This blog includes reflections, creative work and resources. It is a glimpse of one person's journey within the realm of inquiry, experience with the human body and spirit. Look for ideas rather than answers. No claims are made. Perfection is not implied. I write as inspired to do so. Take what works for you, leave the rest. If you share anything from this blog, either verbally or in writing, please do your best to give credit where credit is due. Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gentle, Mindful Yoga Instruction in the Woods - Monday 1/9/12 at 10am

In addition to movement and breath I will go over Dharana (concentration), particularly some of the various tools used in the practice.  A foundation in concentration opens consciousness to meditative states.  The floor is open for show & tell so if you have a something you work with please share.  We will practice the candle exercise as the last part of class.  I'll bring a hurricane lamp in case it's windy.


Reiki scheduling is open again

Please let me know if you are interested in scheduling a free Reiki session as I am still looking for opportunities to practice prior to the Reiki Master training. 

Yamuna Workshop

Last night was the 2 hour Yamuna Body Rolling workshop led by Julie, Angela Phillips' sister-in-law (Tench's sister).  Julie Phillips is involved with a community of teachers and students of the modality in Athens, GA.  I look forward to continuing to explore the ball as a new tool to open skeletal and soft tissue space, most particularly acquiring the set of Yamuna balls designed for face & jaw work as I deal with TMJD. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Wynn Paris Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice event last Wednesday at The Space Above was beautiful.  It began as intervals of chanting with sun salutation in-between.  Eventually the sun salutation sequences became quite modified for most participants, many following their own rhythm and inspiration.  The chanting portions included dancing too. By the end the chanting joined sun salutation.  Wynn Paris is a wonderful musician and leader.  His voice is wholesome and comforting.  If you ever have the opportunity to participate in anything he leads I recommend it!

Here is the link to his website:


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Free Reiki sessions on hold until the new year

My home is a little turned upside down with a carpentry project.  Hopefully everything will be completed by the new year so I can offer Reiki sessions again.  As for the Reiki Level III "attunement" with Sandy Bunch is not scheduled yet but surely we'll chose a date after the holidays. 

Individual Practice in the Park with Intermittent Readings from 3 Books

Something new to try...

Monday, December 26th - 10am in the Woods:  individual practice with intermittent readings from Vanda Scaravelli's book Awakening the Spine.  From her lineage:  Sandra Sabatini's words found in Breath: The Essence of Yoga and the work of Victor Van Kooten & Angela Farmer found in Victor's books. 

Like the usual mysore/individual sessions participants will enter, practice and leave independently in silence.  I will remain until the last person leaves. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Two upcoming events

The last 2 Wednesdays of December offer 2 interesting opportunities:  Solstice Kirtanasana at The Space Above 12/21 & Yamuna workshop at Angela Phillips Yoga Studio 12/28.  

Change Yoga In The Woods to 10am for the winter?

In order to benefit from more sunshine what do you think of switching to 10am until the month of March? 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gentle, Mindful Yoga in the Woods - 12/12 & 12/19 at 9am

The weather calls for sun but chilly temperatures for tomorrow so if you're coming to class wear layers!  Let's hope our little sand bowl holds the heat of the sun as it usually does.  I'll be there but understand if it is too cold for you.  We'll be moving to keep warm.  Consider bringing a blanket for savasana and seated meditation.  It's better to schlep extra stuff than to be uncomfortable. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Some things remain beautiful throughout all stages

Inspired by (but not even coming close to) Andy Goldsworthy

It's like writing a message in the sand.  This was made in fall of '09 in the spot where we have Gentle Yoga in the Woods.  It was an assignment for the 52-week photo group I was involved in.  Fun! 

Expressive Movement-Asana Fusion

In leading weekly yoga sessions for 2 women who both love to move and dance I discovered a delightfully feminine way to approach practice.  In the expressive movement-asana fusion sessions we usually begin in stillness to center, from there introducing the music as a warm-up then progressing through themes according to the style of music.  Incorporated with the playing of the music I provide verbal cues often based in such approaches as the 5-element theory, yin-yang theory, Gabrielle Roth's 5 Rhythms and yogic theory of energetics. The point is to lead into the body, breath and grounding whether moving slowly or faster and around the room a bit.  What transpires is an evolution, quite spontaneously, into asana.  A very feminine way in!  I watch for this in the student's body and from there cue more for asana, turning the focus away from the rhythm of the music and into the body, eventually turning the music to something only in the background or off completely.

As I have not moved everything over to iPod form yet and teach in people's homes using their equipment I rely on CD's.  I've really become familiar with the music I have on CD and formed a system of being able to pull the desired sound or essence intuition called for.  The photo above provides a glimpse into the notebook used to log CD's, tracks and the general category it falls into.  Also included in the photo is a sample of the notation inside the CD case referring to a particularly inspiring piece of music. 

Unusual music that does not provoke memories for the student or lyric-less tracks or world music in other languages is preferred.  Sometimes the student is bi-lingual and understands the lyrics.  And with the world as small as it is there is so much available in very unique-to-the-ear languages which is good for the mind!  When I attend a performance with great music or hear a new band or an inspiring movie soundtrack I make an effort to order the CD.  Again, I'm moving the direction of everything being on iPod but there are circumstances where a CD is necessary.

As for formal training in expressive movement I've had some but not much.  In my early 20's I worked in creative arts/recreation therapy and led music & movement.  I've attended some workshops.  I was part of an weekly expressive arts group for about 6 months. 

If the beginning of your practice feels like dry toast consider putting on inspiring music.  Allow it to be an opener.  Roll out your mat and allow the music's rhythm to help you warm into your body and breath.  Eventually you can allow for silence and by then you will be in your own energy.

If you're interested in having me lead this form of movement & asana let me know.

And if you would like a lengthy list of music let me know and I will create a post.  In the meantime I leave you with this delicious piece: 


Turn it up Baby or Daddy-O (whichever applies)! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Right Brain of Belief & The Left Brain of Practice (not necessarily Belief vs. Practice)

This is a little overview of left-right brain approach and possibly helpful to the beginner.  It is important to know that belief in metaphysics is not necessary in order to benefit from the physical postures of yoga, breathing, sense withdrawal, concentration and meditation.  And, one of the benefits of practice is the increasing ease of watching the mind.  It is insightful to see how the right-brain/left-brain works. 

