“Anything that you resent and strongly react to in another is also in you.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”

~Pema Chodron

“I am not crazy, my reality is just different than yours.”

~Lewis Carroll




affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.

Some of my favorite ways to spring clean:

  1. Attend a clothing swap party. Go with three bags and return with one.
  2. Decide the remaining leaves from last fall make the perfect mulch for spring flower beds.
  3. Pack away everything but your favorite stuff from your main living space and wait a month to see what you miss. If you can’t remember what is in the box you must not need it.
  4. Donate all cloths that don’t fit or are the wrong color. What doesn’t work for one person will be a perfect fit for someone else.
  5. Learn to fix a broken household item rather than replacing it.
  6. Re-pot and fertilize your houseplants. Tell them a good story while you are at it.
  7. Oil all the wood furniture in the house.
  8. Arrange all the books in Dewey Decimal System (only half kidding)
  9. Give the pets a spa day.
  10. Make sure every bicycle in the garage is in riding order. Now ride them.

Suggested reading:

  1. Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic (Bk Currents) by John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H Naylor and David Horsey (Sep 1, 2005)
  2. Too Much Stuff: De-Cluttering Your Heart and Home by Kathryn Porter (Mar 10, 2006)

  3. Living Simple, Free & Happy: How to Simplify, Declutter Your Home, and Reduce Stress, Debt & Waste by Cristin Frank (Mar 15, 2013)

  4. Wabi Sabi: The Art of Everyday Life by Diane Durston (Aug 1, 2006)

  5. The Wabi-Sabi House: The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty by Robyn Griggs Lawrence and Joe Coca (Nov 23, 2004)

A Great Thinker

Every time I read any work by Jane Jacobs I am struck by her ability to describe the systems of our world so clearly.  She has written about architecture, urban theory, sociology, public policy and so much more.  She was an activist in every sense of the word, living her life true to her beliefs and values.  In my mind she was a true yogi.  Jane Jacobs once wrote, “The precept ‘know thyself’ includes knowing the scales with which one weighs actions and attitudes in the great world of work outside oneself.” She asks us to take responsibility for understanding our biases and prejudices and how these influence our actions with the world around us.

The Death and Life of Great American Cities  by Jane Jacobs

The Economy of Cities by Jane Jacobs

Cities and the Wealth of Nations by Jane Jacobs

Dark Age Ahead by Jane Jacobs

The Nature of Economies by Jane Jacobs

Systems of Survival: A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics by Jane Jacobs



So much to learn …

I recently received an eloquent email from a student and friend of mine.  We have both recently read Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection.  Susie was generous enough to let me share with you…

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“We can learn so much of life’s important lessons when we take the time to listen.  Aren’t these regrets some of the exact lessons that Brene Brown is teaching about how to live our lives now/today, before we no longer have the luxury of time to do so?

I honestly think that we can learn the most about living from those who are dying. It seems like those facing death have given up the perceived need of a false sense of themselves and the requirement that most of us give in to of being something and/or someone we’re not. And with that clarity, they see how a great life is to be lived and they are hoping that we allow them to teach us these crucial lessons. What they are telling us, really, is that it (living a great life) is in being authentic and true to who we are – having the courage to choose to play to our gifts and imperfections, to share our stories, to express our feelings, dreams and fears, to let go of shame and guilt, to cherish the relationships that mean the most to us, to spend less time working and more time playing, and to invent our lives as we go, so as to choose consciously, wisely and honestly. Now, if only we will learn and listen so we can live that kind of life now, instead of ever having to someday regret what has been and what could have been, but wasn’t. We can find tons of really good reasons to do this work, can’t we?”



“Don’t stop at the tears, go through to the truth.”

Natalie Goldberg published Writing Down the Bones in 1986.  I just happened to pick it off the library shelf.  I am unsure what even brought me to that section of the library, other than I needed to pass it to get to the restroom.  Then what made me walk over and pick it off the shelf?  I have no idea of the answer, but I am so glad I did. The book is about “freeing the writer within”, but as I read it I can’t help relating the messages to yoga.  I would recommend the book if you have ever had the inkling to write anything at all.  I have written pages over the last couple of days, and although not all of it is filled with gems of wisdom, I feel nurtured by the act of expression.

I want to share a short excerpt from chapter 2 that particularly touched me.  I have experienced and seen the same thing happen with yoga.  Natalie Goldberg writes, “…You must be a great warrior when you contact first thoughts and write from them [might also be thought of like our authentic voice].  Especially at the beginning you may feel great emotions and energy that will sweep you away, but you don’t stop writing. You penetrate into the heart of them.  Often in a beginning class students break down crying when they read pieces they have written.  That is okay. Often as they write they cry, too. However, I encourage them to continue reading or writing right through the tears so they may come out the other side and not be thrown off by the emotion.  Don’t stop at the tears, go through to the truth.”

And the Dish Ran Away with The Spoon

The Man in the Moon Came Down Too Soon
by J. R. R. Tolkien
There is an inn, a merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
one night to drink his fill.

The ostler has a tipsy cat
that plays a five-stringed fiddle;
And up and down he saws his bow
Now squeaking high, now purring low,
now sawing in the middle.

The landlord keeps a little dog
that is mighty fond of jokes;
When there’s good cheer among the guests,
He cocks an ear at all the jests
and laughs until he chokes.

They also keep a hornéd cow
as proud as any queen;
But music turns her head like ale,
And makes her wave her tufted tail
and dance upon the green.

And O! the rows of silver dishes
and the store of silver spoons!
For Sunday there’s a special pair,
And these they polish up with care
on Saturday afternoons.

The Man in the Moon was drinking deep,
and the cat began to wail;
A dish and a spoon on the table danced,
The cow in the garden madly pranced
and the little dog chased his tail.

