truly a gift in my mind." M.S.

My very first opportunity to share my growing passion for the Traditonal Ashtanga Yoga Method is this weekend. Come and share, grow, and deepen your relationship to yoga, and as always your self.

As for all the resolving that is flying in the air I am taking my cue for 2008 from the very soulful genius Walt Whitman. My resolution for 2008

"This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body..."
walt whitman

Friday, November 23, 2007

Stay Engaged Practice Yoga

Two Workshops:

The Rebirth of the Sun
Winter Solstice Morning Retreat Week
Monday – Friday
December 17-21
6-8 am
Tuition: $90Early Registration Incentive: $80 by 12/10/07


If you are interested in hosting a week long morning retreat at your yoga studio contact me. Other themes have included Practice as Sadhna, Abhyasa and Vairagya; The two wings of yoga, and Tandava: Where Shiva meets Shakti.

The Earth is actually nearer to the sun in January than it is in June—by three million miles! In this week long morning retreat we will explore the light that is always present in each of us. Through movement (asana), simple cleansing (kriya) rituals, breath awareness (pranayama), and quiet sitting we will align with the quality of the solstice, as a time that humans have long recognized as a turning point, a day that celebrates the return of the sun. Our asana focus will utilize the contemplative and cleansing power of forward bends in combination with deep twists. Picking up suggestions from the “great vows” of yoga, the yama’s, and niyama’s, we will weave together the themes of greedlessness (aparigraha), cleanliness (shauca), and contentment (samtosha).

To register, please mail payment to: Wake Up Yoga, 2329 Parrish Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130. Or call: 215.235.1228 to use a credit card. Please include your name, phone number and email address. Thank You!

Foundation First, Insight into the Traditional Ashtanga Method
Friday-Sunday January 4th-6th
Yoga Squared
1923 Chestnut street 3R, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103 phone: 215 496 9226 fax: 215 496 9227

My intention in providing this workshop is to bring a clear understanding and awareness towards the Ashtanga methodology as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India. Through the guidance of my teacher, David Keil, who has been authorized by Guruji, and my two pilgrimages to Mysore (2006, 2007) I hope to lay a proper and strong foundation on which the practitioner can confidently build a self-practice and continue their studies (If there is interest and enthusiasm, I can offer a 2nd installment, with the option of an additional Mysore morning week.) Over the course of this weekend will we explore in depth the foundations of the practice. We will explore and study the external postures, and begin to develop awareness of the more subtle aspects, the breath (prana), bandha (energy), and dristi (focus.) The culmination of this transformative weekend will be a led (traditionally counted) practice of the asana’s we have covered. I hope to cover the opening and closing mantra’s, some history on the origin of the practice, debunk some commonly held mythology, share loads of stories, and my own personal tips and tricks.

This workshop is suitable for all levels. It may be just the beginning of your exploration of this system, or a space for the more experienced to clear up any confusion, and fall in love with the divine details.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Change is Coming!

I am revamping my blog, and will continue to write about all things yoga. I hope to highlight my favorite things about practicing yoga in this beautiful, and very conflicted city. What could be more interesting than exploring what yoga is in the home of the cheese steak?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bombay, Good Bay

Mike and I are getting ready to leave this country that is beginning to feel like a second home for both of us. Mumbai is breathtaking! The last time I felt this in awe of a city was the first time I “discovered” New York.

I am excited to get back to the city that I love, and really jazzed to get to teaching. It’s funny being outside of Mysore how the practice of yoga redefines itself. The street side puja’s, the daily pilgrimages to Holy places, I have been practicing reading all the street signs (the Sanskrit alphabet is very similar to the Hindi alphabet) with every Indian who will indulge me. It tickles them, and thrills me.

I will be returning to teaching next week starting 5:45pm Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at Wake Up Yoga, and returning to my regularly scheduled 10am Saturday class 20 October 2007 again at Wake Up Yoga.

For those who want to begin a yoga practice I am teaching a Brand New Beginners series at Wake Up Yoga, space is limited so register early! Tuesday nights 6 November until 18 December.

If you are looking for a private or semi-private yoga session contact me via email,

Workshops coming soon, so keep checking my website

Many Blessings

See You Soon

Sunday, October 07, 2007

After All We Are Indian’s

Mike and I have been on the road now for 7 days. Again, I am reminded how Mysore, well really Gokulam is like no other place I’ve been in India. It’s like Intro to India. Don’t get me wrong it is and will always been dear to my heart and it certainly is India, but if you’ve been there and only there I think you are missing the big picture.

We started as many journeys begin with a really long and beautiful but bumpy car ride. Exactly and approximately 8 hours. When you are on the road you eat lunch where the driver decides to eat lunch. Lunch usually is one thing, this time it happened to be Thali at a less than clean establishment. A world far from Green Leaf.

Arriving in Hospet it felt like these people had not seen a white person ever. The excitement and curiosity always thrills me. People will pinch your cheeks and tell you how beautiful you are. Everyone wants to know your name and give you a proper hand shake. When the cameras come out it gets wild, everyone wants their picture taken, and the children really want a “single,” a shot of just them, this request is almost impossible to grant, but I managed in some cases.

