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We have these sweet little lizards in Northern California where I live called Blue Bellies. They hold a lot of magic, including possible the future cure for Borellia Burgdorferi, Lyme disease. And I love them just for being. The skitter along old wood rails we use in the garden, they scale walls, and of course they do Blue Bellies, the yoga push-up I teach in my classes. Blue Bellies are a gentle, strength building alternative to cataranga and plank pose. Women, men and kids of all ages love the way they too can work their upper arms, strengthen their abdominals and increase stamina without compromising their low back, wrists, or other joints. See my video tutorial below. You can insert them into your sun salute, or even do them at the wall. Practice Blue Bellies often and enjoy the benefits of powerful Blue Belly Lizard Medicine!

Free your dolphin and awaken your heart! Awakening the shoulders is a main pastime for yogis, particularly men. For women building upper body strength is part of the awakening process. Breathing and subtly liquifying dolphin pose with freeform movement can allow energy blockages and static contraction to dissolve. It matters not if you kick up into pinca myurasana, forearm balance, but if you do the weight will change dramatically. In the full inversion you want to have subtle upper body movements so that you can remain stabilized in the shoulder girdle. However, you can continue to feel the movement of energy and freeform through the legs and play with variations like scorpion. Come down when you are still very energized, and bookend the practice with down dog so that the energy can move past your elbows and ground.  Enjoy the new buzzing and heart chakra opening from this freeform practice!

IMG_0219I had my first experiences with shamanic practices around 3 years old. I had already had the necessary wounding, a major burn, a near fall from the top of a tree from which I was rescued, and a near drowning in our pond, from which I saved myself. I spent quite a bit of time by myself outside and a lot of that was in our “woods” which was a tiny patch of trees, and stumps, but to me seemed vast. I met my first best friend in my back yard, her name was Mint. The bush was huge, to me, and clung to the side or our white house. I loved Mint, and would go see her each day and lean my face into the center of her foliage and breathe in deeply. When I began learning about yoga, plant spirit medicine, devas and magic I realized that this relationship was my initiation and still remains powerful medicine for me. I keep a bottle of mint essential oil with me at all times as a cure for everything. Mint medicine is powerful and quick. Later in life I have become aquainted with Lavender medicine and work with the devas for her and the bees that love her so much. All of the mediterranean herbs are powerful medicine and if taken regularly in food, inspired (breathed in) through the volital oils, or simply chewed you will have powerful antioxidant effects that balance and protect against illness. Plant herbs in your garden and spend less time symptomatic. Even having them nearby prevents “bad” energetic vibes. Just as they ward off insects and some animals (like deer) they can ward off unwanted bacteria and viruses too. The trend right now in using oregano oil for all sorts of cures. Devas love relating with humans, and the connection can be more real than the unreality of many or our worldly experiences. Make friends with one herb in particular and you will have a friend for life.

This freeform yoga practice uses a foam roller, which has many other possible uses. Here I am massaging my glutes and free forming my abdominals to develop stability and strength. This is an awesome practice for back health, belly strength, better standing posture, sciatica, and has a benefit of creating some back traction. You can spend about 10 minutes on the roller, sometimes moving, sometimes still. When you are finished with the active work rest your feet on the floor. You will be in supported bridge pose and you can stay there a few minutes and breathe until you feel the sacrum “seat” itself into the pelvis. You may not feel anything big, like a clunk, but there will be an energetic “aaahhhhh, yes” when the sacrum comes home. Rest in supta baddha knoasana then savasana afterward and enjoy the effects of the practice.

IMG_2597IMG_2587IMG_2591The long term project of getting workshops up and running at our private, home studio has happened! After a few weeks of organizing and building an office and loft in the space we opened up our Dome to our dear students. Chris and I taught the first workshop “Fluid Spine Back Care” yesterday with a fun and enthusiastic group. What a wonderful way to launch yoga in The Dome. Words: Infinity, Ocean, Fluid, Moist, E-Motion, Intuition, Moon, Yin, Slow, Deep, Feminine, Mother, Below Earth’s Surface, Lava, Sea, Tides, Deep Sea Creature, Unconscious Mind, Shadow, Jiggle, Sway…

There are books that I have loved and then there are books that resonate with me so deeply that it’s as if they were written just for me. I wanted to make this list because it represents the books that I remember again and again, that I refer to and that I recommend. These are not all yoga books, however all explore Being in some way and to me represents guides to the magical yogic lifestyle. I will try to list them in order of their appearance in my life. The first four were part of my life when I began my yogic journey.

