Welcome to my blog: Its an honor for me

The practice of Yoga has been a long journey within that has changed me in many powerful ways. When practicing yoga, I become more aware of my internal world and I am present within. Through my therapeutic yoga classes , my hope is to assist you in beginning your own JOURNEY WITHIN and help you heal and change. Yoga provides the perfect pathway to transform, blossom and thrive.
I am honored to serve expecting mommas and their little ones not only as a Pre and Post Natal yoga teacher but also as a Hypnobirthing educator and an Infant Massage instructor. I wear many hats in this world, but all of them are to help birth ourselves into a new state of consciousness. And for that, there are no words.....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Yoga During Menstruation

Yoga practice during menstruation is a controversial issue. There are those who say that no woman should practice yoga during her menstruation, others say practice everything. Some say practice inversions, others say avoid. Some say a strong practice is useful, others say to practice restorative asanas.

All women are different with regards to menstruation. Some may not have any side effects, low energy or feel at all different than they do during the rest of the month, while others have such extreme pain, mood swings, fatigue, bloating, irritability and so on that they have to stay in bed for the first few days. Because no woman is the same there are no set rules regarding what to practice during menstruation but there are some general guidelines that can help. What is important is that we listen to our bodies during this time.

The menstrual cycle is very delicate. If we are stressed, travel; change our diet and so on then our cycle can change. It is very important to be aware of our cycle and to listen to our bodies. Those who do not may often have irregular periods or no periods along with many other symptoms. The state of our menstrual cycle reflects the state of our physical and mental health. Therefore it is not just asanas that can have an impact on it but also the mind, making meditation and reflection an important practice.

Menstruation time is a time of heightened awareness and sensitivity. Often the problems that we have during the month become more real at this time and affect us more strongly. At this time it is particularly useful to examine these problems and find solutions. Menstruation is a time to explore and look within. It is a time to nurture and heal the body and mind.

Again the way we look at our menstruation greatly differs between women. Some women prefer to ignore it as much as possible, to pretend or detach themselves from what is going on. These are generally the ones who are more competitive and out to prove that they are just as strong as men. Strength is good but we should also have the awareness of our bodies and give time to listen to them. It is not to say that we can all hang around the house not doing anything but we can treat our bodies with care and respect. We should put in efforts to remain balanced and therefore cultivate inner strength.

Some associate guilt, uncleanliness or other negative emotions. These may have come up due to the culture one has grown up, the views of one’s parents or some other events in life. Relaxation techniques such as yoga nidra can be very beneficial for these women in clearing away these negativities and instead bringing acceptance and positivity of one’s self.

The main reason why we may choose not to practice may be due to the associated symptoms of menstruation. If a woman is having very extreme menstruation then even the thought of practicing will cause negative emotions. The best practice at this time is then yoga nidra and some gentle pranayam such as bhramari (humming bee breath), anulom vilom (alternate nostril breath), ujjayi (victorious breath) and deep breathing. Om Chanting will also be very beneficial.

If we are not feeling too uncomfortable then a yoga practice can be useful to help alleviate any period pain or back pain, balance the emotions – mood swings, anxiety, anger, depression, irritability and gentle open the pelvic region, relieving any congestion. Menstruation is a time to vary ones yoga practice to look within and find the peace and tranquility.

Asanas to avoid
In a yoga practice there are certain asanas that should be avoided during menstruation. The main type of asanas are inversions. These should be avoided throughout the menstruation. The reasoning for this is that when we practice inversions one type of prana, known as a apana, which normally flows in the downward direction from the manipur chakra (naval centre) to mooladhar chakra (cervix), is reversed. This is useful to help increase the prana in the body and to help awaken the kundalini but when menstruating it goes against the natural flow. It can therefore stop or disturb the menstruation at this time and lead to other reproductive problems later on. Another reason is that during inversions the uterus is pulled towards the head and causes the broad ligaments to be over stretched which cause partial collapse of the veins, leaving open arteries to continue pumping blood. This can lead to vascular congestion and increased menstrual bleeding. Previously people used to think that inversions could cause endometriosis and infections but it is now thought not to be the case.

Secondly, any very strong asanas particularly strong backbends, twists, arm balances and standing positions that put a lot of stress on the abdominal and pelvic region should be avoided, especially if the woman is going through a lot of pain at the time. The reasoning for this is very logical. If the pelvic region is causing spasm and pain why cause more contraction and pressure to the area. Also these positions need more physical strength and exertion which can be lacking during this time and can be depleted further by the practice. Strong vinyasa and power yoga should be avoided for the same reasons. Surya namaskar, when done slowly and gently, can be useful, however it should be avoided if there is a lot of pain or heavy bleeding.

Thirdly, bandhas should be avoided for similar reasons. On a pranic level they move the apana upwards instead of down and physically they add more contraction to an already tight region and in the case of uddiyan bandha increasing the heat which can lead to heavier bleeding.
It may seem like there are many positions that cannot be practiced however this is not the case. Many positions can still be practiced and many more positions that may not be in ones daily practice can be incorporated and explored. It’s all about listening to the bodies needs and accepting that this is a time of introversion, acceptance and balance.