I have moments of magical thinking, some more fleeting than others.  The right brain is the expressive side, making life sweet, fun and interesting.  Belief allows for the extension of the self into new possibilities, new realms.  The left brain is the practical aspect.  It schedules, weighs and measures results, supports the return to study and contemplation.  

The yogic approach applied to our intention, actions and decisions is often referred to as "art of living".  Using the term "artist" consider a visual artist.  A painter should know the physics and chemistry of their materials and the science of color.  Not only will the finished product stand the test of time but the process of expressing an idea will be more efficient and with the desired result.  Once again, it is about balance.  Balance is often considered an Eastern concept but if you look around it applies over and over again, no matter which Earth hemisphere you live in or religion you observe.

Don't be too quick to say you are perfectly logical.  If you notice this tendency I will refer you to the work of the behavioral economist Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational (2008) and The Upside of Irrationality (2010). I may be open to a few "far-out" ideas but when it boils down to some lifestyle choices I see myself far more rational than the mainstream (which is more suitable to another post, if not a whole different blog entirely). And who is to say the perceived spirit of a deceased loved one is any less significant if it is simply a projection from our own heart and memory bank?

Regardless of which tendency you lean toward consider opening to your opposite.  Belief may bring you someplace new.  Experiencing the results of practice is just as beneficial.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Personal Reflection Questions Regarding Practice

Below is a form I created within the first few years of teaching.  I used to pass it out as a take-home or in-class inquiry exercise. Isn't it helpful to know why we are doing something and what our personal aim is?


Definition of Intention:  plan of action; design.  An aim that guides action; object.

Personal Reflection Questions:
Please review and answer the following questions.  We will follow up with discussion so if an answer does not come easily leave it blank.

What was the initial inspiration to practice yoga or what aspect or change or result keeps me coming back to yoga?

What asana within my regular range of practice do I find most challenging?

What mindfulness concept is a challenge for me?

Have I been working with a mindfulness concept recently?
Yes, I am working with a concept/ideal/kriya and it is ______________________.
No and the mindfulness concept I wish to cultivate is __________________________________________.
(Please describe what it is if you do not know the specific term.)

Clearly write your intention(s) below.  Use wording that flows for you as you may want to memorize it or write it on post-it notes as a reminder.



The Influence of a Teacher

I read the book Halfway Up The Mountain:  The Error of Premature Claims to Enlightenment soon after it was published in 1999.  At the time I was training in breathwork, bio-energy and hatha yoga.  I recommend the book for anyone who leads a form of meditation, healing or inquiry.  On the flip side, the insights contained in the book are helpful for the student as well so a misguided teaching or incompatible path can be identified before stumbling blocks enter for the student.

It is all too easy for many seekers to turn power over to a teacher as much as it is all too easy for a teacher to absorb the power.  Meditation assists in keeping things neutral so to speak but things can get tricky, especially when unresolved emotional business makes an entrance.  This can create a "blip" on the integrity scale.  Even values shine through.  As I write this post there is the awareness of my innate tendency to be independent, independence being something instilled in childhood, something I value and strive for. [Dare I say to the extent of cynical mistrust of authority?]  

Every teacher, every one I've worked with anyway, brings through a bit of their personality and a bit imprints on what is being taught.  This is a beautiful thing of course!!!  AND... remember this effect.  Even the most in-the-now leader is often presenting how the process works for him/her.  Angela Farmer comes to mind.  I appreciate how she says that's what she does, stating she no longer considers herself a yoga teach per se.

One of my favorite ways to lead the yoga and meditation experience is to schedule the mysore/individual sessions where we come together in silence and each have our own practice.  To me it is a beautiful middle ground of group support and honoring intuition.  Of course instruction has its place and I enjoy it too.  Just like tennis, golf or surfing, there's a time to take lessons from an instructor* and a time to simply play and grow. There is no substitute for personal practice.  

* In-person or through books or videos, etc.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Mysore"/Individual Practice in the Park - Tomorrow morning from 9am-?

The weather forecast promises a beautiful morning.

The path is at the end of my street at the north end.  If you want to join us tomorrow let me know by 8:00am.  I will provide the street name, parking details and signs can be placed for you to follow on the trail.  

We enter, practice individually and leave the woods in silence.  Each person leaves when they are ready to do so. I stay until everyone has gone so no one is left alone (except for me briefly).  Come to practice asana, relax in savasana, meditate, read & reflect on something inspiring or write in a journal.  It is a time to be out in the "sand bowls" with safety in numbers*, to turn inward, rely on your own discipline, inner guidance and to enjoy the sand, sun, birds and flora.

* the majority of time the group is made of women - men are welcome to join the group!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Healing Sanctuary Tonight - 12/2 6-8pm

Lesa Leiden and I are looking forward to creating space, sharing and serving tonight at her office at The Healing Fountain at 762 Independence Blvd. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Humorous Coincidence

I spent a good part of today installing shelves and putting books back up without regard to subject but to size in terms of height.  Out of perhaps 200 books Codependent No More and The Joy of Partner Yoga turned up next to one another.

It's nothing profound, just made me chuckle. 

What some of the science says about breathing

"Deep breathing exercises are the most powerful and effective for of stress management." - Dean Ornish,  MD  Clinical Professor of Medicine - University of California; Author, Reversing Heart Disease

"Breathing correctly is the key to better fitness, muscle strength, stamina and athletic endurance."  Dr. Michael Yessis, PhD   President of Sports Training Institute; Fitness write for Muscle & Fitness Magazine

"20 minutes a day of deep breathing exercises clearly, dramatically escalates athletic performance and is the single most important factor in the effectiveness of all exercise."  US Olympic Training Committee

"Deep breathing techniques which increases oxygen to the cell are the most important factors in living a disease free and energetic life."  Dr. Otto Warburg, President  Insitute of Cell Physiology, Nobel Prize Winner

"Deep breathing exercises will dramatically improve conditions of headaches, PMS, stress, cellulite and emphysema." Prevention Magazine

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life consists of what a man is thinking all of the day.  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perceived flaws of yoga teachers, healers, etc.

