The Big D


What happens when two unhealed individuals decide to partner up and attempt to do things differently then their parents did? They remain stuck in their woundedness. The unhealthy patterns and toxic traits get buried underneath responsibilities, bills, schedules…life. There isn’t enough time, energy or money to get out from underneath all of it and the ancestral pattern repeats itself.

Right around the time that the idea of the demise of our marriage began to seep out of our subconsciousness and into our reality, I read a book. This book “suggested” that divorce does not necessarily have to be the end of the world. I truly believed that there was a strong possibility that we would be able to sift through the mess, find and maintain, all of the pieces of us that were good at being kind, compassionate, and friendly to one another.

Nobody tells you that even though you and your ex-husband promise to do divorce differently…stay friends and co-parent like bosses, that the further you get away from your marriage, the more permanent and final the divorce becomes, that idealism will disintegrate.

Nobody tells you, that even though you are convinced it will be easier because your children are a bit on the older side, that it is actually harder. They are more opinionated and stuck in their ways. They have their own “stuff” that they are trying to work through and come to terms with. Coming to your new home, as the parenting plan designed, is an inconvenience and a chore. All of a sudden, you are faced with “empty nest” syndrome…about four years too early. There is no slow trickle of independence and separation…the damn breaks lose and unleashes a torrent of excruciating sorrow upon your already broken heart. Never, in a million years, did you imagine that walking away from your marriage would result in your children walking away from you. That was not part of the plan or the agreement. “Losing” your children will be the salt in the wound that almost destroys you.

Nobody tells you that the “friends” and family who support you so fiercely in the beginning of this journey, are just secretly hoping that this miniature breakdown or mid-lifeish crisis is temporary. They just want to help you get over it, as quickly as possible, so that their lives can go back to “normal”. They are too busy taking your actions or inactions personally, when in reality, it is ultimately the paralyzing fear of additional rejection and loss that is to blame for your reticence and distance. Meanwhile, you are curled up in fetal position, waiting for the dust to settle…wondering whose side they will choose. FYI, the ones that “don’t pick sides”, chose the other guy. And nobody can prepare you for the crushing devastation of their eventual betrayal and abandonment.

Nobody tells you that you will be treated as though divorce is a highly contagious disease. It is almost as though people are afraid if they come into contact with or associate with you, that they will be next. Nothing can prepare you for the amount of judgmental, holier-than-thou, hypocritical bullshit you will have to deal with. Nothing.

Divorce is utter devastation. Even when it is your choice. Even when it is the right choice.

Here I am, over half a decade away from the beginning of the end and I can still see and feel the aftershocks. The entire landscape of our lives has changed so drastically and dramatically. Divorce is death. The hopes and dreams that were shared for almost two decades, sit in tiny unmarked graves. You need to be prepared to have a full on funeral for the life that you had before those papers were signed. Be prepared to mourn. When my brain attempts to reach for those thoughts or memories, my heart recoils like a finger that has just touched a hot stove. I cannot live there, I would not survive. The grief, the shame, the guilt…it will singe and tarnish everything if you don’t find a way to process and heal and forgive.

Divorce, however, can also be rebirth. It contains within it, a transformative fire that can fuel the excavation of your authentic self. If you are brave, and bold, and strong enough to make it to the other side. To rebuild, reimagine, recreate yourself and a life that you can be proud of. It is possible to rise from the ashes.

But that’s a story for another time…

A Journey of a Thousand Miles


In the beginning, when someone would inquire as to why I am so passionate about Yoga, I would answer, “It’s vast expansiveness.” I loved the fact that I could study and practice endlessly. That no matter how far I travelled, there would still be more to learn, to know. I used to think that I chose this path. However, after decades of discipleship, I am now humbled by the idea that perhaps it was never a choice. This journey was a soul contract, agreed upon long before my sweet, little missing zygote leapt from the basket. This journey of thousands of miles begins with one step. This journey of thousands of hours of training begins with one…one hour on your mat, one meditation, one moment of mindfulness, one glimpse of the infinite…one poem, one book, one teacher training…

