Sunday, December 12, 2010

Benefits of Yoga as Explained by Dr. Lipman



Dr. Lipman and Elena Brower discuss the extremely powerful benefits of yoga. Dr. Lipman on his experience of yoga: "yoga is a subjective experience..when I do yoga..I'm so much more patient, aware and present..yoga helps me so much when I listen and my perception and intuition is enhanced. I'm a completely different person on so many levels...I think this is extremely powerful..I don't know what else does this."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Workshop Schedule for Nov.and Dec. 2010

1. Pre-Holidays Detox: Twist and Flow Yoga Workshop

Date: Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Time: 11.00 – 13.00

Cost: € 25

Place: Sunrise Yoga, Dun Laoghaire (www.sunrise.ie)

Prepare for the holidays by setting the intention to stay centered during the busy season with this two-hour workshop. This workshop is designed to detoxify on every level of your being. Let go of the old to make space for the new!

We will focus on twisting postures and a flowing practice designed to cleanse your body and mind. Twists stimulate circulation and have a cleansing and refreshing effect on the organs and associated glands. When spiraling the organ receives a tourniquet effect which squeezes out old blood and when twisting in the other direction, allows new blood to flow in. This in turn stimulates the metabolism, detoxifies the system and brings rejuvenation.

Aside from the physiological and structural benefits of twists, there are centering benefits to your consciousness. As the layers of muscle and bones revolve deeply, your attention is drawn into the stable, unmoving center of the pose. This ability to stay centered in twists on the mat will allow you to bring this centering off the mat in your daily living among the unsteadiness of the world.

The workshop will end with a ½ hour yoga nidra, a guided meditation that promotes complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation.

Please reserve your space in advance by registering online at www.sunrise.ie, or emailing me at anna.fidz@gmail.com.

2. Relax, Refresh and Renew (Restorative Yoga Workshop)

Dates: Sunday, November 28th and December 12th, 2010

Time: 16.00 – 18.00

Cost: € 25 each

Place: Sunrise Yoga, Dun Laoghaire (www.sunrise.ie)

Learn to actively relax, release any stress and renew your mind, body and spirit.

Restorative yoga is a practice that reduces your stress and improves your health. It is helpful when you feel stressed, weak or overwhelmed by daily activities or major life events. Restorative yoga is especially valuable for those suffering from stress, cancer, menopause, injury, depression or other challenges. Even those who feel perfectly healthy report that restorative yoga has helped them develop more energy and sleep better.

All postures (asanas) will be done in a passive manner with the support of blankets, blocks and other props. You will have an opportunity to linger peacefully in these soothing and well-supported poses with gentle hands-on adjustments, candle-light and lavender oils. The class will end with a ½ hour yoga nidra, a guided meditation that promotes complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation. No previous yoga experience is necessary.

Class size is limited to 12 people, so that you receive the attention and guidance you need. All props are provided.

Please reserve your space in advance by registering online at www.sunrise.ie, or emailing me at anna.fidz@gmail.com.

Blessings and Namaste,

Anna


Friday, October 8, 2010

The best gift I ever survived: Watch this Video!



This actually happened to one of my friends...

"The next time you face something that's unexpected, unwanted, and uncertain, consider that it just may be a gift." Stacey Kramer

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One of My Favorite Poems: DESIDERATA

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

--- Max Ehrmann, 1927

Saturday, September 18, 2010

a word about COURAGE


" Courage"
is one of the qualities I admire most in people and try to cultivate in my own self and daily living. So I did some research on books that discuss this topic and what it really mean to live with courage and embody it. And I what I found is really interesting and enlightening. This is from the book: "Courage - The Joy of Living Dangerously" by Osho (Chapter: The Way of the Heart).

"The word courage is very interesting. It comes from a Latin root cor, which means ‘heart’. So to be courageous means to live with the heart. And weaklings, only weaklings, live with the head; afraid, they create a security of logic around themselves. Fearful, they close every window and door - with theology, concepts, words, theories - and inside those closed doors and windows, they hide.