12/3/11 UPDATE:  I felt tempted to delete this post since I was unsure of its clarity.  Instead, it is open for discussion. If you have anything to add, let's discuss.

I admit to having the judgmental attitude in the past regarding what I thought a yoga teacher should look like in terms of personality and how their personal life should function.  I've moved beyond judging and recognize to hold such a false illusion is a stumbling block. Besides, I'm a pot and who am I to call the kettle black? 

First: the shoemaker's kids without shoes.  Perhaps the shoemaker became the shoemaker in town because he had to make so many shoes for his own kids and simply it became his path.  I can speak for myself when I say it was (& is) the anxiety-depression fluctuations that led me to find yoga, meditation and breathwork.  [Several years earlier a car accident resulted in my trying massage for the first time which was the only modality to take the back pain away.  Within a month I was in massage therapy training.]  Sure, I still have a certain level of social anxiety as an introvert which seems contradictory to the fact that public speaking has become more comfortable. Should one stop teaching because of the things they're working on?

Second, the 8-limbs of yoga all the way up through asana, pranayama, sense withdrawal, concentration and meditation are techniques.  There is a teacher for everyone.  Some hear and learn through imagery-based language from the saint-like. Some students can only hear and learn from, shall we say, the Henry Rollins of yoga instructors: passionate, out spoken, direct, idealistic. 

Third:  tossing the baby out with the bathwater.  In the mid-90's, I shared the task of picking up a world-known healer at the airport so he could present at the A.R.E. the next day.  From the videos and books I knew him as compassionate and present.  Behind the scenes he was more withdrawn and even a bit grumpy.  But he was being human. A human tired from long travel, hitting a wall of heat and humidity walking out of the airport. This saying comes to mind:  a spiritual being having a human experience.  This is true for all!

Fourth, the expectations and pace of modern life should not be disregarded. Sure, we're not out in the fields growing our own food but those of us doing our best to offer teachings and healing we are not living cloistered away like monks or nuns.  Most of us are householders and probably have other work responsibilities.  If not married or have children, we have day jobs, mortgages, aging parents, a car in the shop or a rescued puppy being house trained.  Be grateful your teacher or healer understands something about your life.  Sure, it is a pleasure to learn and grow under the guidance of one who devotes their entire life to the practice. But how accessible is he or she geographically, economically and logistically? 

Certainly we want healers and teachers to be appropriate, responsible and on-the-path.  In my experience those of us who are practicing and presenting are vigilant with self-inquiry.  Choose wisely, go for the best fit.  It's all good.  Find a teacher who cares about what they're doing. 


Musings on Mystics

Some geographic areas are more comfortable for the mystic and experiential types:  Burlington, VT and Chapel Hill, NC come to mind for me.  Maybe it's good to be out of the comfort zone in order to bring and offer what's needed?  PETA is best located in Norfolk, VA rather than say, San Francisco?
It's an interesting thing to be outside the box by being right-brained.  [It would be easy to say our culture primarily values left-brained activity and talents but judging by the lack of new young scientists in our culture such a statement would be flawed at best.]

Back in 2000 one of my yoga teacher teachers, Anna Gerard-Pittman, once said in reference to the yoga boom, "if there is a bar on every corner why can't there be a yoga studio on every corner?"  She made a good point.  If it is a departure from stress we're looking for, what's the difference?  To elaborate on this idea, is it any less or more absurd to watch an athlete run around a field with a ball than it is to watch your breath and concentrate on God?  How about paying $60 for a new sweater or receive a 1 hour professional massage?  There's no judgment here.  It all depends on values, which are personal.  I'm throwing out ideas.

Mystics have always been mostly underground, quietly doing there thing.  Now it feels perhaps with the storm of the materialism roar quieting down people will turn to quiet and inquiry.  Artists and musicians, thankfully, meet the middle ground, offering an approachable touchstone to the sweetness of experience.  [My husband and I concluded 20 years ago challenging times generates some of the best music.] Sure, there are teachers at the forefront reaching a large audiences.  As for the incomes they generate, let's not forget the above mentioned athlete is probably a multi-millionaire.  As for the possibility of cult-like following, have you seen the level of devotion to teams?  Again, no judgment.  We're looking at things form all angles. 

For the boots-on-the-ground mystics, what's next?  Whatever it is, I'm keeping on.  Thankfully, considering my introverted tendencies I have a few dear & cherished friends and a husband (a tech engineer by trade and mechanic for fun) who understand.

New Years Resolutions

Less gossip.  Although I've scaled back a lot in recent years I'll admit to participating.  It is a fine-line.  Part of the resolution is to make note out loud when I feel my words are heading in the direction of gossip.  Gossip is draining, damaging, a waste of time and quite frankly sad in its attempt to conjure human connection.  This is not to say I will cease talking about people altogether but rather be mindful that what I speak could be comfortably spoken in front of the person. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Upcoming book study

My study partner and I are approaching the end of our time using the tarot as a launching point for weekly inquiry and discussion.  It has been interesting and insightful.  We're both visual and intuitive types.  Symbols can be powerful.  [If you are not a believer just look at the effect of what Madison Avenue cranks out.] Learning some classic symbols has been interesting. 

By the end of the year we will begin our next basis for weekly inquiry.  My partner has suggested we study the text and workbook Soul Without Shame:  A Guide To Liberating Yourself From The Judge Within by Byron Brown.  I have yet to get a copy but I trust her and I'm game!

After a month of looking into Byron Katie & The Work here's a report

We're told being the witness to and asking good questions about stressful thoughts are important steps.  To use a metaphor, I took a dive into The Work with a rope tied around my waist.  It has been an interesting month delving into the world of Byron Katie.  I read Loving What Is, watched and listened to many hours of footage of Katie doing The Work one-on-one with people and have done about a dozen worksheets.  There has been success in loosening up perceptions, getting thoughts unglued from stress. 

I looked into the 9-day The School For The Work as a possibility for 2012.  With some research I came to the conclusion it would not be a good fit for me at all.  Testimony from past participants was mixed, some of which was simply alarming.

