Eyes of the World Workshop


I found a great idea for a workshop at the link above:  Grateful Dead Yoga Hour!  I spent a number of summers in college working at music festivals for a vendor called Bearly Edible (as in the Grateful Dead bear) and the owner, a veteran deadhead, instilled in me a deep love and appreciation for the Grateful Dead and their fans.  Although, really these were more than just fans.  To some, the Grateful Dead represented a lifestyle-- a live-in-the-moment lifestyle that the yoga community also works to embrace.  I agree with the David Romanelli, who wrote the above article and created the Grateful Dead Yoga Hour, that the Grateful Dead fans and yoga practitioners have a lot of similarities (peace and love being at the top of the list).

This is my favorite song by the Grateful Dead, called "Eyes of the World", which I feel carries a yogic message:

"Wake up to find out 

that you are the eyes of the world
but the heart has its beaches
its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you
are the song that the morning brings
but the heart has its seasons
its evenings and songs of its own"

My heart lifts and my face smiles every time I hear the Grateful Dead, I can't help it.  Would you want to come to an "Eyes of the World" Yoga workshop here in Asheville?  How about on April 20th?


Down d o double g

Number one perk to practicing at home:  you pick the music!
This week: down dogg to snoop dogg.
You so gangsta.
What up dogg?





Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

I have to admit I love chocolate and roses as much as the next girl, but this holiday might be my favorite simply because I love the idea of a day when everyone is focused on love love love.
It is all you need, after all.
I wish it was love day every day.

And man, do I loooooove you, Krum Rumley!

If it wasn't for my night class at the same time, Krum-cake and I would definitely be attending this special Valentine's event with one of the love-liest yoga couples ever to exist, Michael and Stephanie Johnson of Clearlight Yoga (www.clearlightyoga.com) :

Tuesday, Feb 14 • 5:30-7pm @ Asheville Yoga Center

Couples Yoga for Valentine’s Day 

Be Happy: LOVE MORE!!
Set the tone for an amazing evening with your sweetie and put a TWIST on your Valentine’s Day!
Release stress and tension.  Explore playfulness and buoyancy.  Learn how to guide, honor, and receive support from each other.
This gentle, soulful class is perfect for yogis who may be new to the practice and who want to connect to their Valentine in a revitalizing and uplifting way.
5:30 – 7pm  $33/couple  Register

(these details above are from their website at http://clearlightyoga.com/events-workshops/)

Okay, everyone, spread the love!


A Lesson on Judgement

I walked into my General Chemistry 132 class at the beginning of last January feeling apprehensive and unsure.  For those of you who don't know, I have humbly returned to UNCA to receive a post-baccalaureate degree in Health and Wellness, that I hope will lead me to a master's program in Nutrition.  The last time I had even thought about Chemistry was roughly ten years ago, when my freshly degreed (but not so pedigreed) high school Chemistry teacher was fired for inappropriate behavior-- she would wake up sleeping male students by slathering on red lipstick and giving them big smooches on the cheek.  Now that was the kind of Chemistry we can all get a handle on.

This day I was feeling intimidated, even though my Chemistry professor was wearing a bright Hawaiin shirt, bouncing around the room on his tippy toes, and enthusiastically repeating the phrase "Can you dig it?" I was annoyed.  Didn't he recognize the gravity of this situation?  "This is science, man, calm down."

Then there was this other guy at the back of the classroom who kept breaking into renditions of songs from the 80s and early 90s.  He kept raising his hand to every question and answering with some irrelevant pun.  It was serious pun-ishment and I caught the rolling eyes of many of my fellow classmates.  I hated this guy.  Instantly.  He was very much in the way of my "let's act like adults" take on college, round 2.

This continued for two more weeks, three classes every week...the interruptions, the strange comments, and this other thing he started doing-- he would countdown remaining time on quiz questions (there was a timer on the big pull-down screen) and shout "Happy New Year!"

Seriously?  Why was the professor not putting a stop to this?