Mike and I spent the next days commuting to Hampi, the former seat of the largest Hindu Empire. It is best known for its surreal rock and bolder landscape. It is quite breathtaking, and possibly the hottest Mike and I have ever been. I’m finding it is not the place that I most remember it’s the people that I meet along the way. After a particularly hot and long day I exited a temple and this tribe of women called me over to just sit with them. They gave me cookies and we talked as best we could, I don’t think I ever smiled so much. Mike was wandering around in the distance and of course I was asked about my husband, and why don’t we have children. All the little girls then ran to retrieve my husband grabbing him by the hand calling him “husband” and declared that they were our children. I took some photo’s, gave my husband some cookies and we left.

We were told at the travel agency the car ride from Hospet to Goa was 4 hours. Around the 4th hour we were nearly half way there. It was a tough car ride. When we arrived in Goa I had enough of India. Little did I know Goa would become one of our all time India highlights. The weather is dreary, monsoon rains appear out of nowhere, and the regular India dirty becomes combined with mud and the sand makes for a new level of grime. At our hotel we are the ONLY Westerners. The hotel offers bus tours of Goa, and I really didn’t want to get on an Indian bus and be the only non-Indians. Well, it turned out to be the best bus tour ever. The whole trip was 6 hours. At first everyone kept to themselves. We were dropped off at a site and then told how many minutes before we needed to be back on the bus. The family behind us began to translate. After about two hours I felt like Mike and I were in their family. We began talking and joking and they had two daughter one 21, and one 16. Very Western. The 16 year old plans to go the college in the U.S. Where? Somewhere in Florida because that’s where the Backstreet Boys are from. Even the Indian’s whose English was just so-so begun to bond with us and us with them. The culmination of the trip was a boat cruise, again about three hundred passengers, 2 whiteys! The ship had its own “disco” for dancing. Ladies entered for free, for men 50 Rs. It was a blast; everyone knew all the Bolly Wood moves and lyrics. We danced with our new Indian family, even Mike.

As we exited the ‘”Paradise Cruise” I had expanded my vision on what it means to be Indian. When I complimented the 16 year old on her dancing, and that everyone knew all the moves she quickly replied, “After all we are Indians.”

Part two of Goa to come: How to Bargin, Indian Style. Plus Adventures in Mumbai.
I’ll be back teaching at Wake Up Yoga starting Tuesday October 16th at 5:45pm, I can’t wait to see you all!

Saturday, September 29, 2007


I feel like I have been away from home a long time. I am not saying this in a bad way, but this is how I feel right now. I think this 2nd trip to Mysore has been affecting me, as I have wrote many times, more deeply. Everything feels less shiny, and new, less exotic, and different. It feels like home. The small group that shows up every morning on their mats feels nothing like a scene at all. It is just people showing up to practice. For a few weeks now there has been no Sharath to impress (which will ever happen, but we all try anyway) no Guruji to squeeze. It's just practice. I had one of my favorite quotes on practice up a few weeks back, and it continues on brilliantly:

I think the reason dance has held such an ageless magic for the world is that it has been the symbol of the performance of living. Even as I write, time has begun to make today yesterday-the past. The most brilliant scientific discoveries will in time change and perhaps grow obsolete, as new scientific manifestations emerge. But art is eternal, for it reveals the inner landscape, which is the soul of man.
Many times I hear the phrase "the dance of life." It is an expression that touches me deeply, for the instrument through which the dance speaks is also the instrument through which life is lived-the human body. It is the instrument by which all the primaries of life are made manifest. It holds in its memory all matters of life and death and love. Dancing appears glamorous, easy, delightful. But the path to the paradise of the achievement is not easier than any other. There is fatigue so great that the body cries, even in its sleep. There are times of complete frustration, there are daily small deaths. Then I need all the comfort that practice has stored in my memory, a tenacity of faith.

I have not danced formally in 10 years. I am often asked at the end of a yoga class that I have just dropped into, "wow, are you a dancer?" I have had many reactions to that question over the years. Sitting here in India, where the image of Shiva, as the cosmic dancer can been seen in shops, and on auto rickshaws, all over everyday. I feel certain that everyone practicing yoga is Shiva dancing, exploring their own way out of delusion and darkness into light.

Tomorrow will be my final practice in the shala. I will miss it so.

Friday, September 28, 2007


The Mysore chapter of this journey is coming to its end. Trish and I walked to practice this morning. It is so quiet at 4:30am. Many of my predawn walks to practice have been so nice. So many stars lighting the sky. Practice this morning was all about integration. Have I really been putting things together, or have I been pretending to. I felt awake, and confident in what I know, and confident in what I still have to learn.