Asanas To Practice
Do remember that it is not necessary that you have to practice asanas during your period. For the first two days you may have a break from asanas. That doesn’t mean you cannot practice other techniques such as pranayam, yoga nidra and meditation. All will have benefits. It is important that if you decide to practice that you should be aware of and listen to your body. Do not push or strain and instead do some more gentle poses but hold them a little longer. Generally it is good to practice positions that allow one to become more grounded, to alleviate any emotional disturbances and to gain inner strength.
To warm up one can practice the preparatory movements 1 to 12, arm movements, leg and knee movements. The pawanmuktasan series 1, 2 and 3 from Swami Satyananda are also recommended. Surya namaskar (Sun Salutation) can be practiced if there is no heavy bleeding or cramping. But it should not be performed in a fast manner. Chandra namaskar (Moon Salutation) is another alternative which is more soothing, harmonizing and calming at this time and helps to cultivate the feminine aspects.
Gentle forward bends give a light massage to the abdominal and pelvic region, helping to relieve congestion, heaviness, cramping and heavy bleeding. They also bring calmness to the mind. Examples include Paschimottanasan (Forward Bend),Ardha paschimottanasan (Half Forward Bend), Ugrasan (Ferocious Pose), Vajrasan Yoga Mudra Type 1 (Child’s Pose), Shashankasan (Hare/Moon Pose) and Janu Bhalasan (Standing forward bend). Practice these positions to 50-60% of your capacity or with the support of cushions or bolsters. Do not strain or do strong forward bends. Vajrasan Yoga Mudra Type 1 and Shashankasan can be practiced with the knees further apart.
Gentle twisting positions can remove back pain, cramping and congestion. Examples include leg movement type 2, vakrasan (twisted pose)type 1, preparatory movement 2 and 3 and gentle twists in sitting positions. Avoid very strong twisting positions.
Gentle backbends, especially when supported, can alleviate back pain and pelvic discomfort. Examples include Supta Vajrasan (Sleeping Thunderbolt) (sitting on heels or with heels apart)and Supta Titaliasana (Sleeping Butterfly) supported with bolsters. The Vajrasan series is also useful especially for removing tension from the back and to remove pelvic congestion. The whole series can be practiced or just a few of the poses. Avoid strong backbends.
Leg up the wall poses help to remove stagnant blood from the legs without lifting the pelvic region and help to open up the pelvic region. Legs can be straight up the wall or separated to a comfortable distance or with the soles of the feet together.
Other useful positions include Marjariasan (Cat Pose)and Vyaghrasan (Tiger Pose) which both help to remove back pain and pelvic tension. Titaliasan (Butterfly) to tone the pelvis, Sulabh Pawanmuktasan (Simple Gas Release Pose), with knees apart, to relieve back pain, Sulabh Koormasan (Simple Tortoise Pose), Simple Pigeon and simple supine spinal twists. 
This is not a complete list as there are thousands of asanas to choose from but just remember the guidelines and main points when choosing and practicing asanas.

Pranayam is very useful during menstruation as it helps to balance the emotions and calm the mind. It can also help one to deal with any pain. Do remember that there should be no strain with the breath and also no kumbakh and bandhas as these will increase the heat and redirect the prana in the upward direction. Deep breathing is very beneficial, especially when practiced in Tadagasan (Pond Pose) or Shavasan (Corpse Pose). Bhramari (Humming Bee Breath), Anulom vilom (Alternate Nostril Breathing), Ujjayi (Victorious Breath), Sheetali (Cooling breath through the tongue) and Sitkari (Cooling breath through the teeth)are all useful practices. 
Avoid fast breathing, Bhastrika (Bellow’s Breath), Surya Bedan (Right Nostril Breathing) and Kapalbhati (Frontal Brain Cleansing) as they will increase the heat which may cause heavier bleeding and will also put excessive pressure on the abdominal region.

Meditation is another useful practice at this time particularly as one is more sensitive and aware at this time. Om chanting and meditation on Om can be used. Antar mouna, the practice of inner silence is a technique where one observes ones thoughts. Chanting of personal mantra or mahamrityunjaya will give benefits as will simple meditation on the breath or ajapa japa. Yoga nidra is also strongly recommended at this time.

Cleansing Practices
Some cleansing practices can be done at this time but most should be avoided. Jal neti and Danda neti can be performed as can Tratak but avoid Kapalbhati, Vaman, Lagoo Shankarprakshalan and Poorna Shankarprakshalan.

Going to a Class 
Many teachers say it is better to do your home practice during menstruation instead of going to a class. This is because many times during class one may feel compelled to follow all of the teacher’s instructions. One may push themselves more when their body is not ready for it and one may practice inversions when these should be strictly avoided. The main reasons for this are that one does not want to be the odd one out and many women don’t want others to know that they are having their period. Many teachers will give options to practice instead of inversions but if not just substitute one or more of the recommended asanas for during menstruation. Remember that you are practicing for yourself, not for your teacher or a friend, so it’s always better to follow what you feel.

Example of a private practice during menstruation – remember you can change it, add and remove positions, hold some for longer or shorter, just listen to the body….
1 Hour Practice
Tadasan (Palm Tree Pose)
Tiryak Tadasan (Swaying Palm Tree Pose)
Kati Chakrasan (Waist Rotating Pose)
Preparatory Movements 1 – 12 Once
Shavasan (Corpse)
Arm Movements 1, 2, 3
Knee Movements 2 and 3
Ardha Pawanmuktasan (Half Gas Release Pose)
Supta Titaliasan (Sleeping Butterfly) - 2 minutes with bolster behind back
Supta Vajrasan (Sleeping Thunderbolt) - 2 minutes with bolster behind back
Vajrasan Series – holding for 20 seconds each position
Vajrasan Yoga Mudra Type 1 (Child’s Pose) - 5 minutes with knees apart and cushion under head if needed, plus releasing arms to the side
Titaliasan (Butterfly) as an asana and as a movement
Sulabh Koormasan (Simple Tortoise)
Ardha Paschimottanasan (Half Forward Bend) – with cushion or bolster
Paschimottanasan (Forward Bend) – with cushion or bolster
Ugrasan (Ferocious Pose) – with cushion or bolster
Marjariasan (Cat Pose) – 5 repetitions
Vyaghrasan (Tiger) – 5 repetitions on each side
Vakrasan (Twisted Pose) Type 1
Swastikasan (Auspicious Pose) and twist to side
Deep Breathing in Tadagasan (Pond Pose)
Bhramari (Humming Bee Breath)
Om Chanting