The way of the heart is the way of courage. It is to live in insecurity; it is to live in love, and trust; it is to move in the unknown. It is leaving the past and allowing the future to be. Courage is to move on dangerous paths. Life is dangerous, and only cowards can avoid the danger - but then, they are already dead. A person who is alive, really alive, vitally alive, will always move into the unknown. There is danger there, but he will take the risk. The heart is always ready to take the risk, the heart is a gambler. The head is a businessman. The head always calculates - it is cunning. The heart is non-calculating."

The 3 most important aspects of courage I think to take away from this quote are:

1. Courage is Not Fearlessness: That’s right. Since you are going to be dealing with the unknown and with uncertainly, there is bound to be apprehension. That’s ok. Courage is to move forward despite this fear. So don’t feel like you lack courage simply because you have fear. Look at the fear as an opportunity to exercise your courage muscle. As Osho would put it, embrace uncertainty.

2. Listen to the Heart, Not the Mind: In the article How to Escape Your Suffering: The Blind Man vs. The Cripple I went into this point where your guide ought to be your heart and not your mind. The mind will endlessly battle for security, it will wobble between the pros and cons. The heart, on the other hand, will help you to jump into the great unknown and help you to be true to your passions.

3. Courage Allows you to Live in the Present: This is the essence of courage. To allow the unknown future to take shape and be willing to move out of the mind and into the moment. So instead of trying to manipulate life to avoid uncertainty, simply take an innocent attitude instead. There are no guarantees here that things will go right, there is only danger and mystery, courage means to be willing to go forward nonetheless.

Any thoughts on this?

Blessings and Namaste
Anna

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Reason & Season (beautiful poem from www.dailylove.com)


The Reason & Season
by Mastin Kipp
The path of your heart will lead you many places

And most of the time
You won't know why

The alchemy
Of trusting the mystery
Pulls your dreams down from the sky

And if you see the edge ahead
And are afraid that you
Might die

But the edge you see
Is your opportunity
To grow your own wings and fly

Remember that
Life changes with the season
And when you think that
Your love is leavin'
Sometimes things fall apart
And break your heart
To let the love within be the feelin'

So leap off the edge
And say
Goodbye

And when you jump you'll see
You've been set free
And it's only your fear that's meant to die

So just let go
And start believin'
You don't need to have
A reason
If you don't know where to start
Follow your heart
Cuz love is never out of season

Friday, September 10, 2010

Delicious Smoothie Recipe with a twist!

I've been into making smoothies lately and found this delicious recipe with a bit of a twist! Blender drinks provide a super-simple, healthy treat. Refreshing and delicious, smoothies make a great breakfast drink or an afternoon pick-me-up snack with healthful benefits. Here's a favorite blend, with a special twist to spice it up a bit:

In a blender, put 2 cups of milk, non-dairy milk, yogurt, fruit juice or water. Add the following: 1 banana, 1 apple (peeled), 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries and 1/4 cup frozen raspberries. (Frozen fruit retains its nutritional value, as it is usually frozen right after picking - plus it gives a refreshing coolness to your smoothie.) Now the "twist" – add a pinch of turmeric, a pinch of cinnamon and a heaping teaspoon of fresh chopped ginger. If you like it a little sweeter, add a 1/2 teaspoon of agave nectar. Blend up a single serving or enough for the whole family. Be creative, add what you love and feel free to experiment. Enjoy a delicious, nutritious meal in a glass!

Perfect for after yoga practice replenishment and nourishment! Thanks to www.yogamint.com for the recipe!

Blessings and Namaste

Anna

Monday, August 23, 2010

What Yoga Means to ME


An optimist is a person who sees only the light in the picture, whereas a pessimist sees only the shadows. An idealist, however, is one who sees the light and the shadow, but in addition sees something else: the possibilities of changing the picture, of making the light prevail over the shadows. Anon

I've always been labeled as either an optimist or an idealist, but the quote above makes me think how my yoga practice has made me an idealist. I see the light and darkness in the world (the reality of all the crap that's going on) and try to be a light myself for others and ask myself: "how can I rise above all this? how can I make things better? how can I bring more light into the world?"

