Category Archives: Uncategorized

Don’t rebuild too quickly

So many of the external structures and systems that organized the flow of my days aren’t around in the way they were a month ago.  My girls don’t go to school so our daily routine is much more fluid.  I don’t have students coming to my home for yoga, so I don’t prepare the space in the same way I did. I’m not going to church services or to my parents’ house for dinner.  I’m not attending trainings or going to stores. I’m not meeting my sister for hikes or friends for lunch. If all of these things served as the framework that gave my days structure, those boards and bricks are now in rubble heaps all around me.

At the start of all of this social-isolation business I exhausted myself by attempting to scaffold and stack the old structure back together.  I wrote a daily schedule on the kitchen chalkboard with familiar wake-up times, meal times, exercise suggestions and family activities. I was going to be the super-heroine who maintained the rhythm of what life was. My girls appreciated that for about zero seconds and as it turns out, I wasn’t into it either.

I need more sleep and I have varied energy and capacity for focused attention. Without the outside structures of work, school, and calendared commitments, we don’t groom our animal bodies in the same way. Instead of walking upright and moving in and out of cars, we modern-dance our way from kitchen table to bedroom to back yard to impromptu dance floor to yoga mat to piano bench. We aren’t making our appearances out in the world so we can show up for ourselves and each other in a different way. And what that looks like changes by the day.

We are starting to see that there are all sorts of ways to be in relationship, to love, and to show love. Work can look a lot of different ways. Education can and does happen outside of classrooms. We might not know what structure these things will take and it might be too soon to try to figure it all out.  I think we need to leave all the bricks piled around us for a little longer.  Let’s give the feral and untamed parts of our selves time to come out and show us what they want and need. When that happens, when we get to know those parts, when we’ve found the rhythm that pulses underneath the other way we knew how to be in the world, only then should we consider building something with the rubble of what was. 

*two new online asana classes begin 4/13/20. sign up for newsletter (sidebar) to join the movement and receive the signup link.

Yoga for vitality and strength begins Monday 3/13/20 10:45amCT

Explore the wide universe of āsana through challenging and invigorating sequences that sharpen the mind, promote health in the body and deepen the capacity of the breath. Class focuses primarily on postural practice with some seated breathing practice and meditation. *This class is for students who are physically active and injury-free.

Gentle Yoga begins Tuesday 4/14 @10:45am-11:45am CT, meets weekly

This class will help you develop a spine that is flexible and strong, feel ease in your joints, and steady your balance. In each class, you’ll practice standing, lying and seated postures, breathing techniques and guided meditation.
*This class moves at a moderate pace and can accommodate bodies that need special consideration.

Coping during covid

Over the last two weeks, my husband and I constructed garden beds for the backyard. I’ve made meals and baked bread. I’ve organized and cleaned. I washed my hands again and again and I have cleaned some more. At the end of every day, I fall into bed sore and exhausted. The only time I sit still is during meals with my family and my morning yoga practice.

When the stress is high, it’s interesting to watch what I do. I try to stay positive. I definitely try to stay busy and I want to have something to show for my efforts. I tend toward tasks that engage my body and my mind so much that I can’t think about what I’m feeling.

I’d like to say that yoga practice brings me peace these days, but it doesn’t. What it offers is space and time to feel the feelings that come with this strange new landscape. It gives me the ability to be with the experiences that I’m having as a result of this time of unknowns, illness, intimate time with family and a sense of interconnectedness that spans the globe. Practice won’t fix the problems, but somehow breathing slowly and deeply provides the stable ground to be able to look at how lives, mine and others, are being effected. It reminds me of my body and the importance of this breath. And this one. And this one. When I practice, I can feel myself move with a river, centuries old, that flows with the human beings who have related to their precious breath in a sacred way and who sat and allowed themselves to be with what happened during their own difficult times. I’m held by the practice and then I have the presence to feel my fear, and to be with all the uncertainty. When I am not trying so hard to tamp it down and avoid it, I’m with it and there’s some freedom in that.

