Art, Being Brave and Yoga

by michelle on March 13, 2014

Hi friends!

This past weekend in teacher training we were talking about the importance of having support. Not just knowing that we are supported by friends or family, but structured support — a group or time or space set apart to remind us and keep us in touch.

A couple of resources have come our way that we wanted to pass along.

First, the San Francisco Art Museum is hosting “the world’s first major art exhibition about yoga.” A beautiful journey into the history and evolution of this practice.

Next, Pema Chödrön will be in the Bay Area in May speaking on Being Brave and asking the question, Is enlightened society possible?

In a couple of weeks I am headed back to NYC for follow up training to what I did this fall. Right now, this is the support I need and want — structure, accountability, specific focus, fresh information and someone else being the teacher.

This summer I am hosting a retreat on the Pacific Coast. If that might be the type of support you need and want — redwoods, unrushed practice, meditative time, ocean access and someone cooking for you — check out the Summer + Sanctuary details.

If you get to (or have seen) the art exhibit, let us know what you thought!

On early spring breezes,



equilibrium pose + two tips on balance

by michelle on March 6, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 8.03.01 PMLast week I took a poll in class: How do you feel when I say, “Now we’re going to do a standing balance pose?”

A couple of people made a happy face, a couple of people did a “meh” shoulder shrug, and everybody else groaned.

Even without a poll, it’s written all over students’ faces — attempting “balance” poses can create feelings of frustration, anxiety, disappointment, and more rarely, accomplishment.

It seems in yoga class, we’ve taken the wordbalance to mean fixed, unmoving. A static spot that, if I nail, means I will have a great life, complete with happy relationships and fulfilling work.

I say we start a campaign to rename this category of poses. After a synonym search, I took some ideas to class. We tried on:

  • Harmony Poses (“harmony” is actually part of one definition of balance: harmony in parts of the whole).
  • Equilibrium Poses which, like homeostasis, is maintained by adjustments. It’s dynamic and responsive.
  • And Composure Poses — when all else fails, fake it by making it look easy!

Two more tips for reframing your “balancing” experience:

  1. Rather than panic at the first wobble, move with it. Hop around if you have to. Notice how much give your body has before you actually have to step down. Know these as dynamic adjustments!
  2. Ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen? You put the foot on the ground. And? You will still have a great life. :)

We sure love being in practice with you. Ooooh, and speaking of, the teacher trainees debut at tomorrow’s Community Class at It’s All Yoga (Friday, 4:30 pm). Come and give them some IAY lovin’.



home sweet home

January 15, 2014

    People seem to want to know two things: What was the best part of being in NYC? and How is it to be home? Since “everything” and “weird” are not great answers, here’s a little more…     My random list of favorite things about NYC: Central Park (duh) Walking everywhere Distinct seasons […]

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am i safe with myself?

April 22, 2013

Some years ago at a silent meditation retreat I was introduced to the following Metta, or Lovingkindness, phrases: May I be safe and protected. May I be peaceful. May I live with ease and kindness. Throughout the week we did several Metta meditations, silently repeating the phrases to ourselves–first about ourselves, and eventually inwardly offering […]

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hard to let go

March 28, 2013

This past weekend I made a decision to rehome my horse, Cowboy. It’s been a difficult decision — I love him very much, but I have not made the time to spend with him as he needs and deserves. Giving him to a new family who will give him love and attention is the “right” […]

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the story of the human yoga teacher

February 27, 2013

Last week I went into my favorite local boutique to check out their spring duds. I tried on a pair of totally adorable cotton yoga pants — they were deliciously soft capri leggings with ruching detail at the bottom. So cute. It’s all in the pants When I came out of the dressing room, the clerk […]

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sit with it or go play miniature golf?

February 8, 2013

One day when I was 19, I came home from my junior college class to my sister, who I lived with, telling me to sit down: she had some bad news. My mom had called. There’d been an accident at home and my dog as well as the family dog had both been killed. Young, […]

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you can never get enough of what you don’t really want

January 17, 2013

I shared this quote a few weeks ago in class and from the responses, it seemed to resonate with many people. You can never get enough of what you don’t really want. I can never get enough cookies. I can never get enough social media. I can never get enough shoes. Because what I really […]

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do it your way

December 14, 2012

Every time a yoga teacher (myself included) says, “Do it your own way,” it makes me chuckle. While I’m inwardly smiling, many students—newer students in particular—are donning one of two expressions: terror or total confusion. Of course, what we teachers mean is, if something about this isn’t working for you, feel free to adjust your […]

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the source

December 12, 2012

Last week I was flipping through one of my long-time favorite yoga books and a few words leapt off the page and into my heart: …back to the source. Which I read to say, Yoga takes us back to the source.   Something in my body softened. Unclenched. And I felt the deep release of […]

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