Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yoga Helps Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Great article from Psychology Today on how yoga can help us to overcome stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Yoga: The Strongest Stretch

An ancient tradition, yoga gains modern muscle.


After the tsunami ripped through Southeast Asia in 2004 came a tidal wave of psychic devastation. The depression and posttraumatic stress that ravaged many residents of coastal villages from India to Indonesia provided a living laboratory for testing the most powerful cures available. What wound up providing the best help to some of the most afflicted refugees? Yoga.

Yoga is an age-old practice with roots in India—bas-reliefs depicting yoga asanas, or poses, have been found on 5,000-year-old archeological artifacts—but yoga as most Americans know it is only part of the picture. The hatha yoga popular here emphasizes the exercise element. There are many forms of yoga and all share an attempt to create a state of blissful enlightenment, called ananda. En route, specific forms of breathing and exercises encourage physical purification.

As a professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College who studies the effects of yoga on posttraumatic stress, Patricia Gerbarg seized the opportunity to test whether it could help tsunami survivors in India. To one group of 60 victims she gave a four-day yoga breathing course. Another group of 60 survivors was given the yoga course along with psychological counseling. A third group served as controls.

All the yoga users experienced a huge drop in scores for posttraumatic stress disorder and depression after just four days. And the effect was so persistent that Gerbarg and her team introduced yoga to those in the control group too. Counseling provided no added benefits over the yoga training alone.

While some forms of yoga have long been shown to reduce hypertension, cholesterol levels, and other signs of physiological stress, the effects of the ancient practice on psychological stress have been less studied. But a slew of research published in peer-reviewed journals in the U.S., Europe, and India is documenting the ability of yoga to decrease mood disturbance, reduce psychic stress and anxiety, and reduce PTSD symptoms. Effects have been seen within days of initiating instruction, and have been documented up to six months after a course of yoga training.

You don't have to weather a natural disaster or receive a clinical diagnosis to benefit from yoga, says Lorenzo Cohen, director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Calling it "the quintessential mind-body practice," Cohen predicts that yoga "can and will be shown to be helpful for managing the stress and mild anxiety we all experience in daily living."

A group of healthy senior citizens in Oregon embodies Cohen's claims. They experienced improved energy and a greater sense of well-being after six months of yoga training. The study was particularly valuable because it compared the yoga group with seniors engaging in walking exercise classes. The non-yoga exercisers reported no such benefit.

In her yoga course, Gerbarg trains trauma sufferers in four types of yogic breathing that range from focusing on slow, complete exhalation to taking 30 breaths a minute. She and her husband, psychopharmacologist P.L. Brown of Columbia University, have found that yogic breathing physiologically affects the nervous system to produce profound changes in emotional states.

It acts via the vagus nerve—the "rest and digest," or calming, pathway of the autonomic nervous system extending from brain stem to abdomen; when activated, it slows down breathing and heart rate and increases intestinal activity. It not only carries signals from brain to body but ferries signals from the body back to the brain. "Your breathing pattern changes with emotional reactions to things," Gerbarg says. "Well, it goes both ways: If you change your breathing pattern, you can change your emotions."

Lynn Waelde, a psychologist at Stanford University and a yoga teacher, explains yoga's mind-body benefits in more metaphorical terms. "When we teach yoga, we teach people to let go of physical tensions," she says. "When you sit them in a chair in meditation, they get it. It's an easy step to see how you can breathe and focus on emotional or mental tension and let it go."

Could yoga save the world? It improves fitness, it doesn't cost anything, it has minimal side effects, it acts quickly, and the benefits endure. The advantages are especially important when applied on a large scale to impoverished people. Gerbarg and Cohen believe the value of yoga is just beginning to be documented. "We're in the early phases of something very exciting, and there's a lot more to learn about it," Gerbarg says. "This is not something you need to religiously incorporate into your daily life and do for years before you start to feel the benefits."

By Paul Tullis
Last Reviewed: 29 May 2007

Psychology Today © Copyright 1991 - 2008

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Celebrating the Winter Solstice this Sunday, December 21.

This Sunday is the Winter Solstice, and a great opportunity to go inside, evaluate what has passed this year, and set intentions for our lives in the year to come. Take some time this Sunday, December 21, to "find your seat" in meditation and reflect on your life.

