Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year coming up.  What will you do with it?

Ah, the list.  The new year arriving and all of a sudden I get a craving for lists.

This morning in meditation I realized there is only one thing on my list this year...

Usually I ask for guidance in helping me let go of judgement and that has usually meant: judgement of others.  But this morning something clicked for me, when asking for help letting go of judgement a little voice said, "And that includes yourself."

Ah so true!  I want to let go of the judgement that arises in my brain that whispers to me often that I haven't done enough for my writing career, for my spiritual health, for my connection to my community, etc. etc.

Boy, that's a lot of judgement.

And so I hereby announce to the world that starting today (not even tomorrow on the Eve) I let the judges in my mind float away like the lanterns we will be lighting and sending into the universe on New Year's Eve.  (Can't wait to post pictures of that.)

The only other thing on my list is to see my play, A Blessed Unrest produced by an established theatre company this year.  It's for my cousin, Michael.  I wanted to produce this for you in your life, but I have a feeling that you'll help me now that you are free from your body and can go anywhere and do anything!

That's it.  Two things.  I can handle two things.

So yes there are many more nagging little things that want to jump on the list... but no, you shall stay on a post-it and not go on "The List."

What is on your "List" for this year?

And what would you like Swami Cat and I to do this coming year?

We have a book coming out, a calendar and I have a few short film ideas percolating.  Feel like acting in a short film in the Spring?  Let me know!

With so much love, light and laughter for your new year!

Yoga Girl

And now here's some happenings for the New Year...
 Princeton Center for Yoga & Health New Year's Celebration

Princeton IYI in Monmouth Junction's Special Event

ALSO I'm participating in a fundraiser for victims of Sandy two-legged and four-legged victims.
Please help me by donating just $15 -- I will be participating in as many of the Yoga classes as I can on Jan. 26th.  You too can sign up to participate and drive down there with me.
Here's the info:
Yoga Heals Fundraiser
Benefitting Children and Pets Displaced by Hurricane Sandy

From 2pm - Midnight on Saturday, January 26th, 2013, The Center for Health and Healing will offer 16 all-level yoga classes taught by our wonderful teachers. The purpose of this fundraiser is to help local children and animals displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Ninety percent of money raised will be split between The Popcorn Park Zoo and helping to rebuild Boyd Elementary School of Seaside Heights and Lavallette Elementary School through the Back to School
There will also be a Wishing Well at the Center for donations of new school supplies or pet food. We are very excited about this event because it gives us the opportunity to directly help families affected by Hurricane Sandy while doing something we love - practicing yoga!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Good night sweet prince,
lover of nature, of laughter, of soft-shelled crab (or did you just want to see me order it and struggle with how to eat it)
I'll always remember how you visited me in the bowels of South Central, worried for your life but happy to take me out to dinner,
I'll always remember the joy in your voice as you reminisced about your youth hitchhiking across the country and how you took a dance class one time and the teacher told everyone to be more like you-- brave and passionate (even if graceful wasn't your thing.)
I wish you much freedom now, now that you are out of the chains of non-movement.
17 years is too long for anyone to not move, except by contraptions and machines
So many people will miss you.
You and your advice.
You and your stubborn willfulness.
I hope you know how much we loved you.
Still love you.
Thank you for your inspiration, your stories, your heart.  I am so proud of what we created together.
My only wish now is that you can see it when it gets produced.  I'll make sure there's an open seat for you in the front row.
Sad for us, but not sad for you.
Much, much love to you and rest for your spirit.

-- Lynne

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Before the hustle
Slide into my silky natural awareness
One that comes with an ease of breath
Balance of mind
Calmness of thought
Like an old friend
I smile
Full happy stretching toward nothing in particular
Utter joy sinking deeper into everything
With a grateful nod to my teachers
and a prayer for all to find this peace
I do one last down dog and find my tallest self
before taking on the world

I shall rise at 4:30 everyday if it makes me feel like this.

Enjoy some Hatha and meditation today anytime.  It is yours to use.  Steal a few moments to remember your birth right of joy.

Be well.

Yoga Girl

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Satsang coming this Friday (Join Jason and I as we lead a few sing-a-longs. Fun!)

Friday, Dec. 14th 7:30 pm

Enjoy the wisdom of the ages as shared by Yoga Master Sri Rev. Jaganath Carrera. His candid humor and keen insights will delight and inspire you this holiday season. All are welcome.

Celebrate all of the holy-days including lighting of the menorah, singing some holiday favorites and do some holiday shopping at the YLS book store.  Also share with us special prasad (food). 

265 Route 34 North - Rear Building
Colts Neck, New Jersey 07722
(732) 869-1591
 7:30-9:30 pm

In the spirit of this Holy Season
and monetary donations will be collected for
a non-profit organization working to improve the morale of our troops and their families.
YL Friday, 7:30 pm - 9:30pm

Also you won’t want to miss…
Having your photos taken with "Guruji as Santa"
$27 donation to YLS.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

So many beautiful ways to give back (and feel great) this holiday season... join us for one or all of the following...