Then I realized.  On the third week of class, the guy from the back of the class was standing at the front.  He had an announcement, "Would anyone be able to provide me with a copy of their notes every week?"  There was an organization, he continued, that would pay whoever volunteered.  An organization that helped people with autism.

Record screeches to a halt.  I sink deep into my seat.  Shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, shame...

I worked for the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC) for two years as a Community Skills Instructor (CSI) from 2006-2008.  This means that I had individual clients that I would pick up after school and work with, one on one, to encourage appropriate social behaviors.  It was a fascinating, rewarding, but also taxing and frustrating job.

And even with all that training, I didn't realize.  I judged without hesitancy.  I know my judgement arose from my own insecurities and fears, but there are no excuses for my behavior.

Now that I have a little perspective, a little less arrogance, and have quietly removed the stick out of my ass, I look forward to the guy at the back of the classroom's comments and interruptions.  I am grateful for his lesson to me on Judgement, a much harder subject to understand than Chemistry could ever be.

And in that light, I want to feature on my blog today, this amazing organization that offers yoga for people with autism.  How seriously, obviously a good idea!!!  The website, http://www.spectrumyogatherapy.org/testimonials, explains it all in more detail.


Madonna! Hydraulic Yoga Mat?!



The singer had one installed in her hotel room before the Super Bowl. It begs the question: what the heck is it?

Posted by Emily Leaman on 2/7/2012 at 4:15PM | 8 Comments

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Us Weekly got the big scoop (*sarcasm*) on Madonna’s “hydraulic yoga mat,” a contraption she had installed in her hotel room ahead of the Super Bowl. She reportedly stayed in Indianapolis for several days leading up to the game, and had the mat—which was apparently on a lift that went up to the ceiling (?)—installed in her room. She also brought along a yoga instructor and cranked the heat during sessions.
I’ve been googling for the past 15 minutes to try and figure out what a hydraulic yoga mat actuallyis, and what benefits one might provide over, say, a traditional on-the-floor model.
I asked our resident yoga expert Maura Manzo if she had a clue. “I have no freakin’ idea,” she wrote in an email.
So I called the yoga-gear experts over at Lululemon in Center City. Surely they’ve heard of this contraption … right?
The first employee I talked to was as baffled as me, so she went to find her manager, Katie Montana. “I’ve got several yoga instructors here and no one has any idea,” said Montana. “We’re trying to reason it out, like if it could change your balance perspective or something. But if it’s only raising you vertically, it’s not going to do anything more than if you practiced on the ground.”
I’m at a loss. Does anyone want to render a guess? I mean, Madonna’s in pretty killer shape, so the fancy pants yoga mat must be doing something …

History of Yoga Unveiled

 Source: http://www.yogajournal.com/wisdom/2610

In the following article, Mark Singledon, a yoga instructor and scholar (PhD in Divinity from Cambridge Universiy) researches the true beginnings of yoga as we know it in the West.  He is surprised to find that yoga asana, unlike what he has been taught in his trainings, is not a practice handed down from thousands of years, originating from the Vedas.  It is instead, “a hybrid of Indian tradition and European gymnastics”. 
Singledon goes into some length explaining how asana was rarely or ever a focus of traditional and significant yogic cultures in India.  Instead, asana became popular in India at the end of the 19th century.  This asana was a practice deeply influenced by Western spiritual and religious ideas, as well as a specific kind of Scandinavian gymnastics.  It becomes clear to Singledon in his research that the styles of yoga he practices are a relatively new tradition.
This creates for Singledon, who’s current life is saturated with yoga practice and research,  a sort of “crisis of faith”.  The supposed roots of his practice were proving to  be false.  He comes to the conclusion, however, that whether modern yoga practices are authentic is the wrong question.  Instead, he starts to view modern yoga practice as “simply the latest grafts on the yoga tree”.  He goes on to point out that learning about the true roots of the yogic tradition reminds us to really examine our intentions during our yoga practice, what its meaning is for us.  “Like the practice itself, this knowledge can reveal to us both our conditioning and our true identity.”

Does knowing that yoga asana is a relatively modern practice and not a tradition steeped in thousands of years of Indian history change your relationship to your practice?