Try using the mantra

Om Mani Padme Hum, the jewel is in the lotus

meaning all that we need, all that is sacred and sustaining, already lies within us.

Natalie Maisel, yoga teacher and ritual guide, of offers this information about this solstice and the time of Yule:

Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year, after which the daylight hours begin to grow longer. This time is known as the birth of light. The Anglo-Saxon word for this time is “Yule”. Yule in ancient Celtic terms means “wheel”. This was celebrated as the day that the chief Druid cut the sacred mistletoe from the Oak. Huge bonfires were lit with Yule logs to welcome the return of the Sun. Yule is a time to leave old regrets behind as the light makes its way back to the Earth and back to you, as well. The old year has completed its cycle, just as some of our habits have completed their cycles. This is a time to shed what no longer is useful in our lives.

This ritual will include a guided meditation to a cozy winter cottage to reflect on the end of the year and what you would like to release and transform, as well as a candle-lighting ceremony to welcome the return of the sun and the igniting of your own inner fire and strength.

Natalie Maisel's guided ritual for Yule is available at, click here.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

New COEXIST designs in from Blissful Body Yoga Online Store

Check out the new COEXIST t-shirt, hoodie sweatshirt and gift designs at the Blissful Body Yoga Store on Cafe Press...there is even a Coexist Flip MINO HD design....enjoy!

Coexist Jr. Raglan > Coexist > Blissful Body Yoga Online Store

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Asanas at the Kitchen Sink

I often hear the lament from my yoga students, "I have so little time for practice!!" Believe me, I understand, I never feel like I have enough time for sadhana; and practice is the most important element of Yoga. We can read a hundred books, go to lots of workshops, but unless we practice every day, progress will not take place.

So, one thing I have done in my own life that I would suggest, is to look for opportunities for practice in the activities of your daily life. The "have tos", like washing the dishes, doing the laundry, picking up a child, sitting at your desk, are all opportunities to bring Yoga's principles of strength, balance and focus into practice in your daily life. Yoga is all about mindfulness, so when we bring awareness into our actions and movements, moment to moment, we are "practicing," and expressing yoga, in the very fullest sense.

Here are some examples from my daily life, that you can bring into yours:

Tadasana at the kitchen sink: while you are standing and doing the dishes, notice your body position. What are your feet doing? How are your shoulders articulated? Where your pelvis? Press your feet firmly into the ground so that you can feel all four sides of your feet making contact with the earth. Take a deep breath as you do this, and feel the rest of your body rise up out of the firm base. Continue to elongate though your crown chakra (top of your head). Notice also your feelings about this activity. Do you feel rushed? Irritated? Acknowledge however you feel, and then, if your feelings are hurried or negative, see if you can bring them in a more positive direction with mindfulness. Just do what you are doing. Just do the dishes. And savor every minute detail of this activity.

Uttanasana and hair dryer:,'ll love this one. Most women (and some men) that dry their hair with a hair dryer lean into a forward bend so their hair will hang down and they can dry underneath. This is a great time for uttanasana (standing forward bend!) Again, begin building your posture from the ground up: press your feet into the ground, feel all four sides of your foot; feel the energy move up from the earth into the legs, and create a circular inward rotation of the thigh bones to make more space in the sacrum. Take care how you move in this posture as you are drying your hair, bend the knees a little or don't come forward so far if the movement and weight of the dryer make this posture awkward and straining for your back. Let your back stay long and light.

Sukhasana wherever you sit: any where you sit, and whether you sit cross-legged, as in the posture sukhasana (easy pose), or with the feet on the floor as you sit in the chair, you still need to employ the same basic postural elements. The next time you are sitting in your chair at work come forward on the seat a bit so that your feet are flat on the floor and you can feel your sitz bones firmly against the seat. In the sitting position your sitz bones are your base, so press them firmly against the seat, as you would push your feet firmly against the floor. Notice how this immediately causes your torso to lengthen, your shoulders to drop and your neck to elongate. This will give you the same open line of energy from the base of your spine, through the crown of your head, and the same openness in the rib cage for breath to move, that we cultivate in all the sitting asanas.

