Archive for March, 2012


We have a very early spring inside and outside in Wisconsin this year. For one thing, my indoor Christmas cactus is in full bloom. Also I have this odd cactus that bloomed this year. It did not last year and in an earlier post I showed the full flower. They have short lives but are gorgeous. Also the daffodils are up and almost over. The tulips are starting. The earliest I have had tulips is early April.

The birds are crazy outside. There are a lot of my screech screechy red cardinals and there is a predator hawk in the back yard. Hope to see him go in for the kill some day. Not the cardinals though.

Taught Advanced yogis and Slow Flow this morning. I am teaching pasasana this week and malasana as focus poses. I had a few students get in pasasana. It was a new pose to them so always good to bring something new. I don’t teach in an Ashtanga studio. Just power flow and so a lot of these poses don’t normally get introduced. It is a real challenge pose for me and my work in the knees is really bringing me into the pose.

Going to try to catch a cardinal picture soon.

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Slaying the Protein Dragon.

More and more athletes are turning to the principle of ahimsa and going vegan/vegetarian. Most say it hasn’t hurt but has enhanced their elite status.

Brendan Brazier has several books, the Thrive diet, but they are very high calorie. Definitely not for weight loss but would support a very intense athlete’s needs.

From everything I have read concerning the prevention of heart disease and cancer, the key is preventing inflammation. Inflammation can create all kinds of havoc and comes from eating foods not meant for our bodies, such as processed foods and sugar. People who eat plant based diets age much slower.

Add a little yoga, or a lotta yoga and you have a formula for a long life.

I love that pose she is doing. Peacock pose. Mayurasana. It is the only arm balance in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and it is call peacock because peacocks have such a fast metabolism that they can ingest poisons and move it right out of the system without illness or death. The elbows poking into the transverse colon really stimulate the metabolism. Keep your feet down until you teeter toter into it. Do it every day. Eat plants.

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Beef Products Inc. Comeback: It's Not 'Pink Slime'; It's Safe, Nutritious and 'It's Beef' – ABC News.

This food scandal really reinforces ahimsa to me. And I am back on board with veganism. I strayed a bit on and off, but now I am going to practice the full principel

She explains this SO well. The whole principle goes beyond vegetarianism and it is also about non harmful words or thoughts towards others. I think the non harmful thoughts are the hardest. Lately, this has been a REAL challenge for me. I hate arguing these principles with others so if you know me in real life, I respect your opinion but this IS yoga and I am sorry if you don’t see it that way. Everyone has to decide for themselves.

Monthly challenge for my students. I am trying to figure it out for April. There is a group on FB that does this and sometimes it is harder. I am going to see what they come up with and I think I will do an arm balance or headstand/handstand with uplevel options.

Also last week was a big hip opener week for my classes and this week I think will be standing pose focused.

Today is a busy day and I was trying to figure in my practice but now an opportunity has opened up and I can do Intermediate series mid day!

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I was with the teacher trainess almost all weekend and did not post on the blog. I was at what Grimmly calls the ‘home shala’ all day but the main computer did not connect and I have some awesome pictures. I have to post my awesome cactus flower, which died already, and the other stuff. Also some trainee pictures.

The current group is so loving and sweet and really work so hard. I love them. They are always grateful and are all very connected to their spiritual practice. Such a lovely weekend.

But, as I said, no practice for me. A little on Saturday with the Advanced class and I also taught a restorative workshop on Sunday. Yesterday I did the Freeman Intro to Ashtanga. I had it and never used it but it was perfect for a day when I pretty much slept all day long.

I am a hoodie addict. I love hoodies and spend a lot of time on the internet looking for the perfect hoodie. I hoard hoodies. Sometimes I buy them and store them in the closet with the tags on. (I do this with other clothing too. Think. A minor hoarding disorder, among others.)

Hoodies are really a topic now and this particular topic is close to me because should I have a grandson he would look like this boy. So I get what the Pres said and do not understand how anyone could persecute someone for relating to this on a personal level.

Hmmm, I wonder who could do that.

So, yes, a political word from our sponsor, ME! Look out for more during the upcoming Recall in Wisconsin.

Just riding this thing out until I can turn full cave yogi in a few years.

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Desert Rose


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I have two workshops coming up. One on Restorative Yoga this Sunday and Sun Salutations in May:


The teacher trainees will be attending and working with me at the Sunday workshop and the Sun Salutations will coming the Ashtanga Sun Sal As and Bs. I have worked on these with Richard Freeman and Tim Miller in workshops so this will be a good one. You will learn the subtle energetic componenets, drishti, and bandhas. Also modifications for Pregancy or for Beginners. I am looking forward to both.

Many people think Restorative is Yin. It isn’t. Yin is intense. Restorative is anti-intense.

I have to do a primary series today even though it is new moon. I don’t observe the traditional rest days because some times I have to take off other days. This weekend I am working with the trainees so practice will be difficult. They came up with those days so Patabhi Jois could have some days off. Otherwise he would have taught 7 days a week all year.