I finished up the month long Sanskrit class. Today he wrote a long passage from the Gita in the transliteration on the board and we had to write the whole thing out in Devanagri script. I made no mistakes! I will miss Laksmish. He is a great teacher, and very serious about the study of Sanskrit, but more so that yoga teachers know this stuff. He is a beautiful person. Mike and I just got back from chats (snacks) at Nalpak. I am sure we will be headed to dreamland soon. Only one more practice remains, and then Mike and I are of to try to "get" all of what India has to share.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Rickshaw to A. Shankara Chetty Jewellers 35 Rs

One A.D. Stone Set Nose Screw 298 Rs

Rickshaw to Aadithya Adhikari Hospital 35Rs

Prescription for Piercing Needle and Personal Syringe 8 Rs

Nose Pricking Fee 100 Rs

Getting your nose (re)pierced at an Indian Hospital Priceless

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


My blog posts go up considerably later than they used to now that Mike is here. Full Moon today, but I did a little practice while I locked myself out of the room and needed to wait for Mike to return from wandering the city and finishing up our travel arrangements. I certainly couldn't go out in public in Mike's boxer shorts and a top that I had been wearing for three days. Mostly it was the boxer shorts. Entirely inappropriate.

Mostly today we ate. We went to the Hotel Metropole, for us it is like India's version of Congress Hall. They have the best lunch buffet in the prettiest atmosphere. If you sit there long enough you'll forget you are even in India. Somethings that can be an alright thing. Walking home after such a meal is always a good thing.

Now here we are back at Shakti house getting ready to settle in for the night. I can't believe tomorrow is my last Mysore style practice. I'll end my practice here with a Friday and Sunday led class. Wow it has been an amazing month.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

M as in Mango, G as in Goat

Just for those of you would were worried about my health, I am feeling 100% better. Practice today was a pleasure. As Mike settles in here I am reminded why I missed him so much. When I came home from practice he was out and about, and didn't get back until 8:30am. We sat with all the yoga students and Mike just fits in with even trying or changing anything about himself. I love that about him.

We have finalized our plans. Leaving Mysore on the 30th we are going to explore Hampi, and travel on to Goa, and them make our way to Mumbai. I hope to blog throughout the trip this time. So, stay tuned.

After we left the travel agency we just wandered through the streets. We shared an ice cream cone from the street vendor. Tomorrow is a full moon day and I think Mike and I might go out to dinner at a normal time. I'd better get my Sanskrit homework done, early class in the morning.

I miss everyone at home. Can't wait to see you all!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Argh, India!

I am having one of those days. I was sick all day yesterday, from what I have no idea. To say that my practice was a struggle this morning might be the biggest understatement of the trip so far. Then I found out that my travel agent left the country, so as of this morning we once again had no travel plan. My final music lesson was this morning and of course he was very late.

Mike and then had lunch. His first India meal, I was sick enough to need Domino's pizza last night. I was pretty good, and didn't upset my stomach. We just got back from the travel agent again, and I think that we've got something now. Hopefully she won't leave the country between now and tomorrow. It is India, you never know.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Restful Saturday

It’s officially the start of festival season here in India. As the 10 day celebration in honor of Lord Ganesh comes to a close the volume in Mysore continues to amplify. Last night my neighbors must have had some party. The music was so loud, coupled with the noise on the street it made any night in NYC seem still and silent. 4am wake up calls help you fall asleep in the midst of it all.

It’s Saturday and this is the yogi’s day of rest. I woke up late and leisurely climbed out of bed and made myself a cup of coffee, wrote in my journey and just relaxed. I just had a music lesson and Trish and I made the room up for Mike. This entails that we squish the two beds into one big bed and change the sheets accordingly. Mike will be here soon! I almost can’t believe it.

Trish is going to take me to a Punjabi restaurant for lunch. I haven’t eaten much Indian food in the last couple of days, I felt like my stomach needed a break. I haven’t been sick, but I haven’t felt like myself either.

(Hours Later)

I loved the Punjabi restaurant and the food seems to be sitting very well with me. Now it feels like I am just waiting for Mike. I have one more thing left to do for his arrival. I’ll need to drop off a set of keys for his drivers and when I come home after practice; he should be fast asleep in bed. It feels like a dream.

Until tomorrow.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Be Inspired

a : a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation

b : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions

c : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions 2 : the act of drawing in; specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs 3 a : the quality or state of being inspired

I was walking alone today and once again I found myself ruminating on why exactly I am here. I overheard a brief conversation this morning on the topic of macrobiotics. What I heard that made my ears perk up was the concepts around not over cooking the food. One should only cook the food to a certain temperature so that some of the life force remains to be digested by the eater.

I am hoping that I can intake some of this vital and vibrant experince. I wondered what is the defination of inspiration. Being in India is inspiartion.

Love Peace and Contentment

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Amy Bye Bye

Well, I can't beleive how fast three weeks fly in India. Amy left shortly after breakfast this morning. The room feels empty, and really quiet. I am right now sitting in the middle of my small bed surrounded by homework that needs to be done, study materials (from home TT is coming up, and here), and my big India book. I went to the travel agency this morning and starting putting together our two week travel plans. Here's a preview. I think this is the basic outline. After leaving Mysore we will make our way to Goa for some good old fashioned beach time, after that visit a hill station, and then on to some very old Buddhist caves and finally arriving Mumbai. It takes a few days to begin to fill in the details.

