Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Value of the Self

Yoga and Buddhism make it quite clear that dropping the Ego/Self is a very important endeavor. If we are not able to drop the Ego, our meditation will never be quite grounded or authentic - instead, it will always have an element of, "look how well I've learned to meditate!" Similarly, if the Ego is not dropped from your yoga practice, an inordinate amount of time and mental energy is going to be spent checking out the other practitioners in the studio & seeing if you're "better" than them!

This is a useless endeavor for multiple reasons. First of all, we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. To use mine as an example, I have flexible hamstrings which helps me with forward bends. But I also have an inner-ear problem which makes standing balance poses very difficult for me! Not only is it not helpful to compare yourself to other students in the class, also try to avoid comparison with yourself. As soon as you start to think about how you did a particular pose better yesterday, you've moved out of the present moment and into the past. So keep that Ujaiyi Breathing flowing, no matter what!

So, after all this talk about dropping the Self/Ego, how do we make use of it? Well, the answer lies not in making use of it for ourselves, but instead for other people. You know the old saying, "never judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes"? It's built on that principle. So, while trying to work with your own Ego to become more calm, peaceful, and accepting every day, you can also use that Ego to generate compassion for those having a difficult day. Use the Ego to think about how you would want someone to respond to you if you were upset. And because everyone is different (& not everyone likes hugs!), sometimes the safest bet is to say something like, "I'm so sorry you're upset. I empathize, and if I can do anything, please let me know."

Beginning to use the Ego to understand others rather than just yourself will open up a whole new world of compassion and empathy for you, as well as for those you share this energy with.

YMCA Vinyasa Int. class, I'll see you all at the Y tonight at 7pm! :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Life is a Verb

Once again, it's been far too long!!

If you are interested in GREAT deals on massage or Private Yoga Instruction, please email me :)

And now, a little wisdom from Osho for the day:

"In reference to true life all nouns are wrong, only verbs are true. When you say, "This is a tree," you are making a wrong statement existentially. Not lingustically, not grammatically, but existentially you are making a wrong statement, because the tree is not a static thing, it is growing. It is never in a state of is-ness, it is always becoming. In fact, to call it a tree is not right; it is tree-ing. A river is always river-ing."

...We can use this same understanding to deepen our grasp of our poses. Even when we think were are as still as possible in an asana, there is always the movement of life, the movement of breath, the movement of the muscles continuing to relax or engage.... the whole posture is alive with subtle movement and energy. If your breathing is consistent and you are able to turn your attention inward, you will be able to observe this remarkable sensation - the sensation of pure, vibrant life.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Updated Class Schedule!

Sorry it's been so long. Some of the old class info is no longer correct... here is the update! I am teaching:
MON & WED 7-8:15pm @ Quest Martial Arts on Packard
SATURDAY 4-6pm @ A2 Yoga on Stadium

Starting THIS FRIDAY (June 5) I will be teaching some FREE CLASSES through the Ann Arbor Free School. We will meet 5:30-6:30pm at Argo, & use the outdoor area right by Les Voyagers. Sessions will meet June 5th, 12th, 19th, & 26th. All are welcome!! If you have questions, please email me or check out http://freeschool.pirateship.org/calendar/2009/06/all

Also, starting JULY 7th, I will be teaching 2 Vinyasa Flow classes at the Ann Arbor YMCA. Both on Tuesday, one at 9:30am, and one at 6:45pm.

Please come and join me for some classes!

Friday, May 8, 2009

New: Yoga at Quest Martial Arts!

Hi everyone,
I'm proud to announce the Yoga program at Quest Martial Arts! Quest is located at
2111 Packard StAnn Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 332-1800

My sincere thanks to Mr. Keith Copeland as co-founder of the program.

Our classes are going to start THIS COMING MONDAY (May 11th), and the schedule will be:
Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:45 - 7pm and 7:15 - 8:30pm
Contact Quest to sign up!