**YOGA-AID:  A Benefit for Those Affected by Hurricane Sandy**
Saturday, 8 December
1:00pm - 4:00pm
3 West Main Street, Freehold, NJ
Program includes: Meditation, Pranayama, Asana - 
Kirtan with Acharya Krishnadas Sharma, talk by Reverend Jaganath Carrera
Proceeds to Benefit - Santa's Sandy Hands, Brahma Yoga Spa, and others.
Suggested donation $35

**Talk at Kula Kamala Yoga**
Saturday, 8 December
6:00pm - 8:00pm
673 Batchelor Street, Toms RIver, NJ
(732) 333-3156
Please see their website for more details

**Special Holiday Satsang at Akasha - A Space to Heal**
Friday, 14 December
7:30pm - 9:30pm
265 Route 34 North Rear Building, Colts Neck, NJ 
(732) 869-1591
Enjoy satsang with Reverend Jaganath, a Hanukah Menorah lighting, 
some Holiday shopping at the YLS book store, special prasad (food).
Photos with "Guruji as Santa" - $27 donation.
Donations will be collected for Oasis: A Haven for Women and Children (please bring a new, unwrapped toy) and for Adopt a Soldier Platoon, Inc. 

**The Hidden Heart of Yoga - Unlock the Power of Transformation**
Saturday, 15 December
10am - 12pm
227 West 13th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 929-0586
please check IYI's website for more info
Holidays are coming and the one thing I'm dreading the gift-y part of the whole thing.  I wish it could be more about warm healthy food and singing songs surrounded by loved ones but it has become all about presents.  Why is that?  I'm not a good liar and I'm terrified of that moment when I open up a gift and it is totally wrong for me.

I guess what I'm thinking about mostly this year is those great smelling gift baskets of lotions.

I've said it before and I'm so happy I found it-- coconut oil has saved my life. Literally-- I use it on my skin, on my hair, in pill form everyday, as a cooking oil and I mix it with baking soda for a deodorant which works better than any store bought I've ever used.  My favorite of its magic properties is that it has literally stopped any (grossness alert) full-blown yeast infections.

I don't know why we're so brain washed into thinking that store bought is better.  And please-- all those chemicals we willingly put on our bodies, on our lips, and in our bodies... I can't help but see a correlation between the overdose of chemicals and why so many of us get seriously sick as we get older.

Yes I will be happy and thankful that someone thought of me and brought me a gift.  My parents taught me well.  (I do remember how horrible I was to my grandmother when she bought me the "wrong" record of The Hustle, I can vividly remember crying and breaking her heart.  My parents did teach me that day that it was the wrong response.)  Whomever gets me a gift that is thoughtful and sweet, but just not "me"-- I will hug them and thank them as if they gave $25 to a soup kitchen in my name or they bought me five containers of Trader Joe's Coconut Oil.

Going to go shopping now and hope, hope, hope I don't purchase any gifts that makes people want to cry or give me the fake, "I love it" while they secretly are already thinking of whom to regift it to.

Happy almost holidays,

Yoga Girl

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Time Flies...

...when you're busy.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  I hope you have been able to keep the Yoga practice going throughout the extended weekend.  I dragged my behind out of the house this morning to take a Hatha class and I'm so glad I did.  It's been awhile since I've taken a Yoga class for many reasons-- but this class was just what I needed.  My back hasn't been right for weeks and I mentioned that the wonderful smart powers that be at Horizon say I can't go to the Chiropractor on my plan until the new year.  So I've been waiting until I really have to go to see Dr. B.  I think that my out of whack back and neck made me feel nauseous and dizzy.  I was snorkeling in Jamaica (Did I mention J and I went away) and after the pretty strong waves pushed me around for an hour I got out of the water and didn't stop spinning until a few days ago.

Yoga has been a life saver.  Without it, I would be miserable, cranky and achy.

So what has happened since we last spoke?

The power was off at our place for a week.  The night we came home to pack for Jamaica it came back on.  I was grateful not to have to pack in darkness and freezing.

We almost missed our flight to Jamaica.  In fact we did and then had to book another one.  Then had tons of traffic coming back into town.  Never again JFK airport-- just too crazy

I had a really great play reading of A Blessed Unrest.  I am so grateful for the actors, the director and the audience that came that night.  It was so wonderful to hear that they were moved by the play and I continue to get emails giving me feedback on the piece.  It is nice to know that it will have a life outside of my computer.

Had a fun time playing games with the family at Thanksgiving.  I also owe a few relatives the recipe for Moroccan Spaghetti Squash.  So flavorful.

And now all I can think about is helping those who still have no power, no place to live-- so I want to go teach Yoga somewhere.  If anyone knows of a shelter or studio that wants to do a free Yoga class for those who are stressed out because of Sandy-- I'd really like to do that.  Maybe even do a kids Yoga class with Swami Cat, but I have to practice some for that.

What I am doing is going to the Yoga Benefit to raise money for Sandy at Freehold Yoga Center Dec. 8th from 1pm to 4pm.
It would be wonderful if we could all practice together and spread the good karma.  Be well.
Om Shanti.