Yogic practices for the rest of the month to balance the menstrual cycle
Many yoga techniques can be practiced throughout the month to help balance the hormones, the menstrual cycle and to prevent pre menstrual syndrome, period pain, emotional disturbances and other associated symptoms of menstruation. 
Asanas – Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), Sarvangasan (Shoulderstand), Halasan (Plough), Matsyasan (Fish), Kandharasan (Shoulder Pose), Ardha Chakrasan (Half Wheel), Chakrasan (Wheel Pose), Bhujangasan (Cobra),Shalabhasan (Locust), Dhanurasan (Bow), Paschimottanasan (Forward Bend), Ushtrasan (Camel), Viparit Karni (Inverted Pose), Sirshasan (Headstand), Ashwini Mudra (Horse Gesture), Aakarna Dhanurasan (Archer’s Bow), Marjariasan (Cat), Garudasan (Eagle), Veerasan (Warrior), Trikonasan (Triangle).
Other – Yoga nidra, Antar Mouna, Om chanting, Bhramari (Humming Bee Breath), Ujjayi (Victorious Breath), Uddiyan Bandha (Uddiyan Bandha), Moola Bandha (Root Lock), Agnisar (Fire Breath).


Asana is a very popular component of Yoga. Asanas are practiced in all countries. Millions of people are practicing Asanas every day. The main question is whether they are practicing correctly. Correctly means as per the way prescribed by Patanjali the pioneer of Yoga. Patanjali has mentioned the definition of Asana. The Sutra for this definition reads as follows: "Sthir sukham asanam"

Sthir means Steady, Sukham means comfortable and asanam means posture. The meaning of this definition is " Steady & comfortable posture is Asana. "These are the two qualities of the Asana or posture. Presence of only one quality is not sufficient to qualify it as Asan. Hence a stage which is steady and comfortable at the same time is called Asana. So there should be no movements in the body, at the same time there must be no pain or even discomfort in the body. Then only this stage can be called as Asana.

There are some movements that are essentialto take up the position and also to release the posture and bring it back to thenormal position/preposition. We can analysis the method of practicing asana as follows.

Initial Position "Preposition"

Stage 1: Taking the asana position - by making some movements the final position is attained.

Stage 2 : Keeping the asana position steady for some time.

Stage 3 : Releasing the asana position - by making some movements the asana position is released.

The stage 1 & 3 contain the movements hence they are not "asana" as per the definitation

Mentioned by Patanjali.

There is no movement in the stage two hence the stage two is "Asana" If you want to practice Asanas practice the stage two for a longer time. Stage 1 & 3 are not asana but they are essential for taking the asana position. That is why the movements for asana are very slow. Hence the correct procedure for practicing Asana is as follows.

The movements required for attaining and releasingasana position are to be made slowly and then the Asana ismaintained for the longer time. The time duration must be such that the practitioner must feel comfortable. Asana is to be maintained steadily as long as it is comfortable. Asana must be released when comfort is lost and some pain, stretch or discomfort starts due to overstrain

The same explanation is equally applicable to the mind also. 
The mind must be steady and comfortable in the Asana position. So try to practice your yoga as per the definition of Patanjali!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Back at Breathing Room on Monday evenings:

I am honored and thankful to be able to be back to teach at Breathing Room Yoga in Livingston starting this Monday, October 11th from 5:45 - 7:00 pm. I will be taking over Allison Meredith's class, who is taking some time off to enjoy her last few months of pregnancy. My class is therapeutic in style and is focused on encouraging students to explore movements to alleviate tension and discomfort. Breathing techniques, mudras and mantras to move energy, reduce stress and promote healing are all used. These classes will accommodate people with specific needs such as knee replacements, neck and shoulder issues or back pain. Focus is on moving in ways that are safe and pain free.

Please bring a tennis ball to the first class.... :)

Looking forward in seeing you all there.


New Moon and Navatri Cycle

Its always darkest before the dawn.

The last day before the new moon is the darkest night of the month and we often feel that mirrored in our own life as there may be some difficulty in our outer life that causes "darkness" within or the reverse when what is brewing in our shadow begins to project out into our life. How we experience this peak of "endarkenment" can change and coincide with a natural going within or retreat to emotional melt-downs with the display of sadness, grief, swelling of feelings, neurosis, conflict, emptiness and despair. If we are not aware of the powerful mirroring of this peak darkness, it catches us off guard particularly if we are in a high-peak cycle of joy, stability, "life is wonderful" state of being. The days before the new moon can rock our world if we are not aware of this natural shift.

The hardest part of householder life is to maintain a steady rhythm of personal retreat necessary during times we we are naturally moving inward. Monks and nuns, sannayasins (renunciates), yogins and yoginis have these ritual rhythms as the center of their life which is also full of challenges. The potency of ritual life is to be able connect with the larger cycles of nature that are effecting every being on this planet simultaneously and be in harmony with the cosmos.

