Summer 08 Workshop Descriptions

Workshop Descriptions

As a Yoga Alliance Certified Teacher (RYT200) I have been teaching yoga for two years, priviledged to witness transformation on the faces and in the lives and bodies of students during a single class and over dedicated practice. Whatever brings you to your mat, yoga deepens your relationship to your body, opens space for recognizing your truths and expands your ability to embrace life. Yoga uses the lively tension created by opposing forces – for instance, legs going down, arms held aloft – to create balance and harmony. Similarly, I use both detailed, anatomically referenced alignment and flowing series of yoga pose to create space for exploration of body, mind and heart. I have practiced Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa and Anasura as well as Tai Chi and Chi Kung, and every class weaves together hatha yoga poses, breath awareness and meditation. I come to teaching yoga having taught Western Philosophy and while still practicing and teaching Paramedicine on the streets of Albuquerque. Yoga responds to the call to “Know Thyself” in a deeper, more integrative way than Academic Philosophy did for me, and balances the immediacy of responding to emergent events in others’ lives.

Strong Shoulders/Open Heart: (Sunday June 15th 2:30 – 4:30pm, $35 or $50 with Hip Hips!)

Between the scapula and sternum, in an open fretwork of graceful spine and curved bone, we house our spiritual core. Our hearts and lungs, and the energy centers associated with them, are our powerhouse for converting and distributing breath and energy, our most direct processor for the exchange of energy with our environment.

In this exchange, we refine the balance between strength and openness. Come and nurture strong, supple shoulders beginning with the graceful anatomy holding this joint together, experience a thorough warm up for the joint and body, explore a full range of motion for your body, as well as weight bearing for strength and suppleness, culminating in inversions where appropriate for a novel experience of how shoulder openness affects other body structures and followed by guided meditation. Modifications abound, and this class is appropriate for beginners.

Hip hips: (Sunday June 29th 2:30 – 4:30pm, $35 or $50 with Strong Shoulers/Open Heart!) So much motion and emotion originate in our hips, our powerhouse of strength from large muscles, connection to strong and delicate structures and feelings in the pelvic floor and home of elemental ties to the world as the seat of elimination and release of processed experience. The pelvis is the “Four Corners” of our bodies – where back meets front and upper meets lower. We will explore this intersection through muscular engagement and breathing in a series of poses unique for focusing energy and attention on the muscle and bone structures connecting upper and lower body. Learn what the pelvic floor is both in anatomical terms and experiential and investigate how the engagement of specific muscles affects the openness and suppleness of the hip joint in different directions. Walk away with new freedom and vigor!

Yoga for Every Body: Dissolving Obstacles to Practice through loving intention and attention: Sunday July 13th, 1-3:30 $35

Explore body image through breath, asana and meditation.
Explore habit through intent and observation, inviting organic transformation

“Clear as a glass of water. Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till right action arises by itself?” ~Lao Tzu

Yoga is truly accessisble technology for transformation from the inside out, but often we are kept from this truth by our own images, ideas and habits. This class creates safe space and framework for looking frankly and kindly on how we imagine and relate to our bodies, useing poses, breath awareness, knowledge and meditation to create intention and energy for transformation. Rather than goal-mindedness, we’ll learn about the complex relationship between what we usually do and how we imagine what we could do to transform our relationship to this present moment.

After a brief series of sun salutations and guided meditation, we’ll explore how Body Image is shaped by habit, familliarity and environment – samskara – in the various layers of our being. We’ll work with accessing the first four coverings described in yoga philosophy – the koshas – the food or physical body, the energy or breath body, the knowledge body and the wisdom body – through sharing information, pranayam, asana practice and meditation in order to align the aspects of our being, trace samskara and set loving intentions like seeds – sankalpa – for authentic relationship in our bodies, setting a firm foundation for radiacal transformation.

Outdoor Yoga August, tbd
Outdoor Yoga Sept – tbd

Yoga Outdoors! Find new vistas of silence in open air practice and explore your practice under the sky. More than a change in venue, experience how your environment effects your mind, body and heart and cultivate witness consciousness in a whole different dimension. Wind and laughter will be our music, blades of grass sharpen our drishti, and when we open our hearts to the sky we’ll find a new quality of expansiveness. We’ll begin with pranayam and guided meditation, ground ourselves in vigourous flows and standing asana, play with the trees in upright and adho mukha vrkasana and finish with a group meditation after sivasana. Expand your limits, practice where the earth meets the sky! Bring your own mat, I’ll bring blocks, blankets and straps from the studio and we’ll have fruit and water to share.