Looking at what we are going through honestly, compassionately and without judgment is a form of self-empathy. Acknowledging what’s actually happening internally and around us takes courage, but it does provide a comfort perhaps because it is grounded in reality. When we aren’t so busy with the avoidance-shell-game or stubbornly refusing to feel, we have capacity to be with what is. Really seeing can be intense, but at the end of the day, it isn’t as exhausting as trying to make it this pandemic into something it’s not.

Yoga practice isn’t bringing me peace, exactly, but it is encouraging grace and stability so that I can be alive to what is occurring within and around me. Yoga can give us the capacity to be with what is.

I sincerely wish that you and your loved ones are safe and cared for. If I can be of support, I hope you’ll reach out.

With love,

Prevent future suffering

Hazel in hoops

Hazel in Hoops, Watercolor, Amanda Green

Definitions of āsana Part 6: heyam duḥkhamanāgatam Yoga Sūtra II.16 Prevent future suffering

My grandmother had painful bunions on both feet. Though she didn’t complain, her red-hot joints and crooked toes caused her lots of suffering. By the time I was old enough to notice, she was wearing soft, padded shoes exclusively. (You might be familiar with the brand, SAS?) My mom has bunions, too. Her feet ache though they haven’t reached the severe stages that my Grandma’s did. My mom does massages the bottoms of her feet with a soft ball and walks around barefoot a lot. She doesn’t wear heels and she keeps these padded floor mats in the kitchen. She’s managing pretty well.

With this genetic evidence, it’s no surprise that in my teenage years, I started to see my big toes take a turn. When I wore any sort of heeled shoe I’d feel a deep ache at that big toe joint for hours. Lucky for me, I’m six feet tall, not so fashion oriented and I saw how bad bunions could get. By college, I quit wearing any shoe that resulted in achy big toe joints. That helped with the pain, but not the traveling toes. With yoga I started to work with my feet to encourage those toes to point North. I want to prevent future bunion-suffering.

In the context of āsana, there are several ways that this definition applies. There can be things in the very near and direct future we are hoping to prevent and things with a longer trajectory. Practice with sthira and sukha, stability and ease (more on this next post) and you have the opportunity to improve aches and pains in the body. Practice yoga in the morning and the body is more comfortable in the afternoon. Do some gentle movement before bed and then sleep is more restful. Move the body with presence and intention and a confusing decision becomes clear.
Attending to the needs of the body now can help the it to function well over time. Asana can help improve postural and movement patterns for a well -functioning body as we age. Practice balance, you’re balance will improve. Breathe deeply and you will support a full breath over time.
Some of the things that occur in life can’t be prevented or avoided. There are other times when there’s a potential problem ahead of us and we can do something about it now to lessen or even remove what’s ahead. This sūtra sets the stage for our asana practice and encourages us to reflect on what we can do to prevent future suffering.

… aaaaand we’re back

india ink portrait of child
I look forward to featuring some of my paintings on this blog. We’ll kick it off with this one…
Nora in line’ by Amanda Green

It has been about a year since my last post and almost three since I’ve blogged regularly. When I brought my blog to a pause, the stuff I was going through in my life seemed too vulnerable and personal to write about.  Back then, so much was changing and it felt as exhilarating as it was destabilizing. I guess I needed to let the stuff gestate for a while. I needed time to float in quiet, dark amniotic murk. But I seem to have outgrown the holding place.  It just isn’t cushioning me in the same way anymore.

My home life has a different vibe now that my girls are in middle and high school.  My personal yoga practice and relationship with my teacher have changed and developed. Marriage is the best it’s ever been and my work life has a nice rhythm. While lots of aspects of my life are steady-eddy, there are other things that are really stirred up. I’m grappling with the messiness of being human, trusting spiritual aims in the midst of life responsibilities, clumsy attempts at becoming more clear and present, and other stuff, too. Writing facilitates something for me. Feelings and ideas get integrated and understood a little differently when I make the effort to translate them into words. Seems like an interesting time to rev up the ol’ blog-engine again.

As I dedicate time to writing, I want to acknowledge that the shift isn’t a purely internal event. There are those of you who have contributed with your patient and subtle offerings of encouragement along the way. Thanks.