Also, don't forget....OTHER CLASSES going on:
Fridays from 6 - 7pm at the Dakota Building
Saturdays from 4 - 6pm at A2 Yoga

Hope to see you soon!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Golden Rule

Is that there are no golden rules.
There cannot be. Life is so vast,
so immense, so strange, so mysterious,
it cannot be reduced to a rule or maxim.
All maxims fall short,
are too small;
they cannot contain life
and its living energies.
Hence the golden rule
is significant, that there are no golden rules.
An authentic human being does not live by rules, maxims,
The authentic human being
simply lives.


No yoga @ the Dakota Bldg. tonight

Due to a graduation ceremony, there will be no 6-7pm yoga at the Dakota Building this evening. My apologies; please join us next week.

Quote of the Day

"The only authentic responsibility is toward your own potential, your own intelligence and awareness - and to act accordingly. Values should not be imposed on you. They should grow with your awareness, in you."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Have a moment of enlightenment every day

Nirvana (enlightenment) and Samsara (the world of suffering) are one and the same, the Buddha tells us. This same sentiment is echoed when Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is here among us. And the Biblical phrase "this too shall pass" ties in directly with the idea of impermanence. On the surface, the idea of impermanence & the Biblical phrase may seem obvious, but they speak a very deep truth that can only be understood when it is experienced. Because each moment will pass irretrievably, each moment is more precious than gold and should be experienced with awareness and an open heart.

Even our pain and struggles in life deserve this loving attention. It may seem easier to try to run from the pain, but if you remain still and remember that it, too, will pass, these struggles can lift us up higher. All of us can remember times that were difficult but that we are now grateful for, because of what we learned or how our lives were changed. Enlightenment does not mean escape from pain and suffering. It is a mental shift that gives room for both the bad and the good in life. Once we stop expecting the world to be perfect & to make us happy, we find that there is already a well of happiness and loving-kindness inside, and that is what we're really looking for when we're searching for happiness.

This is why all the great spiritual teachers ask us to look within, rather than outside ourselves. The kingdom of heaven is among us and within us. And you don't have to be an enlightened master to have one, two, or many moments of enlightenment throughout the day, every day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quotes of the Day

"Meditation will bring you sensitivity, a great sense of belonging to the world. It is our world - the stars are ours, and we are not foreigners here. We are part of it, we are the heart of it. And this sensitivity will create new friendships for you - friendships with trees, with birds, with animals, with mountains, with rivers, with oceans, with stars. Life becomes richer as love grows."

"Life is not a tragedy, it is a comedy. To be alive means to have a sense of humor."


Sunday, April 19, 2009


Please come join me as we try to get this new class up and running. It will be an awesome Vinyasa Flow class drawing heavily on the elements and theories of Ashtanga practice to inform it. 

The class will start THIS FRIDAY, APRIL 24th, from 6-7pm, at the Dakota Building on Stadium near Pauline. We hope to make it a permanent part of the "Mind, Body, Spirit Academe" that is being run there, which also includes other classes such as dance and martial arts.

You can check out their website here: http://www.mbsacademe.com/about.html  
(my class is not up yet)

Pass the word around... once again, Friday from 6-7pm. 

Head into your weekend feeling wonderful. 
I promise a mini-Thai-massage and shoulder/neck/head rub in Savasana to everyone who shows up :)

Please email me with any questions! 

Friday, April 10, 2009

Body, Mind, & Spirit Wellness on S. State

Hi all,
This morning I had the pleasure of touring the new Body, Mind, Spirit Wellness Center (2007 S. State Rd., sort of near the Produce Station. This is a different center than the one with a similar name on Stadium by Pauline). The new center is beautiful, and they are having a Grand Opening Event running from Wed. April 2nd through Sun. the 26th. There's a lot of amazing stuff going on there - yoga, meditation, massage, music, capoeria... you should check out their website at www.bmswc.com (or call them at 734.945.8602) if you have questions about the opening events.

Also, I was hoping to start teaching regular classes there, but it looks like that's not going to work - at least, not yet. I would love to hold some workshops there, because it is a beautiful space with good energy. So, here is my question: WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO A YOGA WORKSHOP WITH ME THERE? I'm open to suggestions - more (or less) intense, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Partner Yoga... pretty much anything that would please my students. I'd like to see if I can get one together in the next few weeks. So, if you actually read this blog, please leave a comment, and otherwise I hope to catch you at the studio and spread the word.