Yoga's Greater Truth

A scholar embarks on a quest to trace the roots of his yoga practice back to their source. What he finds confounds and unsettles him, and, ultimately, provides him with a glimpse of yoga's greater truth.
By Mark Singleton
The pale winter sunlight shone from the high windows of the Cambridge University library onto a dark leather book cover. In the hall full of silent scholars, I opened it and leafed through picture after picture of men and women in familiar postures. Here was Warrior Pose; there was Downward Dog. On this page the standing balance Utthita Padangusthasana; on the next pages Headstand, Handstand, Supta Virasana, and more—everything you might expect to find in a manual of yoga asana. But this was no yoga book. It was a text describing an early 20th-century Danish system of dynamic exercise called Primitive Gymnastics. Standing in front of my yoga students that evening, I reflected on my discovery. What did it mean that many of the poses I was teaching were identical to those developed by a Scandinavian gymnastics teacher less than a century ago? This gymnast had not been to India and had never received any teaching in asana. And yet his system, with its five-count format, its abdominal "locks," and its dynamic jumps in and out of those oh-so-familiar postures, looked uncannily like the vinyasa yoga system I knew so well.
Time passed, and my curiosity nagged at me, leading me to do further research. I learned that the Danish system was an offshoot of a 19th-century Scandinavian gymnastics tradition that had revolutionized the way Europeans exercised. Systems based on the Scandinavian model sprang up throughout Europe and became the basis for physical training in armies, navies, and many schools. These systems also found their way to India. In the 1920s, according to a survey taken by the Indian YMCA, Primitive Gymnastics was one of the most popular forms of exercise in the whole subcontinent, second only to the original Swedish gymnastics developed by P.H. Ling. That's when I became seriously confused.
Ancient or Modern?
This was not what my yoga teachers had taught me. On the contrary, yoga asana is commonly presented as a practice handed down for thousands of years, originating from the Vedas, the oldest religious texts of the Hindus, and not as some hybrid of Indian tradition and European gymnastics. Clearly there was more to the story than I had been told. My foundation was shaken, to say the least. If I was not participating in an ancient, venerable tradition, what exactly was I doing? Was I heir to an authentic yoga practice, or the unwitting perpetrator of a global fraud?
I spent the next four years researching feverishly in libraries in England, the United States, and India, searching for clues about how the yoga we practice today came into being. I looked through hundreds of manuals of modern yoga, and thousands of pages of magazines. I studied the "classical" traditions of yoga, particularly hatha yoga, from which my practice was said to derive. I read a swath of commentaries on Patanjali's Yoga Sutra; the Upanishads and the later "Yoga Upanishads"; medieval hatha yoga texts like the Goraksasataka, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and others; and texts from the Tantric traditions, from which the less complex, and less exclusive, hatha yoga practices had arisen.
Scouring these primary texts, it was obvious to me that asana was rarely, if ever, the primary feature of the significant yoga traditions in India. Postures such as those we know today often figured among the auxiliary practices of yoga systems (particularly in hatha yoga), but they were not the dominant component. They were subordinate to other practices like pranayama (expansion of the vital energy by means of breath), dharana(focus, or placement of the mental faculty), and nada (sound), and did not have health and fitness as their chief aim. Not, that is, until the sudden explosion of interest in postural yoga in the 1920s and 1930s, first in India and later in the West.
When Asana Went West
Yoga began to gain popularity in the West at the end of the 19th century. But it was a yoga deeply influenced by Western spiritual and religious ideas, representing in many respects a radical break from the grass-roots yoga lineages of India. The first wave of "export yogis," headed by Swami Vivekananda, largely ignored asana and tended to focus instead on pranayama, meditation, and positive thinking. The English-educated Vivekananda arrived on American shores in 1893 and was an instant success with the high society of the East Coast. While he may have taught some postures, Vivekananda publicly rejectedhatha yoga in general and asana in particular. Those who came from India to the United States in his wake were inclined to echo Vivekananda's judgments on asana. This was due partly to long-standing prejudices held by high-caste Indians like Vivekananda against yogins, "fakirs," and low-caste mendicants who performed severe and rigorous postures for money, and partly to the centuries of hostility and ridicule directed toward these groups by Western colonialists, journalists, and scholars. It was not until the 1920s that a cleaned up version of asana began to gain prominence as a key feature of the modern English language-based yogas emerging from India.