 -- Yoga Girl

Friday, November 2, 2012

Oct. 31st 2012
Nothing.  I want to do nothing.  I couldn't get online so I wrote it on paper.  Paper!  I haven't used paper to write anything but grocery lists.  It doesn't feel like Halloween.  The only treat will be a hot shower.  I see it in my neighbors' faces.  We're walking around like zombies without the stage makeup. We're all tired, cold and miserable.  But I get to catch up with neighbors.  We sat in a supermarket's food court today just to pass the time, keep warm and kibitz a little bit.  At least we can ban together and help each other out.  I helped my 92 year old neighbor stop the beeping on her electric fire alarm.  Others were offering to let us put some food in their fridge that was being kept cold by a generator.  I want to take them up on their generosity, but I just don't know where we'll be.  Maybe at home, maybe at a friends, maybe at my mothers.  I can't decide.  My brain is foggy.  You know I'm not myself when I can't even read a book.  I'm not interested.  Uh oh-- now we know something's wrong.

Nov. 1st 2012
I thought I was on solid ground.  I thought I was one of the few that really had my head on straight.  I Wow, was I wrong.  One big hurricane and it rattled my world.  How my ego likes to feel in control and enjoys its routine.  I was not one of the unlucky ones losing my home, or my life.  I shouldn’t even complain.  But if I’m going to be honest here and witness my shortcomings I have to admit that I am unusually, uncomfortably left of center.  That song of Suzanne Vega's was one of my favorites to sing.  I fell in love with the movie and the first boy who paid any attention to me.  I sang that song and listened to the Pretty In Pink soundtrack so many times that I broke the audio cassette.  Well, now I feel very much left of center.  I really like to think of myself as one who will be the light and help others stay centered, but I find myself complaining to my friends and Yoga students.  Who is this person who is moping around?  Who is she that scowls at her husband for every little thing and snarls when she can not get on the internet in yet another Hot Spot?  It really is ridiculous.  I am watching myself, mildly amused at how childish I am being.  I did do my meditation and Hatha practices this morning, but I have to admit what is really making me feel better is Ghiradelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Chocolate.  God bless the Chocolatiers, and my husband for buying a whole bag.

P.S. This reminds me of a story Guruji told us.  (I'm not very good at retelling stories or jokes, Lord knows I've got a terrible memory for these things, so forgive me.  I'll try my best.) 

There was a king who used to give a lot of money to the Yogic monastery near his kingdom.  All of the kings did, knowing that they did a good thing praying for all of the kingdom, etc.  Then one day one of the king's advisors told him that he shouldn't give them money anymore.  The king was now doubting his donation to the Yogis so he went to visit.  The Yoga Master greeted him warmly and after hearing the king's concerns told him to meet the Master at his army's bunks at midnight when all were asleep.  The king was confused but did as the Master told him.  When he arrived at the army bunks the Master took a freezing cold bucket of water and threw it on the soldiers.  They woke screaming obscenities and looked as if they were ready to kill.  Knowing the king was confused, the Master asked him to please now meet him tomorrow night at the Yogi's bunks.  The next night the king came as requested and stood by as the Master again threw a bucket of cold water on the sleeping Yogis.  They awoke quickly with a prayer of Om Shanti and there was not a single one of them who had the thought to kill the one who woke them in such a jarring way.  The king understood immediately.  He vowed to grant the Monastery their money for the rest of his lifetime.  

This one of my favorite stories.  I want to be the Yogi whose inner peace never wavers no matter what the world throws at me.  Yet today I feel like the soldier.  I wasn't cursing but I was not happy.  

Nov. 2nd 2012
Okay.  A little bit more centered.  I think it is the quiet.  I'm at a friend's house, catching up on emails, sending out scripts and apologizing for them being late due to the fact that I haven't been online in many days.  I feel better though, for I can finally be in touch with family and friends via online and the phone seems to work now.  Also, I feel centered today, maybe because of the familiar typing rhythm, the soothing click of the keyboard in a quiet space with doggies to keep me company.  I don't know what it is but I am grateful today for so many things-- for friends, food that was salvaged from the uncool fridge, for my safety and the safety of my loved ones.  I am so grateful for the unconditional love of my dog friends.  I am still grateful for the chocolate that surprisingly has a few pieces left in the bag.  Yet, I am not as "in need" of it.  I am grateful for the sound of the electric saws and chippers that are cleaning up the area.  Thank you guys who are heros to so many by cleaning up, bringing back roads, safe areas and electricity.  I'm also feeling ready to be creative again.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Russell Simmons, the Hip Hop producer does Yoga.  "I recognize the goal of Yoga practice is to put you in the same space that Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and many other practices put you in.  I recognize there are as many roads to G-d as there are people."

This is an excerpt from the inspirational book "One Can Make a Difference" by Ingrid E. Newkirk the founder of PETA.  I finished this book after casually reading it, taking my time and enjoying each essay by a different influential person.  Paul McCartney, Bridget Bardot to a not so famous influential woman who started dog parks not that long ago. 

I highly recommend this book.  I sometimes feel the doubt creep in that little ol' me can't change the world for the better.  But this book reminded me that one person, sharing, caring and going that extra mile can make a difference.

Hope you have a brilliant day.

-- Yoga Girl

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Yoga Girl's beginnings--

I think Yoga was always in my soul.

Check this out.

Shoulder stand and Butterfly.

Om Shanti!

Friday, September 21, 2012

I continue to learn Yogic lessons by walking the dog.  I take deeper breaths, watch for falling stars and notice how many spider webs there are this year.  In the past year and a half with Yoga Dog, I've met more people in the neighborhood and spent much more time outdoors. 