Just be

"This constant desire for 'knowing' and for 'improving'... that is just the ego's distracting game. Simply be how you are, whenever you are, and you will realize that you already know everything there is to know about this great universanl woven fabric you are a part of."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Yoga at work - part 2

As humans, we lable things. That's how we communicate; how language was first formed. We even have lables of our own (usually chosen by our parents, but one can always get creative later in life ;) )

So at work, it makes perfect sense that we lable things here, too. Some of them are useful at times. Your "To Do" box tells you what needs to get done. But, as we all know, feelings of apathy, boredom, feeling depressed or overwhelmed, or sheer panic can set in when looking at that In Box. Here is a little exercise to try the next time that happens.

First of all, take just ONE thing out of your In Box. You can only deal with one thing at a time, and for now, it is this. Now, especially if it's something you don't want to do, pretend you're doing it for someone else. Don't lable it as anything unpleasant. Instead, give it an imaginary lable like "very important document". Imagine that you've just done your best friend in the world a very nice favor, taking care of that important document. How does that feel? Much better than still staring at it in the In Box, right?

Now, I know this exercise is imaginative, and silly to some extent, but in another way it makes perfect sense. Every time you complete a difficult or unpleasant task at work, you ARE doing a friend a favor - yourself. You will reduce your stress level, feel more able and competent, and begin to see that by applying yourself meditatively even to those tasks that aren't your favorite, you are contributing to your place of work (even if this is home), which in turn contributes to the whole Universe. And who doesn't want to show up to work to help the whole Universe? :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Work as yoga (part 1)

I've been pondering this topic for a while now, and haven't written anything yet because I want to be helpful, not just a string of observations. Although I suppose sometimes those can be helpful too :)

Basically, what I've been noticing is that humans are very good at switching into an "on" state, as I'll call it for now, but then we drift back "off" without that same realization or immediacy. For example, remember a toy that you really, really wanted as a child? How visceral the desire was? And how delighted and engaged we were if we did get the toy? But then, without our even realizing it, our interest in the toy began to wane, as life moved forward and other things became important.

When we first start to practice yoga or meditate, I think we are very much like excited children. We often think, "this is IT!" This is going to be the enlightenment I've been searching for, this is going to be the end of my troubles. Even though we know it is irrational, we secretly hope to be hit by that lightning bolt of eternal joy and wisdom. For some people, just one yoga or meditation session is proof enough that "this stuff doesn't work". Their mind still felt busy, maybe even worse, they were physically uncomfortable, etc. It's ok. Not every practice is for every person. But for those who came back again and again, despite the fact that the lightening bolt never came.... they started to notice something extraordinary. The lightening bolt is there ALL THE TIME. It is our life force, our prana, our connection to vitatlity. We can stay connected to it and live an illuminated life! But through routine and inattention, we often let it slip away.

And work, especially offices, are wonderful breeding grounds for routine and inattention. In fact, they practically beg for it. And that is why, my yogis, this can be your greatest practice of all. Start simply. Become aware of your surroundings. What does your office feel like? Sound like? Now become aware of breathing, sitting right there at your desk. How does that feel? Do things slow down? Can you reconcile breathwork with officework?

Your next task is mini-meditations. You can do these seated, or use walking meditation to get up from your desk. Every hour, devote one minute to meditation; to just watching the breath. If you walk as you do this, to the water cooler for instance, don't get lost in your own head. Instead, become more aware, inhaling and exhaling peace and goodwill toward everyone in your office. Over time, the goal is to stretch out these mini meditations, and begin to watch the breath while doing work tasks such as typing, etc. In this way, we can literally create an 8-hour meditation challenge for ourselves! I'm not saying that's what you have to do, but I am trying to promote the idea that you can meditate any time, anywhere.

Next up: dealing with money as a spiritual practice?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

...and coming soon...

An article about how to integrate yoga into your workday, particularly if you work a desk job. Thanks very much to reader Art for the suggestion! Any more suggestions, questions, etc., feel free to email me at:

Namaste :)

The Best... you already are

Continuing with the theme from Friday's post about what it truly means to be "the Best" (vs. what our culture has constructed as 'best').

