Halloween Yoga and Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos)

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Happy Halloween! It’s so fun to transform our signature system into theme-based classes. It sparks creativity when butterflies become bats, dogs become werewolves and trees have spooky branches. One of my private clients loves to stir up the witches brew all year long!

Yoga this time of year is both playful and meaningful.

Today, we celebrate the Dia De Los Muertos. The holiday, originating from Spanish invaders in Mexico, celebrated on November 1 and 2, is like a family reunion—except dead ancestors are the guests of honor. It’s the time of year when we are naturally more aware of the cycles and mysteries of life and death. We welcome the suggestion that the departed are still among us. We are more open to the concept of thin veils and connection to the perception of the Spirit realm.

Grief is heavily laden right now and it affects our global communities everywhere. When life around us is in a violent storm, it is crucial to manage our own mental & emotional state and to tune-in to our shared humanity. It becomes deeply significant to take quiet pauses, to slow down, to sit with our heart, with our own life breath, and to engage in practices that bring us back to embody the inner seat of wisdom and incarnate the intention of healing at the core of our being.

Not a single day passes by, when I don't feel deeply grateful for the enormous gift of yoga in my life. My intention as a teacher, has always been to transform abstract life concepts, such as strength, courage, faith and resilience, into applicable, focused and embodied, day-to-day life practices that enhance human lives by uncovering the invincible guiding light of the heart.


Feeling Anger, Grief or Fear?

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I am. What is happening in the world makes me feel angry, grief-stricken and fearful. The lens that shapes our view of reality creates reality.

Are you an Angry Person?

Raging and ranting. The angriest people I know have been angry so long they can’t even see it. They’re blind to having selected anger as their lens on experience. They’ve never learned how to access its roots in grief, fear, and pain. Their focus is on being right, on getting their due and winning their fight. Their focus is on survival.

Are you a Grief Person?

The angriest people I know are the saddest and most fearful. Beneath the anger is grief. For the deep sorrow and loss of dreams, people and ideals. And of innocence. The five stages -  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – are often experienced in order, moving from one stage to the other.

Are you a Fear Person?

FEAR = False. Evidence. Appearing. Real. The most worrisome emotion is caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous and likely to cause pain, or a threat. Fear keeps us safe - sometimes too safe. It doesn’t allow us to grow. We stay trapped by our perpetual worry which manifests as anxiety - fear of the future.

I can’t solve you or what’s all over the news. I do know that how we see the world and what we put into the world comes back to us. Hate hurts the hater. Love brings more love. Fear and love cannot co-exist. You must choose one.

It sounds simple. It is simple. If you resist or are bursting with rage, well, how’s your approach going? If it isn’t bringing more of what you want—and worse bringing the opposite—why not try something different? You have nothing to lose. What if it all works out?

P.S. For some spooky fun, come to our Halloween Family Yoga event on Sunday, October 29 at 10:00am.


How to Calm Children with War in the World

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This week has been a lot to handle with the Israel-Hamas war. One of the hardest parts of this devastation is its effect on children. They are likely to hear about it, so it’s best to talk about it.

Here’s how:

1. Get the facts. Kids have a lot of questions so make sure you have the facts. It’s helpful to have a basic understanding of what’s happening, even if you don’t have all the answers. Try The Associated Press and Reuters.

2. Find out what they know. Ask a couple key questions in a quiet time, (in the car or at dinner table is better than bedtime) Have you heard about what’s happening in Israel and Gaza? How does it make you feel? Keep checking in and limit social media use.

3. Be clear and concise. People are fighting about who’s in charge. Use the word “Hamas” rather than “Palestinians” when talking about who Israel is at war with. In any conflict, there are multiple perspectives and history to consider.

4. Breathe together. Instead of spiraling out, try breathing together. Hold hands. Breathe in to the top of your head (no more air can come in). Hold for a few counts. Then, breathe out slowly to your toes (no more air can go out). Repeat 3-5 times or until you feel calm.

5. Practice peace. Try the sensory countdown. Notice 5 things you see, 4 things you feel, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell and 1 thing you taste. Exercising all your senses stops the swirl and helps you focus into the present moment, now.

A primary principle in yoga is to Do No Harm (ahimsa). Practicing yoga can help you access compassion for suffering and calm stress.

We want to be equal in our humanity. Peace on earth can be a reality when each person on this planet comes to peace within themselves.

Get trained. If you live or work with kids, you can model the skills your children need to succeed and meet the challenges of their time with confidence.


Why second place is is the winner

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Winning first place is best, right? I think of The Olympics when the winner gets the gold. Hooray! The bronze is #3, but is a winner because they are on the podium. The loser is second place. The silver medalist never looks happy to have missed the gold — to have missed being be #1.

What does it mean to be a second place winner? It means you still won — kinda, but you are the runner up. We all love the rewarding feeling of achieving a goal, but coming up short may not be such a bad alternative.

One study found that about half of silver medalists were alive at age 80, compared to only a third of gold medalists. But they also found that second-place athletes pursued higher-paying occupations after the Olympics, while first-place winners went onto lower-paying pursuits.

When you're in second place, you have to fight. And that's where the real creativity comes out. This process can be incredibly motivating! Employing a Growth Mindset leads to higher overall achievement.

Finishing in second place could make you the real winner in the long run, according to one scientist. Those who win often do so because of a fluke and they actually have inferior skills — actually about five percentage points less skilled than those who came further down the rankings.

What about last place? Brock Purdy is an American football quarterback. He was selected by the San Francisco 49ers as the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Unofficially, Mr. Irrelevant, he has risen to an undefeated record. In the 13 games Purdy has played at least three quarters under center, the 49ers are 13-0. The 49ers are the NFL's most dominant team to date in 2023.

How about yoga? Well, there are no winners or losers in yoga. It’s a self-competition so you can be your best. There is no end, only the practice so ranking is irrelevant. It’s all about how you feel. That’s the win!


Teens Feel High in Yoga Naturally

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Between the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, The San Francisco Fleet Week Air Show highlights The U.S. Navy Blue Angels performing a fully choreographed act. Over the water and in the air, these jets draw huge crowds and make deafening sounds — all to amaze!

With a minimum ceiling of 8,000 feet and visibility of three nautical miles, the Blue Angels can perform their "high" show, which includes all the acrobatic maneuvers. It’s quite a spectacle! The show is a full sensory experience that delights the eyes and ears and creates a sensation —actually a vibration. It’s felt in the body. Can you image what if feels like to be a pilot flying that high and doing all the tricks — upside down and flips?!

Well, in yoga we can feel that high with our feet on the ground or in the air. We get upside down and play with controlled breath which can make one feel blissed out — naturally. In addition to endorphins (the feel-good hormones) being released, that high you can get from yoga may come from a part of the body known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS) — substances naturally produced by the body that are chemically similar to active compounds in cannabis (marijuana).

Many teens are experimenting with alcohol and drug use. Some are “Cali Sober” — opting out of alcohol and choosing marijuana for it’s stress reducing effects. But what if you could get high without the substances?

This is why yoga. Not only could you “feel high” you could get stronger, stretch and stress less. You could learn the skills that you need to succeed that are not taught anywhere else. Is it worth a try to get your vibe high?


Learn all sorts of useful tips about Yoga for Kids!