I will continue to incorporate the approach as a method of inquiry for myself when circumstances arise but will not go out of my way to suggest The Work to others as it seems to border on psychotherapy. Last week prior to getting a haircut I Googled "bangs" in an attempt to research such a style commitment.  One article said something like: cutting bangs, like using explosives, is best left to professionals.  The same holds for psychotherapy.  I speak from experience when I say receiving untrained counsel on deep issues can, at the very least, lead to years of confusion. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Impartiality, Mediocrity, Forgiveness

It seems the idea of impartiality is seeping deeper into my awareness.  With moderation it has its place.  Things are getting a little less personal.  When I have the feeling of rubbing up against angst or resistance I'm learning to inquire into thought forms, turning them this way and that.  I've become more adept at taking a thought that is causing irritation and looking at it as a cubist painter or sculptor took subject matter and manipulated its perspective into something new.  The miracle is I'm seeing more and more of what comes to me as a mirror.  ESPECIALLY the irritations!  This is forgiveness.

For some people the art of forgiveness is learned within their family of origin, religious traditions or culture.  For those of us who did not necessarily learn boundaries and forgiveness we learned instead that the slightest irritation meant the source of the irritant was wrong, bad, to blame.  Although this awareness may be beyond elementary to some all I know is here I am and I'm getting it, really getting it now and that's what counts. 

Mediocrity with respect to the idea of irritants is to bring about balance and stability.  I try to apply the same now to relationships.  Yoga has taught me to feel imbalance, such as to energize back when what is being asked of my body's energy is to reach forward; to feel energy drop down as the breath lifts up and to feel openness where the body is folded. Equalize, equalize, equalize.  The yoga tradition teaches the balanced state as the satvic energy.  This is akin to Goldie Locks' Satvic "just right."  The rajasic state is Goldie Locks' hot porridge or too-hard bed and the tamasic state is like her cold porridge and too-soft bed.  The definition of yoga is:  the restraint or hinderance of the modifications of the mind-stuff.  Again, it's about equalizing.

I'm learning the play between satvic-rajasic-tamasic energies as applied to relationships.  I can feel when I've done too much for another, especially when I wasn't asked.  As a "people pleaser" I'm learning to allow others to live their own reality is energizing for all.  When someone asks something of me I'm improving on feeling within and deciding before reacting.  Perhaps I move in their direction or not.  Perhaps I meet them where they are and assist or step back.  Saying no or changing my mind about saying yes is alright.  This is my experience and is not to say you may need to work the other side of the coin:  expectations of others.  It is yet another form of non-awareness.

Something to come of all this awareness is the deliciousness of honoring what I need in order to maintain a certain level of equilibrium:  exercise, proper sleep, periods of solitude & silence, time spent with good-hearted people, time spent in nature, and something big once in a while like not traveling for the holidays this year. Considering my right-brained nature, INFJ personality type, Enneagram 9 and so forth it is important to honor my Libra nature with equilibrium by not becoming TOO impartial. The only sun sign to have in inanimate symbol is Libra.  Closing off to become more hermit-like is not indicated! 

Thanks for reading a few of my thoughts of the day.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

December 2nd is the likely date for the Healing Sanctuary

The plan is coming together.  Lesa Leiden is pulling together the event for the evening of 12/2 at her office off Independence Blvd in VB.  I will post more details as they come through. 

Transcendent Discoveries: Ceremony House & Healing Time

It would be interesting to offer ceremony with a variety of elements and props available for healing, release, overcoming stumbling blocks, honoring transitions, phases of commitment in relationships or business, possibly legal marriages which I trained in with Celebrant Institute.

I like this name for the business/non-profit...

Transcendent Discoveries:  Ceremony House & Healing Time
It has an intent-space-time quality to it.

Again, everything starts someplace.  As Alan Moore says in the documentary The Mindscape of Alan Moore a stream of ideas are just "out there" waiting to be grabbed and developed.   As for the idea above it should be mentioned My Dinner With Andre is one of my favorite movies.  The stories Andre tells about the rituals in the forest were enthralling.

My dream job would be that of Talamanic Hermit!

Highlights from this morning's Ceremony for Healing & Release

The weather was beautiful for the ceremony.  The jets usually do not fly over the park but this morning they did.  Fortunately the final fly over was at 8:55 as the last of us stepped onto the sand trail for the 9 o'clock gathering.  If they did fly over we would have made the best of it or maybe even incorporated the sound into our experience but the lack of roaring and being able to hear the wind and birds was preferable.  Pilots, thank you for tuning in to us!

I designed the ceremony, having pulled together elements from various sources.  There were 5 of us.  It was about an hour in time length.  The participants requested some details so here is an outline along with some of the particulars.   I will relay as much as possible in case a reader would like to replicate it.  There is power and the potential for transformation when people gather with loving intention. 

Welcome, opening greeting, purpose

Brief introduction to the power of circles, especially when people come together in a circle.  Showed the colored photographs of circles & spheres found in the art of various religious & spiritual traditions and cultures as seen in Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth (colorplates between pages 108 & 109).  At the top it reads:  "The whole world is a circle.  All of these circular images reflect the psyche."

Receptive Silence, 3 chimes of bells

The meaning of Namaste is spoken out loud:  I honor the place in you that is of light, of truth and of peace.  When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, WE ARE ONE.

We each poured different colored sand into 1 vessel (a loose reproduction of Buddhist monk's sand manadalas).

Poem (I did not write it.  When I find the author I will edit this post):

Tree song
Pruning is over-
now begins the growing.
Call forth energy
from deep roots,
stretch limbs,
feel buds begin to swell,
reach for wind and sun.

As you leaf,
understand that
under your green canopy,
flowers will grow in your shade,
and even in winter,
roots will store food
to feed the burst
of spring.
So in fall, paint your colors boldly,
brilliant reds and golds,
and put your seeds to slumber,
preparing for spring.

In your time of flowering,
or with naked branches,
do not fear the rain,
or the coldest winds,
but stand tall,
look to the horizon,
watch the sun set
and the sun rise.
From your center,
feel each fracture in your bark
find its way to heal.

Remember this:
Leaves know
when they must fall,
and when to bud,
just as the seed knows
when to put forth its first true leaves.

Write down on a small piece of paper what you wish to heal, release, purge, let go of, invite in, move beyond.

Share out loud, only as much as comfortable. 

Roll the small paper, tie to the single oak branch being passed around.   Oak represents strength & stability according to Celtic tradition.