When we are feeling at our "lowest", "darkest", most vulnerable, our practice becomes truly alchemical as we are very aware of the need to understand, listen and move with a new energetic flow. Balancing excess vata and pitta is very common at this time as the air and the fire fan each other creating aggravation. Yoga can be viewed as an inner rasayana or alchemical elixir working with both the elements and the prana-shakti to alchemically transmute stress and karma into bliss and authentic being. Tantric-based yoga develops a connection to the alchemical flow of life - how every moment is a creative opportunity to be in true presence, dance with change, create antidotes for difficulties, and sustain the flow. Our practice, our sadhana, is the place to align our life with the sacred flow, the alchemical movement that renews us again and again.

The New moon is the reflection of this process and this month we have the opportunity to renew ourselves in the sacred 9-night festival known as Navaratri.

This ten-day cycle connected to the three aspects of the Great Mother - Creation, Sustaining and Dissolution and Victory over Ignorance or Sarawsati, Lakshmi and Durga. Most likely before the new moon and this transformative time of fall, we are able to connect with what we are letting go of, what we are sustaining with love and what is emerging within us. It is during this Navaratri cycle that we have access to authentic transformation as well as magnifying the blessings in our inner and outer life that are the essence of Sri - the creative, regenerative power of the one - that although beyond personification - becomes invoked as the divine feminine within all.

I am grateful to all the amazing men in my life who choose to honor the sacred feminine in their beloved lover, wife, sister, daughter, son, their own self, the Earth. I encourage all the yoginis to make as much space in their awareness as you can over the next 10 days to really connect with the Shakti within.

Navaratri CycleNavaratri begins Oct 8

Days dedicated to Durga - Oct 8-10

Days dedicated to Laksmi- Oct 11-13

Days dedicated to Saraswati - Oct 14-16

Dusshera - last day of Navaratri Oct 17

The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshipped.


The beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn are two very important junctions of climatic and solar influence. These two periods are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar. Being the oldest religion in the world, Hinduism has numerous belief systems.

In Hinduism the adherents believe in one omnipresent Deity but may worship Her/Him in any of the numerous manifestations that are prevalent all over India. Navaratri represents celebration of Goddess Durga, the manifestation of Deity in form of Shakti [Energy or Power]. Dasahara, meaning ‘ten days’, becomes dussehra in popular parlance. The Navaratri festival or ‘nine day festival’ becomes ‘ten day festival’ with the addition of the last day, Vijayadashami which is its culmination. On all these ten days, the various forms of Mother Mahisasura-mardini (Durga) are worshipped with fervour and devotion.

Living Yoga Sadhana for Navaratri

These are the recommendations for yogis and yoginis during Navaratri

1) Create Sacred Space- AltarCreate your altar or renew your current altar. Clean the Space for your practice and set-up your supplies (incense, lighter, etc.). You can activate your altar in a specific way for each sadhana with relevant pictures-murtis-symbols (images of the Divine), sacred objects and specific colors of cloth, flowers and candles. Keep your altar simple but potent as a reflection of your inner being. Choose vital and expressive colors and images; Siva-shakti or Shakti or images of your own creative inspiration.

Explore the pathways of awakening kundalini shakti as the divine creative brilliance within nature, within your body and as a supreme navigating intelligence within the flow of one’s life. Includes essential daily practices, meditation, kundalini namaskar, prana flow creative sequences and prana sahaja flow – the spontaneous awakening.

Have a candle at the center of your altar or images of the Goddess according to the predominant day - Durga, Lakshmi or Sarawati.

2) Meditate in the morning and evening with bhava, mantra and devotion - the duration is not as important as the consistency although the longer the seep the deeper the soak. You can have your regular meditation practice and add or substitute the mantra connected with each Shakti for a mala (108 rounds).

Om Aim Saraswatiye Namaha

Om Dum Durgaye Namaha

Om Shrim Lakshmiye Namaha

You can also listen and chant the 108 Names of the Goddess, and Lalita Saharanama (1008 Names of the Goddess).

Here are some suggestions of tracks and artist below

* Craig Pruess

* Bombay Jayashri Goddess Namavali

* Shakti Blessings - by Benjy Wertheimer - "Jala"

* Lalita Sahashranama - CD and book from www.amma.org

3) Live and practice yoga with heightened awareness, with intention, seva and rasa vinyasa(tm) - an alchemical connection to the flow in your daily life.

According to the three phases of Navaratri - 3 days for Dissolution and Letting Go; 3 days for Manifestation and Abundance; and 3 days for creative energy how will you focus

4) Fast in some form either by releasing a food item such as alcohol or sugar or being pure vegetarian for the entire 10 days. This is a very powerful way of strengthening your inner dedication and relaxing attachments.

5) Journal your experience and share.

For additional information on the significance and rituals of Navaratri check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navaratri

The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshipped.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Private yoga lessons are the heart of Yoga


Therapeutic yoga is not just another style of yoga. It is a way to directly address health challenges such as structural pain, problems from chronic illness and/or emotional disturbances. Private instruction is a wonderful way to bring yoga into your life.

What is Yoga Therapy?
 Yoga Therapy assumes each person is unique and adapts and applies Yoga techniques to help individuals based on their needs, interests, and current condition. Through one-on-one sessions, and through a personalized home practice, my goal is to enhance your health and well-being by reducing symptoms, restoring balance, increasing self-understanding, encouraging prevention, and facilitating healing at all levels of your being.

How can Yoga Therapy help you? 
Yoga Therapy is helpful for: Structural conditions (such as back pain, hip pain, sciatica).

Physiological conditions (such as high blood pressure, Hypertension, Multiple Sclerosis, arthritis, high blood pressure, constipation).

Emotional conditions (such as depression and anxiety), and many more are helped by the varied techniques of yoga.