This platform is more for enduring messages and not so much for the time-specific offerings. If you’d like to spend more time together and hear about workshops, classes, special offers and invitations to take your practice to a new level, you’ll find those in my monthly emails. I hope you’ll sign up for that by clicking here or on the link in the blog sidebar.

Stay tuned.

More to come!

Radical Acceptance


Two things I read this week have really stayed with me… in that way that puts a wobble in the things that I’ve held onto for stability. I know that if I reeeeally allowed myself to embrace the way of being that’s put out in these words, then a radical shift would have to happen.

The first one comes from In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Mate. He quotes Naguib Mahfouz, an Egyptian writer who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature:

The problem’s not that the truth is harsh but that liberation from ignorance is as painful as being born.  Run after truth until you’re breathless.  Accept the pain involved in re-creating yourself afresh. These ideas will take a life to comprehend, a hard one interspersed with drunken moments.

NAGUIB MAHFOUZ, Palace of Desire 

The second comes from The Power of Now 

Accept — then act.  Whatever the preset moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.  Always work with it, not against it.  Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy.  This will miraculously transform your whole life. –Eckhart Tolle

Both speak to acceptance of what is. Sometimes what is is painful and uncomfortable. What if we accept that, too? Or what if, beyond just accepting it, we ‘run after truth until we’re breathless?’ Accept it as if we had chosen it?”  This would be radical and empowering.  And, I have to admit, it sounds kind of scary.


When it’s unconscious, it’s easy to overlook

fullsizerender fullsizerender


The other day, my daughter walked home from school with our neighbors.   When I went by to pick her up, she was busy playing with her friends so I sat down with my neighbor and we visited. This neighbor and I have had some nice conversations since she moved in last year. We talk a lot about our kids and the neighborhood school. We might share how the most recent trip went or who’s coming in from out of town for a visit.  This time, sitting at her kitchen counter, we had a different kind of conversation.  We talked about experiences of motherhood and marriage. We shared stories about other times in our lives. I confessed that I kind of like my husband’s work-travel and that it’s been good for me and for our marriage. My neighbor talked about how she felt when she lived abroad, what her life was like when her oldest was a baby, and how she’s learned so much about herself since then. There were things I could relate to and things that surprised me about what she said. The conversation was less like neighbors chatting and more like the start of a friendship.

Later that evening, I was fondly remembering our conversation and I started to wonder… why did I find any of what my neighbor shared surprising? I didn’t know much about her and she hadn’t talked about any of those things before. Why wasn’t all of it just new information instead of surprising new information?  As I thought more about this, I realized that somewhere along the way, I created a story about her and her life. My mind filled in all the missing information about her with some made-up, inaccurate details. When my neighbor told me about her actual, interesting life, I was surprised because it didn’t match with the boring story I had written in my head.  Through that experience, my unconscious assumptions were brought to light and I sighed with relief. This is goodAs I become aware of these stories, I can do something about them. Yoga and meditation practice continue to provide me with tools for self-reflection. I’ve seen many old hurts healed and my life gradually transform by means of this ancient wisdom and personal practice.  But at almost the exact same moment I felt the relief, I had another not-so-pleasant realization: Wow. There are thousands of unconscious and inaccurate stories running in my head and influencing my interactions with people around me all of the time. A woman reminds me of an elementary school kid who snubbed me on the playground and I make snap judgement about her. Someone’s posture, expression, clothes, or tone of voice trigger feelings and reactions based on past experiences and that colors my interaction with the person in front of me. I’ve dedicated time and refection to stories of prejudice, racism, and sexism that are out there and in me causing harm, but those aren’t the only ones that are operating. I now see that all sorts of inaccurate stories and unquestioned assumptions can get in the way of connection, not just the obvious or alarming prejudices. These stories, any stories other than the one about the present moment, are obstacles to clear perception and can keep me from getting to know someone. I still have plenty of work to do.

We may not be aware that we are coming into a conversation with impressions and assumptions about a person, but I guess that’s the thing about the unconscious — It’s at work and we don’t even know it. Personalized yoga practice gives us space and time for self-reflection, and can help us uncover the unconscious stories that play a part in our relationships. Yoga is a whole-person experience. Movement, breath and meditation work on us in subtle yet profound ways providing tools to support clear perception about ourself and others. This visit with my neighbor helped me to see that any stories, even the ones that seem harmless or neutral, can cloud my ability to get to know an awesome person…. one who happens to live  right next door.