I spent the early afternoon if you can believe it practicing yoga. I just got the urge to move and play with some sequences that have been flashing through my mind. It was really nice. My creative brain feels satisfied.

Tomorrow is yet another 4am wake up call for a led practice. This time I won't have anyone to energetically help me out of bed. My walking companions will most likely be Rat, and Juanita.

I officially smell like curry.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

" Madam is Joke Making"

I know, I know yesterday’s blog was a bit pathetic. I just wasn’t feeling like myself yesterday, and I don’t know why. I had no appetite, I basically forced myself to go to lunch and eat. I do feel better today, more like me. Big transition ahead. Today is Amy’s final full day in Mysore, so after my music lesson we’ll head into the market and get her last minute (bindi’s, bangles, and beads) shopping done. We will attempt to find the “secret” dosa place. I think that David gave me clear enough directions, but I’m sure it will be an adventure.

It is just about the half way mark for me. I have 9 practices left at the Shala, 5 Sanskrit lessons, and 5 music lessons. I can’t believe the amount of studying I am doing here. Maybe I was in a funk yesterday because I don’t think I did so hot on my Sanskrit test, it was no joke, timed and all. I’ll get the results tonight.

I think the closer it gets to Mike’s arrival the more I miss him.

Well we made it to the “secret” dosa place, but it came as no secret to me that it was closed. If will just have to wait until Mike arrives. Amy and I just spent many hours wandering around town, getting caught in more than one rain storm. It couldn’t have been a nicer afternoon.

I am off to Sanskrit!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


What to blog about today. This morning I can say without a doubt it was very difficult to get out of bed. The walk to the Shala was silent and painful. Something happens when you walk through those Shala doors, suddenly you wake up! Practice was really nice today, I really took my time with the practice and once again feel in love with the details. I decided at my music lesson to take 5 more, which I can almost complete before Mike gets here. Amy went to an Ayurvedic Center for some treatments. I took myself to lunch. It was nice, I thought a lot about why I am here. What this pilgrimage means to me and how it relates to my home life.

I miss everyone very much. I look so forward to seeing everyone on my return.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rice Krispie Treat

Have you ever heard the sound of a rice krispie treat slowly smashing? It sounds just like when Saraswati grabs your hands mid-drop back and puts them on your ankles. There was no pain, just the sound. When she pulled me up, she smiled and said “good.” I have two weeks left here and I anticipate this will become a routine occurrence. Svaha. Amy is heading out of Mysore on Thursday, and Mike will be breezing in on Sunday very early, like 4am early.

Today is Monday, back to the all yoga, all the time schedule. Pre-dawn practice, music, and then Sanskrit early to bed and then start again tomorrow. I still have no idea where Mike and I will travel. I am not even going to begin to tackle that until Friday. I’ll be back in Philadelphia in less than a month. There is no doubt that I love it here, but I do miss the community of dedicated yogis at home. I am constantly reminded of the dedicated and disciplined group that has found its way into the cocoon that is Wake Up Yoga.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lazy Days

The last 48 hours have been almost exclusively about sleep. After I came back from the Metropole and ran some errands I just placed my head down on the bed and fell fast asleep. It was a sneaky nap. Since I've been here its been a whirlwind of yoga, Sanskrit, music lessons, trying to talk to my husband, and worrying about home. I just crashed, and crashed hard. I feel very refreshed at the moment.

Practice today was great. I made some interesting discoveries, and I seem to have gained back my "normal" range of motion that I lost this Spring/Summer. I remember Tina paraphrasing the Gita in one of her classes, "no gain is ever lost." This is true on some many levels.

Amy just arrived back from Chennai and she, of course had a wacky and wonderful time. So both of us will head back to the Shala tomorrow for some more practice. I am sure the remainder of the day will be slow. Plenty of time for me to catch up on my music homework for tomorrow's lesson, and study for my first Sanskrit test. I can already hear Lakshmish in my head, "friends, find the letter properly."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Everyone always asks, "what's a dosa?"

Remember how I said that the rain would pass. Well, yesterday it didn't. I refused to leave the house, so I ending up having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, for lunch. I find here in India I am on a two meal a day schedule. I woke up this morning starving and decided as a treat I would take myself to the Metropole for breakfast. They have this very long buffet which is divided into Western choices, and Indian breakfast choices. To the waiters surprise I ate only Indian breakfast. I had an idly, a dosa, a vada, and all the sambar and chutney I could eat. After I filled my totally empty belly, I decided to take the somewhat long walk back. That felt nice. Back to practice tomorrow, another super early 4am wake up call. I am off from music until Monday, but he gave me plenty of work to do before then.

How quickly time is moving. I have only 15 more days in Mysore then Mike and I will venture out to see more of this beautiful country. It's funny how much I feel at home here. Everyone who has been commenting and sending me emails, thank you.