He reminds me that life is about living in the moment.  All moments are new, a new smell, another person to meet, another squirrel to watch.  I'm always fascinated watching him jump into the car not knowing where we are going but excited for the journey.  This is how I want to live.

I hope he knows how grateful I am for him.

-- Thank you all for the wonderful summer of Yoga.  Now that I am back to my day job, I am already planning drama club rehearsals and feel right back in the hectic web of it all.  But I am trying to remember that although I am busy, all of it are things I have chosen to do, and all of them bring me much joy. 

And so here's to staying in the joy amidst the hustle!

Tomorrow's Outdoor Yoga, no one has emailed me about joining me and so I've decided to cancel it. 
You can join us for an environmental walk and dance performance in Hopewell tomorrow at 2:30-- called Dancescapes NJ.

Then Global Mala on Sunday!  So excited-- Outdoor Yoga in a football field with thousands of Yogis chanting 108 Om's and then practicing Yoga together.  Really, it's only a donation of $27 and if that doesn't work for you they won't turn anyone away-- it's a beautiful event.  And my not-so-secret political crush will be there-- Mr. Corey Booker.  So-- you know, it's worth checking that out!

And then I'm celebrating my nephew's year of living after his unfortunate brain injury.  AVM they call it.  Last year at this time I think he was in a medically induced coma.  He's such a sweetie, so glad he's up and around, making us all laugh again.

Well, enjoy the last night of summer.

Blessings to all!

Yoga Girl

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Teaching Yoga

Teaching Yoga is so much different for me than teaching theatre.  For one thing I start by thinking that I'm not teaching-- I'm sharing and I ask for Guruji Rev. Jaganath to teach the class through me.  That way I do not have to worry.  It works.  I sometime arrive tired and rushed from my day, but taking a moment to ask for Guruji's help really makes everything go smoothly.  I feel lighter, less in my head and more in my heart. 

Tonight though, I asked for Guruji's help and for some reason I had the thought to ask his master, Swami Satchidananda too.  I was really tired tonight, and I had a double class of Yoga ahead of me.  I was teaching my class and subbing for the next class' teacher.  The moment I did that, boy the energy changed.  What I've learned about Sri Gurudev Satchidananda was that he believed that Yoga didn't have to be so serious.  He believed in laughter and enjoying the class.  And so I think his spirit influenced me tonight.  Boy was I goofy.  I mistakenly said the wrong hand a few times as we stretch up to the sky during a twist and we laughed as I said that this was the Laughter Yoga portion of the evening.  And so thank you Guruji and Gurudev for guiding me today.

I highly recommend teaching to anyone who is thinking of taking a teacher's training.  So wonderful.  You really get more energy back than you give out.  It's energizing.  I also wouldn't have learned so much about Yoga's history, philosophy, healing abilities, etc. if I didn't study with such great teachers.

You might want to think about it.

And all of my Yoga teacher friend out there-- do you ever think of yourself as a prism at the end of class during final relaxation.  I'm sending out good, healing energy and lately I picture myself as a prism taking energy from the center of the world (more specifically that white light in the All Faiths meditation room at Yogaville) and sending out to all my students.  
You ever imagine yourself a prism?  It's kinda cool-- rainbows shooting out of my palms.  Okay enough-- my Yoga students might think I'm crazy.

Well, I am, but in a good way I hope.

Be well, be light, be the light!

Om Shanti,
Yoga Girl

P.S. This Friday night is Satsang with Sri Guruji Rev. Jaganath at Akasha in Colts Neck.  I highly recommend your attendance.  Having such a master of Yoga so close, it's a shame if you don't hear him at least once in your life.  And once you do, I bet you'll want more.

Outdoor Yoga Sat. at 9am.  $5 donation.  Mercer County Park Marina Pavilion.  Dinesh is teaching and I'll be there too!

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's Yoga Time!

Had so much fun in Massachusetts this weekend dancing at a friend's wedding and doing Yoga to the sound of ocean waves.  Ahhh.

Bear Skin Neck, Rockport, MA
Behind the cute little shops of sea glass, jewelry, Tibetan art and scarves is the most beautiful blue water.  I have to go back and kayak.  But for now I loved doing Yoga in the mornings and meditating to the sound of the water.  Check out my very stylish white sports socks under the sandals-- very stylish, aren't I?  It's getting a bit chilly.  What you don't see in this picture because I wanted not to show off how much of a wimp I am-- is a grey wool sweater I was wearing to walk around in.  But the socks give it away- I was cold.  Autumn is definitely upon us. 

How is the end of your summer going?  Where did you do Yoga this summer?  Send pictures!  Send stories!  I'd love to hear all about it!

Yoga at Mercer County Park is continuing with Dinesh.  Check out our new Facebook page YOGA Matt-ers!  Yoga Matt-ers

We're trying to continue the outdoor Yoga indoors-- so let us know if you have a suggestion of where 5-10 of us can continue practicing together and donating the proceeds to the Yoga Life Society. 

Also very, very excited about the Global Mala event!  $27 to go practice outdoors with 1,000 other Yogis, chant Om 108 times with Shiva Rea and Corey Booker!  I can't wait to be in their presence.  If you're going to the event, let us know so we can all meet up and put our mats next to one another. Click on this link to sign up or get more information...