There is no substitute for cultivating a vigorous, and focused Yoga practice in our lives, but bringing our awareness of how the postural components of Yoga asanas translate into the everyday movements of our lives, can add a whole new dimension to our practice.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bipolar Disorder, Brain Chemistry, and Yoga | Yoga for Bipolar Disorder

David Morgan is a Kripalu Yoga Teacher, and he also has bipolar disorder. His blog Yoga for Bipolar Disorder, just won the 2008 Top Ten Bipolar Blogs Awards from PyschCentral, the oldest and largest mental health resource online. Here is an excerpt from David's "About" page:

As you are well aware if you have sought and found this page, bipolar disorder is a devastating illness that can destroy families and lives.

My name is David Morgan. I have bipolar disorder.

I’m also a yoga teacher. I teach yoga full time.

I can speak from personal experience as someone with bipolar disorder who has stared over the cliffs of despair more than once.

There is hope. Proper medication, nutrition, exercise, and sleep can go a long way in managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder. (Let’s start by drinking a glass of water — get one now.)

But that’s just a start.

If you, or someone you love, are struggling with bipolar disorder, please visit David's site, it is a wealth of information, and a window to hope.

The post below is a good place to start to discover the benefits yoga can provide to those managing bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder, Brain Chemistry, and Yoga | Yoga for Bipolar Disorder

If you happen to be in the Knoxville, Tennessee area you can visit David in person, and enjoy one of his wonderful classes, at Yoga with Santosh.

Relaxation and meditation are key components that can drastically decrease the symptoms of bipolar disorder. My audio meditations, Progressive Relaxation Meditation, and Sivasana Meditation, are both excellent resources for calming the nervous system, and creating greater integration between mind, body and spirit.

Jai Bhagwan, and may you be happy, may you be free from all suffering.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Key Principles of Revolved Triangle from Susi Hately Aldous

The following came to me via Susi Hately Aldous' I Love Anatomy: Anatomy and Asana Newsletter. Susi is a yoga teacher, anatomy expert and owner of Functional Synergy.

Susi's book, Anatomy and Asana: Preventing Yoga Injuries, is required reading in the Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training, and is one of my favorite anatomy books. It is well-written, clear, and accessible both to the professional, and the student of yoga.

An example of Susi's clear style can be read below in her excellent discription of the proper approach and mechanics neccesary to do revolved triangle pose (parivrtta trikonasana) safetly.


In order for Revolved Triangle to occur safely and smoothly, a few things need to happen.

1. There needs to be balance of the legs on the pelvis. As the twist occurs, the legs and feet can’t collapse on each other. If they do, the twist also collapses, and strain can enter into the neck, shoulder girdle, or back.

2. Although much of the initial twist is meant to occur around the base of the thoracic spine, the muscular engine of the twist is at the obliques. Because of the structure of the facet joints, the lumbar spine doesn’t have much of a bandwidth for twisting. The base of the thoracic spine however, does. The obliques, with their attachments at the ribs and the pelvis, help to gently drive that movement. Allow yourself to feel that oblique movement (or lack thereof).

3. The cervical spine (neck) twists only after the spine below has found its position. As many teachers know, students often move the neck too soon and too far. Feel the rotation in the torso below before moving the neck.

4. The shoulder girdle follows the spinal rotation. Sometimes this happens in reverse and the student gets into over-leveraging (a very easy mistake to make). Let's look at an example with your right leg in front. If your right leg is in front and you are twisting to the right, you may be inclined to have your left hand move to your right leg to . . . jusssst . . . squeeeeze a bit morrrrre . . . twwwist . . . out of the pose. In this example, the left hand and arm are driving the twist as opposed to the spine leading the twist and the shoulder girdle following with the support of the left arm and hand. It is something that I often see in students who really want "to feel SOMETHING" in this pose. Small note: I am not against leverage, but if it happens before the lower thoracic spine has been connected to the obliques and pelvis, then leverage can be downright dangerous.

I think Revolved Triangle can freak people out in a similar way to back bends. You can’t really see where you are going, and you are relying on your legs and your pelvis to be stable while the spine moves.