It has been noted by psychologists that very bright and talented children often have very high levels of anxiety and low self-esteem. Why should this be so, when they are obviously talented, often more so than their peers?? It turns out that the reason is because these special traits and talents are so focused on by the adults in their lives, that these children feel that not knowing something or just being ordinary at something is a failure in some way. Subconsciously, those proud and loving parents are sending their child the message that they will be unlovable if they are not perfect. They must always be The Best in their parents' (and teachers', etc.) eyes.

Even if we were not one of those few talented children who could memorize pi to 40 digits or some other amazing feat, we have all felt that fear of, or actual rejection by, a parent or other authority figure for failing to live up to expectations. As small people, we were taught that we were being "prepared for life", and if we did not learn the lessons well enough, we would ultimately fail at life (or some other such threat, spoken or implied). But guess what? As children, as small people, we were not preparing for life. We were living life. And, along with the wonderment, we learned some harsh lessons along the way. As we grew up, we wondered: how can I be successful? How can I make my parents happy? How can I make myself happy? How can I be good enough?

Well, the answer, happily, is that you already are good enough, and you always have been. Your parents' pressure on you as a child, intentional or not, has no bearing on you or your inherent 'goodness'. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and therefore don't need to be perfect at anything! That's one of the big pros about living in a society where you know and are connected to your neighbors and/or other community. So put your talents to use, whatever they are, and graciously accept the help of others when you need to. This has no bearing on your status; your self-esteem - you are already, in the words of the Tejobindu Upanishad, your "Shining Self".

[...trying to find a link to the Upanishad for you, but no luck! Anyhow, the opening lines are:
Let us meditate on the Shining Self
Changeless, underlying the world of change
And realized in the heart in Samadhi.]

Friday, March 27, 2009

What does it mean to "Be the best"?

In Western culture, we are taught to compete to be the individual best in almost everything we do. That is why it is so difficult to drop that competitive mind-set during yoga, both with yourself and others. But all that energy spent on a "competitive edge" takes the practitioner out of the moment and into a realm of separation and contest. Use your yoga practice to practice dropping that need to be the best. Let your practice flow naturally. Being open and present, even when things do not "feel perfect", is in itself the greatest perfection.

"The best, like water,
Benefit all and do not compete.
They dwell in lowly spots that everyone else scorns.
Putting others before themselves,
They find themselves in the foremost place
And come very near to the Tao.
In their dwelling, they love the earth;
In their heart, they love what is deep;
In personal relationships, they love kindness;
In their words, they love truth.
In the world, they love peace.
In personal affairs, they love what is right.
In action, they love chosing the right time.
It is because they do not compete with others
That they are beyond the reproach of the world."
--Lao Tzu

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Non-compete clause ;)

"The best, like water,
Benefit all and do not compete.
They dwell in lowly spots that everyone else scorns.
Putting others before themselves,
They find themselves in the foremost place
And come very near to the Tao.

In their dwelling, they love the earth;
In their heart, they love what is deep;
In personal relationships, they love kindness;
In their words, they love truth.
In the world, they love peace.
In personal affairs, they love what is right.
In action, they love choosing the right time.
It is because they do not compete with others
That they are beyond the reproach of the world."

-Lao Tzu

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Quote of the Day

"True strength is always gentle."
-Lao Tzu

Teaching yourself to relax

At first glance, relaxing seems relatively easy. Maybe we watch TV or a movie, or have a drink, or engage in a favorite hobby. But these are not really relaxed states (expecially when someone is watching their favorite sports team lose a game, for instace)! Instead, a truly relaxed state produces a quiet, contented, non-judemental mind.

Just like Savasana (relaxation pose) at the end of a yoga session, we can scan the body for any left-over tension, and then gently breathe into those areas to help them release. The body (and mind) can never be "forced" to relax; instead they must be gently persuaded.

The body is one of the most ancient scape-goats. We find it difficult to love our own body sometimes, especially when it continues to be villified and condemed (moreso in certain areas) in modern times. But our bodies are temples of life. However, we often belittle them, feel angry at them for not "being perfect", and otherwise sending very negative signals to ourselves from childhood/early adolescence & sometimes into adulthood.