If you’d like to know more about how yoga can help you to be more present with friends, family, co-workers, and yourself, and watch these relationships improve, use the contact form to send me a note.  I’d be happy to meet with you for a complementary 15-min call.  It’s a great place to start, and there’s no obligation.  I hope to hear from you!

Five essential elements needed to make something wonderful manifest in your life


There’s a creation story  that comes from the Samkhya philosophy – one that describes how the material elements came to be. This story informs both Yoga and Āyurveda. The simple version goes something like this:

First there was unified consciousness, puruṣa.

From the cosmic vibration oṁ came ETHER or SPACE, the background or void in which other things could exist.

The ether began to move and there was AIR.

As the air moved and created friction, there was light and FIRE.

Fire transformed and liquefied what was there and then there was WATER.

Particles of water became solid. That was EARTH.

The story is Āyurveda’s foundation for many of its ideas about how we are in the world. It is from this story that we can begin to understand the doṣas (vāta, pitta, kapha) and why something we eat or the season of the year has an effect on how we feel and what kinds of problems or emotions come to the forefront of our experience. But the thing that strikes me today is the possibility that this is not only a story of the material and manifest world at the beginning of time, or even how the world around us can affect us. This is a story that describes how each of us can create and make something manifest in our lives now.

So here it is…

Five essential elements needed to make something wonderful manifest in your life:

  1. We need space. If our days, minds, or hearts are completely full, there won’t be the necessary space to start something new. If I am convinced that my partner is totally wrong, and there’s no space in my heart and mind to hold the possibility that he could be right in some way, then it’s not going to be productive. If I want to begin a daily yoga practice, but my schedule is packed, then it’s not going to happen. So first, we need space.
  1. Once we have the space, we take action. The way in which we feel the air or notice it’s presence in the world is when it moves and we feel it across our skin or we see it blow the leaves in the tree. Movement in some direction is required in order to get to the next step. Even if the first attempts aren’t in the perfect direction, you’ll find it out by trying and sticking with it.
  1. From movement comes fire: light of knowing and the process of transformation. Fire is represented in our world with the sun, which gives us light and makes it possible to see.  We can also think of the campfire, which transforms the logs into fuel and leaves them different then they were before. Transformation is possible because of the element of fire.
  1. From this transformation comes a flow. Water carries something from one place to another. Think of the fluids circulating in the body or the movement of the waves in the ocean. Think of the minerals that build up around the kitchen faucet and become hard and solid. The solid stuff is carried in the water.
  1. When something is in us, and the thing we desire is part of us and of our lives, then this is earth. It’s solid. It has some weight. It’s the minerals depositing themselves inside of us becoming our new habit, our new way of talking to our partner, our better way of caring for ourselves.

Part of the richness of this creation story is the map it lays out for bringing something wonderful into our lives. Even though this is presented as a list of one through five, what we really should have is 1a. 1b. 1c. etc, because all the elements, all the things we need in order for something to come to be in our lives, comes from space/ether. Space moves and there’s air. Air, which is made up of ether, is the fire. The fire becomes the water. The water becomes the earth, but it is all made up of the #1 essential element: space!  Space is where it all begins.



It’s not too late to join us for the Ojai Women’s Retreat.

If you’ve been considering it, now’s the time! Give yourself the time and the space to create something new in your life.

Svadhyaya: studying one’s own tradition

Richard Rohr

A surprising thing has happened in my life as a result of practicing yoga and learning about the philosophy. I have a renewed interest in Christianity. Patañjali wouldn’t be all that surprised, I bet. Yoga Sūtra talks about svādhyāya, studying one’s own tradition, as an important part of the practice of yoga. Though there were many years that I wouldn’t have claimed it as my own, Christianity was a big part of my early life and influenced my way of thinking and many of my experiences. There’s no doubt it is a part of our cultural and political fabric. In my personal life, its significance is underscored by the fact that I actively turned away from it for several years. But now, I’m turning toward and because I have such a meaningful spiritual practice through yoga, I can see with fresh eyes how so many of the things that come out of the Christian tradition have the potential to foster deep connection with our self and the Divine. Which leads me to this book…

I’m reading a book by Richard Rohr called, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See.* Rohr is a Franciscan friar, and his book describes a spiritual path from a Christian perspective that looks a lot like what I’m experiencing as I continue to practice and study yoga.

