Thursday, December 4, 2014

Seventh and final chakra

The last chakra is the sahasrara chakra found at the crown of the head.  The element it is associated with is boundlessness.  Essentially it is any and all elements, so much that we can't comprehend. It works to create connection with all things, spirituality, divinity and realization.  It is associated with the colors violet, gold or white.

When this chakra is balanced, one might feel free of stress-related disease, a free flow of energy, and goose bumps.  Also joyful attitude, faith, empathy, balanced spontaneity.

If this chakra is out of balance, one might find neglecting oneself and not caring for oneself, and stress-related disease.  There might be fear, second guessing, lack of emotion, feeling scattered and unfocused.

To bring this chakra back into balance, one can meditate on the mandala here. One can try breathing energy up and out the crown of the head, or chanting a silent om.  One could try fasting, crystal gazing, worship, volunteering, or stream of consciousness art/painting without expectation.  The asana one can try are savasana and headstand.

Love and light,


Monday, December 1, 2014

Sixth chakra

The sixth chakra is found between the eyebrows, sometimes called the third eye.  The sanskrit name for it is ajna.  The element it commands is light.  It is involved with intuition,, balance between Yin and Yang, all forms of thought, and understanding the world around us.  The color associated with this chakra is purple.

When the chakra is balanced one might find calm, a healthy brain and mental focus, pineal gland and pituitary health, good sleep, and psychic abilities.  Emotionally, one might see humility, joy, realistic expectations, excellent self-esteem, trust and faith.

When this chakra is unbalanced one could see brain and nervous system conditions, sight conditions, epilepsy, feeling out of touch with the body, headaches, and sleep disorders.  Additionally, one might see manic depression, confusion, suffering, indecisiveness, and feeling unsure of one's purpose.

To try to get this chakra back into balance one can try alternate nostril breathing, chanting "om" or meditating on the mandala here.  One could also try prayer, journaling, and self-reflection. The asanas one can use include child's pose with thumbs at the third eye, savasana, and candlestick.

Namaste my friends,


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fifth Chakra

The fifth chakra is located in the throat, and is called Vishuddha chakra.  It is associated with the ether, the color blue, and helps with self-expression, speaking your truth, identifying with others, purification, and self-fulfillment.

When this chakra is balanced, one might find a clear voice, healthy thyroid & thymus, good hearing, a clear throat and sinuses, good sleep and dreaming,  Also one might find the ability to transform negative experiences into wisdom and learning, ethical sense and ability to exert ethical choice, ability to speak up and/or listen as necessary, and honesty.

If it is imbalanced one might see thyroid imbalance, nose and throat issues, tooth decay, insomnia, weight problems, ear infection, and neck pain.  Emotionally, one might experience emotional insecurity, fear of others' opinions, inability to speak up or listen.

When this chakra is imbalanced one might try a pranayama technique of alternate nostril breathing to restore balance. One might also meditate on the mandala seen here.  Chanting the word "ham" might help as well.  It is said more like "hom". Physically, one might try the neti pot, gargle salt water, ear candling, singing, humming and neck rolls. For the asana that one might try to balance this chakra, try shoulderstand, fish, plow, or camel.

Blessings all,


Friday, November 14, 2014

Allowing ourselves to be human

I love to read, so I read A LOT of blogs throughout the week.  Lately, I have noticed a trend and decided I needed to write about it.  It seems that everyone is going through some rough times.  It happens.  We have ups, downs and some coasting throughout our lives.

The only real problem I see is that so many put a disclaimer on their articles that normally the writers are upbeat and happy, but they are having a rough time, so don't judge them on this one post.  It reminds me of the scene in How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days where Andie is sitting in a meeting with her boss and the whole team that writes articles for a women's magazine.  Her boss is talking about all the upcoming articles and describes each one as being informative and upbeat, or delving into a mysterious event and upbeat, or talking about tough issues and upbeat.  Notice that she always wants her articles to be upbeat.

It makes me sad.  We are so worried about being happy all the time, that we aren't allowed to be human. We aren't allowed to feel anything but guilt for feeling a little down right now.  And then because we all write and talk about being so happy, the people who are dealing with some difficulties feel like they are abnormal.  Like there is something wrong with them.

How about we allow ourselves to feel some of these feelings?  Humanity comes with it all, not just the good.  You have to have the good to compare the bad to, or you have this neutral place with nothing to live for.  Have you read or watched The Giver?  If not, I suggest you do, and then let yourselves be human.

Blessings everyone,


Friday, November 7, 2014

Body image and eating disorders part II

Earlier I wrote about the idea that maybe some of us feel like we are not heard or seen, so we eat to allow us to take up for space.  I went to a workshop the other night revolving around using Yoga to work through Trauma.

One of the concepts that came up really could apply to feeling like people don't hear us or see us. The idea is using certain powerful poses to make us bigger.  There is great research out there that suggests if we stand much taller, we feel more confident.  We are simply taking up more space, forcing people to take notice more.  A great video to watch is this one by Amy Cuddy.