Nonetheless, Revolved Triangle can be truly remarkable, as many participants in the workshops can attest. If you would like to dig down a bit more, I have a Revolved Triangle teleclass ready to download. In this recording I speak more about the shoulder girdle and hip mechanics as well as the nature of the twist. Just click, here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sword in the Stone: A Mindful Winter Yoga Retreat with Randal Williams

Kripalu yoga teacher, Randal Williams.
Visit him at

When I did my Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training I had the great, good fortune to meet Randal Williams. He is a senior instructor at the Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA and he is one of the most wonderful, compassionate and knowledgeable teachers I have ever encountered. If you are looking for a winter retreat that will revive you, and bring focus and peace to you life, please consider his upcoming offering below.

He also has a special offering of a free audio meditation (details below). I highly recommend this. Randal's voice and words are soothing beyond description. His CD, Gentle Yoga: Blade of Grass - A mindful yoga experience is one of my favorites.

At this time we are all in the process of a tremendous change. The world today is unlike anything we've ever experienced or been challenged by and if you pay attention you can even sense the collective contraction and breath holding that is finding it's way around the globe.

Now, however, is also an opportunity for personal transformation - as Viktor Frankl stated, 'When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.'

Across cultures throughout the world, the winter solstice is such a celebration that honors change. Set amidst the cosmic dance of change, the solstice also invites us to effectively clarify the depth and direction of our lives. Wherever you find yourself and however you celebrate this particular solstice season I wish you the kindest regards and blessings for you and your family.

Consider also that when you make time for personal retreat you can effectively reflect on, appreciate or simply be with the quality and content of your life, and support a conscious turning point in the direction of your life, personal narrative and path. If you are looking for a supportive experience for solstice retreat then look at the opportunity to come and enjoy some time for yourself through 'a mindfulness retreat' with me and like-minded others at the beautiful and supportive Kripalu Center this December 19-21 - for more information select Solstice Retreat.

In this retreat weekend of communal celebration and exploration, you will

  1. Access the intelligence of life force
  2. Learn to cut through obstacles and meet your needs, discover purpose
  3. Practice mindful walking, yin (restful) and yang (engaging) yoga postures, and meditation.
  4. Come away refreshed and inspired to step into the next chapter of your life
  5. I would also like to use this opportunity to share a link to FREE guided relaxation audio - 20 minutes in length - which you can enjoy - I recommend laying in bed with headphones on to listen to the track after a warm bath.

Peace & Blessings,


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Friday, December 5, 2008

Seven Ways to Sooth Sore Yoga Muscles

If we are practicing yoga asanas with attention and care, we should be able to avoid most, if not all, injuries. However, some muscle and soft tissue soreness is a normal part of the process of working with the body in this way. As we proceed patiently and intelligently, our body will unfold and blossom, much like the ancient symbol of the lotus flower, so closely associated with yoga.

In the meanwhile, it important that we develop a "gift bag" of sorts. A set of things we know will help to nurture and support the recovery and growth of our body. Here are my Seven Ways to Sooth Sore Yoga Muscles:

1. Take a word from the master, and take it easy.
The yogic sage Patanjali tells us in the Yoga Sutras, Sthira Sukham Asanam (the posture should be strong/steady and light/comfortable.) So, first and foremost, we most always begin by practicing with kindness and ahimsa (non-harming) towards ourselves. As the adage goes, "an ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure!"

2. Be
If you suffer an injury the first thing you must do is make room for yourself to heal. This means making time to heal, and this is a hard one for those of us in Western societies to grasp. Our credos tell us, "No Pain, No Gain," and so we are conditioned to push through, thus injuring ourselves further. The human body has miraculous healing abilities, but it needs constructive rest in order to accomplish this, so don't be afraid to take the time to let yourself heal, and learn to rest when you are becoming fatigued, so that you can avoid injuries in the first place.

3.'s not just for dinner anymore.
If you have ever taken a basic first aid course, you know this acronym well: Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate.

R = REST: see number two! Love your body, let it heal.

I = ICE: ice is the MOST amazing healer I have ever come across. You really can't go wrong with ice, and it is especially critical to use it the first 24 hours after an injury. Often we tend to lean towards heat because it seems more soothing, but you can get yourself into a bit of trouble with heat, it can actually add to inflammation. Use ice packs on the injured area, ten minutes on, ten minutes off, for the first 24 hours. After that you can alternate ten minutes of ice, with ten minutes of heat. This alternating technique, and the application of ice alone, both help to reduce swelling and flush the area with new blood which promotes healing.