The branch is placed in the center and lit to burn:  element of fire.  I put in some sage a friend brought back from Sedona.

As it burns we pour and drink (today we had sparkling apple cider).  The liquid represents the water element washing away, cleansing the past. 

As it continues to burn we close our eyes in receptive silence, eventually randomly speak out loud single words of empowerment and transformation.

Silent observance for another:  a period of reflection, prayer to an individual or group of people not present but elsewhere and perhaps in need of loving energy.

Once the little fire is out and all the paper burned, the sand vessel is passed around the circle and stirred by each participant.

In a little bag there are about 50 single words or short phrases on tiny pieces of paper, such as: 
God    Jesus   Buddha     Breath   Hope   Spirit    Life  Change  Guidance   Intuition   Truth        Relaxation  Willingness    Acceptance   Yaweh   OM   Love   Let Go  Release  Next Step    Transition     Now   The Present    Love What Is  Surrender    Open To    Faith    Trust   Receptive To The Mystery
Healing  Light  Grounded   Inspired  Energy    Forgiveness  Release  Outgrow    Outgrowth       Moving Forward    Moving On    Growth   Pruning     Deep Roots   Understanding  Centered   Loving   NOW   OM   Earth   On the Horizon   Sing a New Song   Blossom   Wisdom   Divine              Divinity    Angels  Flowering

There are duplicates of each word in case 2 participants want the same.

Everyone gets a square of foil.  The following is placed within it:  selected single words/short phrases on tiny paper, colored sand from the vessel, ashes from the fire.  Some people chose to include things from our surroundings:  sand, leaves, acorn.  The foil is folded/bundled, tied with string with a sprig of ivy (representing determination, change, patience) and a sprig of holly (action & passion).

Participants are to place this little foil bundle on their alter or special spot at home and release the contents whenever they desire:  sprinkled to sea, buried in a garden, etc.  Maybe in a week, perhaps in 5 years.

The remaining ashes are dumped and buried in the sand.

Three rings of the bell to close the circle.

Fun!  Our group was casual and not overly stoic, which was lovely.  Sacred space was observed with room for flow, laughter and joy.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tomorrow morning's healing ceremony

I'm looking forward to the healing ceremony.  It will be a small group, probably all women.  There is transformational power in ritual.  I will write about tomorrow afternoon. 

Getting grounded

As children we did not want to be grounded by our parents.  As adults many of us seek being grounded.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's about your business

I really REALLY appreciate Byron Katie's outline concerning "business":  THERE'S YOUR BUSINESS, THE BUSINESS OF ANOTHER & GOD'S BUSINESS.   Mediation and mindfulness practices bring us home to our business.  I'm starting to see the aspect of the human condition so willing to turn over personal power to another.  It is a looptyloop preventing one from turning in, taking a look and addressing what needs to be addressed.  No one is going to do the growing for you.  There's a lot "out there" to (supposedly?) feed, nourish, take care of us.  But in the end we are left with our own power to transform. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My first experience leading something yoga-like

In 5th or 6th grade a bunch of us girls were at a slumber party. One of the girls suggested we do something her mother taught her. We paired up. One stretched out on the floor with the back of her head on a pillow, the other sat above her head. The seated one took 2 fingers to each of the reclining partner's temples and rotated while leading the reclining girl into an imaginary, relaxing scene. I do not remember being the receiver but vividly recall loving the process of leading. It all just kicked in for me. I was good at it and my partner shared that she had powerful experience (not in those words necessarily, we were 10 after all).

At some point during my college years I picked up Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization audio tape. There was a shell shop in Sag Harbor, NY where new age music played from the ceiling and in some respects it bordered on being a metaphysical shop. I did not know exactly what I was buying but happily judged the tape by its cover. Well, it gave a name to what we kids did at the slumber party. Every few years I listen to the tape. It still plays just fine.

The power of visualization is better understood now. It is used quite a bit in sports.

The Meaning of Namaste


I bow to you

Somewhere I learned this longer meaning of Namaste and often repeat it out loud with students at the end of class: I honor the place in you that is of light of truth and of peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me we are one.

See also:

Make Your Observation Now

While passing a hotel kiosk sign one night last week I misread what was posted. The sign was obscured by a tree branch. Instead of reading it correctly as "make your reservation now" I misread it as "make your observation now". Delightfully I returned to The Now, passed the tree branch, read the correct wording and enjoyed a chuckle. If I write a book someday the cover will have the image of a kiosk sign like this displaying Make Your Observation Now. Or if I open a hotel the sign by the road will post those words as least some of the time. :)

Ceremony of Healing

The students of the Yoga in the Woods/Park class have been invited to join a Ceremony of Healing on Monday, November 21st, weather permitting. Participants are invited to bring to the ceremony something to release. Healing is not always necessarily the absence of physical disease. Dis-ease takes many forms.

The idea to facilitate the ceremony birthed from two dreams I’ve had in the last week. Ceremony is a common thread shared throughout all cultures. It can be quite powerful. Joseph Campbell wrote in depth about it. In the coming weeks I will design the ceremony. In 2007 & 2008 I studied with and was certified by the Celebrant Foundation & Institute. Although I have not gone down the path of working as a Celebrant, what I absorbed has stuck with me.

If you are in my area and would like to join us on November 21st please email. The Ceremony for Healing is free of charge.

Hopefully coming soon: Healing Sanctuary Event

A friend and fellow healing arts practitioner is looking into the availability of space on Independence Boulevard in Virginia Beach for a Healing Sanctuary Event. I will post details here as we confirm the space, the date, time and other details. This opportunity to receive the work will be free or low-cost.

Om Gym

As a Christmas gift in 2008 I asked for and received an Om Gym from my husband. I was considering a yoga wall but stumbling upon the Om Gym the choice was a no-brainer. An Om Gym is about $200, easy to install and the portability allows for inverting from a strong tree branch or a child’s jungle gym. They even sell a stand which I may buy someday. My husband implanted 2 long eye bolts into the ceiling of my practice room which run up through to the attic. It may seem obvious but control is key to not injuring yourself while moving on the Om Gym since you must protect your joints. The relationship to gravity is very different and there is the potential of opening a joint too fast, too soon. And… I have never injured myself on the Om Gym over these last 3 years.