Just listen to this:

On Gradual Conversion:  True and full conversion (head, heart, gut) does not really happen until the new program is in the hard-wiring and becomes a permanent and ‘natural’ trait rather than a one-time emotion. This process takes most of one’s life, and is actually the vey task of life and of contemplation.

A good way to gradually and fully convert—to change the way that we perceive, feel, and our connection to our deep knowing or intuition? Yoga practice.

On willfulness and willingness: All great spirituality is somehow about letting go. Trust me on this crucial point. […]IThere are two paths that break down our dualistic thinking and our inability to let go: the path of great love and the path of great suffering. Neither of them can be willed, truly understood, or programmed by any method whatsoever. There is no precise technique or foolproof formula for love or suffering. They are their own teachers.

I’m sure there is a connection here to yoga’s teachings, but mostly I’m including this because I feel this so acutely these days. It’s strange. As much as I appreciate the technique, practice and even form of yoga practice, there’s this other thing happening in my life that is coming from these other teachers: love and suffering. I guess that’s the point of yoga—not that we can do yoga really well, but that yoga helps us to be able to live our lives with presence and attention so we can learn, do, and experience what we are here to do.

If you’d like to hear more from Richard Rohr and enjoy listening to a good podcast, this one with comedian, Pete Holmes, is great. Find it here  OR

*Thank you Marilyn, for the recommendation so long ago!

*** Tomorrow, 7.22.16,  is the last day for the Early Bird discount on the Ojai Women’s Retreat Intensive.  JOIN US! I’d love to see you there.

Sometimes I resist what’s good for me…


My girls left town this week for Grandma camp. I knew I’d miss them, but I was really looking forward to all the free time and the flexibility I’d have in my schedule. You know– a week off from mom stuff.

The first thing I stopped doing was cooking legit meals for myself. I ate food I could prepare with minimal dish use and the shortest prep time, which meant that it wasn’t particularly delicious. Because the things I’ve been eating aren’t so delicious, and probably because I wanted a break from the normal family schedule, I slipped into no-schedule eating where lunch happens at 3pm or breakfast gets pushed back to 11am or I just eat a quarter of the leftover spaghetti squash because that’s a total of one dish and one fork- – fridge to microwave to dishwasher.

Similar mayhem happened with my sleeping routine.

The first few days, this was kind of fun, but as it continued, I could feel myself getting more tired, distractible, agitated, and even a little sad. Yesterday, I knew I was in trouble because I started unloading the dishwasher and then when I went to put a mug in the cabinet I saw a pile of papers. I forgot about dishes and instead, dug through the pile uncovering an old bank statement that had to be filed in the box in my closet. When I got there, my shoes were terribly disorganized and needed immediate attention. Not only was my attention all over the place, but I could feel myself worrying about this old family gripe and if I passed my phone or computer, facebook called to me loudly… check me. Check ME. CHECK ME!!!

If you are a student of Āyurveda, you might recognize the above tendencies as qualities associated with vāta doṣa. Vāta is known to be dry, light, cool rough, subtle and mobile. These qualities increase and have the potential to go out of balance when we experience them in excess through our food, lifestyle or environment. This principle is known as Like increases Like. For me, all these things I mentioned: anxiety, distractibility and spacey-ness, less-structure, are all symptoms of how I know I’m out of balance in the direction of vāta.

What helps bring vāta back into balance? Cultivate the opposite qualities

Here is a list of the opposites:

Dry – oily

Light – heavy

Cool – warm

Rough – smooth

Subtle – gross

Mobile – stable

Practically speaking, this means I do better when I have more structure around meal and sleep times (stable (I totally know this. Why don’t I do it all the time?)), I oil with warm sesame oil before I bathe (oily and warm), I eat fresh foods (you don’t have to practice Āyurveda to get this one), and I take a break from facebook or other internet time-sucks (computers are light and mobile… not being on the computer so much is not).