C = Compress: Compression helps to reduce swelling, pain and provides support. The most common method of compression is to wrap the site lightly in an ACE bandage. If you feel throbbing, or see discoloration, the bandage is inhibiting circulation and needs to be removed and re wrapped more loosely.

E = Elevate: Elevation also helps to reduce swelling. Elevation is most effective if you can raise the area above the heart. You can use pillows or bolsters to aid in elevation.

4. Drink lots of water.
This one is pretty simple. I hydrated body, is a healing body. If your cells and tissues are not well hydrated it makes it very difficult for them to heal. Drink lots of pure filtered water, and seek out pure vegetable and fruit juices (juice them yourself if you can!), as these will add heaps of vital nutrients to your system in an easily digested and assimilated form.

5. Massage and Bodywork
Touch is a great healer. There is a type of body work out there appropriate for every injury. Find an experience chiropractor, massage therapist, Reiki master, Positional Therapist, or other professional in a healing modality NOW, before you are injured. Put the names and numbers of these people in your "gift bag" so you are ready to take care of yourself if you have an injury. It can be challenging to have the energy to seek help, when you need it the most.

6. Create a care bag.
Create a literal "gift bag" of healing tools. Here are a few I keep in mine:

Muscle Treat: this massage lineament from one of my favorite companies, Heritage Products, contains: Light Petroleum Oil, Mineral Oil, Olive Oil, Witch Hazel, Tincture of Benzoin and Sassafras Oil; which come together to provide and oil that goes on smoothly and soaks into the skin quickly. I use it twice a day over an injured site and find it helps significantly reduce pain, swelling and even bruising. Another thing I like about this lineament is that it has very little scent, just the fragrance of the natural oils, and like all of this company's products, all of the oils are of extremely pure and high grade. It is also suppose to be very good for use on varicose and spider veins (pat on gently, don't rub.) Benzoin oil is well known for its ability to strengthen and heal skin.

Microwave Heating Pads: I have several of these in different shapes and sizes and they are terrific for applying heat once the site is ready for that treatment. I also use them after an injury has reached the point where I am ready to slowly move back into practice. I apply the heat packs before my yoga sadhana to warm the soft tissues, making them more pliable and ready for the stretching elements of asana.

Leg Warmers: Don't laugh! I am so serious! I have a couple of pairs of legwarmers and I find them so useful. I put them on toward the end of my practice, or when I am teaching a class, before sivasana so that my legs will retain the heat of practice and the muscles won' be shocked by cold air (especially in the Winter when I am going out to a cold car.) The tighter variety can actually do double duty by providing a little bit of compression and support. Try them out and you will see why dancers swear by them.
Healing Meditations: visualization is one of the most powerful healing tools we have available to us. The healing power of our minds is unlimited when use it to tap into our spirits and the prana which permeates us. Try lying down in a comfortable place with a blanket over you, and an eye pillow or small towel covering your eyes to encourage pratyahara, or sense withdrawal. Visualize your body healing on a gross and subtle level. Imagine it right down to the very cellular structures of your body. See yourself as already well; radiantly health and whole.

If you need help getting started with this sort of meditation, try my Progressive Relaxation Meditation, or my Sivasana Meditation. Both are available as audio downloads, for only $2.95, from

7. Return to activity slowly and with intelligence.
When we return to activity after an injury it is natural to want to jump right back in, and pick up from where we left off. Unfortunately, this is not right mindedness on our part. If you have been laid up with an injury for 6 weeks, it will take at least that length of time to get back to your pre-injury level of practice; it may take double the amount of time you have been on constructive rest, or longer. This is a time for the utmost practice of patience and compassion towards ourselves. Take your time, go slow, remember the words of Sri Patabhi Jois, "Practice, practice, all is coming." You will beyond where you left off in your practice in no time if you proceed in this way.

May your lives be filled with radiant health,
May you honor your body, mind and spirit with lovingkindness and compassion.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Meditation on Change: from the Kripalu Yoga Teacher's Association

Monk's Pond, The Kripalu Center, Lenox, MA

The article below is reprinted from the KYTA (Kripalu Yoga Teacher's
Association) Newsletter that I recieve every month. KYTA is an incredible part of the Kripalu family, and does a terrific job supporting it's teachers around the world.