This cleared up some long-standing questions of mine. In the mid-1990s, armed with a copy of B.K.S. Iyengar's Light on Yoga, I had spent three years in India for yoga asana instruction and was struck by how hard it was to find. I took classes and workshops all over India from well-known and lesser-known teachers, but these catered mostly to Western yoga pilgrims. Wasn't India the home of yoga? Why weren't more Indians doing asana? And why, no matter how hard I looked, couldn't I find a yoga mat?
continued on next page
Building Strong Bodies
As I continued to delve into yoga's recent past, pieces of the puzzle slowly came together, revealing an ever-larger portion of the whole picture. In the early decades of the 20th century, India—like much of the rest of the world—was gripped by an unprecedented fervor for physical culture, which was closely linked to the struggle for national independence. Building better bodies, people reasoned, would make for a better nation and improve the chances of success in the event of a violent struggle against the colonizers. A wide variety of exercise systems arose that melded Western techniques with traditional Indian practices from disciplines like wrestling. Oftentimes, the name given to these strength-building regimes was "yoga." Some teachers, such as Tiruka (a.k.a. K. Raghavendra Rao), traveled the country disguised as yoga gurus, teaching strengthening and combat techniques to potential revolutionaries. Tiruka's aim was to prepare the people for an uprising against the British, and, by disguising himself as a religious ascetic, he avoided the watchful eye of the authorities.
Other teachers, like the nationalist physical culture reformist Manick Rao, blended European gymnastics and weight-resistance exercises with revived Indian techniques for combat and strength. Rao's most famous student was Swami Kuvalayananda (1883-1966), the most influential yoga teacher of his day. During the 1920s, Kuvalayananda, along with his rival and gurubhai ("guru brother") Sri Yogendra (1897-1989), blended asanas and indigenous Indian physical culture systems with the latest European techniques of gymnastics and naturopathy.
With the help of the Indian government, their teachings spread far and wide, and asanas—reformulated as physical culture and therapy—quickly gained a legitimacy they had not previously enjoyed in the post-Vivekanandan yoga revival. Although Kuvalayananda and Yogendra are largely unknown in the West, their work is a large part of the reason wepractice yoga the way we do today.
Innovative Asana
The other highly influential figure in the development of modern asana practice in 20th-century India was, of course, T. Krishnamacharya (1888-1989), who studied at Kuvalayananda's institute in the early 1930s and went on to teach some of the most influential global yoga teachers of the 20th century, like B.K.S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois, Indra Devi, and T.K.V. Desikachar. Krishnamacharya was steeped in the traditional teachings of Hinduism, holding degrees in all six darshanas (the philosophical systems of orthodox Hinduism) and Ayurveda. But he was also receptive to the needs of his day, and he was not afraid to innovate, as evidenced by the new forms of asana practice he developed during the 1930s. During his tenure as a yoga teacher under the great modernizer and physical culture enthusiast Krishnarajendra Wodeyar, the maharajah of Mysore, Krishnamacharya formulated a dynamic asana practice, intended mainly for India's youth, that was very much in line with the physical culture zeitgeist. It was, like Kuvalayananda's system, a marriage of hatha yoga, wrestling exercises, and modern Western gymnastic movement, and unlike anything seen before in the yoga tradition.
These experiments eventually grew into several contemporary styles of asana practice, most notably what is known today as Ashtanga vinyasa yoga. Although this style of practice represents only a short period of Krishnamacharya's extensive teaching career (and doesn't do justice to his enormous contribution to yoga therapy), it has been highly influential in the creation of American vinyasa, flow, and Power Yoga-based systems.
So where did this leave me? It seemed clear that the styles I practiced were a relatively modern tradition, with goals, methods, and motives different from those traditionally ascribed to asanas. One only has to peruse translations of texts like the Hatha Tattva Kaumudi, the Gheranda Samhita, or the Hatha Ratnavali, to see that much of the yoga that dominates America and Europe today has changed almost beyond recognition from the medieval practices. The philosophical and esoteric frameworks of premodern hatha yoga, and the status of asanas as "seats" for meditation and pranayama, have been sidelined in favor of systems that foreground gymnastic movement, health and fitness, and the spiritual concerns of the modern West. Did this make the yoga I was practicing inauthentic?