And you know what else is good for me? Doing all the mom stuff that I thought I wanted a big break from doing. Snuggling with my girls before they go to bed at night. Doing laundry and sweeping the floors. Preparing meals or enjoying Dave’s yummy cooking. Seeing the trails of stuff the girls leave behind and taking that as evidence that they continue to be curious, creative and messy kids, and then helping them to remember that they need to clean up and take responsibility for their stuff and the space around them. Having my girls around is a really good reminder that I’m happiest when I’m taking good care of myself. That stuff is good for me, too.


Would you like to learn more about Ayurveda?

well, I have some great news

The Ojai Women’s Retreat early bird rate is extended through July 22.

Sign up, for an intensive 5-day retreat to learn how to apply practical, transformational tools from Ayurveda, Yoga and the Alexander technique to improve your quality of life.  It’s only $500 to reserve your space.

Contact me for more information or visit the website:  www.


How to Take a Nap

MY husband, Dave, follows this comedian guy, David Rees, who hosts a series of how to videos about regular stuff. It’s called “Going Deep with David Rees.” Hot topics include: How to shake a hand, How to dig a hole, and How to open a door. With charm, seeming candor, clever graphics and a few expert special guests, he provides really good insight into the given topic in 22 minutes. Last night, we watched the episode: How to take a nap.

I’ve known that sleep has a function and the different cycles of sleep are important so the body can recover and recuperate from the work of the day. Ayurveda offers several guidelines to follow for good sleep. One suggestion is that you don’t eat right before sleep so that the body can do its best R&R without also having to divert energy toward digestive functioning. But there’s more happening during our sleep than letting the body recover and repair on a physical level. The different cycles of sleep are important for memory, processing experiences, and creativity. It helps us on a mental level, too!

According to our video’s sleep expert, there are 4 sleep cycles and they each serve a function.

  1. Hypnogogic or hypnic jerk can happen in this very light sleep stage. You might have the feeling of falling and then jerk awake.
  2. We visit a transitional stage at the beginning of sleep and again toward the end of sleep. This stage is believed to be important for motor skill learning.
  3. During Slow wave sleep we replay memories of the day
  4. In REM sleep, the recent memories that were reactivated during slow wave sleep are integrated creatively with other experiences. This is where the bizarre scenarios and random people may appear. .

It takes time to get all the way through a session REM sleep. A nap can serve a different function depending on it’s length

20 minutes can refresh your attention when energy slumps during the day.

60 minutes can take you through slow wave sleep allowing you to process your memories—good if you are studying for an exam or learning something new.

90 minutes is typically long enough to go through a cylce of REM sleep, which can be useful if you are an artist in need of a creative boost or a scientist awaiting the next breakthrough.

Of course these cycles also apply during our night-time sleep, too.

The more I learn about the wonderful and endlessly complex human system, the more humbled I am. There’s a wisdom to the way that we function and every aspect of that functioning can support us in balance and wellness. More and more, the effort I put toward healthy living is about setting up my activities and the pace of my days so that my system can do what it does with the fewest obstacles from me. If I want good sleep, I have to stay off of the computer after dinner. I need to have a daily schedule that isn’t super stressful, so I can feel at ease and relaxed most of the time. I need to practice yoga and go for a walk. I need days that aren’t so scheduled that I can lie down for that 20 minute nap when I feel the need. The way I see it, good sleep and general health isn’t going to come from tips and tricks. It comes out of a lifestyle that is balanced, and attitudes and behaviors that respect the inherent wisdom of the body.

ojai valley



Practical Transformation: Healing your life from the inside out

with Amanda Green and Carol Prentice


Join me for 5 days in beautiful Ojai, CA, where you can replenish and reset with master teachers as your guides.  Steep in the wisdom of yoga, ayurveda, and the Alexander technique and well-being while enjoying delicious food,  beautiful accommodations and the surrounding Ojai valley.