For more on Kripalu Yoga and the Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA click here. For more information on KYTA, click here.

Meditation can be extremely helpful when we are in the midst of change, giving practitioners a new perspective.

Below is a meditation from Module One of the 500-Hour Kripalu Yoga Teacher Certification, called "Awareness of Sensation," provided by Megha Nancy Buttenheim, creator, director, and facilitator of Module One.

Sit or stand as you are, just being yourself.
Focus on being aware of the sensations in you, entering a state of allowing.
Open the field of awareness to the world of sensation.
Notice the pleasant and unpleasant.
Notice the neutral, the loving, the joyful.
Welcome everything.
Notice breath.
Notice everything arising and passing, arising and passing.
Body is alive.
Energy is present.
Just be.
Look at any fear that might be coming toward you.
Remember the breath is here just like a friend holding your hand as you cross a busy street.

If you are currently enrolled in the 500-Hour Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training, or would like to begin your advanced training, the next module will be held January 16-25, 2009 which will be led by Jonathan Foust (Sudhir). The main focus is an inquiry into bringing more meditation into your personal practice and teaching.

Megha has designed Module One to offer yogis the opportunity to study with some of the best Kripalu teachers. Jonathan Foust (Sudhir) leads a 2 1/2 day meditation retreat. Lee Albert teaches positional therapy techniques to assist students in yoga postures. Anatomy sessions are led by Kripalu yogi and body worker Chris Holmes. Garrett Sarley (Dinabandhu) or Stephen Cope offer discourses in the meditation of life and Megha directs the practice teach component. Sadhana sessions are led by Kripalu faculty such as Sudha Carolyn Lundeen, Rudy Peirce, Jairaj Randal Williams, Jurian Hughes, Grace Jull, Jami Macarty, and Megha.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blissful Body Yoga Guided Meditations Now Available on

I am thrilled to announce that Guided Meditations from Teal Marie Chimblo, and Blissful Body Yoga are now being offered at

At only $2.95 per downloadable class (less then a cup of coffee!) you can give the gift of bliss to yourself, or a friend.

Two meditations are currently available:

Progressive Relaxation #1 will take you to a place of complete and utter serenity.

Jamie Kent, yoga teacher and creator of says:
"Teal's warm and meditative voice is ideal to help you get deep into a state of calm and tranquility. In this meditation Teal has you visualize a white light as it moves through you body and rids it of any and all stress and tension. Ahhhhhh!"
Click here to download your copy today.

Sivasana Relaxation #1.
Sivasana is a posture often practiced at the end of a yoga class, but you can do this relaxing Sivasana meditation any time you need to take a break and rest. Sivasana helps the body, mind and spirit to relax, integrate, and restore. This Sivasana Relaxation meditation will take you into a deep state of calm, and is also great as a cure for insomnia.

Click here to go to to download your copy today.

If you are not familiar with, you are going to love it.
This wonderful site offers classes from a wide variety of yoga traditions, including Kripalu, Iyengar, Forest, Ashtanga and more. Classes vary in length from 15 minutes to over an hour, so there is a format to meet everyone's needs.

More Guided Meditations, and Kripalu Yoga Classes from Teal will be available soon on, so stay tuned and be sure to sign up for the Blissful Body Yoga Newsletter (top right column of this page) so that you recieve all the news and offers from Blissful Body Yoga.

I hope you will consider my Guide Meditations as part of your gift giving this holiday season. They are an affordable way to give the gift of relaxation and resoration to yourself, or someone you love.

May you be happy,
May you be free from all suffering.

Namaste, and gratitude,

Teal Marie

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Keeping It Positive

In business, as in the rest of life, it can be a challenge to keep things positive. Present global economic woes are making for some highly tense office environments, but they also present an opportunity to bring our yoga "off the mat", and into our daily lives.

Yoga can provide not only a personal refuge from these pressures, but an opportunity to calm down, refocus and re-enter the group with positive energy and patience. Imagine bringing a spirit of peace and healing to your environment, rather then adding to the discord and din.

Go to your office, or even a stall in the bathroom, or step outside, anywhere you can be alone for a few minutes and withdraw from the energy of your office. Take a few deep breaths and follow your inhale and exhale. On the inhale say, "I breath in peace", on the exhale say, "I breathe out all tension." Before you return to your office group say to yourself this simple Metta meditation of lovingkindness...