This was not a casual question for me. My daily routine during those years was to get up before dawn, practice yoga for two and a half hours, and then sit down for a full day researching yoga history and philosophy. At the end of the day, I would teach a yoga class or attend one as a student. My whole life revolved around yoga.
I went back to the library. I discovered that the West had been developing its own tradition of gymnastic posture practice long before the arrival of Indian asana pioneers like B.K.S. Iyengar. And these were spiritual traditions, often developed by and for women, which used posture, breath, and relaxation to access heightened states of awareness. Americans like Cajzoran Ali and Genevieve Stebbins, and Europeans like Dublin-born Mollie Bagot Stack, were the early 20th-century heirs to these traditions of "harmonial movement." Newly arrived asana-based yoga systems were, naturally, often interpreted through the lens of these preexisting Western gymnastic traditions.
There was little doubt in my mind that many yoga practitioners today are the inheritors of the spiritual gymnastics traditions of their great-grandparents far more than they are of medieval hatha yoga from India. And those two contexts were very, very different. It isn't that the postures of modern yoga derive from Western gymnastics (although this can sometimes be the case). Rather, as syncretic yoga practices were developing in the modern period, they were interpreted through the lens of, say, the American harmonial movement, Danish gymnastics, or physical culture more generally. And this profoundly changed the very meaning of the movements themselves, creating a new tradition of understanding and practice. This is the tradition that many of us have inherited.
continued on next page
Crisis of Faith
Although I never broke off my daily asana practice during this time, I was understandably experiencing something like a crisis of faith. The ground on which my practice had seemed to stand—Patanjali, the Upanishads, the Vedas—was crumbling as I discovered that the real history of the "yoga tradition" was quite different from what I had been taught. If the claims that many modern yoga schools were making about the ancient roots of their practices were not strictly true, were they then fundamentally inauthentic?
Over time, however, it occurred to me that asking whether modern asana traditions were authentic was probably the wrong question. It would be easy to reject contemporary postural practice as illegitimate, on the grounds that it is unfaithful to ancient yoga traditions. But this would not be giving sufficient weight to the variety of yoga's practical adaptations over the millennia, and to modern yoga's place in relation to that immense history. As a category for thinking about yoga, "authenticity" falls short and says far more about our 21st-century insecurities than it does about the practice of yoga.
One way out of this false debate, I reasoned, was to consider certain modern practices as simply the latest grafts onto the tree of yoga. Our yogas obviously have roots in Indian tradition, but this is far from the whole story. Thinking about yoga this way, as a vast and ancient tree with many roots and branches, is not a betrayal of authentic "tradition," nor does it encourage an uncritical acceptance of everything that calls itself "yoga," no matter how absurd. On the contrary, this kind of thinking can encourage us to examine our own practices and beliefs more closely, to see them in relation to our own past as well as to our ancient heritage. It can also give us some clarity as we navigate the sometimes-bewildering contemporary marketplace of yoga.
Learning about our practice's Western cultural and spiritual heritage shows us how we bring our own understandings and misunderstandings, hopes and concerns to our interpretation of tradition, and how myriad influences come together to create something new. It also changes our perspective on our own practice, inviting us to really consider what we're doing when we practice yoga, what its meaning is for us. Like the practice itself, this knowledge can reveal to us both our conditioning and our true identity.
Beyond mere history for history's sake, learning about yoga's recent past gives us a necessary and powerful lens for seeing our relationship with tradition, ancient and modern. At its best, modern yoga scholarship is an expression of today's most urgently needed yogic virtue, viveka ("discernment" or "right judgment"). Understanding yoga's history and tangled, ancient roots brings us that much closer to true, clear seeing. It may also help to move us to a more mature phase of yoga practice for the 21st century.
Mark Singleton holds a PhD in divinity from Cambridge University. His latest book is Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice.