Amy, of course got to Chennai safely and will be back in Mysore tomorrow!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Me and Juanita

What a strange day. No one at the Shakti house could sleep last night. I was up, Trish was up, and Natalie was sick. It's good that there was no practice this morning. I had a nice long breakfast and talked to Satu and Trish for quite a while, and then practiced for my music lesson. It's been dark all day, and about an hour ago it started really raining with thunder. I want to venture out and get some lunch, but it will be impossible to first get a rickshaw, and then get a fair price. So, I'll just wait it out, it always passes. Mike leaves for Mysore a week from today! Yeah! For now my favorite companion in the house is Juanita, also known as Princess. Maybe tomorrow will be more exciting.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

“Soft Enough?”

Practice this morning was pretty good. I had more energy than yesterday. Being here often feels like a science experiment. Each day is pretty much the same. So it feels kind of mysterious as to why some days practice has more energy and other days not so much. After my drop backs today Saraswati assisted me and when we were all through she called me soft, explaining to me that I was soft enough. Soft enough for what, you might be wondering. I knew exactly what she was talking about. Soft enough to grab my ankles in back bending. Basically she said that it was time, to at least try. My whole nervous system froze thinking that she meant, let’s go right now. But then she said very sweetly, “Monday.”

There will be no practice tomorrow in the Shala. Tomorrow is the festival, Ganesh Chaturthi; it is the celebration of the birth of the lovely elephant-headed god, Ganesh. I am practicing in the morning at the house with my neighbor Natalie, and then we will embark to the Ganesh temple down the road to check out the festivities.

Amy has taken a journey to Chennai and will be back on Sunday. I am sure she will return with at least 108 wacky “India!” moments. I just finished up my music lesson and just hope to rest until tomorrow. My system feels just a bit off today. I have my first Sanskrit test on Monday, I should start studying now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Leisurely Lime Soda

All my posts are starting to sound the same I know. That is part of the beauty of being here it's all about routine. Up early for practice, and then afternoon music lesson, and then evening Sanskrit. I feel like I am in school. All you need to do is figure out where and at what time you'll eat. I just came back from the best lunch. I was scheduled to take a cooking class with Anu tomorrow, but it has been postponed until next Thursday. Joy requested that I take detailed notes and lots of pictures. That I will do.

The days are slipping away it feels like any day Mike will be here, and then will be off and out of Mysore making our way to Mumbai.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Black Moon

On Quiet

Today is a new moon. No practice. I have also heard the new moon called the black moon, I like that. It sounds more like it is dark, covered, hidden. Amy and our housemate Natalie took the trip to the nearby Tibetan Settlements this morning. I have been pretty silent all day. I woke up and began to do some Sanskrit homework. I can’t say that I am getting IT, but I think I am getting something. Played the harmonium with much enjoyment and then I called my husband. I miss him so. After my music lesson I don’t know what I’ll do for the remainder of the day. I am now reading two books at once, writing daily, and thinking, rethinking all things yoga. My little cat friend came back to visit me while I was practicing my music lessons, I am starting to love her.

Back to the Mysore practice tomorrow, no doubt things will have shifted in my body, breath, and focus. So much about being here is about just attempting to pay attention to all of the subtle or not so subtle changes.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pade Pade

On Practice

This morning it was rough getting up and taking the increasing long feeling walk to the Shala. It is always dark. I was able to walk right into the practice room, and begin. No Sharat today. As I stood at the top of my mat, I was sure I was not going to get through this. The days here have been rough for me, and yesterday I couldn’t really eat, and I didn’t really sleep. I stood there and prayed, chanting the opening mantra and really trying to embody its meaning:

I pray to the lotus feet of the supreme guru
Who teaches knowledge, awakening the great happiness of the Self revealed
Who acts like the jungle physician
Able to remove the delusion from the poison of conditioned existence

I began very slowly. Half way through I decided that I would not do more than the three Urdhva Dhanurasana’s. Somewhere from deep inside me I stood up almost effortlessly after the third. I continued three more drop backs on my own, and then Saraswati (Guruji’s daughter) came to assist me. And off we went, after I came up from my last deep back bend she asked me why I wasn’t reaching and grabbing my ankles. I must have made a funny face, because all she then said with a very sharp eye was “later.”

On Music

We went over Raga’s today. It never occurred to me until that moment that the word Raga in music has the exactly same meaning as it does within the klesha’s. A musical Raga is something that is said to produce something pleasurable deep within the listener. The lessons just keep getting more intense. Up and down the scale with limitless exercises and variations, the singing, the correct method for clapping. It is starting to make the Ashtanga Yoga method feel easy. I have another lesson tomorrow. While I was practicing this morning this skinny cat climbed into the door way from outside and sat down. The girls at the Shakti house have been trying to court this cat from some time now, but the in house dogs (Junita) chase her every time.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I led a morning retreat this summer soltice on the two wings of yoga, abhyasa (practice) and vairagya (non-attachment.) Today was spent, as many days are here, cultivating abhyasa. Rising very early I went to led practice at the Shala. I then completed half of my Sanskrit homework. Then, I had another music lesson. I am slowly falling in love with this teacher. Yes, I am learning all about classical (South) India music, but he is also a masterful teacher. I think most people who meet me know how mad I am for excellence in teaching.