Some peoples's disconnect from their body is greater than others. In class I often mention that in Westen culture, we like to live from the neck up, and mostly ignore everythind below the collarbone. We view this as the most intelligent, rational way to deal with life and its challenges. But although it is good to expend energy and be procutive, we in the West have not learned how to balance out our flurries of constant activity with some true relaxation.

So, even on a day when you don't attend or practice yoga, try this meditation exercise. You can even do it for only 10 minutes! Surround your body with loving compassion, drawing in good energy from the Universe and/or those loved ones around you. Then, either sitting or laying down, begin to observe your breath. Your body is your outermost attribute, and your pure consciousness the most inner. It is the breath that connects these two. Once again, no need to try to "force" your mind to be quiet (although it's usually a temptaion for many new AND experienced meditators.) All you have do is breathe into the present moment and observe. It will get easier over the course of time, just like any other skill! As your meditaiton practices deepens, you can use this practice in any number of difficult "real-world events"!

TO SUM UP: Meditating for only 10 min a day (or however long works for you) can have a significant effect on stress reduction, improving concentration, and helping you feel more centered.


Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hahan
Pharmacy for the Soul by Osho (This is a great book, never seen anything else like it!)
Yoga: The Science of the Soul by Osho
Meditation in Action by Chogyam Trungpa
In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon ed. by Bhikkuu Bodi (Foreword by the Dalai Lama)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hello again

Hi there,
It feels like I've been away for such a long time. It's easy to get stuck in those ruts, where we feel we only have energy for life's absolute necessities and everything else seems to fade into the background. Well, fortunately, life being the fluid thing that it is, we can outsmart the mind's routines and help bring back creativity and spontaneity into our lives and our yoga practice.

This is a bit of an usual technique, a sort of gentle 'shock into awakening' for the mind. The point is that when you are dealing with feeling stuck, or with difficult emotions, do something completely unexpected!! If you are crying, start dancing. It doesn't matter if there is no music, it doesn't matter if at first you don't want to dance. Just start; throw yourself into it, and in a few moments your mind will have allowed the sadness to flow right out of you. If you are angry, try sitting in compassion for the person who has angered you. This can also be confusing to the mind. The situation, which seemed so black and white before, can begin to turn a subtle shade of gray, until you realize that you are sitting in peaceful awareness, the anger having subsided.

The only catch to this technique is: it's better to not use the same response twice, because then your body and mind will simply become habituated to that! So you must always be creative, always on your toes. But that is part of the fun of life.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Subbing Vinyasa II this Fri (tomorrow) @ A2

Hi all,
Not much notice here, but I'll be subbing the Vinyasa II class from 5:30 - 6:45pm this Friday (tomorrow) at A2 Yoga. Come have fun with me!


Monday, February 23, 2009

You are Perfection! (& Sun-Moon classes below)

***A note to my beloved students: SCROLL DOWN past this post to the next one to see when I'll be teaching at Sun-Moon Yoga, 404 W. Huron close to down town. I will also probably be teaching at the Dakota Building (down Stadium, near Pauline) soon as well. I'll keep you all updated. Yay! :) ***

"Remember, there is no need to strive, there is no need to desire to be that which one is not. We are all perfect in our own way; all completely perfect in our imperfections. That's what makes each of us a masterpiece, created by the Universe." --Osho

Drop your need and desire for goals. That can be part of your career life, or other aspects of your life, but not part of yoga. Yoga is the release of striving, & the process of becoming aware of the expansiveness of the present moment. In each and every practice, each and every pose, you are precisely where you need to be. No goals needed :)

I often stress the point that yoga is a moving meditation. There is a nice article on this subject at:
Scroll down a bit to get from the advertisements to the actual article.
It's quite lenghty, so here are some excerpts I found particularly interesting........