1. What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson. I was in high school when I read this book by one of the best scifi writers of my experience. Described as a book about love after death, the main message is that existence is not about transcending but going to any lengths, even a descent into hell, to reclaim love.

2. Narcisuss and Goldmund by Herman Hesse. Most lists of spiritual books mention Siddhartha, which is also a wonderful book by Hesse, but Narcisuss and Goldmund is a masterpiece of spiritual questioning, and resonates at the very human experience of seeking truth. The book will touch you in a deep place.

3. On the Road by Jack Kerouac is a work of fiction most people know about but may not have read. This book is transformative because of the awakening and freedom described at a pivotal point in history, that of the Beat Generation, from which I am a product. Reading this book opened me to freeing myself even more from conditioned culture.

4. One Straw Revolution an Introduction to Natural Farming by Masanobu Fukuoka. More than a manual for growing food this book explains how nature works, particularly how nature grows food for humans and that at it’s best farming “wild” is the highest form of cultivation. This book is considered the first book about Permaculture.

5. The Shared Heart by Barry and Joyce Vissell. I read this book at 18 years old, right before I met Chris, the love of my life, who I am still with today 25 years later.

6. Tantra: The art of Conscious Loving by Charles and Caroline Muir. Chris and I read this book together, and between this and the previous book we had a very solid foundation for relating, evolving and playing together.

7. How Can I Help? by Ram Dass. If you are a teacher or helper of any kind this book is essential and uncovers why burn out occurs and how to avoid it, while inviting you to have a connecting experience in service of others.

8. Plant Spirit Medicine by Elliot Cowan taught me some of my first lessons in magic. It is a text about shamanism, travel into other realms and medicine.

9. Autobiography of a Yogi by Parmahansa Yogananda is one of the quintessential yoga texts and also reveals some more of the magic that the Universe is made of.

10. The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness by my primary teacher Erich Schiffmann is THE text for understanding true yoga. The main learning here is to get “online” with source through meditation and moving meditation i.e. yoga. We now call this Freedom Style Yoga, and the practice is about feeling and doing what you are guided to do from within.

11. Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui: Free yourself from Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Clutter Forever by Karen Kingston is another magic users text and clearly explains energy and how to transform space, and being within space, so that your energy is lifted and renewed.

12. Process Coaching Practitioner Manual by John Pateros. This work offers the tools and frames to do magic. It includes lessons and practice for not only healing feelings, relationships and your life’s purpose, but this guidebook has also been a gateway to owning the Universe. I am a Process Coach and have personally experienced, and seen others transform what had seemed un-healable. This manual is best used with a coach but can also be read and explored alone.

13. Right Use of Will: Healing and Evolving the Emotional Body by Ceanne DeRohan is a channeled description of Creation and the transpersonal “imprints” that show up in our personal lives. If read slowly, and while feeling the energy this first in a series of many books will resonate and open you to the workings and inklings in your unconscious, thus making them available for healing.

IMG_0953 - Version 3It is of upmost importance in yoga to channel your practice, and learn by feeling. This is sentient awareness and what we want when coming from intuition. Recently Ophiuchus came through my practice, which I have photographed here. Ophiuchus is a 13th zodiac sign, he is the healer, a handler of snakes and a shaman. The energy is focused, clear and meant to unblock what has been stagnant, so that prana can flow completely. Let Ophiuchus take you towards your life’s purpose, skillfully riding kundalini and gaining the inherent boons offered by his transformative qualities. After a significant amount of opening practice lay face down on your mat with arms extended on the floor in front of your face like superman. Have the thumbs touching so that your hands are along your midline, center channel. Stream your tailbone long and lift your inner thighs to the sky. Feel your first chakra energy vibrating in your perineum. Drag your arms back to lift your torso. Reach one arm out and up as a continuation of your first chakra energy rising to the heavens, follow the line with your gaze. Breathe and feel. Come down and rest or go right to the left arm. Come down and rest and bathe in the cosmic power of Ophiuchus.