I would love to say today that I feel footlose and fancy free, but I have much weighing on my heart. If you could as you read t his blog send many blessing toward my family, we need it grately.

One of my favorite passages on practice:

I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one's being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God. To practice means to perform, in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.

Martha Graham

Keep Practcing

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Seeing the Rama in the Drama

No practice today. I slept in until 5:15am, it was my soundest sleep yet. Amy and I went to Tina's for breakfast this morning. Mike and I never did manage it get there last time, but I'll be sure to bring him when he arrives. I had a plain dosa for breakfast and I topped it with fresh peanut butter and jam. To make sure that we were sleepy enough to go to bed early (4am wake up call) we decided to climb Chamundi Hill. Yes, I climbed it last time, but it was something that I thought Amy needed to experience. How could you pass up scaling 1000 plus steep steps battling giant spiders and moving amongst monkey madness? The climb was hotter, and harder then I remember. Isn't memory funny that way? I am now settled in at home getting ready to practice for my music lesson tomorrow, and do the gobs of Sanskrit homework Laksmish assigned.

Oh I almost forgot the Rama/Drama. So, Sharat was supposed to be finished teaching this week, but the word is that he is in fact staying on. This morning I overheard this funny conversation, that to me sounded like...."is he staying?, is he going on safari?, is he going to the moon?" Such stress. I am just happy to have the space to practice to rest, and to get clear on where I am going and how I want to get there.

For all of you at home interested in the next TT at Wake Up Yoga, don't miss the last information session on Sunday, September 9th 12pm. Here's the link-

Sending Lots of Love

Friday, September 07, 2007

Putting it all together

The wake up call this morning was intense. Amy and I got up at 4am and were out the door headed to the Shala by 4:30am. It was an intense first led class. I thought that David's led classes were tough. I felt pretty strong, but mostly I felt really well informed thanks to the Ashtanga Intensive I participated in right before I left. I talked to Mike for a long time this morning. Harmonium lessons are intense. Classical Indian music is so beautiful. The class is structured with sound and rhythm. The teacher and I sing, and clap, and play. He gave me a 37 page syllabus on music theory. Tomas would be proud. All things seems to fit together here Sanskrit, yoga, music. I feel like giant pieces of a puzzle are just now starting to fit together. Indian culture is endlessly fascinating to me. Last time I was here I spent so much time walking the streets, or in the market trying to let everything seep in from the outside. Now I feel like I am working more internally studying and feeling everything swell from the inside now out.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Good Vibrations

I have no pictures as of yet, but I may have some soon. I will be heading out to chanting sutras at Jayashree's around the time my mom checks the blog so I definitely want to have some thoughts/musings up. I am really diving into yoga school here this time around. I am taking Sanskrit three nights a week, and I just had my first Harmonium lesson. It was great, very traditional, very difficult. I loved it. Practice this morning felt really nice. I attempted to repeat the method that Sharat taught me yesterday with some success. Tomorrow is a lead class starting time 5:00am. The word on the street is that Guruji will lead that class. I hope so. On my way in and out of Sanskrit last night I saw him sitting in his office. I smiled at him. I am not sure if he saw me, but I smiled as big as I could.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"Oh, is that a flute you have?"

Jet lag bye-bye. I feel great, and my cough is almost gone. Practice this morning was like heaven. Every part of my body felt like me. I even managed to count to myself in Sanskrit all the way up to Navasana. I looked around the room today and I saw so many familiar faces from last fall. When I began my back bending I could feel Sharath come out of the office and walked directly toward me. Last year I was never assisted in back bends by Sharath, just Guruji, and Saraswati. He stood there and watch every drop back. I thought I had really improved, but I guess not. After my second he looked at me and simply said, "many mistakes." Yikes. Then he proceeded to ask me to reach my arms overhead palms touching all the way to the floor, and then come up without changing anything. Nothing. I squeezed my toes deep into the earth and I did it. He asked me if I was tired, I was just terrified. Amy and I after breakfast went into town. We walked around the market, and downtown for a long time. We just are now back from an awesome lunch completely stuffed. I am heading out for Sanskrit at the Shala. I really enjoyed all the comments this morning. Keep them coming.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

"Not Lying?"

Today was the first day of practice and it was intense. Sharath is still teaching and the group is so small that there is no hiding. Amy was right behind me today and when she was working on her Bhujapidasana he asked her if she did Marichyasana D properly. She said yes sheepishly and he laughed and asked “not lying?” I felt pretty good today even with the jet lag. Sharath with no problem quickly put me in Suptakurmasana. I must be over thinking that pose. I slept pretty much through the night, but woke up for good at 3am. Which was ok given the fact that our practice time is 5:45am/5:30am “Shala Time.” This morning I took David’s exam from the teaching intensive. I think I did pretty well. It is very quiet here. I talked to Mike for a long time this morning. I can’t wait until he arrives. I am heading back to the Shala to pay the rest of the tuition and to see about Sanskrit class.

