Tag Archives: yoga

Yoga, Practice, and getting to know your Self.

The “S Word.” We throw it around a lot.

Self esteem, self worth, self confident, self conscious….but do we really know who we are underneath? Aren’t we all just trying to figure that out? The discovery of the Elusive “S” all begins with a choice. It’s up to us. Are we ready to move towards our Self or shall we continue to cloud our feelings with dogma, theory, and adjectives without actually seeing whats underneath the practice of these things?
When the decision is made to be real and see ourselves it shows up in our yoga. In the way we move, the way we breathe, the way we fill up a room. It starts to shine out in to other things- how we interact with family, friends, acquaintances, challenging people. How we treat the earth, the dietary decisions we make, the way in which we honor our needs and the needs of others. It shows up…and the realization that all is well and always has been is clear.


This takes work…

It takes, staring down those selves in the face. Yes multiple selves. All gritty, hazy, overwhelming, erratic, imbalanced, joyful, open, closed, excited, numb….whatever they are…without allowing “judgement” to cloud the truth. Seeing each self for what it is- purposeful or not, true or not- necessary or not. At times this may mean a sweaty, strong and powerful Vinyasa practice by the end of which we feel as if they layers of holding have just slipped off the skin with the drops of sweat on our mat; other times it may take a quite, long, slow, deep yin practice of connective tissue stretches that cause us to confront the deeply threaded feelings stored by the bodies internal memory system; still others it is simply sitting, breathing, noticing…but one thing is for certain. The theory of these things will get you only so far. The practice of them regularly and intently with complete honesty is what causes the shift. It is also important to approach the practice with an element of compassion. As the Yoga Sutras (1.33) state:
“In relationships, the mind becomes purified by cultivating feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and neutrality towards those we perceive as non-virtuous.” The relationship with yourself and your practice is no different. Don’t forget to challenge your perspective.

YOGA ISN’T EASY, it is moving towards ease (sometimes through things that are hard). So ask yourself. Are you ready to make the choice? If not, keep practicing to the capacity you have right now. Even if it’s only doing ONE thing regularly, to hone your awareness of yourself in that circumstance, you are doing the work. When that choice is ready to be made you’ll have some legwork underway. 🙂
You can struggle and learn how to do things the hard way or you can settle and allow yourself to unfold with ease.



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Super Stretchy Spinal Flow

It’s been a lovely, crazy, fulfilling, and this-life altering summer. This poor little blog has been neglected and I can’t promise that will change drastically with the months to come. I thought that in penance I should offer you a little gift so I hopped on my mac today and started to move. No plans but this came out so I hope you enjoy…

30 minutes of juicy, slow, stretchy spinal flow.
Shout Out to your upper back- the container for the other side of your heart.

(full disclaimer, my big fur-baby Olive decided she needed to be part of the show so there are some “hair ball in the throat” sounds and a few guest appearances of a furry black mug. Just go with it 😉  Also my breathing is much more exaggerated than it usually would be but sound isn’t the greatest in this room so I wanted you to be able to hear the rhythm as much as possible. Typically it’s strong but more subtle and in/out primarily through the nose )

For those of you in the Raleigh-Durham area i’m directing a new and amazing studio in Brier Creek under the name BURN Athletic. We’ll offer Yoga, Circuit Training, Cycling and BURNBlends (fusion/cross-modality classes). We’ll also have a few the Ballet Burn classes on our schedule. I really can’t express how grateful I am for this opportunity to gather an amazing community of instructors and students together in one space. I’ve come to realize even more through this journey that there is more than enough for everyone…and i’ve loved every minute, continuing to support the existing yoga and fitness community while integrating our vision into the mix. Wild Crazy Beautiful ride indeed!

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“The only thing i’ll ever learn, is just to Love…”

So it’s the end of Valentines Day 2012. Whether it is a joyous event for you and yours or a seemingly pre-apocalyptic cry fest, it’s still here and not changing…the day where sugary treats, mass farmed roses, and goofy grins are seen everywhere, and even if all you want to do is curl up in a ball on the couch with your new beaus “Ben and Jerry” the love fest is unavoidable.