What techniques are used?
 Many of the tools of yoga can be incorporated: physical postures, breath exercises, relaxation, meditation, mudras, mantras, and lifestyle (such as diet, exercise, sleep, or stress management). Because of the self-reflective nature of the work, discussion also becomes an integral part of our time together.

What do sessions look like?
 Sessions are conducted on a one-on-one basis and held in my studio . They are tailored to meet your special needs and a personal practice is developed to assist you in working on your own. No special equipment is required. 
 Please note I have a 24 hour cancellation policy.

I hope to inspire and empower you to reach your full potential, both physically, mentally, and emotionally leading to a healthy, joyful, and productive life.

To get more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Sara at (406) 600-1994

Workplace Yoga Classes

Sara offers group classes at your workplace! These classes usually last 45 minutes to 1 hour and can be conducted any time of day – before work, during lunch, after work or whenever it is convenient. This is a perfect gift to your employees helping them to reduce stress, and keep them fit and healthy.

One-time workshops are also available.

Periodically Taught Special Seminars:

Stress Management - also taught in the workplace

Therapeutic Yoga for Back Pain

Therapeutic Yoga for Hypertension
...and more workshops to come

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras - Chapter I, verse 47 - Autumn Light

Interpretive Translation by Joseph Le Page:

Upon gaining natural lucidity in meditative absorption beyond reflective thought (nirvichara samadhi), the higher Self naturally awakens, like the shimmering luminosity of Autumn light.

Note: The word ‘vaisharada’ used in this verse to mean clearness of mind or natural lucidity, literally means autumnal brightness, which serves as the inspiration for this commentary.

Commentary by Joseph Le Page – Autumn Light

Each year, I walk that ever new yet timeless trail down to the edge of the sunlit lake, where every tree, being and newly colored leaf is bathed in autumn’s golden rays.

And each year I gaze onto the surface of the lake, hoping to catch a glimpse, to see some trace, in the clarity of those golden rays, a reflection of my own true face.

And each year there are changes in the clarity I find, depending on the wind and weather in my mind, sometimes still clouded by doubt and fear, but gradually becoming clear and bright in the growing presence of autumn light.

And when that calm blue surface is furrowed by the nervous winds of worry, I rest my gaze onto the deep still center of the lake, and allow some time for the waves of wind-whipped mind to slowly fade away.

And when my gaze lifts beyond the horizon of the lake, into the future’s endless maze, I soften my breath and rest my sight on the ever-perfect present moment, bathed in autumn light.

And when clouds of sadness roll across, reminders of life’s deep lake of loss, I watch and wait for the dark shadows to abate, as white clouds of wisdom sail again over the vast blue stillness of the lake.

Sometimes, I go there just to rest my mind, to close my eyes and journey inside, to bathe in the stillness beyond time, and then return to life revitalized in the luminous glow of autumn light.

And sometimes, I simply sit in awe at the almost unberable beauty of the autumn glow, painting a landscape of earth, lake and sky with the precious gold leaf of autumn light.

And in the grace of those golden rays, I offer thanks for each new day, a precious gift of Divine delight wrapped in the glory of autumn light.

And each year that autumn brilliance grows, a reflection of my own awakening soul, the seeds of wisdom germinating deep inside, grow and burst the banks of the everyday mind, and the One Self shines forth clear and bright in the mystery of autumn light.

Now, that autumn aura guides each step, in ever present companionship, a golden cocoon of Divine embrace guiding me to reunion with my own true face.

And this year, a fresh breeze of freedom blows through my mind as I walk arm in arm with the Divine; with nothing left to loose, fear or fight, I gaze into the lake with crystal clear sight, to find no face at all, only Autumn Light.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Integrative Yoga Therapy Professional Yoga Therapist Training

I'm honored and excited to be in Kripalu for the month of September to deepen my understanding of yoga therapy and learn practical applications of Integrative Yoga Therapy principles and techniques with Joseph Le Page. This forms the practicum and integration for my 500-hour Professional Yoga Therapist certification. Upon my return, I will be happy to offer group and one on one yoga therapy classes in this community, creating safe space, loving presence and unconditional positive regard. Namaste!

Hypnobirthing new course starting in Bozeman

Hello Hypnobirthing families. Wow! There are many of us now in Montana! That fills my heart with joy, especially when I see all those wonderful babies around town.... THANK YOU!! As many of you know my family is moving to Bozeman on October 1st. I will have more news for you in the month of October regarding my WOMEN AND CHILDREN YOGA AND SUPPORT CENTER, but, for now, I'd like to announce the opening of a new Hypnobirthing course starting in Bozeman October 17. It will take place for 5 consecutive Sundays from 4:30 to 6:30pm. I've always believed that word of mouth and recommendation is the best way to advertise. So here is the info. Please feel free to pass it along to any expecting mom and family you think might be interested. I wish you peace, joy, and a happy fall season.

My philosophy is one of empowered and gentle birth, for baby and for mom. I draw on my own knowledge and my own Hypnobirthing experience, as well as the work of Mickey Mongan. I believe women birth most easily in calm, safe environments with no interventions and interruptions. I seek to give you the resources you need to achieve the birth you want. I offer knowledge, reassurance and support in a calm, relaxed environment with plenty of personal attention (something I believe pregnant moms and partners truly deserve).