Beginning Meditation:
It is sometimes said that the first stages of the meditaion process are the most difficult. The first distraction is the physical body. Sometimes there is real pain in sitting, and sometimes the ego just tries to distract us by creating itches we will want to scratch. Sometimes there is hyperawareness of the physical body: heartbeat, the breathing apparatus, blocked sinuses, digestive discomfort, or some other pain in the physical body. When the body relaxes, sometimes the head fails forward or backward. But over time, meditation not only calms the mind and reduces blood-pressure, it builds up your core strength, just by sitting!

The second obstacle is the mind, which is accustomed to flowing outward and often resents the effort and discipline required to turn our attention inward-it creates all kinds of excuses about why we should be doing something else. Or, instead of being too rajasic, the mind becomes tamasic. Occasionally students report that when sitting for meditation they become unconscious and remember nothing of the experience. The mind becomes quiet and falls into a kind of unconscious sleep, instead of going into dhyana or samadhi. People who experience this state usually describe it as something like this. "I went away somewhere, but don't know where. I don't remember anything. I don't think I was asleep, but. . . ." That's ok. We spend all day with the mind on high-gear. It's normal for it to take a while to calm down - even weeks or months. Be compassionate and patient with yourself. It's an entirely new skill, like learning to ride a bike!

Deepening Our Meditation:
When we begin to spend more time in meditaion, awareness deepens; perceptions of the physical body may diminish while perceptions of the subtle body may appear, leading to a seeming alteration of normal spatial relations. A person may, for example, lose consciousness of the body from the neck down, and feel as if the head is expanding, or as though the body is levitating, or that their body is now facing in a different direction.

One of the most common experiences of meditators is the spontaneous stopping of the breath. When the mind goes deeper, the breath naturally becomes more shallow. In the West we say that this is because the metabolism slows and oxygen demand drops. The yogis say that the brain accumulates more prana and so less breath is needed.

Spiritual Meditation:
According to yoga, the ashta sattvika vikara (the "Eight Purifying Changes" - see http://www.cit-sakti.com/kundalini/experiences-of-meditation.htm and scroll about half-way down the page) occur because the emotions of devotion interact with certain pranic flows in the chakras of the subtle body and begin to purify the body-mind complex. Each of the five lower chakras controls the manifestation of energy into one of the five states of matter: solid, liquid, luminous, gaseous, and pure space. When emotions arise, they interact with the energies of these five centers, and the result is physical expression of an emotional state. When the emotions of love or longing for God or Universality or spirituality arise, the resulting expressions are considered positive because they purify the subtle nerve channels, or nadis. Get that Prana, that life-force energy flowing!!

When we practice meditation, we are creating space for calmness and groundedness. Some people mistakenly believe that this creates instant happiness. This is not true. Happiness and equanimity are not the same thing! What our state of calm, centered equanimity gives us is an opportunity to stay balanced in that state, or to move "up" toward positive feelings, or "down" toward negative feelings. The choice is ours, and we can see the process by which we influence these changes if we observe closely enough. In each moment, watching the breath, ask yourself, "What is my intention here?" If your intention is something other than sharing or inducing peace and good-will, take a moment to reconsider. Your peaceful actions literally make this world a more peaceful place.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lindsay does some classes at Sun-Moon!!

For those of you who have practiced at Sun-Moon Yoga (404 W. Huron St., close to downtown), it is a great space with wonderful energy. I am subbing some classes for the owner, Sondra, while she is in Spain (lucky her!! :)  Below is the list of classes I will be teaching in Feb. & March, in case you feel like joining me for a few. Any questions, just email me! xoxo, -L

2/23 Mon: Spirited (gentle-to-medium Vinyasa) at 6:15pm; Better Backs (good for anyone with back/spine/shoulder issues) at 7:45pm

2/24 Tue: Basic at 9:30am

2/26 Thu: Spirited at 9:30am; Better Backs at 11am

3/16 Mon: Spirited at 6:15pm

3/19 Thu: Spirited at 9:30am

3/23 Mon: Spirited at 6:15pm; Better Backs at 7:45pm

3/24: Tue: Prenatal yoga at 7pm

3/26 Thu: Spirited at 9:30am

3/30 Mon: Spirited at 6:15pm; Better Backs at 7:45pm

Come visit me there, and try out a Spirited class, or a Better Backs session if your back has been bothering you! You're welcome to check out the boutique as well! And just to clarify, I am still teaching at A2 on Saturdays, and doing Thai massage (still $25/hr special! Take advantage of it!) Bright blessings to all of you.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Come to class on Saturday!