But that’s the thing isn’t it. Continue reading

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2011’s greatest hits from Cafe Ganesha

A quick wrap up of this past year’s favorite posts…you know, just in case you missed one 😉 Continue reading

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Advanced Backbending at Blue Point

Bonus segment for the holiday Y.A.T (Yoga Around the Triangle) Series 2011

Check out this amazing bonus segment for the Heart Opening for the Holidays (HOHO) flow seen here. Warm up with the HOHO flow and then dive in to these prana building shapes with pure awareness. Please exercise caution and connectivity when doing this sequence. There is a reason the segment is 16 minutes long….in fact slow it down if you like!  Let the Shakti flow… Continue reading

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HOHO flow: Heart Opening for the HOlidays

It’s that time again! CafeGanesha is traveling around the triangle, making pit stops on the way at some amazing yoga studios and spaces, connecting with the local yogis and yoginis, and shining the spotlight on the pockets of light that shine so brightly all over our geographic area. This go ’round we are visiting Blue Point Yoga in Durham, by Duke University and Duke Medical Center for a heart opening flow specifically suited for both recharging your batteries (which admittedly may be depleted this busy time of year) as well making space for compassion, grace, introspection and honesty. “Opening your heart” to these ideas implies both receptivity to love and intimacy in our relationships with ourselves, our friends, our family, and the world at large.

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Sometimes it takes setting yourself free to truly come HOME

This is an especially emotional post tonight folks.

You know those moments where the universe opens up and says “so umm, I see you’ve been ignoring my subtle hints so…new approach. I will now be showering you with hints, cues, clues, and nudges…all in one moment! I’ll make you understand!” ? Well today was one of those days. They seem to be coming faster and faster this time of year. *sigh*

So back story: Continue reading

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Put some *Glitter* on it!

If that title didn’t make you smile then imagine it in pink sparkly letters dancing across the screen and there ya’ go…

So….shoot me….it’s been a long time. LIKE OVER A MONTH since these fingers have done the walkin’ and this blog has done any talkin’.


Any-hoo i’m back and ready to sparkle.

The holidays… ‘Nuff said right? Well not really. Continue reading

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Practicing yoga on I-40

Yoga has done so much more for this chick than make her bendy. (End 3rd person narrative here). The practice has translated into my life in so many unexpected ways…

I’ll admit it, for the longest time I thought Road Rage was in my blood, part of my DNA. Someone would cut me off and my blood would boil. The murderous glares would start, and the tail riding would ensue. “They are gonna KNOW just how mad I am! I mean if looks could kill!”

Now I just have to laugh.

10 ways to practice yoga in your car

(not in order):

1. Non-violence. When someone flips you off return the one finger wave with an open palm. Smile and Wave. Maybe they have had a bad day. Violence and anger are not appeased with violence and anger. Ahimsa anyone?

2. Humility. Practice letting someone else speed away from a stoplight BEFORE you. I mean are we really in a race here? Is your ego that big?

3. Patience. Are you late, are you late, for a very important date? Go the speed limit. I guarantee the 2 extra minutes you’ll gain speeding (that is if you don’t get pulled over) will do nothing to impress those waiting for you. Patience my dear Watson.

4. Conscious Observation! I know I used to have those moments of getting to my destination and not remembering the journey. “how the heck did I even get here?” moments. Try to observe more than just the bumper in front of you as you drive. What colors are the cars, what is the weather like, how vibrant is the energy on the road, how green are the leaves of the trees, how clean is the side of the road. Oh, and there is always the breath to notice.

5. Gratitude. Gratitude for the ability to travel distances to see friends, family, go to work. Gratitude for the cool breeze outside your window, gratitude for sun shining through the glass, gratitude for heat in winter and AC in summer, you get the drift.

6. Abstinence or Moderation. Try not to ditch the auto all together for reasonable distances. Instead hop on the bike or take a leisurely stroll. Directly this relates back to Bramacharya-Having an awareness as to when enough is enough is a huge part of the bramacharya practice and ultimately allows us an increased sense of vitality and well being.