And another great opportunity/event-- the Yoga Life Society retreat has just opened up the retreat to those who can't come to the whole event but want to come to just one day -- really great teachers, food, fun and tranquil surroundings!  Go on the website and check out more information:

Be well and remember that every moment can be Yoga time if you want it to be!

Yoga Girl

Inside during the Rockport trip, doing Yoga to wake up.  Can you read the TV?  I think it says urgency!  Funny that's how I felt-- Yoga must do now!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

*** Free Yoga this morning.  Last Wednesday we will be practicing in the park.  Join us at 10am!  Our last Saturday is coming up this Saturday at 8am.  (Donations go to the Yoga Life Society.)

*** Also if you are interested, next week starts our Play Reading Series at the West Windsor Arts Council.  7pm -- for Ian August's The Goldilocks Zone.  Only $6 for a play!  More info go to

A Poem I was inspired to write this morning:


Brought home sunshine in a yellow sunflower
Now sitting on my desk
sun ray highlights
brown dipped tips
sipping in the last few sips of water
before exhaling its last breath
Yes you are dying
Cut off from your source
But aren't we all?
Before we wilt and fade
Let us live like you
Basking in the spotlight
Fostering smiles every day
Let me be like you
Today, tomorrow and
Every day I have left
my leaves reaching for light
open and ready for anything
Let me be like the sunflower
Sitting on my desk

Hope you find a bit of creativity today!


Yoga Girl

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back To School

It's that time-- the time when people ask me, "So are you ready to go back to school?"  The answer is always no.  No and I don't want to talk about it.  I still have a week of "my time" which translates to time to do Yoga in the morning, walk the dog and work on my writing career.  Also this summer I took on the tremendous responsibility of starting up a theatre company.
Therefore the words, "back to school" bring  up a bit of fear and worry.  How will I continue to keep my peace and juggle all the beautiful things I've kept in the air during the long days of summer? 

Live with the anticipation that something incredible 
might happen at any time. -Sharon Gannon

Dinesh, one of the Outdoor Yogis I met this summer passed along this wonderful blog with quotes from the major Yogis of today who led workshops at the Omega's On Being conference this summer.  And guess who is quoted right in the midst of Sharon Gannon and Seane Corn-- It is Jersey's own Yoga Master, disciple of Swami Satchidananda, Founder and Head of the Yoga Life Society-- yes, you guessed it-- Rev. Jaganath Carrera.  

Compassion is the remedy for all suffering and pain. 
Our instinct is to keep suffering at arms length, but compassion requires
 a direct encounter, an embrace with pain. We realize our pain all plays the same song. 
Don’t be afraid to embrace pain – your own or others.  
We have to embrace the whole. That’s yoga. 
-Rev Jaganath Carrera

It is so special that we have such a well-respected Teacher/Guru/Yoga Master within an hour's drive of us at all times.  He teaches in North Jersey often, Colts Neck once a month and many other locations by the shore and in Princeton sometimes.  
So what are we waiting for?  An invitation?  Here it is! Let's see this upcoming "school year" as time for us to learn something new!  That is what they say keeps a person young-- never stop learning.  The more we learn, the more we can pass it onto others, by just the way we live.
I will try to focus on what I shall be learning this year, instead of what I have to do to teach, because that always makes me lose sleep.  My new mantra from Shannon Gannon... I will, "Live with the anticipation that something incredible might happen at any time."
Om Shanti,
Yoga Girl

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga

Hello all,

Remember this Wed. (tomorrow) no Free Yoga class in the park.  I will be doing some Karma Yoga in CT and back for my 5:30 Yoga class at Cando.  Meanwhile, I hope you do some outdoor Yoga of your own.  Maybe meet there anyway and practice together!  This Saturday I'll be back.  Looking forward to it.

Enjoy some cool August air today!  Open the windows-- glorious!

And here's to having lots of free time!  Enjoy a little cartoon--

yoga cartoon


Yoga Girl

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Weekend wonderful of acres of wildflowers, picking blueberries, smokey fires, roasted marshmallows,  or should I say marsh-mellows-- because the weekend was as relaxed as it could be. 

A retreat of our own making.  I highly recommend it.  We used to find a house that we could stay at for the weekend and it was cheaper than a hotel and much easier to stay at with a dog (two dogs actually, my friend and her pooch were there as well) and we could cook our own food.  Eating out for me is getting harder and harder since I try my hardest to eat with a more alkaline diet mindset and I already do not eat dairy, gluten or beef/chicken. 

We brought the Yoga mats and did a shortened asana sequence but it did feel like we were doing Yoga all day long.  There were walks on the property that helped me breathe deeper than I do in everyday life.  There was quiet- yes quiet while I was cooking.  I didn't rush to put on a movie or TV show.  I enjoyed what I was doing at the moment.  It really did remind me how much external noise and running around I do that does not lead to my health and peace. 

Just a little spark gets the energy flowing to build into a roaring flame.  That is how this weekend has made me feel-- my fire is reignited.  I am able to stay centered and enjoy the whirring of the world as it goes around me. 

Ah, the freedom!

Yoga Dog thinks so too.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Yoga Life Society Class

Why do Yoga and meditation?