Yoga Outdoors! (part deux) (September field trip)

Find new vistas of silence among the Ponderosas in the Jemez Mountains. More than a change in venue, change your sensory stimulation, alter your relation to space and find new embodied boundaries in meadows lined with trees under the sky. There will be time for solitary meditative walking after practice fueled by fresh air, contact with the earth, pranayam, and guided meditation. We’ll gather for group meditation to share the silence in the wind. Bring mat, water, snack and backpack. I’ll have blanket, block and strap for you to tuck away. After a short hike, we’ll establish our “yoga camp” for the day and find new vigor in old silence.

The Challenge

I’m well into the week of the Camel and some days I’ve indulged in a long Camel-centered practice, breathing length and openness into my shoulders, exploring the relation of my triceps to my shoulder girdle, using them to open more fully. (More on that in another post!) Some days I’ve had 5 minutes there of Sun Salutes, 10 of standing and busted out a camel in between.

I’m reminded through all of this that what camels do is store water. So, am I storing refreshing hydration for extended use, or shedding what has been stored because I didn’t digest it when I first took it in?

And I realize, the camel can’t drink until it creates room anew. It has to use its precious store of glistening droplets before it can drink deeply once more.

And the beauty of this pose is that I’m releasing and drinking simultaneously. I am storing sustenance. I am also letting go to make room. Exchange.

And the letting go can be hard. I’m through the initial terror I wrote about last year (see previous post) . And your responses have taught me that I have been in good company: many of us have stored scary and scared feelings in our guts, hearts and voices.

My new challenge is to release through all the layers of my existence. I’m finding that little – one might even say, petty – annoyances and feelings are coming to light. Feelings, judgments, ideas, words I thought I’d left behind. Ones that don’t bear repeating, but let me assure you they’re embarrassing to find tucked away. And they don’t just confine themselves to my mat. They help themselves to the rest of my day, too. Rude these little judgments are. See! There’s another of those rascals!

What is different is that while they register as feelings, they register as “mine” at first, I am finding it possible to let go of the embodied hooks, see them as “not mine, not not mine”, and not re-store them in new the clothes and layers of new judgments. Now, this isn’t a seamless process, and I’ll be perfecting it a long while. But I’m noticing noticing these packages I’ve left for my new self from all my old selves, and it’s allowing me to be more loving to all of them. And to let a lot go.

So that’s my challenge in the week of the Camel: to be a witness to my own experience, to not get lost in it, to let it do what experience does, which is to pass. And so to be able to fill up anew.

What’s yours?

The week of the Camel… will you join me?

Why isn’t there a groundhog pose in yoga?

I’m feeling like groundhog emerging and realizing Spring. Of course Spring is putting on Summer clothes just now, but the flowery, rainy wardrobe of emergence is not yet shed, and is suiting me just fine.

Coincidences intrigue me, especially as I don’t believe in them ;> so I was intrigued to find that it was just about a year ago that I was playing with Camel and the emotions that it offers up. I wrote a series of blogs over about six months and recently had an interesting comment from Patrick on one of them that beckoned I return to this most inciting asana.

Additionally, many of you have written to me of your own emotional releases and offerings in this asana, and I’ve found other blogs make mention – notably, NiceMarmot (I love that name! and the blog…) Yoga aids us in digesting not only our food, but our spiritual food – our experience. And sometimes digesting, in breaking down the substance of a thing and absorbing what’s nurturing or nutritious and flushing the unnecessary generates heat, discomfort and intensity. It depends on what you’ve been eating. And daily life puts much on our plate that we might not choose all on our own. That’s its offering to us. Nurturing is not always warm and fuzzy.

And here I am again, with you Gentle Reader, on the precipice of Summer. I celebrated Spring with Twists (see the May 2nd blog on and I’m baring my heart to Summer with Camel this week. I invite you to join me in making camel part of your practice this week, and if you haven’t started a home yoga practice, to start with this asana. Abide in your awareness of your heartful center, know that whatever comes up is not you, it is a residue of experience, and experience of its own, connecting us to the world of other experienciers. In the posts above is a class with Ustrasana as its pinnacle pose, or you might dive in with these videos below. They are different in approach, but each offer valuable instruction.

How does it feel to remain vulnerable in your life? Does it seem a worthy spiritual quest? What are you offering today? As always, I love hearing about your experience on and off the mat. Leave a comment or email me privately. Either way, find your yoga today and dive in, heart and all.


visit Zazazu for A Fresh Start…

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Viva la vie (Long life to life)


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