How can I strip away all the bull*^#' from everything and everyone (including myself) and see things as they really are?

To me yoga is much more to yoga than bending, folding and twisting your body. Yoga challenges me every day..on AND off the mat. Yoga also stretches/opens my mind by asking me to challenge my beliefs about myself, my body, my consciousness, my identity, my community, society and the world. Yoga has created (and continues to create) a real and lasting change in my life. The physical postures produce the added benefits of cleansing my body, ridding any unwanted fat and healing old injuries. But yoga is not an exercise. It is a body awareness technique aimed at liberating my consciousness from old, habitual was of thinking, being and acting. The flexible yoga body is merely a seductive by-product of the work of awakening my consciousness.

Yoga challenges me to live more authentically, be more present, and be more aware and mindful of my every interaction. It teaches me to be more fully engaged in my every day living and face every day with clarity strength and courage. And if I can accomplish this sense of attention and mindfulness on the mat, I can duplicate this in my life off the mat.

What does your yoga practice mean to you?

Blessings and Namaste
Anna

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Emotions and Our Hips


Here's an excellent article on how and why we hold emotions in our hips:

Get Hip to Your Feelings

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Friday, July 16, 2010

A big THANK YOU to all my students!

I dedicate this post to all my yoga students for their discipline, dedication, support and hard work! They are all brilliant stars! THANK YOU to all of you for being YOU! This is for you:

"To be a star you must shine your own light, follow your own path, and never fear the dark for that is where stars shine the brightest." ~Author unknown

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."~Antoine de St. Exupery Bold

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Friday, June 18, 2010

Yoga of Living 5 Day Course

I am currently in the middle of doing Elena Brower's 5 day course entitled, "Approaching Acceptance" and am finding myself really becoming more understanding and respectful of myself and others. I HIGHLY recommend this course to everyone. It's online and free and can be found here:

http://www.artofattention.com/category/yoga-of-living-course/

I'm deeply greatful to Elena Brower for creating this brilliant course. The world would be a better place if everyone completed this!

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Thursday, June 17, 2010

With deep gratitude


I just had to share with you the lovely, lovely painting that one of my students painted for me. It is soooo beautiful, and I'm so deeply grateful! I'll hang it up in my new apartment! Thank you so much, Martha!

Blessings and Namaste,
anna

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Michelle Whelan's Workshop!

I was fortunate enough to reconnect with someone I had trained at YogaWorks in New York last weekend. Michelle Whelan came to do a "Hips, Heart and Hamstrings" 3 hour workshop at our Sunrise studio in Dublin (and her husband, Greg, played acoustic guitar!)

Michelle divided it up into classes, a yin and yang. Michelle was original and thoughtful and received amazing feedback from everyone that attended! Thank you, Michelle and hope to see you soon!!

Blessings and Namaste,
anna :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How do you become a genius? Nurturing creativity...

This is a really great video from author of Eat, Pray, Love... Elizabeth Gilbert. She talks about the expectations from artists and geniuses -- and "letting genius catch you."

Very funny, informative and inspiring for anyone with a courageous spirit who wants to nourish your creativity!

Blessings and Namaste,
anna

Friday, May 7, 2010

Yoga as a form of art and a creative expression of the self

One of my favorite yoga instructors and activists, Seane Corn, talks about yoga and why it's a form of art, a creative expression of the self. Each individual is responsible for her own unique expression and the growth of her creativity. Discover how to uncover your own unique expression of being and how your yoga practice will grow and change with you.

Watch this short video here:
http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Seane-Corn-and-the-Art-of-Yoga-Video

Blessings and Namaste,
anna

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Fish

Fish: "Add a touch of nature to your page with these hungry little fish. Watch them as they follow your mouse hoping you will feed them by clicking the surface of the water."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Practicing Patience in Stressful Times


I have to admit that patience has never been one of my virtues.