I have immersed myself in every aspect of spirituality that I have access to. I have studied Yoga, meditation, Reiki, Shamanism, Magick… I tried to declare a moratorium on book purchases…however, anyone who has ever helped me move or has visited my home, knows how well that is going! My dedication to a fierce physical practice gained me access to the surgical floor, twice. At the time, I felt so betrayed by my body. I was so frustrated for the time I would be wasting resting and healing. I didn’t realize that it was part of the lesson. As cliché as it may sound, this truly is an inside job. Don’t get me wrong, the physical practice is important…but not because being able to do a badass handstand on the precipice of a mountain makes for epic Instagram photos. Our physical practice helps us shake the dust.

“Shake the Dust!…Do not let one moment go by that doesn’t remind you that your heart beats 100,000 times a day and that there are enough gallons of blood to make every one of you oceans. Do not settle for letting these waves settle and the dust to collect in your veins.

Walk into it, breathe it in, let it crash through the halls of your arms at the millions of years of millions of poets coursing like blood pumping and pushing making you live, shaking the dust so when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob and open on up, running forward into its widespread greeting arms with your hands in front of you, fingertips trembling though they may be.”Anis Mojgani

Go ahead and shake the dust. But be kind about it. Get so still and quiet that you can tune deeply into what your body requires in any particular moment or pose. I once read that praying is talking to God and meditating is listening. Your practice is meditation in motion. Listen deeply and proceed accordingly.

Our spiritual practice helps us sweep the dust. Are you picking up what I am putting down? When you haul out the broom and dustpan and you are going about your “housekeeping, and there is that fine line of “stuff” that just won’t disappear? Sure, you can sneak it under the proverbial rug but it will just be there again tomorrow. My point is, that no matter how meticulous you are, there will always be a certain amount of work left to be done. This is not meant to burden or frustrate you. These hours, miles, years, are a privilege denied to many. It should liberate you! This concept is meant to make you feel free!

Do the work.

Even when it feels like you don’t have time, even when it feels as though it is not making the tiniest bit of difference. Even when your spiritual growth feels as though it is moving at a sloths pace and your incremental progress seems microscopic. Trust the process. Your hamstrings, your hips…your heart, will grace you with gratitude. And your spirit will gift you with grace.

Blood, Sweat, & Tears


I have a confession to make.  I had been neglecting my Yoga practice.  But not in a benign neglect kind of way…more like a blatant disregard for it entirely.

Other than instructing a few classes on the beach last summer, I did not feel comfortable taking the seat of the teacher during the divorce.  Divorce is a constant state of utter chaos…emotional, physical, and spiritual chaos.  During which time, it was a struggle to hold space for myself, my children, or my now ex-husband.  I definitely did not have the strength and fortitude required to be grounded and centered enough to hold it for a multitude of other people.  I strongly believe that when we “show up” to teach a class, part of our job is to properly hold the space for students that are going through their own transformations…be it the experience on their mat, in their bodies, or the metamorphosis that occurs when one is courageous enough to take their practice out into their lives and the world.

I suppose, like a tortoise who finds it’s world spinning a bit out of control, I retreated into my shell.  I drew in my flailing appendages, held on for dear life, and practiced pranayama and prayer until things became a bit more still.  Kurmasana was my jam.

I went to the gym, “headphones in, world off”, in an attempt to muscle through my emotions.  I went hiking to commune with nature.  To get fresh air and sunshine and  worship the Earth with my feet.  I meditated, sometimes an hour a day, seeking solace in the escape and healing.

And then, finally, a couple of months ago, I signed up to take an online class with one of my favorite instructors.  The moment that I took a seat on my mat, I started to cry.  I started to cry and I couldn’t stop.  If I had never witnessed similar phenomena happen to other humans during or after Yoga, I am not certain that I would have known what to do.  I just kept practicing and crying, the entire time.

It was almost as though my entire being was just waiting for me to be still enough to finally “feel” all the heaviness and the grief…the gravity of our current world situation.  And in doing so, causing me to, or at the very least, giving me permission to grieve again for all the lost and broken things…

One of my favorite poems is “The Invitation”, within which she writes:

“I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.”