So what poses can you use to make yourself feel better when you are having an insecure moment? Anything that will make you bigger.  Think Extended Mountain, Warrior I, II, and III.  Maybe some Triangle in there or a mini back bend from Extended Mountain, cactusing out your arms.  You can run through some Sun Salutations to work out the anxiety, to make you feel like you accomplished something.  There is a reason why you feel so good after an asana class.  You just spent a lot of time taking up space, making yourself more powerful.

Take some time and make yourself feel more powerful today.  Do some poses or think back to how many times you have survived some tumultuous times.

Bright blessings my friends,


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Body image and eating disorders

I read an article about body affirmations that really got me thinking.  Before the author got to her list of body affirmations she uses, she spoke of her eating disorder history.  She had anorexia when she was younger, she claimed that she just wanted to disappear.  Now I know that that's not the reason for all people who have dealt with anorexia, but I wondered if the reverse were true.

Is it possible that some of us who eat more than we "should" feel like we are not seen or heard, and just want that, so we eat to make ourselves bigger?  I know some people claim that they gain weight because it creates a protective barrier, but what about the rest?

I admit that I am not a skinny chick, and that I eat more than I "should."  (I use "should" because that is based on what people think, not necessarily on anything else.)  I fight with my own body image at times, just like a lot of other people out there.  It's a byproduct of never feeling normal.  But then, am I eating so much because I want people to see the real me?

Just food for thought.

Namaste my friends,


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Young Living Essential Oils

After a lot of thought, I decided to sign up with Young Living to sell their Essential Oils and other products. First, I wanted something to enhance my yoga classes.  I love the different smells you can obtain from incense, but I find the smoke irritates my throat.  Diffusing Essential Oils is a great way go bring in different scents, while not creating the issues I find.

I am just embarking on this journey, and have found them to be useful after a few days of use.  I love the scents and the benefits.  I know I have a long way to go, that my learning will probably never be done on this, but that is the same for teaching yoga.

If anyone is interested, please contact me and we can discuss the different oils and benefits, a different ways to obtain them.



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Putting more power in our own hands

It can be difficult sometimes when we feel helpless and powerless, especially for those of us who are control freaks.  I've mentioned before that I have struggled with my weight, and maybe I've mentioned that I have Hypothyroidism.  I often feel sluggish, tired, overweight, etc.

While I don't advocate losing weight for vanity reason, health reasons are another matter.  My father-in-law has type 2 diabetes, and was hospitalized earlier in the year for severely high blood sugar levels.  That scares me a lot.  There have been studies that suggest it can run in the family.  My husband's mother also has type 2 diabetes.  The likelihood of my husband getting it is much higher than for some other people.  While my parents don't have it, I don't want to worry about getting diabetes.

Consequently, I have tried to eat more healthy, get more active, and try to lose some of this excess weight.  I have come a long way, from nearly 200 to 160lbs.  Maybe some of my sluggishness is due to carrying an extra 10, 20, 30 pounds around.  But, with my inactive thyroid, I often feel like I am fighting an uphill battle.  That no matter what I do, I will not be able to lose all this weight...EVER!

Nevermind the fact that I still make some poor food choices and drink far too many calories a day. Nevermind the fact that I have a desk job, and find it difficult to leave the office for more than a quick jaunt to the bathroom. Nevermind the fact that, aside from my belly dance classes or my yoga classes, I go home and sit on my duff at night.  "I'm just too tired to do anything," I say to myself, and cuddling on the couch with my dogs sounds like more fun.

I've been searching for new motivation in getting healthier overall, and I think I found it in a more unlikely place.  I was watching a business video where the woman said we have to change how we think about money to become successful, to give ourselves more power.  The example she cited was instead of saying "I can't afford that," change the phrasing to "I choose not to go into debt over this item."

Today I was linking that to eating better and losing weight.  Today I choose to forgo a mocha that is so very tempting, so that I don't go into debt more, money or weight.  Today I choose to take a brisk 1 mile walk on my 15 minute break, to work toward a healthier lifestyle.

Bright blessings my friends,


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Making our own futures

After my yoga teacher training, I started teaching in a private studio with my own business model.  Spark of Life Yoga was my own little baby.  I tried also getting on at a couple of local studios, as I wanted more teaching and/or adjusting time.  One studio is now not offering classes and the second studio didn't have room for me.

I really want to teach beginners, and especially people who think that they can't do yoga.  I am not one to do crazy poses, I feel no need to do that.  I want to teach anyone I can that you don't have to be bendy in order to do yoga.

So what does this have to do with making our own futures?  I have decided to add a beginner yoga class to my schedule of classes.  The schedule opened up some so I am able to add this class on Wednesday nights. Despite a few closed doors, I am making my own doorway at this studio.  I hope you will come join me and make your own.

Bright Blessings,


Thursday, October 16, 2014

One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga

One thing I know most yoga teachers can relate to is when they suggest that someone try yoga, the person responds with the fact that they aren't that flexible.  Sometimes you want to respond and say that it builds flexibility, and sometimes you wonder if they are just trying to be polite and side step the issue of saying no thanks.

However, for those that are on the fence about yoga, and feel that some of what is holding you back is flexibility, I want to assure you that you will build flexibility, as well as strength as you practice more.  It's very easy to believe that all yogis are thin, flexible, vegan, spiritual beings.  I'm here to tell you that isn't completely true.

We all are human.  We practice yoga for a reason.  When I first started I couldn't get my glutes down on the ground in One-Legged King Pigeon.  Now, I am there most of the time, unless I haven't practiced that pose in a while, or I'm stressing too much about life.

Over time, I have built up that flexibility as well as a lot of strength.  At the beginning, when I tried to hold plank, I would be there for a second before dropping down to my knees to make it easier.  Then I was able to hold it longer, but wasn't able to lower down to my belly without dropping to my knees first.  Just recently I was surprised when I lowered down to my belly without any modifications.

It just takes time, practice, and patience.  I don't want anyone to feel like they can't do something that they want to try.  So don't let your belief in your flexibility or lack there-of keep you from trying something new.

Until later,


Friday, October 10, 2014

Our journey in life

Lately I have been trying to figure out where my life is headed.  I have a few options in front of me, and I am so preoccupied with finding the right one.

I'm sure you know what that is like.  You don't really want any regrets in life.  Maybe that's why we get so busy.  We want everything in life.

Anyway, I'm tired of where I am.  I have this great opportunity to turn something I love into a business, but what if I stop loving it because I then need to make money off of it?  I could try driving close to an hour one way to work, but I would possibly be doing what I trained to do in college.  My husband also knows a couple of people from work who left to start their own company, and once again I could be doing what I trained to do.

At this point, I don't really know what I should be doing.  I feel a little overwhelmed, but am trying to take things one day at a time.  I am also trying not to lose sight of the future, so if I just keep plodding along, one day the future will be now and I will be looking back asking where all the time went.

I have discussed this with a few people, but don't want to burden anyone, as I know this is my issue and I need to figure it.  The best advice came at my Steampunk meeting where a couple of people decided to do Tarot card readings with Halloween coming up.  The second person who did a reading for me told me that the choice I make will be the right choice for me.

It changed my world!  I now am less worried about making the right decision.  I just need to pursue all the opportunities and see where the pieces fall.  That may mean that I will have all these opportunities fall into my lap and I will have to make a decision.  That may mean that only one will truly come through, and that will be the path I take.

The path I choose will be the right one for me.

Until later,


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What is Yoga?

You can read a number of articles and books on yoga and get many different interpretations of what yoga is.  You will find historical background as well as religious theologies.  The beauty of yoga is you can make it what you want.  You can delve as deeply as you wish.

There are eight limbs of yoga that are commonly taught from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

1. The first limb, yama, is the moral standards we place on ourselves and others.  They include: Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (moderation), Aparigraha (non-covetousness or non-hoarding).

2. Niyama, the second limb, revolves around self-discipline and spiritual observances. They include: Saucha (cleanliness or purity), Samtosa (contentment), Tapas (heat and spiritual austerities), Svadhyaya (study of the sacred scriptures and of one's self), Isvara pranidhana (devotion to a higher power)

3. Asanas are the postures practiced in yoga, comprising the third limb. Through the practice of asanas, we develop discipline and the ability to concentrate, both of which are necessary for meditation.

4. Pranayama, or breath work, is the fourth limb.  The idea is to gain a mastery of the respiratory system.  This can be done alone or while doing asanas.

5. Pratyahara, the fifth limb, means withdrawal or sensory transcendence. We essentially draw our sense inwards, removing outward distractions.

6. Dharana is about concentration, focusing on one thing at a time, rather than jumping from one thought to another every few seconds.

7. Dhyana is meditation.  This would be the cessation of the monkey chatter in our minds.

8. Samadhi is the final limb of yoga.  It is transcendence from this body and a connection with the divine.

In the US, the first experience with yoga is typically a yoga posture class.  Depending on the type of yoga, one might experience asanas and pranayama together.  Occasionally, the teacher will bring in some of the other aspects such as the Yamas, Niyamas, and Dhyana during the class.  The teacher might bring up one of the ways we conduct ourselves and expand upon that, and then invite the students to meditate on it while practicing the asanas or during the final resting pose at the end of class.

In my classes, I tend to talk about issues I face in daily life and how I am working to overcome them.  I know that religion and morals tend to be very personal, so try not to expand upon those aspects.  I primarily focus on the asana and pranayama, creating a type of moving meditation.  When students are more focused on where their bodies are in space and making sure they are breathing in and out at the proper times, they can quiet the chatter in their minds.  It is something that is vital to our busy lives. 

Light and love,


Monday, August 25, 2014

Practicing Mindfulness in Asana

Saturday I spent the evening dancing in Manitou with my troupe.  The sun was beating down pretty hard in the beginning, so much so that sweat was just rolling down my legs.  Eventually the cloud cover moved in and it was very nice weather to dance in.  After two hours of dance, though, I was exhausted.  Sure, there were breaks between sets, but I was on my feet the whole time. Have I mentioned I have a desk job?  Yeah, that was pretty rough on my body.  It was so much fun that I would do it again, despite my physical discomfort that evening and yesterday.

Yesterday I went to yoga in the park.  There is, now, only one more left and one of my favorite teachers was teaching flow yesterday.  I had to go!

We started with some gentle seated twists, moved into Cat/Cows, and then into Child's pose.  From there we moved into (the sometimes dreaded) Downward Facing Dog.  This one was extremely difficult for me as my whole lower body was tight and sore.  Eventually we moved into a Forward Fold and I realized that I would just have to take it easy.

For much of the class I would either sit back, drink a little water, and watch what others were doing or I would sit in Child's Pose.  I didn't beat myself up for it.  I knew my body was overworked and needed a little rest.  Yoga isn't just about the poses, it's about being present, about mindfulness, maybe a little meditation too.  I was at peace with my body and how I was feeling.

During the middle of the class, we had the opportunity to do an assisted hand stand.  While my lower body wasn't very happy with me, my upper body was up for the challenge.  My friend assisted me and it was one of the best hand stands I've done so far in my little yoga journey.  I'm grateful for that opportunity and my friend being there to help me feel stable.  That's half the battle in inversions really.

It may seem that I am harping on this subject a lot.  We really need to be ok with listening to our bodies.  Just like we should try to get exercise and eat healthier foods, we need to actually listen and not overdo it.  This is the only body we have.  Medicine can help us in some ways, but I don't want to have surgery to fix something when I could just back off a little.

And you know what?  This class was one of the best ones I have had.

Namaste my friends,


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Recap of my most amazing week

I posted earlier that I was headed to St. Louis for a fabulous week of belly dance.  It was four days of going over the moves we use in ATS® and becoming certified in that style of dance.  We also had half an hour of yoga before class, and plenty of time in the evenings to hang out with the other students, chatting about everything under the sun, and exploring the area.

The steps themselves weren't too bad.  My instructor did a very good job of preparing us for this trip.  I spent the whole week with three other very lovely ladies from Colorado Springs, two of which I roomed with.  I loved going out to Historic St. Charles with them, as well as staying in and just relaxing.

There were 73 of us, so I also met some other fabulous dancers.  It was amazing to feel the collective energy when we were all dancing.  Carolena and Megha even complimented the whole group on how well we danced.  I met a few people that I truly loved, though I probably would have found more if I'd had more time.  I came away with a few more friends than I had going out there.

As for the inspiration, it came from the half hour yoga class in the mornings.  I loved spending that half hour doing the other thing I truly love.  During this trip, I came to the realization that I really should work on getting my two passions merged.  I am looking at creating a "yoga for belly dancers" class in the near future.  I have had little success getting students on Monday nights, so maybe I should make that the night I have this class.  Though this class would focus on the muscles used during belly dancing, I'm sure it could translate to other dance forms.  Additionally, just because it is targeting dancers doesn't mean others couldn't come as well.

I truly feel like this trip was a life changing event.  On top of becoming certified in this type of belly dancing, I decided where I should take my yoga business a little.  I also discovered that the money will work out.  We can go on trips and still have enough to pay the bills.  I can spend a week away from my husband and dogs and be just fine.  I learned it is better to have so many great memories than to not go on a trip for fear of not having enough cash. It is really nice to take a complete break from life to de-stress a bit.

I hope that you too can find some time to get away and do something you truly love.  Who knows what that will Spark?



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Traveling Yoga

I am flying out to St. Louis today for a big belly dancing event today.  It is a type of certification for the type of belly dance I do.  It has been a long time coming, and I am nervous and excited all at the same time.

In some of the planning emails we received I noticed there will be a yoga class in the morning.  Imagine how excited I was!  It is a half hour Vinyasa for belly dancers.  It is a melding of my two passions!!  Vinyasa is the type of yoga I teach, and I have wanted to create one for belly dancers.  I just haven't had the time to research what poses would be best.  I figure most of them would work as long as you change it up.  But now I get to take this class and see what I can learn from it. Plus, it will be nice to do something that is relatively normal when my routine is completely shaken up.

I am very much looking forward to this time away from regular life.  While I won't be teaching class this week, I will be working on gaining a little more experience. Growing and learning is what keeps me going.

Namaste my friends,


Friday, July 18, 2014

Listening to your body

When I teach, I remind my students often to listen to their bodies.  Every day is different and I know all too well that it also affects our asana.

A couple weeks ago, I was at my usual Sunday morning Yoga in the Park.  For whatever reason, I had no energy and felt very wonky.  There was one point when I just felt too tired to complete some of the Sun B.  Consequently, I sat down, grabbed some water, then moved into Child's Pose.  I sat in that pose until the instructor moved everyone into core.  I don't feel guilty about that.

In the US, we are pushed to compete, with others and ourselves.  Always pushing harder and harder.  It's no wonder that Yoga Flows and Hot Yoga are so popular here.  At some point, though, something has to give.  There is a limit to what we can do and when we run into those limits we must take a step back for ourselves.

The point of asana is to be mindful and listen to what our body needs.  Take the water break, towel off, rest in Child's Pose, or even sit there and just watch what is going on.  It will serve us better than pushing through our limits and potentially injuring our bodies.

Namaste my friends,


Tuesday, July 8, 2014


One thing that the training forced me to do is touch others, including people I don't really know.  In the US, it is mostly forbidden to touch others, unless you know them really well.  When passing someone, you try your hardest not to brush up against them.  You say "pardon me" when you bump into another person, or even if you came close to it.  You even do a little dance when two people move to the same side when trying to pass each other.

There wasn't much hugging or touching going on with my family members when I was growing up.  I find it very awkward when others touch me on the shoulder, or even worse, when others try to hug me.  If I am consoling someone, that isn't hard for me, but any other time it just feels so weird.

The worst part is, this hurts us.  We don't feel connected with other people.  In our digital world, we find it easier to not touch or connect with our friends and family.  Then when we try to reconnect, we feel awkward or out of place. No wonder we love sex so much.  It is one of the only places we can touch each other and know full well what is expected from that touch.

So now I am having to learn how to give positive energy to my students through touch, which is very difficult for me, because I don't really know how to touch people.  But just like anything else, the more I do it, the more I learn.  The more I learn, the less awkward I feel doing it.

And through this, I also realize that some of my students probably feel the same way.  They don't know how to be touched.  So I am learning how to be gentle when working with my students, so that they feel comfortable and cared for.  They are important and if I am the only person who makes them feel seen, heard, and touched, then I am doing my job right.

Love and Light,

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Scaling back

I have been feeling very run down lately.  I think I have been doing too much lately.  A number of people have told me to slow down and relax a little.  Sometimes if you aren't listening to your own body, you have to listen to your loved ones.  They know you well enough, and can see you in a different light.  They will see things that you may not.

In an effort to find a little more time in my week, I have decided to scale back a little with my yoga classes.  Right now, I have students on Fridays, but not Mondays.  Since I started teaching, I have been showing up on Monday nights in the chance that I might have students.  It takes time out of my evening that I could be using to do some other things.  Consequently, I have decided that I won't be at the studio unless I know for sure that I will have a student.

Technology allows communication to be much easier now.  Students and potential students can text me, email me, or message me on Facebook to let me know that they are interested or will be there for class.

I look forward to seeing my students each week, but it is very hard to sit for twenty to thirty minutes waiting for no students and then drive home.  I hope this helps me relax a little.

Namaste my friends.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Where my passion lies

First, a little back story.

In high school, I was definitely overweight.  I was easily 200 pounds, though I never weighed myself to really know. I hated gym and sports.  I was never really the competitive type and was usually picked last on a team.  In middle school I purposefully took band a choir to get out of gym class. In high school I couldn't get out of it.  Let me tell you how awful swim class was for me (it was required to graduate).

After I graduated high school, I went to college like most of my other class mates.  My family isn't terribly wealthy, so I went to the local University, lived with my parents, worked part time and went to school full time.  I couldn't afford to pay for a parking permit or gas, so I walked to school.  It was 40 minutes one way.  Needless to say, I lost a lot of weight.  I went from that 200 or more down to about 135!

I took a non-western music class where I did my final project on belly dancing.  I was interested in it, so I figured it was a good place to learn about it.  I started doing the belly dance DVDs and a few friends create a belly dance club on campus so I joined them.  I learned a lot about my body during that time and had a lot of fun in the process.

One semester I found myself one class short of the full time status which I needed to keep my parent's insurance.  I decided to take a yoga class they had there, thinking it would help me become more flexible for belly dance.  I knew one of the famous belly dancers also did yoga, and she was so gloriously bendy.  The Iyengar class taught me that while I was thin, I wasn't very strong.  I found a new love to go with my love for belly dancing.

Soon, I realized that I had found some things that would keep me fit and strong that weren't competitive and were actually fun.  Sometimes that is the biggest part of working out.

Now, back to my passion.  I want to help other people like me find the value and benefit of yoga.  I am perfectly comfortable teaching people who have been doing yoga for years, who are looking for something new each time.  I also love to teach people who have never done yoga or are just beginning their journey.

Yoga can be intimidating, only because of the way that it has been portrayed.  Most people think people who do yoga are skinny and completely flexible.  In reality, they have become flexible over time by continually doing yoga.  As for the feeling that everyone is watching you in class, really all the other students in class are focusing on their own bodies, not yours.

I invite you to join a class somewhere near you.  Go find the benefits yourself.  Take the leap and try something new.

Namaste my friends,


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Stretching the Truth of Yoga

You have seen the magazine covers that tout the benefits of yoga poses and promise flat abs or the perfect sex life if you just use a specific handful of yoga poses.  It's sad what our magazine industry has done.  They stretch the truth about most things, and unfortunately yoga is not excluded.

I still get email spam years later from a magazine that I no longer wish to subscribe to, which brings up this post.  The authors claim so many things that certain yoga poses will do for you.  They have taken the popularity of yoga, re-worked it to make it beneficial for selling subscriptions, and don't bother to offer anything else substantive about yoga.

I mentioned in a previous post that if people want to go to yoga classes just for asana, that's perfectly fine.  It's still a part of yoga.  However, by going to the classes, you will have the benefit of an instructor who will show you ways to align your body that will reduce stress on your joints.  You will learn breathing techniques that will benefit you outside of the class.  By working through an uncomfortable pose, you learn that you are capable of working through uncomfortable situations off the mat.

This is what you miss when you try a couple poses thinking you will get the perfect body.  Sure, those little exercises might help you to get a more fit or toned body, but you won't learn the mindfulness that goes along with yoga.  Learning to eat food that makes you feel good, which in turn will help you lose a little weight per chance.  Learning how your body moves and just how special it is; that will help your sex life more than a couple poses.

Love and light,


Friday, June 13, 2014


The other day I was talking to a friend about my plans for the rest of day, mentioning maybe working on one of my blogs.  She commented about that, stating that she wishes she could write well enough to blog.  Mind you, she knows the English language and grammar quite well, so she can write well.  Her belief is that she does not have the proper voice to write a blog.

It got me thinking about many things in life.  This woman has spent a great deal of her adult life devoted to belly dancing.  She can dance extremely well, and is always working to make her dance better.  If she spent that same amount of time working on her written voice, I bet she could do really well at it.  The problem is, we only have so much time in the day, and we can only choose so many things to work on.  Obviously, right now, writing is not one of them for her, and that's ok.

Rather than getting down about what you think you cannot do well, devote yourself to the things you think you can be fantastic at.  That is where life truly is lived.  If everyone did the same things, life would be so boring.  Allow the color and light in your life to shine, share it with others.  Maybe even try something that you think you can't do.  You might be surprised with yourself.

"If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves." -Thomas A. Edison

Namaste my friends,


Friday, June 6, 2014


This last Friday I decided to discuss gratitude.  It is a theme I see a lot about, and a while ago I decided I need to be more grateful for the things I have.  There are many people out there who have less than I do, and have experienced much more than I have.  I suggested to my students that they work on being grateful more in their lives as well.  It is easy to get caught up in the "I want" game, and being grateful for what we have quiets that game some.

I have tried to make it a habit of posting one thing I am grateful for at the end of the day.  I do that on twitter and you can find me here if you want to follow me, or just read through some of my tweets.  Also, I have a link to the right above my blog feed if that is easier.  I use the hashtag #dailygratitude for each of those posts, so you may be able to find them that way, as well.  I encourage you to join me in my daily gratitude.  One day I would love to see that in the trends!

Namaste my friends,


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Themes for class

One of the things we learned in Teacher Training was choosing themes for class, setting the tone.  Since I have only had students on Fridays so far, I spend my whole week thinking about what I want to use for my theme.

My first class I used new beginnings, naturally.  I had a student who was completely new to yoga and a student who has been doing yoga for a while.  I thanked them for coming to my first class, and proceeded to discuss listening to their bodies while starting something new.

My second class I spoke about patience.  For me, I know that I find myself expecting things to be a certain way already.  It is hard to maintain patience.  I told my students it is something I work on, on and off the mat.  I try to take life one day at a time and I try to remember that it takes time to get some of the more difficult poses.  I am still working on crow, and that is one of the poses we learned to teach during training.  We easily practiced this one two or three times a week toward the end of training.

I will try to post my musings I use during class here for people to follow.  I think it will hold me accountable a little more, and promote my education in yoga some.

Love and light,


Saturday, May 31, 2014


In the US, yoga has been given to people by way of asana, the poses.  There are other parts to yoga that a lot of people don't know about.  Some people learn about it, and find it too close to a religion they already have, and fear that they will lose what they have.  That's ok because even if asana is the only thing we practice, it gives us so much.

For me, I learned about asana first.  During class, for one hour, it quiets the monkey chatter.  I am so busy trying to keep my balance, remembering to breathe, making sure my alignment is at least not going to destroy me, pushing my body the tiny bit further than the last time.  I don't have time to think about the fight I had with my husband, the bill that I have to pay when I get home, the groceries I need to buy right after class, the lunch I need to make for tomorrow.  It's essentially a moving meditation for me, which I am completely grateful for.

We are all human, we all have our times of doubt, fear, frustration.  Asana allows us to forget about that, bringing out the confidence, strength, flexibility, and compassion.  Again, if that is all we do, it's still far better than doing nothing.

The next step and hope is to try to bring that off the mat.

Namaste my friends,


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My business

In the last month and a half since I graduated from my yoga teacher training, I have been working very hard on my business.  I created my business name: Spark of Life Yoga.  I have a studio that I am teaching at on Mondays and Fridays.  I have a facebook page and a website:

I'm very excited to be able to share my love of yoga with others.

My first class went well, I had two students.  I had some technical difficulties, but I'm glad I was able to get some of that stuff out of the way with my first class.  No one showed up to my second class, so I used the time to get some photos for my website.

All in all, it has been a very busy month.  I am hoping that things go a lot smoother in the next month.

Namaste my friends,


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Completion of my Yoga Teacher Training

It's so surreal.  I can't believe that the 10 weeks are all behind me and the training is over.  I really bonded with everyone in the program with me, and I feel a slight sense of loss that we won't be spending every weekend together.  I am hoping to create a little get-together for everyone to come if they are available, but I need to figure out when a good time would be.

Also, after all the yoga we have done recently, I am taking the week off yoga.  Aside from working on my business stuff, and the final assessment, I am resting.

I signed up for two workshops coming up this weekend.  One is to help me teach beginners, and the other is or me to work on my adjustments more.  I want to become comfortable touching people before I start teaching.

I have plenty of info that I didn't get to blog about before, and now I will have a lot more time.  Keep an eye out for my upcoming posts!

Namaste my friends,


Friday, March 7, 2014

Being "selfish"

As many people may know, I have been very busy lately.  I already work a 40 hour week at a job that I don't particularly find inspiring.  I spend about three to five hours every week working on my Belly Dancing.  I recently started the Yoga Teacher Training.  It is a 200 hour course over 10 weeks, so essentially I am spending 20 hours a week working on the yoga stuff.  It's like a part time job.  Add on top of that the usual stuff of wanting to spend time with my husband and family, and I am getting run down.

I am having to re-evaluate most things, including work.  My PTO bank is extremely high because I never take time off.  Even when I am sick, I work.  I constantly feel like I am letting someone down in my life, because I aim to make everyone else happy.

With this YTT, I am learning that I need to take care of myself, and some people will just have to deal with it.  I need to learn that what other people think of me doesn't really matter.  I know I am smart and a hard worker, and if taking a few days off from work makes me look like less of a hard worker, that's not my problem.  We have PTO for a reason, and I should be able to use it.

This past Monday I came into work and requested two days off in the beginning of the week next week, knowing that I am getting tired.  I waited too long, and now I am sick again.  I very rarely get sick, so I know this is related to stress, and most of it is job stress.

So I am going to take my two days, despite issues that are coming up and meetings that I should attend.  My co-workers can handle it without me, and notify me of any changes when I return.

It's time I put myself first, even if that seems "selfish" to others.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fourth Chakra

One of the funniest things about this chakra is there is a woman in my class that said she couldn't see her heart chakra, but could see all the others.  She kept saying that she doesn't have a heart chakra, but she is one of the sweetest, nicest, most caring individuals that I know.  I honestly believe that her heart is so big and so bright, that she is just having a hard time seeing it herself.

The fourth chakra is the heart chakra and it is called Anahata.  It is associated with the element of air and the color green, or sometimes purple or pink.  It can bring compassion and balance to ones life, and is involved in service or giving, and receiving.

When this chakra is in balance, physically one might find a healthy heart and lungs, good circulation and blood pressure, good posture, and that the fine motor skills are working properly.  Emotionally one might be able to show affection well, have compassion for others, be able to take care of oneself and accept him or herself.

If the chakra is imbalanced, physically one might see breast cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and shallow breathing.  Emotionally, one might be grieving, feeling fear or self-loathing, jealousy, envy, indecisiveness, or have issues with attachment.

In order to bring the heart chakra back into balance one could chant the word "yam" or meditate.  There are a few options for meditation, including visualizing light in heart radiating out, or using mudras during the meditation such as the lotus mudra or Anjali mudra.  Most pranayama is good to explore, especially alternate nostril breathing.  One might focus on the mandala, which is to the right (link).

Physical activity that one could do would include selfless sevice (Seva), self-care, prayer, massage or making something.  The asanas that one might practice are poses that open the heart, such as fish, bridge, wheel, venus arms, airplane, dancer, tree and cobra.

Love and light my friends,


Friday, February 21, 2014

Third Chakra

So far, through the few classes I've had on the chakras I haven't really found anything I am connected too.  I keep waiting for the right thing to pop out, but so far nothing has.

This third chakra is is the navel chakra and is called Manipura.  It is located at the navel or solar plexus.  The color associated with this one is yellow and the element associated with it is Fire.  This chakra is where we find out willpower and self-mastery, our self esteem, the ego.

When this one is balanced, one might find a healthy digestion and liver function, a strong core, stable blood pressure and vitality.  One might also find good discipline and self-responsibility, and that you are able to manifest your desires and like yourself.  If this chakra is out of balance you might find ulcres or gall stones, heartburn, diabetes, eating and digestive disorders, or adrenal burnout.  One might also feel stress, victimized, anger, guilt , poor self-esteem, jealousy, or even over controlling.

To try to balance this chakra one can use the Breath of Fire for pranayama work, or chant the word Ram. The mandala to focus on is given to the right (link).  You could try exercising, heated yoga, spending time in the sun, socializing, or working on a problem at hand.  You could even meditate in the sun.

Different asanas that you can use include Warrior II, Floor Bow, Challenging Twists, Boat, and setting the navel point.

Love and light,


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Second Chakra

The second chakra is the sacral chakra.  It is also called Svadisthana.  This chakra is located in the lower abdomen and genitals.  The element associated with this chakra is water and the color associated with it is orange.  This chakra brings pleasure, desire, creation and procreation to ones life.

When this chakra is in balance, one can experience a normal sex drive, a strong lower back, good circulation, and hormonal balance, creativity, sensuality, enthusiasm, devotion and charisma.  When it is out of balance, one might experience kidney and bladder conditions, reproductive disorders, an abnormal sex drive, obsession with oneself or money, or a creative block.

If this chakra is out of balance, there are many ways to work on getting it back in balance.  One can use a specific pranayama technique called Nadi Shodhana, which is alternate nostril breathing.  There is focusing on the mandala at the right (link). One might chant the word Vam and meditate.  One could try more physical activities such as swimming, giving or receiving a massage, taking a bath, or even doing something more creative.

Finally, the poses that one might do in yoga that would help balance this chakra include twists and pelvic rotations, cat/cows, frog, reclining bound angle, and omega pose.

Namaste my friends,


Monday, February 3, 2014

First Chakra

This last week we started learning about the chakras.  There are 7 major ones that run along the spine.  The first one is the root chakra or Muladhara.  It is located at the base of the spine, and usually has a red to brown color.

Muladhara is associated with the Earth element, survival, grounding, instincts, the sense of self, and belonging.

When this chakra is balanced one can experience bowel regularity, a strong lower back, endurance, acceptance, calmness, security, and stability.  When it is out of balance one can experience knee problems, weight issues, constipation, sciatica, rigidity, resentment, insecurity, panic, fear, feeling unsupported or ungrounded.

If one is feeling unbalance here, he or she can work on becoming more balanced through meditation, asana (yoga poses), pranayama (breath), chanting,  mandala focus (visual), and exercise.

Through meditation, one would focus on grounding and rooting.  With pranayama, one might focus on the breath and extend the length of exhalation.  The mandala to focus on would be the image provided above (link). Chanting would use the word Lam.  Different types of exercise or activity might include stomping, kicking, jumping, running, sleeping, and being with nature.

Finally, the yoga poses one might use include bridge, locust, head to knee, table, yogic squat, and corpse pose.  Anything that might provide rooting or grounding.  Balance poses might seem counter-intuitive, but they are great for this as well, as one has to root into the earth to remain stable.

Until later,


Friday, January 31, 2014

First week

I am in the middle of the first week of my yoga teacher training.  So far, we have worked on the sequence a little, getting through the integration.  I have practiced almost every night guiding someone through that.  I am more comfortable with it, and am beginning to get a feel for this.

We are required to take 10 classes at the studio during this course.  I managed to get one in today.  Now, only 9 more to go.

We learned some about the theory of Vinyasa sequencing. I have a better concept of what to put together to create a good flow.  That will take some time and experimentation, but we have a sequence to start out with, which I can always change up a little once I start teaching.

We also started looking at Chakras.  We started off that course of study doing a guided meditation, looking at each of our chakras.  I didn't see anything, but others in the class had more success.  I honestly think Tuesday nights are going to be the hardest (Chakra nights) because I will have already put in a full day at work.  So far we have learned about the first chakra, the root chakra.  Maybe I will do a post on that in a couple of days to see if I can process the information a little more.

For tomorrow, we have to memorize the Sun A section of the sequence so that we can lead it without a book.  That will be a little more difficult.  I feel like my memory is shot anymore.  I already did my little bit of homework we had, responding to a question that was posted in our forum after reading an article.

For Sunday, I need to answer some questions about the book How Yoga Works.  We will be having our first book club.  I completed the book, so I just need to go back through it some to refresh my memory.

Until next time,


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Oh the excitement!

Tomorrow will be my first day of class in the yoga teacher training.  I'm extremely excited and a little nervous.  I can't wait to take this first step and learn so much more about yoga.  I finished the required reading already, and have started on my book for the book report.

I'm a little worried about the sequence we are supposed to have memorized already.  I have a little bit of the beginning memorized, but not all of it.  This is after reviewing it every day for a month.  I talk to one of the instructors about that and she said not to worry, that a lot of people really get it down when they start working through the sequence.  I know I learn best when I actually go through the motions, so maybe I should have been going through the asanas to begin with.  Regardless, I feel a bit better after talking to the instructor about it.

There will be a lot of memorization, on top of other things that I am working on, such as belly dance.  I know it will be a great challenge, and I hope I do well.  I really feel like this is the right time in my life and see things differently now, than in the past when I was contemplating this.  I'm feeling good about this decision.

Namaste my friends,


Thursday, January 16, 2014


I find this quote to be very interesting.  Sometimes in this world we become so jaded, and we no longer trust anyone.  I really try to give the benefit of the doubt, but this last year I saw why it is so hard to trust new people.

I had a manager that was extremely aggressive to the point of me fearing for my job.  When she was fired, and a new manager was hired, it took a little while for me to really trust her.  I had to reserve my dislike for the previous manager and try to remember that this new manager is not the same person, so may act differently.  I waited and see what she would accomplish before I truly opened up to her.  When I finally did, so much weight was lifted off my shoulders, it was like the clouds parted and the sun started shining.

I invite you to give others the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe that person that was so angry at you is going through a rough patch, and you were the first person that was willing to stop and listen.  Maybe these other people that are extremely aggressive have been completely jaded by actions that were done to them.  Regardless, try to trust people.  You can always re-evaluate if the person acts inappropriately, but being authentic with people will always give you a different relationship than if you are guarded.

Namaste my friends,


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Update on the Yoga Teacher Training

Happy New Year everyone!

I have been studying the sequence almost every day, and I now have the first part down.  I struggle only a little with it, so I am planning to move onto the second part, while still reviewing the first.

I have not started on my readings yet.  I was hoping to finish a fantasy book I have been reading by the end of this past year, but still haven't quite finished it.  Once I complete that novel, I will start in on How Yoga Works.  We are required to read at least the first 100 pages by February 2nd.

I will try my best to keep everyone apprised of my journey.

Here's to an awesome 2014!!!

Bright blessings, my friends,