How removing foot calluses rebalanced my hips

I have a recurring problem with plantar warts. A dermatologist provided a regimen which included, among other things, daily soaks in the hottest water tolerable followed by using a callus shaver. In following doctor’s orders I had soft baby-like feet! An interesting thing happened. My hip alignment changed. Without the calluses creating bias my hips above were finding a new seating! First it was noticeable, even painful, when I walked but asana helped to rebalance the alignment along with strengthening. I have to admit, my feet are callused again. I live at the beach and am a notorious bare-footer. But the lesson of how whichever part of the body is on the ground as the basis for alignment has not been forgotten!


In the spirit of Swami Satchidananda and his joy with play-on-words let’s look at the statement: GOING NOWHERE. Break it down: GOING NOW HERE.


It's so Eckhart Tolle.

My high school class song played during the graduation procession was Talking Head's Road To Nowhere.

Acupressure Mat

Several years ago I purchased an acupressure mat. It is wonderful! I find it particularly helpful when I feel sluggish, run down or feel a virus making its way into my body. I get up feeling refreshed and energized. The first few times I used it I wore a thin t-shirt but now I lie on it bare-backed.

The mat costs around $30 with shipping. To buy go to one of these 3 online sources: acupressurematstore.com, amazon.com or eBay

8 Limbs of Yoga

Ten years ago I made several laminated charts for teaching yoga. Students are often interested in having a copy of the outline of the 8 Limbs of Yoga chart. Now that is it posted here students can refer to it anytime. This is only a basic outline and it can seem puzzling without explanation. Refer to texts, websites or if you are a student in the “Woods Class” I would be pleased to present the material again and every so often.

[Dear Dr. Schweig, should you ever read this, please know I did my best with the diacritics and will edit as necessary.]



Ahimsa – Non-violence
Satya – Truthfulness
Asteya – Non-stealing
Brahmacharya – Celibacy
Aparigraha – Non-greed

Shaucha – Purity
Santosha – Contentment
Tapas – Austerity
Svadhaya – Study of Sacred Texts
Ishvar-Pranidhana – Attunement to Life

Each of the YAMAS & NIYAMAS are sub-divided into three aspects:
Intellectual (Baudhika)
Verbal/Vocal (Vachika)
Physical (Sharirik)
For example there are three divisions of ahimsa or non-violence: intellectual non-violence, verbal non-violence, physical non-violence. A behavior begins on the level of thought, to speech then action. The level of mind is where opportunity for awareness begins. The seed of word and action begin there.

Sthira – Stability
Sukham - Comfort

Prana is the energy of the Universe that is expressed in different forms as mental, vital and physical activity. The breath can be seen as the perfect metaphor for our experience.

Manas (mind or senses), Buddhi (intellect) and Ahamkara (ego) become passive





Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Woods Yoga

In May of 2005 I read (& embraced!) Last Child In The Woods by Richard Louv which I picked up in a New York City bookstore. Months later I shared the book with a friend and fellow yogini. As we walked the woods one day we discussed having yoga outdoors. Since the spring of 2006 the gentle yoga class has been meeting in a sandy, woodsy park.

Benefits of practicing yoga outdoors:
- Full spectrum light from the sun
- Fresh oxygen from the plants, trees, shrubs
- Giving carbon dioxide to the plants, trees, shrubs
- Feeling the breeze
- Hearing the song of birds
- Dragon flies landing on lifted finger tips while in yoga pose
- Acclimating to the season
- Body enveloped in soft sand
- The majority of students walk to class since they live in the neighborhood, thus it is a carbon-neutral experience for most, including me

If the temperature is under 40-45F or in case of rain we have class indoors.

Loving what is

I handle all the financial tasks for my husband's consulting business and the household. Today I received a notice from the department of taxation claiming I did not file the resale tax form for the month of May when in fact I had. My thoughts started down the road of grumbling about red tape and how I'd rather do other things, more worthy of precious time. Since Byron Katie's phrase "love what is" finds itself front and center right now I turned into the moment.

The tax department representative exonerated me from wrong-doing over Live Chat. The older I get and the more I open to what is the more magical events become. Maybe the rep has been met with non-positive energy all day. I sent him a smiley. :) While filling out the customer feedback I was honest, commenting on how efficient and helpful he was in clearing up the matter. The point is there have been many times, from small events to more memorable ones, where the seemingly non-positive later turned out to be for the highest good for all involved.

October 31st 2008, my father's last Halloween. He shares a story of psychic experience.

To provide a little background, my father, a middle school science & math teacher, was not one to embrace metaphysical ideas. He even poked a little fun at the Association For Research & Enlightenment/Edgar Cayce Foundation in the city where I live.

On October 31, 2008 I called to wish my parents a Happy Halloween. The discussion with my dad turned to the unexplained. One thing led to another and he recounted this experience:

One day during his teaching career there was a crisis involving a boy from another class. My father did not know this boy. The boy had "trouble at home" which I assumed was abuse, neglect or sexual abuse. This boy left school distraught and it was thought he would harm himself. My father heard of the situation. Again, he did not know the boy. My father said he was worried for him and started walking as if on automatic. My father left the school grounds and knew when to turn right, left and when to go straight through and around a neighborhood he had never been in before and knew nothing about. This school district is an hour's drive from where we lived so there was no reason for him to ever travel through this neighborhood. As my father walked a police car appeared. He approached and said to the officer "follow me". The police officer asked, "You know where he is?" and my father answered, "Not really but follow me." He led the way with the officer following until the came upon the boy crouched in the yard of a random person's house. The fact that it wasn't even the boy's yard was what really astonished my father. If it had been the boy's home my father said he would have assumed he had seen the address somewhere and it lodged into his subconscious.

My father did not lie, was a truthful person and to say his love for children was significant is an understatement. It was such a gift to have him recount this experience. I gave the eulogy at his funeral. I probably could have relayed this story.

"Imaginary" childhood friend

When I was a child there was an imaginary friend, a boy, who played with me. Once I was caught talking out loud to him while playing cards. One of my family members asked who I was talking to. Assuming they would not understand and it being the mid-70's and Casper was popular I answered, "Casper".