Life seems to move at a very fast pace and this makes patience even harder to practice. Yet, the ability to tolerate delay without getting upset is a must-have quality that contributes to our greater sense of well-being.

Patience creates feelings of peace and calm, as opposed to the anger and frustration that often arises with impatience. And finding a way to be at ease mentally while waiting in a doctor’s office or sitting in a traffic jam can also help us stave off a slate of stress-related illnesses, including high blood pressure and autoimmune disease.

M.J. Ryan, author of The Power of Patience, talks about how to muster patience when it goes against every fiber in your being during a moment when things aren’t going your way or happening fast enough.

In his book he explains that patience is made up of three things. One is persistence. That’s the capacity to keep on going even though you can’t yet see the end result. It's what keeps us moving toward our goal and thus helps us make our dreams come true. Two is acceptance. Accepting that whatever is happening right now is the way it is. The third is a sense of peacefulness or serenity or calmness in the face of what is.

Why is patience important? Well, in order to understand this, we have to ask “What is impatience?” Impatience is on the anger continuum. First you have irritation, then impatience and then anger and, at the far end, rage. So, besides helping us reach goals, what is important about patience is that it keeps our anger turned off.

Ultimately, patience allows us to act more mindfully and wisely. You get peace of mind when things are challenging, and you also have better relationships with other people — parents, kids, co-workers, spouse. Lord knows, patience is a quality we most need for high-functioning relationships. It allows us to hang in there and keep going, whether with a person or with a process, or in a business.

The more patience and compassion we have for ourselves, the more we can and will learn. Also, we can only be as patient with others as we are with ourselves.

What you really want to do is create more space between impulse and action. This is how we build more patience. Counting to 10 — or even 100! — really works for creating that space. Pausing and just taking an inhale and exhale (breathing) works as well! Think pranayama or breath work!!

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Basics of Yoga Philosophy: the Yamas and Niyamas

Prior to my life as a yogi, I looked toward institutions for guidance in finding the truth: religion, my education and the world/people. Individually, each held an essential nugget of truth, but I was missing a connection and integration.

It was yoga that ultimately brought the three seamlessly together.

While yoga is not a religion, it is a spiritual quest complete with beliefs universally shared by Jews and Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus alike.

Yoga is also not therapy, yet every day millions of people find self-fulfillment and enlightenment not on a counselor’s couch, but on a yoga mat.

Yoga is not a school, but I can think of no singular place where I’ve gained more wisdom. In fact, to adapt a phrase: everything I ever needed to know, I learned from yoga.

You see, yoga is literally a unification. And while separately it is neither a religion, a psychology, nor a learning institution, it is an integration of the above.

Literally, it all begins with just a few golden rules.

We call them the yamas (how we treat others) and niyamas (how we treat ourselves). Admittedly, none of these concepts are rocket science, but in practice they are profound. In fact, our very evolution as individuals and as a society depends on our willingness to not just practice yoga, but to live our yoga, as well.

Outlined succinctly in the second chapter of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (the yogic textbook, you could say) are 10 simple practices. These are a yogi’s “ten commandments”—that don’t involve twisting legs into a pretzel.

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. Brahmacharya is a higher awareness in our relationships—one that transcends the physical one.

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.

The meaning in our lives is discovered not by the practice of yoga—but by its embodiment. In becoming a person free of jealousy, dishonesty, discontent and destruction … and in taking the time to put our beliefs into action with others and ourselves … we discover who we were meant to be all along. Our true state of being is revealed—one of love and utter joy.

Blessings and Namaste,
anna

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

February 2010 Meditation Challenge!

Join me in meditating for 10 minutes per day in February and see what happens after 28 days! Some benefits that have been documented in medical journals: joy of doing increases, intuition increases, pleasure of life grows, negativity recedes, stress decreases, awareness increases...