"A mind with scattered attention lacks self-knowledge, experiences much of life through preconceived notions, is prone to jumping to conclusions, and fails to perceive subtle implications of actions and events."
-- Rev. Jaganath Carrera, From the New Book:  AWAKEN, Inside Yoga Meditation

I wish I didn't judge people.  It is not very Yogic of me.  Yet, I see some people and witness their suffering due to their own mind or habits they've developed and feel tremendously sad.  My name is Karuna after all.  Karuna means compassion and divine mercy.  My whole being wants to take this person's hand and lead them to a good, spiritual Hatha Yoga class.  For maybe the first step is a Hatha practice.  The Hatha practice does get rid of toxins stuck in the body but also the mind.  It is a natural progression then to a meditation practice which was always the goal back when the Sages developed these practices.

This is why I like the Yoga Life Society philosophy so much.  The YLS class (which is what I teach) is derived from the ancient teachings of Yoga philosophy, asanas, pranayama, healthy diet and meditation.  Other Yoga classes might do the same but YLS really focuses on Yoga as a healing modality-- reminding us of Yoga's connection to the acupressure points.  I also love that a YLS class focuses on the individual Yoga student-- making sure s/he is getting what s/he needs out of it-- without judgement, without competition or "perfection."  For isn't it refreshing to step out of the need to be "perfect" in life, and what a great gift we get if we practice this on the mat, then we can bring it to our life off the mat.

And so, with a huge hug, smile and Namaste,

I wish you a wonderful start of your weekend.

Yoga Girl

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


You know what inspires me?  My students.  After teaching a Yoga class, I am more at peace than before.  So thank you all who have shared their time, energy and inner smiles with me as we practice together.

Still interested in hearing what inspires you to practice. 

This Saturday I can't make the Free Yoga class, but Dinesh has graciously offered to sub for me.  Yea, Dinesh!  He's a certified Yoga instructor who has many stories about Yoga practiced in India by the hundreds in parks.  Ah, I can only dream!

So enjoy Yoga Saturday morning with Dinesh.  And I'll see you next Free Yoga session August 25th.
(Wed. 22nd is canceled)

Be well and here's to hoping you find your inspiration tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.  (Thank you Mr. Shakespeare.)


What inspires you to do your practice?

I'm trying for some communication.  You, yes you, I'd love to know your thoughts.
I've been hearing a lot of people say they are trying Yoga.  It is in some schools.  It is being held in Parks for free (hint, hint) and I'm curious what brings you back to the mat to practice?  What inspires you to get up and do the asanas, or meditation or whatever it is that you do practice?

My inspiration comes from that little voice in my head that says "If you don't do the practice, you will be hurting all day- physically and mentally.  You know you are a kinder, more patient, more at peace with the world participant in life when you do a little asana, a little pranayama and a little meditation."  I don't know if the voice is my own voice, the voice of my Guru or my guardian angel's but it is right.

Maybe what inspires you will inspire others.  Comment below. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The video I wanted to make for you was about cleaning your tongue with a tongue scraper.  I highly suggest it.  If you have a lot of white or a deep long line indent in your tongue then you might want to go on an alkaline diet.  Your body heals better in an alkaline state.  But my pictures were not going to be as beautiful as this.  And really who wants to see a close up of my tongue.  

This is a better video.  Maybe you heard David Rakoff on NPR.  Even if you heard this story already, it is a beautiful and touching story for everyone.  It is about Yoga although he never says the word.  Accepting that we are all getting old and losing some of our abilities while trying to find the beauty and grace in it, to me is Yoga.  
David passed from his body two days ago.  May our lives be enriched by his and his soul find an easy passing and I hope he's still dancing.

Let us all find unshakeable peace and joy in this lifetime.

Yoga Girl

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tools For Your Toolbox

Hello my friends,

I promised to post a blog a day until August 11th.  That's tomorrow.  I didn't accomplish the every day thing, but I tried.  Sometimes I had great intentions and great ideas but I stopped myself from doing the video or writing about a certain topic because-- well, I wanted the blog to be good.  So good that I would plan all day and then eventually there was no time left to do it.  I have been meditating and practicing asanas every morning though.  I even did headstand and scorpion pose this morning.  I remember last  summer, I was really practicing.  I felt like a Yoga video.  I was trying new poses and impressing myself.  This summer is different.  I'm just happy that I'm back to daily meditation, And my Hatha Yoga practice, I have to say, is mostly so I don't have back/hip pain.  It feels so much better when I do the asanas.  When I don't practice, my hip hurts so much I walk like my grandmother did, with one hand on my hip.  The good thing is that I get up happy to start the day, do my practices and then work on my writing, which is for some odd reason what I have chosen to focus on in this lifetime. 

I gave it up a few years ago when I realized that I wasn't good at selling my work or myself as a writer.  I thought maybe I wasn't cut out for the "bizz."  I focused on Yoga more.  Yet this nagging sense of jealousy would overcome me when others I knew were having some success as a writer.  In The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, she says that jealousy is a good way of finding out what you want to be doing.  It turns out that when you start working on your art (whatever that is) then the jealousy completely disappears.  It is a motivator.  So is guilt-- gets me walking the dog in the morning, and at night, which I am grateful for.  Otherwise I'd be tied to this computer and have worse back problems from sitting most of the time.  I also get to take in the stars, crickets, breeze and fresh smell of after rained-on-grass.