(5) - 2 -hour classes
UNIT #1 Building A Positive Expectancy- Sunday October 17 (4:30pm to 6:30pm)
Introduction - HypnoBirthing® Storie, HypnoBirthing® Beginnings, Rationale/Muscle Comparison, How the Uterus Work, Articles of Birth Affirmation, Uterus During Surge Illustration, What’s Wrong with Labor?, How Fear Affects Labor, Origin of Pain Concept/Curse of Eves, Hypnosis and Deep Relaxation, Creating Positive Birth Outcome, Psycho-Physical Exercise, Pen Dropping, Sleep Breathing Introduction/Demonstration, Lemon Cutting Script, Light Arm/Heavy Arm, HypnoBirthing® Stories # 1 and #2

UNIT #2 Falling in Love With Your Baby/Preparing Mind & Body- Sunday October 24 (4:30pm to 6:30pm)
HypnoBirthing® Stories -- #3 and #4, Prenatal Bonding Techniques, Bonding Exercise, Father’s Script, Mother’s Conversation with Her Unborn Child, Parent’s Prayer, Relaxation and Breathing, Routine , Positions , Facial Relaxation, Sleep Breathing Reviewed, Slow Breathing, Birth Breathing, Progressive, Instant, and Deepening Techniques, Progressive Relaxation, Disappearing Letters, Birth Companion’s Deepening Script
Relaxation and Visualizations, Rainbow Script, Opening Blossom, Blue Satin Ribbons, Arm-Wrist Test, Releasing Limiting Thoughts Assignment, Preparing the Body for Birthing, Light touch Massage, Stretching the Inner Thigh Muscles, The Leaping Frog/squatting/Semi-squatting
Pelvic Floor Exercises (Kegels), Perineal Massage
Nutritions importance for healthy, happy babies

UNIT #3 Getting Ready to Welcome your Baby- Sunday October 31 (4:30pm to 6:30pm)
Birth Stories Videos #5 and #6 , Daddy’s Promise, Birth Preferences, Hospital Records and Pre-Admission Registration, Breech Presentation, When Baby is Ready , Looking at Your Due Date, Special Circumstances That Require The Attention of A Caregiver, Avoiding Artificial Induction of Labor, Achieving A Natural Start of Labor, Prelude to Labor , Your Body Working for You And with You, Releasing Negative Emotions and Fear

UNIT #4 Overview of Childbirth—Sunday November 7 (4:30pm to 6:30pm)
A Labor of Love Birth Stories Video #7 , Onset of Labor—Thinning and Opening Phase, Arriving at The Hospital, As Labor Moves along, Birth Companion’s Role, Birth Companion’s Birth Guide, If Labor Stalls or Slows, Review of Misconceptions, Natural Measures to Restart Labor, Important Questions for Birth Companions to Protect Natural Birthing Experience, As Birthing advances—Nearing Completion, Birth Rehearsal Imagery

UNIT #5 - Birthing—Breathing Love, Bringing Life- Sunday November 14 (4:30pm to 6:30pm)
Show Birthing Video—Birth Into Being , Hallmarks of Labor Mother Nears Completion—thinning and opening, Birthing Phase—Breathing Baby Down, Positioning and Repositioning, Birth—The Final Act, Forest Fantasy Metaphor , Balloon Trip Release, Pelvic Station, Birth Explained Simply , Visualization for Optimal Birth, Baby care basics and advice. We will have a lactation consultant come to class to talk about breastfeeding and answer all your questions.

What will you receive along with this course?
The Hypnobirthing book- The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan, A handbook, full of useful and up-to-date information, visualizations and positions, 2 relaxation CDs, soothing music and guided birth relaxation, support for birthing your way, a peer and support/ friend group of like-minded others to learn with, a safe, nurturing place to develop a connection with your birth partner, full time phone/e-mail support, pregnancy and post-partum, an extensive birth, parenting, breastfeeding borrowing library (books and DVDs), new and updated all natural birth films in class, a chance to practice relaxation together every week
Guest speakers at the end of each unit: doula, chiropractor, lactation consultant and a former Hypnobirthing mom with her Hypno-baby to share her experience with you, a class reunion with your little ones and the rest of the class

CLASS PRICING- 5 week Hypnobirthing classes: $50 to register and $200 for the course. This includes all materials and instruction for mom and her birth partner, plus anyone else who might attend the birth and would like education. To provide personal attention I allow only 6 couples per group, so REGISTER NOW as classes fill quickly.
I will be happy to answer any questions you might have when you call or email. To register for classes, send your name and address and I will send you a registration form

“In the sheltered simplicity of the first days after a baby is born, one sees again the magical closed circle, the miraculous sense of two people existing only for each other, the tranquil sky reflected on the face of the mother nursing her child.” - Anne Morrow Lindberg

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yoga in the Park- This Saturday Aug. 7 at 8:00 AM

Join me for some yoga in the park this Saturday August 7 at 8:00 am, near the merry-go-round.
Yoga means 'union,' and when it's practiced outdoors it seems like the union with nature, humanity, and the universe is truly felt. Being outside can intensify the yoga experience in many ways, since nature inspires all the things your yoga practice invokes—focusing awareness, breathing deeply, practicing stillness. By putting your body into the shape of a tree or a stretching cat, by exploring the graceful wingspan of a bird or the fluidity of the Sun Salute, you evoke a sense of harmony, timelessness, and connection to the universe.
Breathwork outside the studio is tremendous: we usually use sensation, such as the rise and fall of the chest or feeling of air in the back of throat. Outdoors offers another level to focus on—the smell of nature, such as pine, grass. When you start to smell the outdoors, it's as if nature wants us to be present and breathe deeply.
The open space really expands everyone, and there's an instantaneous freedom you just can't replicate indoors.
Come check it out!!
Pack your mat, sunscreen, water, and sunglasses, and perhaps insect repellent .
$10 for the class or use your BRY pass.