7. Silence. Try to turn inward. Shut off the radio, forget you have a horn, turn the cell phone off or put it on vibrate. Let yourself sit in the “now” instead of the distractions.

8. Cleanliness. This is one I still need to tackle. We spend more time behind the wheel than we think. Treat your space with respect. Keep your car clean and tidy and you may feel better about the time you spend there, less distracted, and more open to #1-7. Directly this relates to Sauca, Sauca has a deeper meaning, with both inner and outer aspects of a person included in it. Outer cleanliness refers to personal hygiene, while inner cleanliness indicates maintenance of a healthy body and mind, with positive thinking. Cleanliness of mind is achieved by the removal of mental impurities, such as jealousy, pride, anger and so on.

9. Non-covetousness. Instead of checking out the cool BMW or Porche next to you with envy, be happy with the fact that you have transportation, whether it’s your car or the city bus or your own two feet.  Being mobile is cool enough. when we let go of something or someone or some idea (what car we “should” drive, what life we “should” be leading), we have space in our lives to grow. Aparigraha– non-attachment.

10. Alignment. Align your body and your mind. Check out how your posture has slumped or how your back is rigid, maybe your shoulders are rounding forward. Let the posture return and the body-mind connection soften and re-connect. The rest will fall into place.

I hope  Patanjali would approve. Use your niyamas, your yamas, your common yogic sense. Really it all boils down to awareness!

Namaste ya’ll,


How do you practice yoga off your mat and in every day life? Comments and questions area always welcome 🙂

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The art of holding space

As yoga teachers most of us don’t just bark out the next posture, the next sequence, the next Next NEXT thing over and over. There is an underlying energy to our guidance that results in an energetic exchange between student and teacher. This exchange is part of the art of holding space for the student and the class at large. Staying grounded and focused while maintaining a comforting and strong atmosphere in which students feel comfortable letting everything go and diving deep.

Holding Space for someone means staying engaged and present with them while they undergo a process of self-inquiry and discovery. The process can often be pretty darn tough, involving emotional releases connected to the physical asana. It can be as intense as experiencing a rush of anger or resentment in an extended pigeon pose, self-defeat in repeated balancing postures, or finding unexpected fear and joy in urdhva danhurasana. The key to holding space is to be empathetic to whatever arises without allowing it to affect YOUR emotional state, or degrade your own judgement in the class.

Holding space often encompasses setting the example and pace with deep audible breathing (Ujjayi breath), a gentle and encouraging tactile or visual assist, or simply standing in the same space with the person(s) without losing physical presence. Showing that while you empathize with the situation you are still strong and stable, able to be there as their support system. Very little of space holding is verbal although gentle verbal reminders can often guide the student(s) to the openness and place of surrender that brings these reactions about. Remember that this is a necessary process in our culture, where we hold on to SO much that it becomes embedded in our joints, tightens our muscles, and alters our sense of physical balance.

The gift of being the “holder-of-space”

To be the holder-of-the-space is an opportunity to see the divine unfold before your eyes. Often you can feel the evergy of the release “dark or light” radiating from the persons physical body into the room. It is important to recognize the release while grounding yourself enough to let the energy flow THROUGH you. Plant your feet on the floor, feel the stable connection and then come in to your own center. Sense your own wholeness and then dive in. When it is asked for, you might also provide comfort by holding hands or embracing -allowing the contact to flow unguided by you. This is a mutual gift of energetic exchange and it is beautiful! 🙂

Celebrate this release into clarity and higher awareness. Let your heart *smile* and eventually the energy of the room will *smile* too.

When students express gratitude say “Thank You”…while realizing it comes from a higher place. Remove the ego and accept the gift.

Warm Fuzzies…

Namaste ya’ll


Who do you know that is great at this art in your life? Yoga teachers, friends, family members? Share them in comments!

Here are some teachers I know that are phenomenal at this art. Its so natural to them…


Jill Sockman

Carrington Jackson

Jen Bluestone

Tina Ventrelli


Seane Corn

Hala Khouri

Suzanne Sterling

Erich Schiffman (even online you can tell!)

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