My Valentine

"How shall I keep my soul
from touching yours?  How shall I
lift it up beyond you to other things?
Ah, I would gladly hide it
in darkness with something lost
in some silent foreign place
that doesn't tremble when your deeps stir.
Yet whatever touches you and me
blends us together the way a bow's stroke
draws one voice from two strings.
Across what instrument are we stretched taut?
And what player holds us in his hand?
Oh sweet song."
-Rilke "Love Song"

I wasn't born alone.

The night before we left for college,
I crawled into your bed and hugged my body close to yours.

We were once one body.

Your breathing stayed slow and measured.
 You slept as I wept

And I could feel the gap growing wider between us

Despite how hard I pressed myself against you. 

How did we become two souls?

Time has made us so distinct.
It’s time that makes us feel alone.
It’s knowing that we were once one body,
(it is no longer a memory)
That keeps pulling me out of the fear. 
Do we really all die alone?

I wasn’t born alone. 
I can't die alone.


Lighten Up Yoga's Teacher Training

I've mentioned my mentor, Lillah Schwartz from Lighten Up Yoga, before but I would like to take another moment to express sincere gratitude to her guidance and support in my yogic journey. I completed her 200 hour training in 2010 and am continuing my studies with her to hopefully achieve my 500 hour certification. Lillah is extremely knowledgeable and she has continued to amaze and inspire me over the years. Here is information on the upcoming 200 hour teacher training course, and I am happy to discuss the course in more detail if anyone is interested.

Transformational Yoga Teacher Training

200-Hour R.Y.A. Certification Course

 “ Lillah's anatomical and physiological knowledge of the human body is impeccable.  However, her real strength is in the 30 years of teaching experience which enables her to share the practical hands-on knowledge and teaching skills with the new teachers like myself."
Haeyoung Grace Kandl, Aruvedic Practitioner (200 hr graduate)
200-Hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training Course
Begins February 24th

Do you want to become a yoga teacher? Are you already a teacher and want to deepen your instruction? Or are you a dedicated student who wants to deepen your yoga experience? Learn the wisdom of yoga as an authentic practice, healing art and gift to your community.
Immerse yourself in a 200-Hour course that provides firm ground in the action and alignment principles of Yoga. Gain a wealth of knowledge and challenging practical experience to become the best yoga teacher you can be.
The program meets for 10 three-day weekends in 12 months so that participants may wisely integrate the knowledge they will gain. Learn the foundational skills from effective instructors plus receive ongoing support and mentorship. We recommend you have one or more years of yoga experience, preferably with an instructor, prior to beginning. Professionals in related disciplines such as physical therapy will be considered with 6 months or more of yoga experience.
Dates for 2012:           
February 24-26
March 23-25
April 27-29
May 25-27
June 29-July 1
July 27-29
August 24-26
September 21-23
October 19-21
Graduate weekend January 2013
Nov 16-18 Roger Cole as a make-up or additional weekend $228 (20% discount)
$2350 includes manual and $50 non-refundable application fee.
Early Registration enroll before January 31st 2012 and save $100 OR
Enroll with a friend anytime and save $100 each! $2250.
Pay in full $2175 when you register and save $175. There is a 3.5% added to administer payment plan.
Payment Plan Options Available
-10 Month Payment with registration & deposit on or before January 31st 2012
Deposit = $300 then, nine payments of $237 to begin 2/24/12 and paid each month.
3.5% is added to administer payment plan. Final payment - October 19, 2012.
-12 Month Payment with registration & deposit on or before January 31st 2012
Deposit = $300 then, twelve payments of $178 to begin 2/24/12 paid each month.
3.5% is added to administer payment plan. Final payment - January 15, 2013.
- 11 Month Payment/Late Registration with registration & deposit on or after February 1st 2012.
Late registrations accepted until March 23, 2012
First payment = $300 by 2/24/12 then, ten payments of $213 to begin 3/23/2012 and paid each month. 3.5% is added to administer payment plan. Final payment – January 15, 2013.
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A Valuable Opportunity to
FOCUS Your Studies and FIND Your Bliss!
     Firm ground in your yoga Practice and Teaching comes from committing to practice for a long time, without interruption and with devotion.