Monday, September 03, 2007

"Mysore Coming Madam"

Epic. The journey is epic. 24 hours of non-stop international travel. Amy and I have arrived safely and quietly here in Gokulum. Everything feels like home. The air, the sounds, even the driver who picked us up in Bangalore was like an old friend. Today I’ll run some needed errands and register at the Shala. I find myself already looking forward to Mike’s arrival. Satu told me at breakfast that the second trip here is harder in some ways. I am already feeling that. I am still sick, and without my husband. I do feel blessed to be here and confident that I will return once again to teaching and, really all of life with renewed joy and gratitude. I can’t wait to step my bare feet into the Shala and just simply begin again with practice. My head is swimming from David’s intense intensive and I hope that some information will solidify.

Here are some pictures. That's me and Amy in the car to Mysore. If you look closely you'll see her watch telling the wee early hour. My friends Rat and Junita greeted me at the door this morning. Where's Burrito? Burrito made it out of India and is living in L.A.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I am teaching one more class before I leave. Actually, it's the day that I am flying away. This Saturday at Wake Up Yoga at 10am. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Just Show Up

Today I heard a story about Mother Teresa on NPR. I was driving down the beautiful Kelly Dr. preparing to teach and some of her personal thoughts were read. I was really struck by these letters. All you need to serve is a willingness to do so. No need wasting your time readying yourself, just show up and be willing to surrender. School's in tomorrow. Watch Out!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It is totally crunch time and I feel really ill at ease. I am scheduled to leave for India on the 1st of September. Isn't that right around the corner? I need to get very clear on all the things I need to put into place before I fly away. Some of these things are very tangible and some seem very esoteric/emotional. I think I was kidding myself last trip. This feels like a gigantic leap of faith, on so many levels. I really am calling on the universe to support me and my calling. While in Pittsburgh I visited this cute space and practiced. Breathe Yoga, is a space in the hip part of town, and it was in many ways an ideal yoga space. It is up on the 2nd floor with many windows that are wide open. I had a nice time and after being in Wildwood and on the run/in the car it was much needed. I am sending out good vibrations and hoping to feel them return.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mike's first show

From the Jersey shore Mike and I traveled to Pittsburgh for his first gallery show/reception. This has been a good week for him professionally he received a nice rejection letter for a staff job, shot his first assignment for Newsweek, and had a real art opening! Well Done!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Monday, August 06, 2007

Only Practice

In preparation for my trip I am trying to use my new camera, and figure out all this technical stuff. It's not my strongest suit. Mike won't be there to coach me through the whole thing each day so I need to practice now. My bother-in-law fixed my computer, so now I am ready to begin. Here is my first photo. Mike and I went to a beautiful wedding at the beach a week ago and I especially like this one, (Mike shot it).

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Tony Soprano needs some Ashtanga Yoga

I just read the my friend's blog this morning. It inspired me to put some more elbow grease into my musings. While I am not retired, I am not working very much. Just preparing for the Ashtanga Intensive at the end of this month and the pilgrimage to India. I have been having the craziest dreams, I am attributing it to watching non-stop eps of the Soprano's. I am still undecided how it is shaking up my nervous system. I do notice that my language has taken a potty-mouth turn. Practice has been OK. Not quite feeling like myself this whole summer. I think here I become rooted in "the way things should go." In India you gotta let all that goes, how it goes. I need those lessons again. Much Love.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Teacher Training Information Session Tonight!

So, this is the last TT information session that I'll be in attendance. I am hoping that I can contribute some information/experience/love of this program before I fly out to Mother India. Last trip I was so organized by this time. Now I feel like I got it all under control, but not really.

An India Check List:

Passport Check

Visa Check (I got a 10 year Visa on the advice of my yoga teacher)

Vaccinations Up To Date

Malaria Pills Need Prescription/Purchase

Cipro Check

Rupees Still has just enough to stop by Coffee Day on the ride from B'lore-Mysore

Thursday, August 02, 2007


I just discovered SUDOKU. I also would like to acknowledge that I didn't post on Guruji's birthday. Happy belated birthday! My prayers and practice are with you every day. JAI!!!!