Only this spring did my sister tell me she, my mother and others in the family used to see a little neighborhood ghost-boy who had died in the 60's.

Riley's Rainbow

With my friend "M" I co-founded and was involved in a year-long photo group where we would pick a theme-of-the-week, take photos and share our final selection online with the others. Since rainbows are not easy to come by it was decided in the beginning that a photo of a rainbow would be one that would be a floating theme, to be taken and shared whenever one of us saw one.
In the month of June M's dog died. The dog, who was not old, had become ill very suddenly and died within weeks of the onset of symptoms.
That's the background.
Early July I was out in the country. There was a real estate listing for an old building. Simply curious and not really serious I felt like taking a look. I took my dog along for the 15 minute ride. After walking around, peering in windows and looking at the crumbling building, curiosity was satisfied and it was time to go. In the driver's seat, wanting to pull out to the left, my dog's head blocked my left-side view. Instead of risking the (remote) possibility of a car coming around the bend to my left I pulled right out on to the road, deciding to go up a ways to then make a u-turn to come back where it was safe. I carried out this plan going up a hill to an area of open farmland divided by the main road. Using a dirt farm road to turn around I was ready to get back on the main road when I saw a rainbow right in front of my eyes. I had brought my camera to photograph the building for sale so photographing the rainbow was easy.
I uploaded the photo for the photo group. Little did I know less than 24 hours earlier M had been sitting at a traffic light, grieving for her dog and had asked for a rainbow as a sign from/on behalf of her dog Riley. When we discussed our amazement of this all coming together it was noteworthy that it was my dog who caused me to drive up the hill to the farmland area where the rainbow could be seen. If it were not for my dog I never would have seen Riley's Rainbow.


Did you read about Steve Jobs' final words in his passing over process? "OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW." I will not know until my time but I'm taking it as he was having the time of his life.

A year and a half of tarot study with a partner

A dear friend and I have been studying the Rider-Waite Tarot for over a year. To say it has been enlightening is an understatement!

First, I will explain the general structure. Each week we choose a different card, study it's meaning, apply the card to our lives for a week to 10 days and then discuss our experiences and observations. First, we went through the major arcana. We studied the suits of the minor arcana and specific cards for several weeks. All summer and into the fall we have been randomly/intuitively choosing 1 of 4 of the same numbered cards. Currently we're on the 9's. We're both intuitive types so we open ourselves to the selection process in a fresh way each week, finding a balance between our will placed upon the process and an openness to spirit to reveal to us ways to select the week's card.

Mostly due to the fact that my friend is a loving and beautiful person, this study has been incredibly supportive to my growth. By the end of the year we will move on from tarot and move on to Runes, I-Ching or a book on a particular spiritual study method.

Complete Edgar Cayce Readings on DVD-Rom

The DVD-Rom arrived this morning. It includes over 14,000 readings with a topical index database of over 10,000. As a member I bought it for $75 including tax. Shipping was free. If you are interested in getting the DVD-Rom but you are not a member it may be worthwhile to obtain membership prior to ordering. The special is running until mid-November.


Only last week I stumbled upon Byron Katie and The Work

How on Earth did I not know about Byron Katie and The Work? Apparently now is the time. The video posted below was my very first introduction to Katie. WOW. I have yet to read the books or actually do The Work but I have watched hours of video on YouTube as preparation.

11/3/11 1:10PM Update:

Ah ha. The Great Mystery has revealed a possible way Spirit connected me to The Work of Byron Katie. Her husband is Stephen Mitchell. I have a number of his translations, one of which is the Bhagavad Gita on cassette read by him. It has been sitting on my shelf for years. I purchased it in the early 2000's when it was first released. Two weeks ago I listened to it while ironing and doing other housework. A week later I stumbled upon Katie while browsing videos on You Tube. Interesting.

I have not read her books yet. Rather, I've watched and listened to enough videos to notice my ego has softened to the idea of using the worksheets. I found them here:


We'll see if this dastardly ego will melt a little or a lot more and make room for the welcomed freedom, clarity and peace.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Angela Farmer

I had the pleasure of participating in a long weekend of yoga with Angela Farmer. It was my 4th workshop over the course of 8, perhaps 10 years. I will share a few ideas and experiences from the “untraining" as she and her husband Victor Van Kooten call it.

Their method/non-method centers on interior balance of energy, awareness and alignment by feeling, filling out, spinning body & energy in counter directions and of course breathing. It is yet another way to grow the witness mind, the part of us we hope to make stronger than monkey mind. Instead of striving for a stunning pose (not that there’s anything wrong with that Angela says) why not try to grow from inside too? Angela stays true to only presenting what she experiences, saying she no longer teaches but shares. As the 12-Step saying goes it’s about process not perfection.

Their method/non-method is supportive of yogic principles such as concentration (Dharana) and meditation (Dhyana) and the equalizing of the energies of tamas, rajas and satvic. In addition, on a personal level I made other connections. Since starting Chopich & Paul’s inner child & inner bonding work last week I realized there was a delightful significance in timing. I’ve only cracked open the text and it will be another week before beginning the workbook but it feels as though my body-mind is primed for the exploration. I also had a wonderfully informative dream basically informing me it is time to completely release a health event from 6 years ago.

In closing Angela & Victor’s approach reinforces the idea of the ultimate partnership being with the self. All the great traditions speak of this. The external is limited in how much peace it can bring us. Those words can be read in a book but when using the body as tool for inner contemplation is not only delicious but potentially very enlightening!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recommended Blog & Resource

Lesa Leiden offers professional counseling, bio-feedback and RoHun sessions in Virginia Beach.


On Forgiveness

Most everyone in the world has something to heal.

May I recognize the veil as lowered when I forget this and express dissatisfaction with others.

More and more I see this dissatisfaction usually results from expecting others to make me happy, read my mind or to heal me.

Supporting another in behavior I don't like is not the same as allowing another to be who they are.

May I recognize this fact before dissatisfaction leaves the level of thought, before anything rolls off my tongue.

My heart opens appropriately.

May all beings be healed and lift into conscious awareness.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A few words about support on the path of Yoga

Read the next 2 words, then close your eyes for a minute as you reflect:

- Define Yoga -

What was your answer? What did you hear yourself say? What did you visualize?