Main goals of Lillah’s Transformation Yoga Teacher Training;
- Gain a solid foundation in pose execution, safety and contraindications, and teaching techniques based on the fundamental principles of alignment.
- Gain an understanding of Yoga philosophy as a lifestyle and continuum
- Upon completion, be prepared to offer effective beginning Yoga classes in your community
      Lillah's knowledge and expertise from over 30 years of teaching provide clear guidance and direction to optimize your personal growth, comprehension, and application of yoga. Regardless of which style of yoga you are most fond of, having a solid foundation in alignment, anatomy, physiology and the principles of yoga are a necessity for the safety of your studnets and your success as a teacher.Our graduates are widely respected around the Southeast, and   receive a supportive and nurturing education. 
Home Study Requirements:
Your 200-hour home studies: Ten hours a week of personal practice and study including the following: a focus on pose mastery, the language of teaching, the development of teaching sequences, reading and study guides, and peer teaching. There will also be exercises in practice teaching and learning how to self evaluate.
Weekend hours are:
Friday 2 - 5 pm & 6:45 - 9 pm
Saturday 10:30 - 1:30 & 2:30 - 6:30 pm
Sunday 8:30 - 12 noon & 1 - 3:30 pm

Happiness is More than a Warm Gun

I think most yogis agree that happiness is more like a warm cup of tea than a warm gun.

I listened to a radio program recently called "On Being", the theme of the show was "Pursuing Happiness" and covered many topics with the Dalai Lama and three other spiritual leaders (a rabbi, a bishop, and a Muslim scholar).  This all sounds like the beginning of a joke ("A priest and a rabbi walk into a bar and discover the meaning of happiness...), but I assure you the program was authentic and inspiring.  The discussion explored themes on suffering, beauty, and the nature of the body.

This is the link to the show:


The show is a couple hours long, so I'll summarize what I took away as the three main points on maintaining a happy life--three main points that align with yogic philosophy as well.

1) Bless every moment:  In this part of the discussion, they assert the idea of making every moment a prayer.  It is pointed out that a prayer can simply be a pause...or a breath...just an awareness that there is some greater essence of existence that exists beyond yourself.  As Thich Nhat Hanh says in "The Miracle of Mindfulness," While washing the dishes, one should only be washing the dishes...The fact that I am standing there and washing these bowls is a wondrous reality.  I'm being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions."  What if we approach each moment with a feeling of gratitude for the "wondrous reality" each of these moments exists within?  Hanh goes on to say, "People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.  But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or thin air, but to walk on earth."  And to go even further, what if we go beyond blessing each moment, but also bless each person that we encounter?  Each person you meet has something special to give you, that is if you are open to receiving it.  The interactions you have with others give you more information about yourself and give you the opportunity to know and love your inner self more deeply.

2) Recognize your Inner Beauty:  This is one of those expressions that we say all the time in yoga, and it's a topic I'm going to let alone for now because I'm planning a whole separate blog entry to approach it.  But for now, remember that beauty is internal and love yourself.

3) Serving others:  This section of the discussion was my favorite because service is a theme that resonates close to my heart. (I've been a waitress for years!)  A quote from the show says, "Someone else's material needs are my spiritual duty."  Perhaps the key to happiness isn't just about providing for our own physical needs, but is also about providing the needs of others. To take it beyond the discussion on the radio program,  perhaps we are given these bodies  to accept these gifts from others.  Both giving and receiving are spiritual practices.   Happiness is not simply taking care of ourselves-- we must take of each other also.  Happiness is love and kindness, giving and receiving both.