The Man in the Moon took another mug,
and then rolled beneath his chair;
And there he dozed and dreamed of ale,
Till in the sky the stars were pale,
and dawn was in the air.

Then the ostler said to his tipsy cat:
‘The white horses of the Moon,
They neigh and champ their silver bits;
But their master’s been and drowned his wits,
and the Sun’ll be rising soon!’

So the cat on the fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
a jig that would wake the dead:
He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
While the landlord shook the Man in the Moon:
‘It’s after three!’ he said.

They rolled the Man slowly up the hill
and bundled him into the Moon,
While his horses galloped up in rear,
And the cow came capering like a deer,
and a dish ran up with the spoon.

Now quicker the fiddle went deedle-dum-diddle;
the dog began to roar,
The cow and the horses stood on their heads;
The guests all bounded from their beds
and danced upon the floor.

With a ping and a pang the fiddle-strings broke!
the cow jumped over the Moon,
And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the Saturday dish went off at a run
with the silver Sunday spoon.

The round Moon rolled behind the hill,
as the Sun raised up her head.
She* hardly believed her fiery eyes;
For though it was day, to her surprise
they all went back to bed!

Published in: on December 10, 2011 at 12:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Leaning Into Discomfort…

As a yoga teacher I often instruct my students to listen to their ‘inner messages’.  But what do I mean by this?  By staying vague I am hoping that each person will discover what inner messages means to them as individuals.  I can not be inside anyone’s body except my own, so assuming I could have detailed knowledge about what another person’s experience of self would like, would be a mistake.  I do my best to guide from my experience, but work hard to leave room for each person to explore within their own experience.

As yoga practitioners become curious to their inner messages they not only become more familiar with their bodies and how they react to their practice, but they also become more familiar with their cognitions and emotions.  While on the yoga mat an individual can safely explore and observe themselves.  The knowledge gathered can then be applied during their everyday life.  In this way yoga practice becomes practice in being human.  It was on a yoga mat that I discovered that by hiding from my fears I also was hiding from possible achievement.

Yes it is important to listen to messages of pain and to back out of striving, but the answer is never all or nothing.  Witnessing our discomfort, without judgement, can bring us so much wisdom.  Brene Brown states eloquently, “Joy is as thorny and sharp as any of the dark emotions. To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain.  When we lose our tolerance for discomfort, we lose joy.” (The Gifts of Imperfection, p.73)

(image retrieved from)

Symphony of Breath

“Our breath is constantly rising and falling, ebbing and flowing, entering and leaving our bodies. Full body breathing is an extraordinary symphony of both powerful and subtle movements that massage our internal organs, oscillate our joints, and alternately tone and release all the muscles in the body.  It is a full participation in life.” Donna Farhi

  1. The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama by Richard Rosen
  2. Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing by B. K. S. Iyengar and Yehudi Menuhin
  3. Anatomy of Breathing by Blandine Calais-Germain
  4. The Little Book of Yoga Breathing: Pranayama Made Easy. . . by Scott Shaw
  5. Free Your Breath, Free Your Life: How Conscious Breathing Can Relieve Stress, Increase Vitality, and Help You Live More Fully by Dennis Lewis
  6. Breathing: The Master Key to Self Healing by Andrew Weil
  7. The Breathing Book: Vitality & Good Health Through Essential Breath Work by Donna Farhi
Published in: on October 31, 2011 at 7:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Study as if you were to live forever…

… Live as if you were going to die tomorrow. Mahatma Ghandi

A link to a complete list of Mahatma Gandhi books.

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 7:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bookworm Yogini

I have recently made some updates to my recommended reading list.  Below you will find the most current version.  Remember you can always access this interactive book list from the tab labeled Bookworm Yogini (which is on the right hand side of this blog). Happy reading and don’t forget to use and support your local library.


Yoga and the Science of Living:

  1. The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles by Bruce H. Lipton
  2. The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force by Jeffrey Schwartz, Sharon Begley
  3. Body, Breath, and Consciousness: A Somatics Anthology by Ian Macnaughton and Peter Levine
  4. The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama by Richard Rosen
  5. Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing by Yoga Journal and Timothy McCall
  6. Yoga for Anxiety: Meditations and Practices for Calming the Body and Mind by Mary and Rick Nurriestearns
  7. Yoga for Emotional Balance: Simple Practices to Help Relieve Anxiety and Depression by Bo Forbes
  8. Emotional Yoga: How the Body Can Heal the Mind by Bija Bennett
  9. The Art of Happiness (a Handbook for Living) by Dalai Lama

Fuel for the Body:

  1. Esalen Cookbook – by Charlie Cascio
  2. What to Eat When You Can’t Eat Anything: The Complete Allergy Cookbook – by Chupi and Luke Sweetman
  3. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
  4. The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants

The ‘Way We Were’ and ‘Things to Come’:

  1. A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present by Howard Zinn
  2. The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
  3. Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck

The Home as Sanctuary:

  1. The Wabi-Sabi House: The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty by Robyn Griggs Lawrence and Joe Coca
  2. Rescue from Domestic Perfection: The Not-So Secrets of Balancing Life and Style by Dan Ho
  3. The Tightwad gazette: Promoting thrift as a viable alternative lifestyle by Amy Dacyczyn

Covering and Decorating our Bodies:

  1. The Cheap Date Guide to Style by Kira Jolliffe and Bay Garnett
  2. Subversive Seamster: Transform Thrift Store Threads Into Street Couture
  3. Steampunk Style Jewelry: Victorian, Fantasy, and Mechanical Necklaces, Bracelets, and Earrings
  4. The Tattoo History Source Book by Steve Gilbert
Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 5:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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