Dear Students,
Although I am no longer teaching the Monday & Wednesday Ashtanga classes at A2 Yoga, please join me for class on Saturday at 4pm! I would love to see you there. 

The studio and I are both committed to bringing you the best yoga classes possible.

Mini-Thai massages during savasana....! (And full-length Thai massages available - schedule one today; they're still only $25 per hour until the end of March!)


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Take advantage of the $25 deal!!

Hi all!
Just a reminder that the Thai massage special ($25 for an hour), is going to continue until at least the end of February. So if you're feeling tight or stressed in any way, contact Lindsay for some immediate relief! 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Kindness on the Path to Enlightenment

For some of us, 'kindness' may be reserved for strangers. One would think that the ones closest to us would be the recipients of the most kindness, but unfortunately in many cases this is not true. When people are close to us, it can be easy to take them for granted. Often we are not kind to ourselves, in a variety of ways - negative self-judgment and disparaging remarks, unhealthy behavior, etc. And that kindness we show those strangers? Many times, nothing more than a put-on.

Here's the thing: kindness isn't just "being nice". It's being accepting. Of oneself, of others, of everything. If you can learn to love yourself and others unconditionally and completely, warts and all, you have shifted your mind-set away from the false idea that 'something is wrong', and have instead begun to live happily in the moment.

Have you ever had a moment of pure stillness? Or pure connection, with a partner or a friend or a pet - when you know that all is just as it should be? Enlightenment is just stringing these instances of love and acceptance together.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Quote of the Day

Remember, in life, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
-Cheri Huber

...and here is a nice Yoga Journal article on the subject: http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/2246

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thanks everyone!

Thanks for making the free Ashtanga week such a success. First of all, I hope you enjoyed the classes! I also hope to see you back so we can build the strength and flexibility that will make your flow classes flow like the breeze. 


Monday, January 12, 2009

More FREE YOGA - Keep on coming! (Plus $25 massage!)

Dear everyone,
Thank you so much for making our first FREE Ashtanga class such a success! The room was packed and full of good energy :)

Please come to the Wed (5:30pm) and Sat (4pm) classes as well! 

Build your strength, stamina, flexibility, and sense of calm well-being, and transfer these skills into any area of your life!

Also - One-hour Thai Massages on special for only $25!! We can work at A2 Yoga, or I also make house-calls. If you have any questions about Thai Massage, email me at lindsay.yoga [at] gmail.com

From my heart to yours, 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Free Yoga + Thai Massage!

Remember: There are THREE FREE Ashtanga classes coming up - starting tomorrow!

Monday Jan. 12th @ 7:30pm
Wednesday Jan. 14th @ 5:30pm
Saturday Jan. 17th @ 4:00pm

This is my New Year's gift to you!  Bring friends, bring family, get a taste of how Ashtanga can benefit and enhance any aspect of any yogic style.

ALSO: Feeling stiff or sore from your desk job or your workout? I offer 1-hour Thai Massages for $25! Wonderful for yogis, at an unbeatable price. Come talk to me about it after class, or email me (lindsay.yoga [at] gmail.com)

See you soon!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Internal renewal for the New Year

Blessings, happiness, and well-being to each and every creature on the planet. I hope the new year has brought you a sense of renewal and rejuvenation, both in and out of yoga class!

Try using this energy and this mental concept of a "new beginning" to allow yourself freedom to expand. Freedom to drop judgements. Freedom to be happy, even when (especially when!) you have been stuck in a pattern of unhappiness or negativity, for whatever reason.

It is sometimes all to easy to forget that, when negative thoughts are swirling, hooking their sharp little claws into our sense of well-being, we do not have to invite them in. Nor do we need to try to fight them, by engaging in escapist activity (or fight WITH them, channelling more negativity and upset right into the storm itself).