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Whether you are taking the seat as a student or as an instructor, yoga is different.  Yoga demands that you show up, fully and present, in your body.  I now understand that this was the subconscious reason for my hiatus from teaching and practicing.  And now I am more capable of wrapping my head around why some humans dislike Yoga or avoid it entirely.  They cannot or will not sit still with the pain, the emotions, themselves.

Yoga is how we discover that it is possible to locate extra sips of oxygen in tight places.  Yoga is where we learn to sit with discomfort.  We don’t move to fade it or fix it.  Instead, we move to process it and integrate it, and transmute it, so that it does not remain stagnant in our cells.  We begin to discern the difference between where we require fortification and where extreme softness might be a more applicable strategy.  Yoga invites pause.  And in that space, an invitation to choose between reactivity and responsiveness.

When this whole mess began, my initial reaction was that of a scared animal.  I froze.  I got low to the ground and quiet.  On some level, subconsciously, I felt as though if I could just be “still” enough and hold my breathe, all the mayhem would, hopefully, pass on by.  Clearly, that was not the case.  It was all just waiting for me, on the other side of a nasty brier patch of uncertainty and fear.

Our practice is our stillness.

We need to practice.  Practice patience, yoga, meditation, poetry, ukulele…whatever it is that helps us find the stillness required to distill the day into decipherability.  Create the space within the architecture of our physicality and our Spirit, where we are able to feel and release and digest our current reality into tiny, manageable bits.  We cannot wait for the stillness to find us, we must create it within ourselves.

Growing Pains


My Cocoon

My Cocoon

“nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know
…nothing ever really attacks us except our own confusion. perhaps there is no solid obstacle except our own need to protect ourselves from being touched. maybe the only enemy is that we don’t like the way reality is now and therefore wish it would go away fast. but what we find as practitioners is that nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. if we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. it just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.”

― Pema ChödrönWhen Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

In late November of 2008, I had my first wrist surgery.  When some of the symptoms of my original injury resurfaced, I contacted and revisited my surgeon in April of last year.  During our visit, the x-ray and his examination were inconclusive.  He ordered an MRI and I scheduled a follow-up with him immediately following the test.  On the drive down, I was so busy convincing myself that it was fine; I almost turned around and went home.  There were about a million other things I should be doing and clearly, if he hadn’t been able to recreate the discomfort, it must be all in my head.  I sat in the room with him while he reviewed the results, waiting patiently for him to uneventfully send me on my way.  He was quiet, just a little too long.  He then took a deep breath, told me that there was more tearing, and then proceeded to calmly explain that he would need to operate again.  Giant, fat, hot tears formed in my eyes and began to slide down my cheeks.  Warm weather was fast approaching, we had vacations planned…not to mention the fact that I had just turned 40 in March and I had made such huge strides in my practice.  I had convinced myself that 40 was my year, that I would accomplish all of my goals.  He told me that I could postpone the surgery until after my boys had returned to school in the fall.  So, I began this blog post, 5 years after my first surgery and 7 weeks after my second with one of my two pins still in and my cast still on.  I also began it with every intention of it containing an in-depth and highly technical explanation of how and why it is possible for you to end up in an operating room because of your participation in Yoga.  However, the healing process and the writing process (often times critical to one other) have morphed me and this post into something else entirely.

My biggest question to him: “What am I supposed to tell my students?  How am I supposed to tell them that Yoga is good for them when I am recovering from my second surgery in five years, from an injury I sustained doing Yoga?!”  His answer was something along the lines of: “Now Amy, there are risks of injury with ALL sports.  Runners injure their knees, swimmers injure their shoulders, cyclists break their collar bones…”  And on and on, and so on and so forth.  I have had lengthy discussions with my trusted friends who are Physical Therapists and we are in complete agreement.  There are inherent risks with almost every form of physical activity.  However, the health benefits of moving your body far outweigh those risks.  Yoga is complicated.  It is a science and there is a great deal of learning and self-discovery that takes place as we develop a relationship with ourselves and our practice.