"May all beings be happy, May all beings be free from all suffering."

It is amazing how much a simple break can help us calm down, and regain perspective.

Let me know how you bring your yoga off the mat, and into the world.

If you are looking for more ways to bring the positive back to your office or business check out the blog Emergence Business Coaching written by business coach and writer, Charrise. She has great advice and resources for building business for success, with heart and positive energy.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Give the Gift of Relaxation, with Natalie Maisel's Meditative Journey and

Just the thought of heading into the busy holiday season brings feelings of stress and anxiety to most of us. So much to do, so many people to see, so much to give. I encourage you to really slow down and make sure that you are also giving to yourself, making time for yoga, relaxation... and SLEEP!

To that end, I am recommending to you a amazing yoga and meditation teacher Natalie Maisel. If you haven't discovered her before, you are really in for a treat!

Her Website is a fantastic resource for yoga, meditation and rituals related to Wicca and the Seasonal Wheel.

She has many audio downloads available on her site, and on, but my favorite has to be Meditative Journey. I have escaped into the beautiful imagery of these guided meditations, and used them as part of my yoga classes, for years. They are not only relaxing and inspirational, but personally transformative, as well. Natalie's words of wisdom and guidance help us tap into that deep source within us; she helps us get back to the core of our authentic selves.

The nice thing about her site is you can download an entire item, or one track at a time "itunes style". She as recently added some new meditations including that I love including, Sun-Moon Astrological Meditations, Goddess in the Chakras, and another of my favorites, Healing Water Ritual at Chalice Well, which is a wonderful meditation for healing.

Natalie has been a certified yoga teacher since 1996. She currently travels to various destination spas facilitating Yoga Weeks with a variety of levels and classes that suit every level of yoga practitioner. Natalie is featured extensively in Gary Kraftsow’s book Yoga for Wellness,
and teaches yoga in the San Diego, California area.

Check her out and pick up a gift of relaxation and renewal for yourself, or someone you love.

You can contact Natalie Maisel directly for more information about her yoga and meditation workshops around the world at

And, don't miss Natalie's blog, here.

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Let It Be

Whether I am buying groceries at the store, picking up some dry cleaning, or settling into sadhana on my yoga mat I am always met with the same inquiries. It's always the big questions: who am I? what am I doing here? am I doing enough? is this all good enough? A lot of striving in all those questions, and that is the nature of Mind. To grasp, to avert. The quality we are looking for in yoga is neither; it is the simplisity of just being here, moment to moment, breath by breath. In a posture we look for the qualities of sukha (sweetness, or comfort) and sthira (steadiness), but we find neither while we are stuggling and searching, doubting and criticising.

In your practice today, whether it takes form on or off the mat, let your inquiry be to "Let it be." Whatever the occurence, moment by moment, breath by breath, simply note your reaction, and then say to yourself, "Let it be."

Let me know what you discovery in your inquiry.

For more food for thought on this topic, you must visit a beautiful blog, by a lovely lady that got me thinking about all this today. The Wellness Journey, and author Traci Trainer,
has a wealth of information on yoga, excercise, nutrition, and much more. Enjoy...

As for me, I am off to the mountains to get married! See you all next week...

May you all be free from suffering, may you all be surrounded by love.


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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Self-Observation Without Self-Criticism

"The highest form of spiritual practice is self-observation without self-criticism."
– Swami Kripalu

This quote from Swami Kripalu is one of my favorites. It encapsulates the essence of what the journey of yoga is all about. It is a journey into ourselves. It is a long, and sometimes arduous journey, full of great joy and many sorrows, but it is, I think, always a worthy adventure.

Can you pause now in your day?
Take a moment with me?...

Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
Observe the breath moving in and out of your body.
Make the offering of this mantra to your self:

In this moment I breathe, in this moment I am perfect. At all times, in every way possible, I have everything I need.

As you move into your evening keep these phrases in mind, and take some time to contemplate the words of Bapuji (Swami Kripalu). How can you move along this great adventure of life making it an inquiry of self-observation, without entering into the harshness of self-criticism?

I would love to hear the ways that you do this!
Leave a comment, or drop me a line.


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Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Ava says, "Run don't walk, and get YOUR baby some Quinoa!"