Last item today on the guy who is claiming there are a lot of people dying, getting strokes, etc from yoga. Here is what Richard says:

I read the article in the NY Times a few weeks back [“All Bent Out of Shape,” January 8, 2012] and the author said yoga asana can be dangerous—it can cause strokes, and serious injury. Do you know of anyone who’s had a stroke due to doing yoga? — Kevin

No I don’t. Although it is theoretically possible particularly if the practitioner is at a high risk for having a stroke. Therefore you would have to examine such unfortunate incidents in detail and on a case-by-case basis to see if there was a causal link between the particular asana practice and the stroke. In relation to the article, which mentions the danger of extreme motions of the neck, there is the possibility of neck injury in postures like the plough pose (halasana) if they are not done with proper respect to the mechanics of the shoulders, neck and head. This is particularly the case if the posture is held for a long time and/or if the practitioner ignores feelings of discomfort or pain from their own body.

The danger of practicing these kinds of postures has long been known by serious practitioner. A more common injury is over stretching of certain ligaments in the back of the cervical spine which can cause a distortion and a loss of the cervical curve. This, in turn, can eventually cause a pinching of nerve roots and/or the arteries and veins of the neck.

When you’re practicing this family of postures if you feel pressure in the forehead or the eyes, if you have any distortion of vision, ringing in the ears, or if you have any difficulty breathing you should come out of the pose. In addition if you experience heart palpitations, any discomfort around the base of the skull, or tension in the throat muscles or pressure of the lower cervical vertebra on the floor, you should also come out of the pose.

In the shoulder stand family of postures, the weight should be on the outer portion of the spine of the scapula and along the humerus to the elbow—NOT IN THE HEAD! This is why props are often recommended as you’re learning the poses, if you’ve had whiplash from an accident, or if you have other neck issues.

After your practice, if you have stiffness or pain in the neck or any of the above-mentioned symptoms, you should consult your teacher about correct alignment.

— Richard

I am really over this guy. I can’t believe he got on the Colbert Report. Like I said, I won’t read his book.

As I said a few days ago the daily Ashtanga is helping my knees. About 12 years ago I tore both meniscus at different times. One time I was walking, the other on the treadmill walking. One is a medial tear, the other lateral.

The medial has always been problematic. I refused surgery and did my own rehab, knowing full well I might have to go to surgery. For the medial they wanted to remove it all.

I rehabbed on a stationary bike for a while and then went to the elliptical. When I got SOME mobility back, I went to Bikram about six days a week for quite a while and got some mobility back and reduced all the swelling. I have not had to have surgery. I still can’t do this:

I can SOMEWHAT do it on jumbo blocks:


I SWEAR by the jumbos. Get two and see what I mean. I have four.

Any way after getting bored with a lot of Bikram, I practiced vinyasa, went to various trainings with Ana Forrest and Tias Little among others looking for knee answers and didn’t get quite what I needed.

Then last Fall I got some INSIGHT at Esalen:


And decided to go back to Ashtanga, which I did BEFORE I found Bikram:

That guy just PISSES people off. Love to put his pic in.

Anyway I noticed the past few weeks my knees are better and this morning I literally came down the upstairs steps literally skipping without grabbing a rail. For sure the knees are coming back. I can almost do Janu Sirsana B:

I almost can sit on the heel on one side. I think the practice of Bhekasana in the Intermediate series has helped a LOT. I hold that a lot longer than five breaths and my feet come closer to the ground all the time:

Yoga can be so therapeutic if you use it that way. It takes a long time to find what works. This is what is working for me NOW. Believe me I tried more things that didn’t work. I am sure the problem is my knees is just tight fascia from having those injuries for so long that restrained my movement and mobility. Over time, it ends up as tight tissue that is PAINFUL to release. You have to do SOMETHING for it though and a lot of times, people just want to baby the injury and ignore what is really going on. Ana Forrest did teach me that. You have to look right at it withough fear.

So move fearlessly through this beautiful day.

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May be the answer to my hip rotators?


Or trying Kino’s hip rotator opener?

I love the part where she says her hips are not that open yet she can do Buddhasana.

Actually I love and have taught the sequence she is showing. Yet this morning I worked on Intermediate series and still get STUCK at eka and dwi pada sirsanana.

So should I have hip surgery to rotate my hips? Hmmm. Cosmetic yoga surgery. Bet someone would make a bundle.

I will take two hips that rotate externally please.

My yoga challenge this month is daily long holds in agni stambasana, both for me and my students.

WITH improvements in the pose, but it isn’t helping my padmasana that much.

The good news is though that my knees are MUCH improved from a lot of Ashtanga and my urdhva dhanurasana. So next month will be a backbend focus and then my hips will open up.

Look for a flower post soon. For me gardening is yoga and I am all about nature and with this early spring I have some flower surprises, both inside and outside.

I hope for a bird post. We have some young male cardinals in the backyard. I LOVE the cardinal but they are elusive, territorial, and hard to photo. John moved the main bird feeder away from the house so that may entice them a little.

My meditation garden is in BAD shape. Maybe I will go out and spend a whole day fixing it sitting on a meditation mat to work out my tight hips but photos are also forthcoming.

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