Finally, at 41, I think I've found my balance.  I love that I can do all the things I love to do.  I teach, I write, I practice Yoga and even find time to make a vegan cheesecake.  (Had to do something with the blackberries from our CSA.  They were going to spoil.)

So I don't have a huge Yoga tip for tonight.  It is not one straight from Sri Patanjali (The Yoga Sutras) but I do have a suggestion.  Find something that gets you excited about the day and also something else that grounds you.  I highly suggest Yoga, for it really is, as my mother puts it, a tool you can grab from your toolbox anytime you need it.

With so much love, light and laughter,
Yoga Girl

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For your extra blackberries:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Olympics.  I might be the only person in the world who thinks they are celebrating the wrong things.  One commentator tonight said that he heard one of the Russian gymnasts who did not do so well on the balance beam today say something like being callous and cut throat is not a bad thing in sports.  I understand how beautiful it is that these amazingly focused individuals achieve such stunning feats of speed, grace and balance but is this what we should be teaching the youth of the world is the ultimate goal in life?  I want to see a show that celebrates young people helping one another and giving up their chance to be the best in order to make others feel good. How about giving a gold metal to the team who runs the soup kitchen day in and day out?  Or a silver to the people who started or the Toronto man, Max Sidorov who rounded up $600,000 for the bullied bus monitor, and the bus monitor herself who took the abuse and tried to talk to the immature, nasty children instead of cursing them out?

I was looking online at a friend's Facebook page today and found this:
It does capture how little we know about Yoga in American culture.  I know many of us take classes at a gym and that's fine, but there is so much left out.  My teachers taught me that Yoga was never supposed to be about the body.  The relaxing of the body was a way to prepare for meditation.  There's also the Yamas and Niyamas.  (I've pasted an explanation from Peg Mulqeen's post on

The Yamas or do unto others:

1.    Ahimsa:  Be kind to others.  A comprehensive do no harm: not in words, thoughts, nor actions.  This one rule trumps all others, including the next . . .
2.     Satya:  Tell the truth.   “. . . and the truth shall set you free (john 8:32)”
3.    Asteya:  Only take what is yours.  Remember playing in the sandbox? The same rule applies!
4.    Brahmacharya:  Be respectful and reverent.  Though this can sometimes be interpreted as celibacy—and since there is no way for me to clarify with Pantanjali now—I will take some liberty to explain. Brahmacharya is a higher awareness in our relationships—one that transcends the physical one.  Abstinence may result, but this is not the intention.
5.    Aparigraha:  Share.  Anne Frank once said, “no one has ever become poor by giving.”  In fact, it is in giving that we may also receive.

The Niyamas or self observances:

1.    Sauca:  Be pure.  A shower is nice.  Brush your teeth too, please.  But don’t forget, purity also means being cleansed of bad habits and negative emotions.
2.    Santosa:  Practice acceptance.  Contentment—not to be confused with complacency—means we learn to love ourselves with unconditional positive regard.  It means allowing ourselves to seek happiness not from outside of ourselves, but from within.
3.    Tapas:  Do your work.  Sri Pattabhi Jois reminded his students, “practice and all is coming.”  He was referring to a yoga practice, and a meditation practice too.  This doesn’t happen through osmosis: we must do our work and let the benefits unfold in time.
4.    Svadhyaya:  Take time to reflect.  No matter what your field of work, I bet it involved study and years of schooling to become the person of knowledge and expertise you are now.  Become an expert of you. Learn you.
5.    Isvara pranidhana:  Stay humble.  No matter how big you are, how wise or right you are, how powerful you become—recognize you are not the absolute.  With a sincere meekness, know and honor divinity.

Sri Gurudev Swami Satchidananda once said that it was more important for children (in study at Yogaville) to learn to be good people than to learn how to read or write.  I do think the study and practice of Yoga would save the world if everyone practiced it.

And so here's a virtual gold metal for all those who do the right thing, not just the easiest.  Who practice the Yamas and Niyamas even if they've never heard of them.
May we all find unshakeable peace in this lifetime!
--Yoga Girl

Monday, August 6, 2012

Happy Birthday!

In the Yogic tradition, we give gifts out for our birthday.  Think of how beautiful that is-- instead of gifts one day a year, you could get gifts everyday.  Hope you like Rumi's Poem.  Here it is in its entirety:
You that give new life to this planet,
you that transcend logic, come.
I am only an arrow. Fill your bow with me
and let fly. Because of this love for you,
my bowl has fallen from the roof.
Put down a ladder and collect the pieces.
People ask, Which roof is your roof?
I answer, Wherever the soul came from
and wherever it goes back to at night,
my roof is in that direction.
From wherever spring arrives
to heal the ground, from wherever searching rises
in a human being. The looking itself is a trace
of what we are looking for.
But we have been more like the man
who sat on his donkey and asked the donkey where to go.
Be quiet now and wait. It may be the ocean one,
the one we want so to move into and become,
it may be that one wants us out here
on land a little longer
going our sundry roads to the shore.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tonight I spent a really beautiful evening eating dinner outdoors at Bald Pate Mountain.  A friend made the most beautiful vegetarian, dairy free dinner for us.  I couldn't have asked for a better dinner of quinoa and summer veggies, eggplant dip and roasted beet salad.  I can still taste the amazing pumpkin and coconut milk custard she made for dessert.  Food, good friends and the view of a gorgeous sky, tops of trees and hawks flying above us. Of course we had to rush down the mountain as the dark clouds rolled in and the wind came in like a warning of a twister.