It makes sense that, as physical beings, our first two reactions to fear or pain are to either run away or fight. This helps keep the physical body safe - especially in pre-modern times. However, the problem is, these are usually the only two strategies we've learned to deal with ANY fear and pain, not just physical! And of course, these strategies are of no help to the mind/psyche (or the spirit.)

So what can we do instead? That's right! I thought you'd be able to guess :) We stop using a fight-or-flight strategy with the mind (which often leads to things such as nervousness/anxiety, depression, feelings of worthlessness or self-loathing.... a very long, sad list. Many of us have been there, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel, believe me). Instead, we being to practice simple, non-judgemental observation. "Simple" in this case does not mean easy. Instead, it refers to a quiet, uncluttered state or method. Trying to sit in non-judgement is very very difficult at first! From the time we are small, we are taught to express preferences, judge other people and things, rank things on scales from best to worse, most- to least-liked, etc.

As you can see, that's quite a lot of cultural baggage already. Then add all the SELF-judgment we continually engage in. Not only is all of this judgement painful in some way (to ourselves, others, or both), but it also completely obscures any awareness of the present moment! For example, one morning you get dressed and look in the mirror. A little voice in your head says, "You don't look very good today. Not good at all. You're looking (thin/heavy/short/tall/polka-dotted/rainbow-striped/whatever it is - take your pick.)

Now you have two choices. You can agree with that tiny voice, begin to doubt your clothing, your hair, your appearance in general. You begin feeling sad, like you are not good enough. You wish you were someone else. Feeling this way, you know there's no way you can enjoy your day now. ..... OR ..... When that little voice criticizes your looks, you don't buy into it. You know that it's just more unhelpful mind chatter. Where did it come from? Your parents? Your friends? Society's idea of "beauty"? In the end, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that you DON'T buy into it! Let it flow right passed you and return to your breath, or choose another mediational focus (a candle flame, an image you like, japa beads, etc.) Just like building any skill, this takes time. So stick with it! I promise you will see results; your head will be nicer place to be! :)

But what if it feels stuck!? It feels like this thought is driving you crazy! Well, it may not seem this way, but feeling comes first, and then thought/reaction comes a split second later. So, although it takes time, we can learn to experience the feeling, observe the thought it triggers, let this cascade of thoughts move through and be processed by the body, and then dissapated; thus breaking the habit of following the thoughts along their destructive course.

In many places, especially Western societies, being non-reactive to events (both internal and external) is seen as extremely strange, & perhaps even somehow "cold". This is an understandable misinterpretation. For example, when the Dalai Lama speaks about Tibet, he does not speak in anger. This confuses a lot of people - how could he NOT be angry? But the Lama is working from an entirely different standpoint; a different paradigm. He sees that anger and violence only beget more of the same. He sees that being "reactive" to the situation the way many people might be will not improve conditions.

Taking a different example, there was a monk living in the forest with very few possessions - a bed, a table, and some windchimes by the window . He had a young apprentice who came every day to study. One day, the apprentice way playing with the beautiful windchimes when they dropped to the ground and broke. He turned around, terrified, to face his master. Instead of anger, he was greeted with his master's smile. "You have nothing to worry about," the Master said. Those were for enjoyment, not for pain." This story is a great example of how even pleasure can lead to negativity & pain. When we are attached to something, be it a person, an object, or a yoga pose, we automatically create opportunities to feel pain if these things are no longer there/the same for us. By letting the positive thoughts of "like" and attachment flow past us in the same way, we approach equanimity from both sides.

The next time something goes "wrong" (start with small things) and you hear that inner voice beginning to judge you (or the situation), take a deep breath. Step away for a moment if you need to. Then try to approach it in a different way. Pretend you are helping your best friend or your child with this problem. Even if it doesn't go perfectly the first time, try try again. You can actually re-train your brain so that your automatic response to stress is more calm, less stress!!

In life, we all have our own completely unique experiences. But these experiences are inextricably entwined with others, and we are all brothers and sisters on this journey. Yes, life will bring pain and sorrow to us all. But it will also bring happiness and pure joy, and - if you are still enough to breathe it - inner peace. This is difficult work. Be compassionate with yourself.