New Prenatal Yoga 4 class Series starts this week

A new Prenatal Yoga - 4 class series- begins this Wednesday August 11 from 12:15 to 1:30 at Breathing Room Yoga Studio in Livingston.

With the increasing popularity of yoga, many women are aware of the numerous physical benefits of prenatal yoga. In addition to its many physical benefits, prenatal yoga helps women through the evolutionary process of pregnancy by connecting with other pregnant women, allowing the opportunity for inward reflection, connecting with their baby , providing a healthy physical and emotional outlet for one's experiences, and ultimately preparing one for birth on a holistic level.

Help During Pregnancy...

Increases overall strength, flexibility & well-being — When you practice yoga, you are not only stretching your muscles, you are stretching the tissues that encase your muscles, stimulating your organ systems, promoting the circulation of blood and oxygen, breathing more intentionally, and focusing your attention inward through imagery and meditation. The combined effect is intended to be one that promotes a heightened state of physical and emotional well-being.

Reduces low back pain & sciatica — As you become acutely aware of proper body alignment, you can carry yourself and your belly in an integrated manner. This can help to reduce the degree of pelvic tilt associated with pregnancy and significantly reduce the lower back pain which it can cause. Additionally, there are specific yoga poses which stretch the muscles and tissues associated with the lower back, hips, and hamstrings. I make these poses a part of each class.

Reduces aches & fatigue in the thoracic & cervical regions of the spine — During pregnancy, it can be difficult to find a space for yourself when trying to sleep. As a result, spinal alignment can become compromised. Certain yoga poses create more fluidity in the spine by stretching the Para spinal muscles.

Reduces swelling & inflammation around your joints — A regular and consistent asana practice improves and promotes the circulation of blood and oxygen throughout your body. This, in turn, can reduce swelling and inflammation around ankles and wrists.

Aids in digestion — As baby grows, your intestinal organs get pushed around, which may affect your regularity and cause indigestion. Safe and gentle rotations and forward folds can help to promote regularity and aid in overall digestive flow.

Helps prepare you physically for giving birth — A regular practice of squatting asana helps to tone muscles of your pelvic floor and helps you gain strength to remain comfortable in a squatting position. This is an integral part of my yoga program as it helps to familiarize you with these very useful muscles. Even if you choose not to squat during labor, you will want to be able to use these muscles efficiently and effectively when nature calls upon you to breathe your baby into the world.

Improves emotional well-being — Participating in a group prenatal class provides a community of support from new friends who understand what you are experiencing. Our class even includes discussions about pregnancy-related topics such as doulas, nursing, and birth plans and we have some time before each class begins to talk about our needs and our body's desires for the class.

Help During Labor...

Regular participation in a prenatal yoga program can reduce labor-associated anxiety by helping you tap into your own labor tools.

Soothe & empower yourself by finding your own inner rhythm — You can learn to breathe in a way that is relaxing and natural, rather than contrived or awkward. When you consistently practice moving your body in a rhythmic fashion in unison with your breath, you carry with you a powerful relaxation and pain management tool.

Facilitate the labor process — Through yoga, you can learn how to identify when you are holding to tension in your body. A body that is tense is not going to facilitate the birth process as easily as one that is relaxed. Moreover, when the body is tense, you may experience tension in thought and a withholding of breath.

Improve your physical comfort — In a natural birth, it can be helpful to have an idea of how you can position your body to help you during surges and during relaxation. Many of the yoga poses I teach can translate wonderfully into comfortable laboring positions.

Learn to use the tools of meditation & visual imagery — When it comes time to ride through the most powerful of your waves or surges, visual imagery combined with breath work can be one of the most useful labor tools.

Become familiar with the concept of vocalization — Labor is no time to be shy. It is the rare woman who births naturally and does not make a lot of noise in the process. Since our yoga class includes chanting, you have an opportunity to become comfortable with the inherent power of vocalization. After all, "Om" is the birth sound!

Use the muscles of your pelvic floor effectively — The weeks of squatting were not done in vain! Squatting combined with a pelvic floor strengthening exercises during pregnancy really can help your labor. If you are used to working with these muscles, you will find it easier to use them even if you cannot feel them. Opting for a natural birth, you will want these muscles to work quickly and effectively when it comes time to breathe your baby into this world.

The cost for the 4 week series is $50, drop-ins are $15. Please let me know if you would like to sign up for this.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vena Cava Syndrome

If I’m going to talk about sleep, I need to start with the whole “sleeping on the left side while pregnant” issue. I am shocked by how many students come in and have been told by their care provider that it is important to sleep on their left side, but have never received an explanation as to why. It is too often that a very concerned student asks me if she hurt her baby because she woke up on her back. So why the left side? It is because of Vena Cava Syndrome. The inferior vena cava (a large vein that is responsible for the venous return from the lower half of the body back to the heart) runs slightly to the right of the aorta. When compressed by the weight of the baby, the blood return is compromised and the mother may feel light headed and nauseated. Think of the vena cava as a big hose, and the baby as a foot stepping on the hose. When the hose is compressed, the water can’t flow out- same idea as vena cava syndrome. This is easily remedied by moving so that the baby can roll off the vena cava. Since this vein is located on the right side of the body, it is recommended as the baby gets bigger, the mother sleeps on her left side. For some women, this never becomes an issue and they can sleep however they like throughout their pregnancy. Others are more sensitive to this and must modify their sleep position. As mentioned earlier, it is not necessarily dangerous if you wake up on your back. Bodies are smart, and signal the mother with signs of light headed-ness, nausea, heaviness in the chest or breathlessness.