Meditation is ‘mental development.’ Meditation is a means of taming the mind by bringing the entire range of thoughts, feelings and physical sensations into awareness, making the unconscious conscious.

To experience a taste of this luminosity: try sitting quietly in an upright posture. It could be in a chair or on the sofa or cross-legged on the floor. Keep your back straight. Or lie down if you would rather. Let your eyes gently close. And just focus on your breath (the inhale and exhale). If your mind wanders, as it will, bring your attention back to your breath. Be gentle but firm. Meditation means bringing your mind back when you notice it has wandered, it’s not about keeping your mind from wandering in the first place. Just observe your thoughts, don't judge or hold on to anything..

There's no excuse for not doing this every day unless you're not breathing!! You can do it in the airport, at work, home, cafe, train, plane,...

Post your comments below on how it's going for you!

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

My Yoga Retreat with Todd Norian at Kripalu, US!

I just returned from my 5 day retreat at Kripalu with Todd Norian, a brilliant, inspiring, eloquent, very shri-filled and gifted Anusara teacher. Todd was skilled in his instruction, related well to everyone and and had such a delightful and peaceful presence about him. The retreat, "Illume Your Soul thru Yoga, Meditation and Pranayama in the Anusara Method" was held from Dec. 26th thru Dec. 31st at the Kripalu Yoga Center in the Berkshires of Mass., US (above is the view from my window ...lots of snow!!).

My wonderful teacher in Ireland, Tahnee Fournier, inspired me to explore Anusara, and I wanted to learn more about the philosophy and principles of this type of yoga. I was trained in ISHTA (which is a hatha system as well), but like to incorporate different styles in my practice and teaching. I had the most amazing time, met the brightest people and was able to rejuvenate myself and my practice! It was also an auspicious time of year, where I was able to reflect on the past year/let go and set some new goals for 2010! I feel more courageous to face the New Year and know that I will always be supported by the Universe if I follow my heart and stay true to myself! Here's a synoposis of the five-day experience and what I learned (apologies in advance for any misspellings/omissions or misinterpretations!!!):

Arrived in the evening, and Todd gave us a nice introduction to Anusara, explained the philosophy of Tantra, we worked on our intentions or sankalpas for the retreat and did some asana practice (including some fun partner work). Anusara means “flowing with Grace" and “following your heart.” It's grounded in a Tantric philosophy of intrinsic goodness and everything in this world is an embodiment of Divine (Supreme Consciousness) and the purpose of practicing Anusara yoga is to align with this Divine. It is a yoga that's focused on the celebration of the heart!

Anusara classes are all centered around a theme, and Todd's theme for the second day was darkness and lightness. He explained that there could be no light without darkness and that we all go through times that challenge and test us (but he elaborated that the Universe sends us these times of darkness when she knows we are ready to meet them and grow!) Posed the question: How has the darkness served you? He also spoke about the three godesses (Kali, Lakshmi, and...Saraswati) and what they stood for. He provided an explanation of the 3 A's of Anusara:

1. Attitude: why are you practicing the yoga? philosophy behind it..
2. Alignment: application of your intention
3. Action: expression of the balance of the two forces (stability vs. balance)

Todd explained the 6 attributes of our true nature (absolute nature):
1. chit: consciousness-universal energy is awake
2. ananda: pulses with joy
3. spanda: pulsation (dynamic energy pulses like your heart beat and breath)
4. parmatva: there are no missing parts (we are whole and perfect)
5. svatantya: unique freedom (we are free to choose)
6. shri: goodness, auspiciousness (divine beauty and life is constantly becoming better)

Five Priciples of Alignment:
1. Opening to Grace: setting the foundation (light)
2. Muscular Energy: drawing in
3. Inner Spiral: expanding (ex. inner rotating legs to create alignment)
4. Outer Spiral: contracting (ex. scooping tailbone)
5. Organic Energy: shining out (from the focal point) a natural desire to stretch for something greater but you have to hug in

Todd explained that this is all done to optimize our freedom of our life force and shakti and move toward our true nature where we feel lighter. Then after the theory and philosophy, we applied some of the principles and did an awesome practice.