If you haven't been to Bald Pate, I highly recommend it, it is hiking in NJ that looks like New Hampshire.  And there's some old houses that are fun to explore and imagine what it would have been like to have lived on top of this mountain, back in the day.

So we got a little rained on.  It was actually quite fun being rained on.  We didn't melt, like the Wicked Witch of the West.  It wasn't cold, so that wasn't a problem.  Brought me back to my childhood, jumping in puddles and running inside my parents' garage to watch the rest of the rain come down.

My Yoga Tip of the Day:  Spend some time in the rain or watching the rain, soak in those negative ions. 
They really do lift your mood.  Check out what it says on Web MD about negative ions:

May you realize in this lifetime, pure peace, love and lightness of spirit.

-- Yoga Girl

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Laughter Yoga

Hm, I didn't know that I would run out of things to discuss.  But here I am at a loss for words.  There's so much I could share with you from the meditation training, healing through Yoga classes and Hatha classes I've taken.  But something happens to me after 10pm.  (Is this a sign of getting older?)  I get tired and all good intentions give way to sleepiness.  So luckily there is YouTube and many Yogic videos to share.  Here is one of my favorite.  Laughter Yoga.  I dare you to watch this and not smile.

And see you Wednesday for the Yoga in the Park class at 10.  We're having a blast and the group is growing.  There's 30 people signed up on the Meetup group and an average of 5-8 participants each class.  I can't wait until it hits double digits!  Maybe this coming week!  (It would be a lovely birthday present!  It's my birthday on Monday and I celebrate all week!)  So maybe I'll see you on Wed. or Sat. (8am) at Mercer County Park.

With lots of light, love and tons of laughter!

Yoga Girl

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tonight I went out and heard a great fun band, Igor and The Red Elvises.  I had so much fun.  You know those bands that have great songs, but live they are kind of boring.  Well, these guys are full of life, have personality and get everybody moving.  I met a few friends there and we danced, sang along with the silly lyrics, like "Your love is better than cocaine" and "Surfing in Siberia."  I had a blast and no alcohol necessary. 

They're in PA the next two days.  I highly recommend them.

My Yoga Tip of the Day:  Listen to some music and dance.  Okay, it's not a Yoga tip but Yoga is for fun and so is music and dancing.  Why not, turn up some music and dance around the house. 

Here's to enjoying life a little bit more, and less worries, complaints, and fear.

-- Yoga Girl

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Yoga Life Society Info


Yoga Arsenal

I'm feeling so lucky.  I'm sharing Yoga with more and more new faces.  It's such a gift to be able to share this gold mine of peace.  As my mother recently reminded me, we all need a bag of tricks to deal with the crazy-making world.  Yoga has many tricks for us to pull out when needed.  Pranayama, the breathing exercises and asanas are just the start.  There's Raja Yoga the study of Yoga philosophy with Yamas and Niyamas which are the ethical guidelines to living a peaceful, useful, healthy life. 

And so my Yoga Tip of the Day is...
Find some time to learn and practice something from the Yogic bag of tricks today.  For life just might throw you for a loop and you'll need it, right there in your pocket.

If you're interested the Yoga Life Society has many video talks, excerpts to read and upcoming talks for you to enhance your arsenal with.  (Yogic arsenal of peace that is.)

Final relaxation at the park.  Soothing and cooling with a little help from the spritz of rain just at the end.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Few Good Books

A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.
Henry David Thoreau

Today I need a good book.  Everyone was talking about that sex book, Fifty Shades of Grey, but I don't know if I want to read it.  Seems to me I should be reading either a play, biography of someone I want to write a play about or something positive because Lord knows there's too much negativity out there, and in "here" (my mind) lately. 

I know there's that Goodreads now, which I did sign up for, but it reminds me of online dating, all those questions to answer and honestly, I don't want to spend even more time online.  

But I do have some Go-to books I use over and over again.  Plus one that I'm reading now which does inspire me.

A book I bought up in New Paltz after hiking in the mountains is useful for a quick idea or two on how to meditate when you don't feel like it, or you only have "three minutes."

Sri Swami Satchidananda's book To Know Yourself is one of my staples that I've read and reread when I need a little boost as I sit for meditation.  I open it to any random page and use it as insight for the day.
Rev. Jaganath, Swami Satchidananda's disciple and head of the Yoga Life Society, just finished his really clear explanation of how to meditate and go deeper in meditation.  Once I finish reading it, I know it will become another daily use book.

And lastly my mother gave me One Can Make a Difference.  Little essays from people who started a movement, changed lives, helped animals, etc.  The author is Ingrid E. Newkirk, not a household name but she started P.E.T.A. by herself.  It has essays from The Dalai Lama, Willie Nelson, Briditte Bardot (who left acting and started her own animal rescue, didn't know that) and so many more.  Easy read, and fun.  

I'll leave you with this short read...

"You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself."
- Galileo  (It's on the first page of the introduction of One Can Make a Difference.

Any other inspirational books I should check out this summer to keep me motivated to change the world?  Let me know.

Enjoy your day/night--
Yoga Girl