Friday, July 20, 2007

6 weeks and counting

I have many thoughts on why it is difficult to practice alone. I think this was the hardest adjustment I had to make after returning from Mysore. Philadelphia at this moment does not have a strong Ashtanga community, each student (that I know of) is homeless in a way. I crave community. I love practicing in a crowded room feeling the pulsation of energy everywhere. I hope that when I return from India in October there will be a place to go and quietly practice.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Does anyone really read this

I got my very first computer last week. I love it! I am slowly preparing for India. My practice is still a bit wonky, oh well Svaha!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I can't believe I figured out how to put links on the blog page! It is not that hard, but I consider my computer skills to be less than remedial. I have put up links to some of my favorite people/places. I just recently added Philly Paws, an animal welfare society. Is it unfair to not like yogi's who haven't adopted their pets? I mean really dislike them. Anyway rescue/adopt, it's the only way to go!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Teacher Training Information Sessions

Well, I think I finally turned my practice around. I have been kind of in a funk since the beginning of spring. I am ready to move forward. Looking very much to returning to India, and it looks like my long lost practice buddy is coming along for the ride. Wake Up Yoga's Teacher Training Program is starting up literally two days after I come home from my cosmic journey. Upcoming information sessions are:

Friday July20th 7:30pm,
Friday August 3rd 7:30pm,
Wednesday, September 5: 7:30 pm
Friday, September 7: 7:30 pm
Sunday, September 9: 12 noon

See you there

Om shanti!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Oprah and Gayle

Wow, I can't believe that I am heading to India in two months! I found out that one of my yoga friends is now going to be my traveling companion, which I am sure makes my entire family feel better. I have been reading many yoga related blogs lately and sometimes people drone on and on about their physical practice. It make me wonder why do I shy away from that talk so much. I am fully down the rabbit hole at this point, nothing passes that I don't relate it with some kind of practice/study. I guess at this juncture my personal/emotional struggles are much more confusing and painful than any Karanda Vasana (which for now is impossible.)

I am been thinking about waht it means to be a friend. A good friend. As silly as it sounds, a best friend. To me it all comes down to Oprah and Gayle. I used to think that I was a Gayle and had my own Gayle, but now I think that was incorrect thinking.

Monday, June 11, 2007

India take two!

Well, it is official I am heading back to the mother ship. I am so excited. I am heading out by myself to Mysore and then Mike will meet me out there at the end of September so that we can travel for two weeks. Practice and then travel, it is such a nice combination. I think the plan is to fly out of Mumbai (Bombay), so then we can travel up the coast stopping in Goa as well. It feels so close, and there is much to prepare for.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ashtanga Yoga Intensive

I am so excited to announced that my favorite yoga teacher is coming to Philadelphia to offer his awesome teaching intensive. David Keil is a masterful teacher truly dedicated to the practice of ashtanga yoga as taught by Guruji. He has made 8 separate trips to Mysore and is authorized to teach by Guruji himself. You can find out about this workshop and fill out an application on his website.

Hari Om

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Leaning into the gap

I participated in a lovely extended mediation sit last week, and the teacher introduced this notion of "the gap", and how we must learn to lean into it. It was profound for me, like exactly the right technique at the exact right time. The gap is anything unexpected, or unpredictable. It can be pleasurable or painful or neutral. I have had many gaps arise in the last several months. Gaps in practice, friendship, and love. I will contiue to try to lean in and not be afraid of the pulsation or feeling of these wonderful teachers.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Well, yesterday I mailed my letter/application to return to Guruji's shala for this September. I am so excited to return to India for study and travel. Just being in India creates such a deep connection to yoga even more than I imagined. I am so blessed that wake Up Yoga provides me this great opportunity to take time off and really dive to the heart of yoga. It's crazy, teacher training begins days after my return. I will be so full and so ready to teach. When Manorama was here a few weeks ago she said "Jill, you are an ashtangi right?" I thought an accidental ashtangi for sure. The system is so simple really and so brilliant and so relevant to vinyasa. I am excited just sitting here. Much Love to anyone who reads these random musings.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Wow! I finally figured out how to get my blog going again. The hoops that I needed to jump through required patience that I was seriously lacking. I do believe that I am back in blogging business. What an incredible few weeks. I am starting to understand what I need, and that I have to shed some old stuff, ways of being that no longer are working for me. Before I taught this morning I was digging through my bag and found a mantra that I picked out of a sitar case. It said, "allow yourself..." So, today is the beginning of the allow yourself journey. It feels powerful.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I am having a tough time getting started. I did purchase a camera, but then I needed to return it hopefully I will be able to pick it up today. Practice isn't going very smoothly at all, total fits and starts. I am trying to change up my schedule so that I can bring more joy into my life, again it a rough start.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hello April!

I just found out the I will have a place to practice starting tomorrow. I am very excited! Philadelphia is an amazing city, but when it comes to the practice of Ashtanga Yoga, it is seriously lacking. I did purchase my very first camera yesterday and I will have pictures up very shortly.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Cruel Month

March has been a cruel month for me. I have slowly leaked out all of the India juice that I was living on. Picking up this blog again may be a way to spark some new awareness in my life. My practice is suffering, and teaching feels draining, I find myself complaining all the time, and judging all the things around me. I do need to get myself a camera, maybe I'll be able to get that done today. I starting reading from Krishnamurti's book this morning about the act of listening. He poses this question which I hope practice, "Can one listen without any conclusion, without any comparison or judgment, just listen, as you would listen to music, to something you really love? Then you listen not only with your mind, your intellect, but also listen with your heart, you listen with care, objectively, sanely, you listen with attention to find out."