The truth is, accidents happen.  The initial incident was a complete fluke.  All caught up in the collective energy of a three-day intensive, glistening with sweat and inspiration, I slipped and fell.  I completely tore my Scapholunate Ligament and my TFCC was no longer attached to my bone.  Three years into the healing from the first surgery, with my range of motion reasonably restored, I was back at it.  I have always been very strong and athletic.  I was convinced that these qualities would serve me on my mat and that I would be able to accomplish whatever posture that I applied myself to.  I was attempting to “muscle through”.  I  thought that the surgeon had “fixed” the problem.  Except the true problem wasn’t my wrist at all.  It was a multitude of other things that required my attention, energy, and awareness.  As I sit here, many months later, on this damp, dark day, using my warm, jasmine tea to ease the small ache that still lingers in the palm of my left hand; I am attempting to wrap up this blog post (finally) and wrap my head around exactly what it was that this persistent issue/injury had to teach me?  My answers, in no particular order, are these:


*  That it is possible for me to have an incredibly strong Yoga practice that doesn’t consist of floating into a handstand in the   middle of the room.  That sometimes the strongest parts of ourselves do not serve us in every moment and in every facet of our lives.  Inviting our ego to dissolve and allowing the softer aspects of ourselves to expand can be profoundly useful.


*  There is an incredibly liberating amount of freedom that comes from maintaining a reasonable amount of flexibility in regards to our expectations.


*  When I allow this acceptance and understanding to take root and blossom fully, a beautiful spaciousness and grace develops in my life.  It travels from the cells of my body, to the periphery of my skin and beyond the edges of my mat.  This expansiveness benefits my family, my friends, my students, my community, and the world.


*  Integrity, peace, continuity, and longevity are my goals for my practice. 

*  Honoring our bodies is an advanced practice.


*  The true beauty of a Yoga practice exists in the luminosity that emanates from a body, mind, and spirit dancing in harmony as one.


*  That perhaps my job as an instructor isn’t always to help you find the answers but to assist you in discovering the perfect questions.  And I hope you will continue to return to your mat until it has taught you what you need to know.



The Periphery


Heart in Hands

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.” ~José Micard Teixeira

When your child is diagnosed with a chronic illness, everything changes.  Your new reality is overflowing with doctor appointments, insurance red-tape, sleepless nights, unpaid medical bills…

When you do come up for air, between the stages of grief, exhaustion, and fear, you begin to understand that not everyone will be able to wrap their head around the disease or your situation.  This group of people can then be divided into two different categories.  There are the ones who are honest and upfront about their inability but still give you the berth that you need to function.  They don’t look down their noses at you if your house is a bit messy or you happened to run out of tissues and social graces that day.  They don’t take it personally when you decline an invitation.  They just keep loving you and your kid.

And then there is the other category.  Sometimes, those that fall into this category come as the biggest surprise.  They may be people with whom you were once quite close and connected to, they may even be family.  However, they treat the chronic illness and your struggles with it like an elephant in the room.  These people expect your lives to just keep right on going, business as usual.  Except that it can’t, it doesn’t, and it won’t.  Mustering up the time and energy it would take to explain, for the hundredth time, is a waste of precious resources that you simply do not have.  And quite frankly, if the only thing you have to bring to the table is criticism, please go sit at another table.

When your life changes in an instant, you realize very quickly how truly short and precious life is.  The shock can leave your reeling and unnecessary conflict is traumatizing and becomes something that you want to avoid at all costs.  The last thing on Earth that you want to do is spend your time with judgmental people that complicate things and add to your stress.  When you are hanging by a thread, you need people that will toss some hope your way, not a pair of scissors!  You want to spend your time with people that help you celebrate your smallest victories, not point out and reprimand you for your tiniest flaws (trust me, I didn’t need any help finding them, I have already beaten myself up about them plenty.) People that forgive your inability to be their idea or expectation of “normal”.  And these relationships are reciprocal and comprised of unconditional love.

