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

********* ********* ********

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.