The Heart of the Matter

Namaste my fellow yogi/yoginis!

“Love was born first, the gods cannot reach it, or the spirits, or men…Far as heaven and earth extend, far as the waters go, high as the fire burns, you are greater, love!  The wind cannot reach you, nor the fire, nor the sun, nor the moon:  You are greater than them all, love!”
–Atharva Veda 9.2.19

This month we focus on our center of peace, the still center point of our energetic body–the Anahata (Heart) Chakra.  This peaceful, loving, compassionate energy is reflected by the Golden Rule:  Treat others as you would wish to be treated.  Love yourself, as well as your neighbors.  What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself.   Where in your life are you being less than any of this towards either yourself, or others?

The element associated with the Anahata Chakra is air.  Air is most commonly associated with expansive knowledge, openness and spaciousness, freedom to breath and a sense of lightness.  This love is empathic, compassionate, and is experienced within us as a state of being which is not based on need or desire.  We will work with prana (breath), back bends, and chest openers to help us connect with some of these elements.

For your meditation practice, I offer you the seed (bija) sound for the Anahata (Heart) Chakra:  Lam.  Repeat this seed sound silently to yourself as you gently follow the rise and fall of your breath with your attention.  You might also envision a green, glowing light centered in your chest.  Feel this essence of compassion, drawing it in on the inhale, and radiating it out on the exhale.  

An interesting side note:  The translation of Anahata from Sanskrit is “sound that is made without any two things striking.

A couple updates to my teaching schedule:

1)  I have stepped out of the Saturday morning Vinyasa class rotation at the Palo Alto Family YMCA.  The class will continue to be taught by the remaining teachers on a rotational basis.  Check the online schedule at:

2) The Friday Breath & Meditation class at Breathe Together Yoga is at a new time:  2:30-3:00pm beginning Feb. 17th.

See you on the  mat!


New Year Fresh Start

Namaste my fellow yogi/yoginis!

A new year fresh start, facing unknown adventures, with a willingness to return time and again to an open and compassionate heart for all experiences that will come my way.  This is my invocation for 2017.

This month is dedicated to present moment awareness, and beginning again over and over.  Life has a way of interrupting the best of intentions, no doubt.  Stumbling blocks, while they may slow us down, also become the very stones we step on–or over–along the path to our inner freedom.


Last September, we worked with one of the mantras associated with Ganesha.  Ganesha is the elephant headed Hindu god who removes obstacles (and sometimes is known to place them!) along the path.  This month we will work with the Ganesha mudra (hand gesture) pictured above. His energy is typically invoked at the beginning of any new endeavor to help smooth the way to success.  Practice of this mudra is said to help lift spirits and to assist in persevering.  As a side bene, it also releases tension through the shoulders and chest!

On another note, there has been a change to the Saturday morning Vinyasa class at Palo Alto Family YMCA, until at least April 2017.

8:00-9:00am, Vinyasa, MBS

See you on the mat!

Countering Stress & Anxiety

Almost a month ago, I received a call that no one likes to get–my mother had fallen while walking her dog and broken her hip.  I spent a moment in disbelief, before quietly shifting my attention to breath awareness and calmly beginning the process of making phone calls and preparing to make the trip up to Oregon where she lives.  Thus began two weeks of immersion in seva (सेवा), taking care of my mother as she navigates her recovery from a hip fracture.

The holiday season alone can be stressful, without the added pressure of worry for a loved one.   My meditation practice has been essential in helping me handle my anxiety and stress during the initial weeks of her healing.   As such, I would like to share with you a podcast meditation by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.  My primary meditation training has been with Mingyur Rinpoche’s ‘Joy of Living’ program.   This particular guided meditation gives you a taste of Tibetan Buddhism meditation practices.

Find the podcast here:

For more information on Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and the ‘Joy of Living’ program:

See you on the mat!

Metta For These Times

I close each of my yoga classes with an offering to all beings everywhere, that they may have happiness and be free from suffering.   These two wishes are part of The Four Immeasurables, as described by Lord Buddha, which consist of loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy, and equanimity.  We work with these four qualities so that we may cultivate wholesome attitudes towards all sentient beings.