Todd explained that the two highest purposes of Anusara yoga are chit ananda. The theme for today was courage. Courage means "of the heart" and it's the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chose course of action. He wove this through eloquently throughout the entire class with shoulder-opening poses which led us to do some beautiful backbends including the wheel pose (a true heart opener!)

Then we reflected and wrote in our journal on the following: "what challenge would I like to bring more courage to in my life?" He emphasized about the courage to let go and be vulnerable. A warrior knows when to let go and healthy engagement...looks into his/her heart and steps back and reflects. (Todd assisting/instructing in hand-stand prep in photo above).

Then we went into the optimal blue print or alignment for our skeleton and bones for our shoulders:
1. side body long: shoulder comes to the base of the neck and inner body bright
2. head of the arm bones back
3. shoulder loop: shoulder loop (curling lower tips of shoulder blades under the heart) shoulderblades are flat and hug in
4. broaden: expand shoulderblades and no pinching

He stressed that although we are all free to choose our thoughts and have freedom, we also have responsibility.

The theme for today was: "celebrate!" Todd explained that we should celebrate the opportunity to awaken and love, laugh (take things lightly), and life FULLY. The more joy and light we can hold, the more we light up! But he said not to give yourself too easily, because you become the company that you keep! But put on your party hat!

I found this to be very insightful:
Samadhi Samskaras: every thought creates a groove in the mind.
Samskara: grooves or patterns in the minds/ways of thinking and living. Negative patterns are bad habits, but they can be changed.
Samadhi: even, united and balanced

How do we learn in ways that are life-affirming and enhancing? How do we transform samkaras?
1. Step 1-> Become Aware: Don't judge yourself, but watch with acceptance and an equanamous mind. Train your mind to have awareness and see with calmness.
2. Step 2->Alignment: Descipline, choose to align with the Divine with determination and skillfullness
3. Step 3->Heat: Apply tapas, austerity and power of transformation. Yoga should be fun and transforming, but you need heat or action.
4. Step 4-> Extend and create new groove with Prema (or unconditional love).

We should navigate life and engage more. We do yoga to get into transcendence and manifestation. We ground and reach and value who we are. Yoga is taking care of ourselves in the most skillful way. As John Friend puts it: "Yoga creates a sharp (clear/lucid) mind, energetic/healthy body and a soft heart."

To conclude, Todd played the harmonium and we all chanted Om Nama Shivaya.

The following day, Todd asked: "why did the Universe create you?" For the sheer delight, is the answer! Here are the nine categories of Divine feeling: love, compassion, humor, lightness, warrior, anger, disgust, fear, wander and peace. He said that we should have no veil experience, but see with the eyes of a child (with awe) and connect with the source.

Karma is the horizontal plane or the work for a reason and lila is the vertical axis or divine play for no reason. How do you bring playfulness to your work? When is your technique or practice getting too rigid? Then we did a practice that worked with the theme of awe and playfulness. See the world through the eyes of a child!! (like my almost 3 year old nephew below)


On the last day, Todd explained that we should be able to RECEIVE! We need to soften and let down our guard! How do you receive your breath and your day? A gift is something you don't deserve, so practice receiving from the Universe. Receive the gift of life. What is your song? What is your gift?

He later explained the 5 koshas or sheaths: body, mind, breath, wisdom and bliss

Each day with Todd was filled with some theory/a theme and a wonderful practice/meditation breathwork/reflection/journaling/partner exercise that incorporated his teachings! I know I probably missed some stuff in my synopsis above, because Todd's class was so rich in theory and practice, but I did the best to capture the main things that I walked away with above. I walked away feeling empowered, confident and rejuvenated!

THANK YOU to Todd for a most magnificent way to end 2009 and begin the New Year! Hopefully, you learned something from reading about my experience...

Happy New Year! It will be the best one yet!!! I just know it!!

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna