Monday, December 27, 2010

Treehouse Yoga Studio Arrives in the 21st Century!

Good news! Santa brought us an iHome! So now, at Treehouse Yoga Studio, we can say goodbye to skipping CDs, and hello to new music in our classes. Marnie and I are formulating new playlists on our iPods, and are eager to try them out in class. Don't worry, the old favorites will still be in the rotation.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Om Shanti

At the end of every yoga class, the very last thing I say, before I thank my students for attending, are the words "Om Shanti."

"Om Shanti" is essentially a prayer for peace. "Om" represents the sacred sound of the universe. And "Shanti" means "peace."

When I say it, I encourage you to say it back to me. Together, we wish for peace in our world, peace in our communities, peace in our families, peace in our lives, peace within ourselves . . .

Om Shanti.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Acceptance, Patience and Surrender

Today’s post completes my discussion of the Ten Principles of Yoga. The final principle is Acceptance, Patience, and Surrender.

Acceptance: Accept where you are in the moment, even if you’d prefer it to be different. Let’s say you want to be able to do a full squat pose, but whenever you try, it hurts your knees. Accept that your body is not ready for a full squat yet, and instead choose a modified version of the posture that causes no pain.

Patience: Be patient with yourself, with your body. If you keep attempting that modified squat, you will find that over time you are able to go farther and farther into it. You will make progress . . . incremental progress most of the time, but you may also experience the occasional giant leap forward.

Surrender: Just let it be. Let go of trying and breathe into “where you are” in the moment . . . and relish it.

These principles can be such a challenge! We always want to be doing “better,” and often as we age, we find that instead we are doing “less.” But less isn’t worse. As long as you’re doing what feels right in your body, you are doing your best. Take a deep breath and enjoy the satisfaction of doing your yogic best!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Here’s one of the most important of all the Ten Principles of Yoga . . . enjoying oneself.

We practice yoga for various reasons – to improve our physical and mental health, to relieve stress, to become more centered. But what good is it if we don’t enjoy the process?

Do you love coming to yoga class? Do you look forward to it each day/week because it makes you feel good? Then while you’re in class, take a moment to relish this sense of enjoyment – telling yourself “this” is what I love about yoga . . . whether it’s the opening stretches or Moon Salutation or rest pose. Taking note of the things we enjoy makes our lives that much more pleasant.

Sure there will be times in yoga class when you don’t love what’s happening – we all have our “least favorite poses.” There’s nothing wrong with not liking a pose – (as long as you still at least try once to do it, or a modified version of it). I’ve found that the poses I dislike the most are the ones I need more than anything.

I’ve learned something over the years that can be applied to practically every situation, on or off the mat. If you’re stuck doing something – whether it’s frog pose or window washing or navigating a traffic jam – try to find a way to enjoy it. If there’s no clear way to “get out of it,” why waste energy hating what you’re doing? Instead, seek to find some joy in it, some benefit, no matter how small. Hating it while you’re stuck doing it will only make you more miserable.

Finding enjoyment in all the little things we do in life is a valuable practice – especially when we’re challenged to find enjoyment in a root canal, for example, or a long wait at the doctor’s office. But it can be done! And you’ll have so much more peace of mind if you do it . . . or at least try.

Friday, December 3, 2010


While putting the Ten Principles of Yoga into practice, be careful not to be rigid with yourself! While you’re striving to relax, be breathed, feel grounded, and everything else, you may find that you’re trying too hard – either physically, mentally, emotionally . . . or on all fronts. Be gentle with yourself!

Gentleness is a very important practice in yoga -- not pushing your body too far, and respecting your current “edge” (where anything less would feel like not-enough, but anything more would feel like too-much). Physical gentleness is not always easy, especially when we’re trying to master a new posture. Mental and/or emotional gentleness can also be a challenge – permitting yourself to be imperfect is not always a simple thing to do!

When I have trouble being gentle with myself, I imagine a much younger version of me – say ten years old – and direct the mental chatter at that little girl, rather than her grown-up counterpart. It works wonders!

Being gentle with ourselves teaches us how to be gentler with others. No one likes a bully.