Loving-kindness, the first immeasurable, is the wish that everyone, without exception, have happiness.   Loving-kindness feels much the same as the sincere good wishes a mother feels toward her new-born infant–that he or she will enjoy good health, be intelligent and successful, and make good friends.  This immeasurable counters ill-will.

Compassion, the second of the immeasurables, is the wish that everyone be free from suffering.  When we witness suffering by those close to us, family, friends, even a pet, we experience the ordinary quality of compassion.  To reach the sublime level of compassion, is to extend it out to all sentient beings in all realms of existence.  This immeasurable counters cruelty.

My wish, as we navigate our post-election world, is that we remind ourselves on a daily basis to connect with loving-kindness and compassion.

See you on the mat!


May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all beings never be separated from the happiness that knows no suffering.
May all beings live in equanimity, free from attachment and aversion.


Dying To Our Perceptions

“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.”
–Pema Chödrön

The leaves are beginning to turn, a final blaze of color to close out another year of growth.  Fall is a time for letting go of old clothes, old habits, old ways of being.  Echoing Pema’s quote, each and every time we turn to face our fears is an opportunity to shed them.  To also quote my teacher, Jennifer Prugh, we continue to “die to our perceptions, over and over” until we reach the eternal, indestructible Truth.

This month we will explore the themes of letting go and riding the waves of change.  What does your world look like when experienced upside down? Do you resist flipping your perspective?  Why is that, and is it True?

See you on the mat!

Harvest time!

Namaste my fellow yogi/yoginis!

My favorite time of the year is just around the corner–Fall!  It is the perfect time to contemplate how prosperity is manifesting in your life right here, right now.   The universe, your physical body, your mental thoughts, the objects and people that surround you, abundance both given and received, are energy bound in different forms.  This month we will be exploring prosperity and abundance, both physically and energetically, via our hips and mantra.

Mantra is a repeated word or phrase that is meaningful or sacred to the practitioner.  Mantra can elevate or modify consciousness, through meaning, sound, rhythm, tone, and reflexology of the tongue against the palate of the mouth.  Mantra helps us connect with, and embody, positive, meaningful, or sacred energy.  One of my favorite mantras we will be working with this month is “Om Gum Ganapataye Namaha.”  This mantra invokes the energy of Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity who is known as the Remover of Obstacles and the Lord of Beginnings.  Ganesha helps clear the way for success and abundance to flow more readily in our lives.  Below is a brief video clip of me working with this particular mantra.  And, just in case you were wondering–after watching the clip–mantra can also be silent!  Chanting or singing out loud is always optional.

See you on the mat!

Meditation Myths & Truths

Truth.  No one type of meditation is better than another.  What matters most is consistent, persistent practice of a method that feels right to you.  We will be practicing consistency today, 2:00-2:30pm at Breathe Los Gatos.  See you on the cushion!

Summer Challenge

Looking for a fun little challenge this summer that will up the peace quotient in your life?  The Breathe Los Gatos 2016 Summer Games begin June 5th!  The Summer Games are a fantastic opportunity to check out yoga classes you’ve never taken, and to help you establish a regular yoga practice.  Full participation includes a chance to win some amazing raffle prizes!

Full details here:


Compassion in Action

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded.  It’s a relationship between equals.  Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.  Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” –Pema Chödrön

Compassion in action begins with self.  Notice how many moments during your average day, when you are unkind to yourself.  Self-judgement, feelings of unworthiness, comparison of self versus another are just a few of the ways we are unkind toward ourselves.  This month we will explore the many ways we can soften the relationship we have with self and others.

See you on the mat!


The Essential Breath

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras outlines an eight limbed path to self-realization, or enlightenment, called ashtanga.  Ashtanga translates literally to eight (ashta) limb (anga).  Pranayama, or breath control, is the fourth limb, and one of the key components to both asana practice (the third limb) and meditation (dhyana, the seventh limb).  Breath both carries and sustains us during asana practice, and provides an anchor for meditation.  Pausing and paying attention to our breath is also very useful in everyday life, helping us to respond rather than react when encountering stressors.  Join me this week for dedicated pranayama practice, along with meditation, at our new time:  Breath & Meditation, 2:00pm, Fridays, Breathe Los Gatos.

P.S.  This video gives a beautiful explanation of the science behind breathing and its affect on the nervous system.

Watch ‘The Science of Breathing’