Whether we're standing tall in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)or flexing our toes in Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose) , yoga gives us many opportunities to focus on feet. Alas, it's often the only time we do. Foot care is not something many of us find time for, and when a yoga instructor directs our attention toward our feet, we're often unpleasantly surprised. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, 80% of American adults will suffer from some kind of foot problem in their lives, and yogis are no exception. For the regular practitioner, foot problems often go unnoticed until a callus thwarts our stance in Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) or foot odor becomes a source of embarrassment in class. But here's the solution - simple home remedies both treat and prevent common pediatric problems:

1. If you've ever surveyed the feet that walk through the doors of your local studio, you know that certain problems are common among yogis. Perspiration can be one of them, and it's no wonder. With 250,000 sweat glands, your feet can produce as much as eight ounces of sweat daily. To avoid slipping around on your mat, brew two black tea bags in one pint of boiled water for 15 minutes. Add two quarts of cool water and soak your feet for 20 to 30 minutes. The tannic acid in the brewed tea will change your skin's pH level and help prevent unwanted odor-causing bacteria.

2. Athlete's foot presents another big challenge. This itchy condition around the toes ranks as the most common fungal infection in the US. You can pick up the organism that causes athlete's foot almost anywhere—including shared sticky mats—so consider bringing your own to class. Geranium oil and tea tree oil both have germ- and bacteria- killing properties, making them excellent treatments. Add these oils to your own creams and powders, or look for products containing them as a key ingredient. Athlete's foot germs thrive in damp environments, so also be sure to keep your feet clean and dry, especially between the toes where moisture can get trapped.

3. While not contagious, corns and calluses cause discomfort as well. Your body produces these growths as protection against daily friction and pressure, but if they get too large, it's time to smooth and reduce them. Use a wet pumice stone to slough off extra skin, or purchase foot creams that contain ground pumice for smooth, soft feet. Also, try adding fresh or canned pineapple juice to your footbath. This tropical fruit contains bromelain, a natural enzyme that will help soften calluses and rough heels.

Friday, July 9, 2010

You can't miss this!!

Sunday July 25 at 9:00 PM, Sacajawea Park, in front of the bandshell

Sara leads a donation based OUTDOOR FULL MOON YOGA and MEDITATION CLASS. Gentle Hatha Yoga & a 20 min. meditation. This class is open to anyone regardless of age or experience. Bring you mat.

By donation- COMMUNITY CLASS (cash or checks please!)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the Month

II:35: Ahimsaa pratishthaayaam tat samnidhau vaira tyaagaha

Sage Patanjali
Patanjali describes perfection of Ahimsa, or loving kindness, as the perfection of Yoga. For the one who is unshakeable in their love and respect for all living things, they stimulate friendly feelings in others. All hostility melts in such a being's presence, and even in the presence of vicious animals, no violent situation will arise! When we recognize that opening ourselves to love is not just an emotional response, but links us in to the force that underlies the energetic structure of all reality. We are then harmonized (Yoga) with Bhandu, universal connectedness and cosmic order, or what the Hawaiians call Pono. Divine love it is not on the scale of good and evil, but is the highest balance of energetic forces. Love is the synergist, the organizing principle, while darkness is the denial of this principle. When we feel attacked, injured, or separate, let us look deep within ourselves, shedding the light of our conscience to recognize and offer consideration to the needs of the human soul, both ours and others. In the words of my teacher Baba Haridas,"Love everyone, including the Self. This is the highest Sadhana (spiritual practice)". Until we can learn to live with love, we will need to create endless laws, legislatures and government. The greatest thing we'll ever learn, is to love, and be loved in return.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Live Harp & Slow Flow Yoga with Sara & Cheryl

Tuesday, July 13th, 9:15 AM- Sara and Cheryl Angela are two yoginis who have come together to create a unique yogic experience with live harp, gentle yoga, pranayama and mantra. They open the class with devotional Celtic songs. Sara guides the class through the yoga asanas while Cheryl plays the harp spontaneously for the energy of the group. This music is created in the moment according to the group resonance present and flows according to the movement of energy and vibration being generated. Special class fee: $15. SIgn up at Breathing Room Yoga, Livingston.

Monday, June 21, 2010

PRENATAL YOGA in Livingston

5 week series PRENATAL YOGA CLASS starts Wednesday June 30th at 12:15 at Breathing Room Yoga Studio.

The benefits of prenatal yoga

Prenatal yoga classes are more popular than ever. When paired with walking , swimming or hiking, yoga can be an ideal way to stay in shape during your pregnancy. This age-old practice keeps you limber, tones your muscles, and improves your balance and circulation, with little, if any, impact on your joints.

Yoga is also beneficial because it helps you learn to breathe deeply and relax, which will come in handy as you face the physical demands of labor, birth, and motherhood. In fact, one of the first things you learn in a yoga class is how to breathe fully. The breathing technique known as
ujjayi requires you to take in air slowly through your nose, filling your lungs, and exhale completely.

Learning how to do ujjayi breathing, OCEAN BREATH, prepares you for labor and childbirth by training you to stay calm when you need it most. A regular yoga practice will help you fight the urge to tighten up when you feel pain, and show you how to relax instead.

Along these same lines, according to a report in the April 2009 issue of theHarvard Mental Health Letter, rigorous studies have found scientific proof that yoga helps the body deal with stress by slowing heart and breathing rates and lowering blood pressure -- which can benefit new moms after the baby's born, too.

The benefits of yoga aren't limited to your physical well-being. Taking a prenatal yoga class is a great way to meet other pregnant women — to become part of a community. Being in a positive, supportive environment with others like you can give you a regular emotional boost and keep you motivated to continue exercising.