Ready for the answer? Here is the definition in Sanskrit, then with English:

YOGAH=Yoga; CHITTA=of the mind-stuff; VRUTTI=modifications; NIRODHAH=restraint
The restraint of hinderance of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.

In the late 90's I participated in my first more formal yoga training. It was an online program by Dr. VS Rao with The High-Tech Yoga Institute in Lowell, MA. The Yoga Sutras were an important part of the study. As with the example above, the text we studied was a word-for-word translation by Dr. Rao.

If you embrace Yoga as your path I encourage you to refer to the actual definition of Yoga. Keep coming back to it. Yoga clothes, studios, teachers, workshops, books, styles, videos, magazines, mats, blocks, straps, and the physical postures & practices themselves matter in that they are supportive tools. Each can have an important role but are not Yoga. Yoga is within you. Select and choose things, practices, activities and teachers to assist you on the path to a mind that fluctuates less.

Yoga is about PRACTICE and is not dogmatic. Develop enough discipline to keep practicing but I encourage you to keep it organic and flowing. Keep it in the NOW. In terms of asana and pranayama what was correct for you last decade, year, month, day, hour may need to be released in order for you to open and make way for what's next in supporting a stable mind. And if the outer is fixed, for example, in the form of practicing 1 particular asana or pranayama daily of course that is fine too. Keep it in the NOW. Many poses are named after sages who dedicated their practice time to the particular pose. If a more fixed outer practice is a functional tool for you, release expectation, the fruits of action and be open to inner revolution and the steady, perhaps subtle physical changes. One last time, keep it in the NOW.

These are the 4 Yoga texts which have supported my path:

Autobiography of a Yogi - Paramahansa Yogananda
Yoga Sutras - Patanjali
Bhagavad Gita - I like Graham Schweig's interpretation
Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle

I have read each many times. For me it is less about intellectually absorbing the material but rather experiencing wisdom, the essence, the message. I experience the lineage of the teachings. I am so grateful for every teacher who has passed along the information.

Eckhart Tolle does not present teachings as any particular tradition. That said, in my experience what he teaches is indeed Yoga. Yoga is basic spiritual knowledge found in all others traditions, just as Tolle presents the material. The beauty of Yoga is how complimentary it can be with other traditions. For example, if Jesus means everything to you, allow his image to be your drishti (gazing point) in concentration practice.

I could go on about Yoga but will leave you with the above for today. <3

Today's thought on what intuitive work means to me

In helping others through energy work and intuitive readings I am provided with a point of concentration for Dharana and meditation on God in Dhyana. I devote time, open to the mystery and do so with gratitude. The individual receiving the work has heart-based focus upon them with an opportunity for concentration practice of their own, meditating on the experience.

Although I have an empathic sense I do not necessarily see auras or energy currents, at least not in the awesome ways others have described them. I trust master teachers when they say phenomena exists to keep our interest and matters little if at all.

More and more I understand the true meaning of these words: "do your work, then step back" as written in the Tao Teh Ching by Lao Tzu. As instructed in the Bhagavad Gita I am learning to release the fruit of action and to see devotional action as enough.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Free Spiritual Videos & Documentaries

Generally, there's little for me on television and I canceled Netflix. When I want to watch something I prefer to feed my mind. YouTube has a lot of great content uploaded by people open and eager to share esoteric knowledge. You have to be selective but it does not take long to find quality videos featuring teachers with integrity.

On YouTube Fred Alan Wolf is interviewed by Jeffrey Mishlove on the subject of Shamanic Physics. This is part of Thinking Allowed Video Library.

Recently via Hulu I was wowed by the documentary The Mindscape of Alan Moore.

Here is another source: http://www.awakening-intuition.com/movies_documentaries.html

Peace Pilgrim

While living in Vermont in 1990 I picked up a little 30 cent booklet in Burlington from a shop called What An Interesting Bookstore. The booklet is called Steps Toward Inner Peace - Harmonious Principles for Human Living by Peace Pilgrim. I've been carrying it in my bag for the last few years.

For those of you who appreciate tales of spiritual journey in the form of actual travel, Peace Pilgrim is for you. In journeying across America, Peace Pilgrim expressed the feminine. She trailed off, open to receiving and offered teachings when approached. If you appreciate the ideals of Christopher McCandless in the non-fiction book &/or movie Into The Wild perhaps Peace Pilgrim will speak to you. Both died on their respective journeys and they were at different places in life but they share a common essence.

Here is a documentary about Peace:


Mosquito Ahimsa

This morning's yoga in the park session included a few mosquitoes. Instead of reacting with swatting I responded by brushing the first one away. In doing so it died anyway since the wings bent. When 2 other mosquitoes arrived I used their presence as inspiration for slow movement and a point of observation. Admittedly I spoke to them in my mind too! It worked. They moved on, I enjoyed the remaining hour of bug-less practice and never had another land or sting.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Finding a rich inner life in the midst of changing times

Perhaps BAU (business as usual) has become elusive and finding your way in the "new normal" is challenging. Global conditions bring us face to face with transitions with regard to the economy, policy, wars, natural and man-made disasters and resource issues.

A full and wonderful inner life that awaits your discovery. Your path is meaningful. You are a unique part of this world, as turbulent and fast-changing as it can be.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Have faith and try something new

I really liked the beauty of this sun-dried old tree on a beach. The sun was too strong to look up so I took a single shot without knowing the exact alignment. I knew there was something beautiful to be captured so I lined up the camera and... ta da! Launching into intuitive work reminds me of this photography experience. May beauty, trust and faith be a guiding presence. The intention is to enjoy the work and to use it for the betterment of others. Although I offer guidance at times it will be in the spirit of encouraging you to find your own path, truth, action and conscious engagement in life.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Ordination with the Universal Brotherhood Movement included the intention to dedicate my life to the brotherhood of mankind. I wish to help others to the best of my ability, when asked and in a manner and to an extent that is appropriate.

As part of this intention Sessions are offered free or low-cost as an act of service. As a beginning intuitive reader I am inspired with each opportunity to develop skills of interpretation and communication.

Sessions address your relationship to the art of living and are not meant to be a substitute for appropriate professional medical, psychological or financial consultation and advice.