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Recently in my yoga class I pointed to something that is pretty common in classes and in life, the dissection, or fragmentation of being. We have chopped up our life into labeled parts like a lab technician. In yoga we have loved to talk about anatomy, bones and muscles, and in particular we suggest how to move these parts to align the pose in a certain way. Here is the rub, there really is no such thing as a femur. There is not a beginning or end to it really because the muscle blends into the ligament and the ligament into the bone which creates the blood that flows within all of me. As teachers and students we have emphasized these seemingly separate parts in order to model them and understand them in mind, all at the expense of realizing and awakening to our wholeness. There is nothing wrong with calling your leg bone femur, and, we also want to make sure we ALWAYS trump that separation with the truth of connection. You are actually a flow of your physical body and electromagnetic energy into all things everywhere. This is the essential understanding of yoga, you are connected. You are in a field of the big All and the container of All. The field is the energy field which includes all layers of matter and Being and is as big as the Universe. You are the field and the field is everything and everyone everywhere. Erich Schiffmann describes the phenomena metaphorically this way, we are waves in the ocean. Each wave is the whole ocean because there is no separate wave. “Wave” is a model in mind of a false image of a separate part of Ocean. All of the waves are unique moments in time, and expressions of infinite Being. As yogis this is the big understanding and practice, recognizing our true self as whole Being. For some reason in the western world yoga classes and teachers have come to emphasize the parts, as if more knowledge will liberate us, when it has been fragmenting us. This has led us to use phrases like “my bad knee” as if it is not me and if I could some how get rid of it I would be more whole. That denial has only fragmented us more. These days there is no more important teaching I have to offer than feeling wholeness. All of the poses, all of the sequences are an exploration of wholeness. I question the value of anatomy as the best way to safely practice yoga when so many yoga teachers and students are now reporting injury or weakness from practicing in traditions that emphasize anatomical fragmentation with the resulting deficit of feeling the All. When I feel my whole Being, and my energy as the field, I can sense “knee”,  tune my alignment very specifically to my very unique physical expression and state, and thus find freedom from blockages or contraction. Off of the mat we have also segmented our life into parts, “this is the work part and this is the home part and this is the relaxation part and this is the mom part” etc. Some how life has become fragmented. The “union” part of the meaning of yoga is all about the awareness that life is not a bunch of separate parts. All of life is happening at once, one whole life. Notice now as you read this that you are one whole Being connected in the field. Notice that you are all that you experience, and that your yoga practice is an expression of wholeness of Being. And the next time your teacher says “ground your femur into the earth” remember that you are the earth and that the part of you that touches earth also flows in to the sky and on out into everything and everyone everywhere. You are the Universe.

Watercolor on Paper by Melissa Meader 1992

“Fools” Watercolor on Paper by Melissa Meader 1992

I have always believed that it was possible for little me to have the power to completely transform the world. I was raised to believe that I had the power to do anything I wanted, there were no limits on what I could accomplish or how much I could impact the world. I was told that I was great by my parents, they assured me that I was actually very big and like a FOOL I believed them. So I am going to go ahead and change the world, for the better. I will act as if my actions have reverberations throughout the Universe. I will become consciously aware that every movement I make has an effect, and that every lack of movement also has an effect. I will trump the conditioning that I am powerless and I will continue to move through my life with the faith that my desires are good and that peace is possible. I will believe this so fully that others will follow my foolish lead and walk crumbling edges without falling. Food and shelter will appear when wanted, love will abundantly flow. Our excursions will force the emergence of the wings of levity, and there will be no chance of falling. We will fly.


Captain of our fairy band,
Helena is here at hand,
And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover’s fee.
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!

Puck -A Midsummer Nights Dream act 3 scene 2

IMG_2071Get It Together – India Arie

For What It’s Worth – DJ Drez

We’re In Yr Corner – Cornershop

This – Brian Eno

Rushing – Moby

Precisando De Amor – Preta Gil

Outro Lado (Presence Mix) – Zuco 103

Garden of Tiki (edit) – TAU

Radha Pranam – Jaya Lakshmi

Nude – Radiohead

Woman – Rhye

Mermaid – Sade

The Secret Place – Brian Eno

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