My awesome niece Ava says,

"Quinoa rocks! I may have only been on this planet for 7 months, but I know good eats when I taste them! If you aren't eating Quinoa, then honey, you just aren't living!"

Want to find out more about Quinoa, Ava says, try this link.

Don't believe it's good for you? Better check this link!

Ava also strongly endorses her other favorite food, breastmilk, straight from the tap, it really does a baby body good.

Want to get your mom a cool t-shirt honoring her milk-making "super power", it's here!

Auntie Teal making homemade baby food that Ava loves: spinach, broccoli, squash, can make your baby some yummy, healthy baby food too, and for pennies on the dollar compared to the commercial stuff. Here's two good places to start,
or here.

Enjoy! And check back for my yummy updates from Ava: Baby Nutrition Blogger (typing assistance provided by Auntie Teal.)

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Awesome Kundalini Yoga DVD

Jai Bhagwan my beloved. A quick post for you this morning.

If you've been reading this blog you know I am a huge fan of Kundalini yoga (Kripalu actually comes from this lineage, Swami Kripalu was a major Kundalini Yoga practitioner.) I encorporate a lot of it into my teaching, and I practice many kriyas as part of my sadhana every morning. When I want to take a Kundalini class and can't get to one, I do this DVD:

Chakra Yoga for Mental Clarity (1998)
Starring: Gurutej Kaur Rating: Format: DVD

It is SOOOO great and only 60 minutes long. The exercises completely clear and balance my energy and always set me on the path for a great day. I was feeling so tired and scattered this morning (results of a poor night sleep, because my poor Michael has got a terrible cold and was tossing and turning like mad) and now I feel focused and 100 % better.

Give this one a try, you won't be dissapointed.

Sat Nam, Sat Nam, Sat Nam

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Teal's Yummy-In-My-Tummy Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

Well, my friend Maura saw my FB post that I was making soup and said, can you post the recipe?? She has the two CUTEST little twin girls you have EVER seen. She makes them squash with macaroni, and they think that it is "mac and cheese". Are you listening mammas??? THAT is a great idea to keep your kids out of, or get them off, the fatty, salty, artery clogging Mac-n-Cheese merry-go-'round.

::NOTICE:: about to head up onto the soap box...

It always amazes me how many American children eat nothing but Mac-n-Cheese, pizza, chicken and fries...crap, basically. I hear parents say, "Well, that's all they'll eat, that's just what they like." Sorry, not buying it folks.

Kids will eat what you TEACH them to eat, and what you train their taste buds to respond to. Start them early and give them greatest gift you can give; the gift of a beautiful culture of healthy nourishing food that will feed their bodies and minds. The childhood obesity and health issues in this country are already reaching critical mass. Children's health is a passion of mine, please, please make it a passion of yours. If you are looking for more healthy foods for your children, check this post.

Ok, climbing down from soap box...back to soup...

So, Maura knows me well enough to know I don't use recipes, I'm way to random vector for that. It all just kind of evolves in a messy, mad-scientist sort of way.

So here is my process for this tummy-loving, heart-chakra warming autumn soup...Enjoy!

Teal's Yummy-In-My-Tummy Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

What you need:
1 medium butternut squash
2 sweet potatoes
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups low-sodium/low-fat organic veggie, or chicken broth
3 cups of water (approximately, I add a little at a time to get the texture I want)
¼ tsp fresh finely chopped ginger
¼ tsp ground sage
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp thyme
cracked pepper, and salt to taste

How to make it:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut open the squash and take out the seeds. Cut the squash, potatoes and onion into chunks (about 3x3”). Place all of that on a roasting pan with the two peeled cloves of garlic. Coat with the olive oil and cracked pepper (salt if you like). Roast for about 35 minutes, or until everything is tender and roasty looking.

Take the veggies out of the oven and let them cool a bit. Now you can just peel the blistered skin of the butternut off (and eat it for a treat!)

Chop up all the roasted veggies and place in a large soup pot with the broth. Mash everything up with a potato masher, and then add the ginger and other spices, and enough water to make it a good texture. I like it a little on the thick side.

Let it simmer for about 10 minutes then puree with a hand mixer.

Adjust liquid and seasoning and let simmer another 10 minutes.

Mange! Mange!

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