So, after some time has passed, you begin to understand the parameters within which you are able, willing and comfortable functioning.  You then, begin to set healthy boundaries that support the way you want to exist as individuals and as a family.  I read a great blog post about a week ago where the author wrote: “You have to put your flag down and draw a circle and inside that circle put all the things you love. Your favorite memories and people you cherish and art and poems and all the rest. When something tries to slide into the circle that you didn’t put there, you have to give it some serious thought whether or not it can stay. (You do get to decide, remember.)”  And that is what happens, you draw your circle, a carefully constructed bubble of peace and contentment; within which you allow certain people, the ones in your camp, your “Framily”.  The “others”, you keep in the periphery.

Where this concept, this bubble, begins to develop cracks is when the people on the outside of the circle expect or assume that it is possible for you to continue to interact in ways that are not peripheral.  I have found that it is best, although not always easy, to stand firm and hold the line, do whatever you need to do to secure that safe and sacred space you have worked so hard to create.  Grab pillows, grab duct tape, fill those spaces with deep breathes and while you are at it, burn some sage.

I am certain that there is a good possibility that during the process of figuring this all out, I have managed to land myself in the periphery.  This experience has taught me to try, as often as I can, to be in the right camp, the ones that are allowed inside the bubble because they don’t have sharp edges or words.  The ones who respect boundaries and limitations and instead of looking to place blame, love just a little bit more than is necessary ❤

Brighter Than The Sun


“There’s courage involved if you want
to become truth. There is a broken-

open place in a lover. Where are
those qualities of bravery and sharp

compassion in this group? What’s the
use of old and frozen thought? I want

a howling hurt. This is not a treasury
where gold is stored; this is for copper.

We alchemists look for talent that
can heat up and change. Lukewarm

won’t do. Halfhearted holding back,
well-enough getting by? Not here.” Rumi

The word Niralambaya comes from the Anusara Yoga Invocation.  The invocation is about the true teacher, within and without, the auspicious, intrinsic goodness within our hearts.  Niralambaya suggests that the essence of this teacher, the “Tejese”, the divine luminosity within is independent in existence and completely free from limitation.

At times external circumstances can make us feel rough and worn down.  It can be challenging to trust or believe that our light is still there.  Our yoga practice helps to polish us from the inside out.  We do the work so that we are able to tap into something bigger than us, to source, to an effulgence that can not be extinguished.  Our practice creates an alchemy that melts obstacles, transforming the dull and rough into something that is brilliantly bright.  I have been told that sometimes, at the end of your practice when you have all but exhausted your physical strength, can be an opportunity for you to achieve the greatest metamorphosis.  That when you have to rely on your intention alone, a shift will occur.  We can often find our greatest strength and teachings from those moments when we are tested and feel most vulnerable.

Diwali, The Festival of Lights, began yesterday in India and will last for five days.  During the festival, thousands of candles and lanterns will be lit to celebrate the victory of light over darkness.  Symbolically, the lights can also represent the triumph of good over evil.   Dipali Desai states, “Diwali represents ‘rows of lighted lamps’ but also it represents a time of  lighting up millions of lights or lamps (individual awareness) to dispel the darkness and ignorance, and expand the radiance (Consciousness) of wisdom…”

I hope that we will all light a candle or a lantern to celebrate our increasing awareness and grace.  It is my deepest wish that we will continue our individual practices, both on and off the mat, in order to keep sight of our wisdom even in times of struggle and darkness.  Let us all continue to burn brightly, so that we can collectively set the world on fire with a love that burns brighter than the sun!

Balancing the Polls



Your Other Name

If your life doesn’t often make you feel
like a cauldron of swirling light –
If you are not often enough a woman standing above a mysterious fire,
lifting her head to the sky –
You are doing too much, and listening too little.
Read poems. Walk in the woods. Make slow art.
Tie a rope around your heart, be led by it off the plank,
happy prisoner.
You are no animal. You are galaxy with skin.
Home to blue and yellow lightshots,
making speed-of-light curves and racecar turns,
bouncing in ricochet –
Don’t slow down the light and turn it into matter
with feeble preoccupations.
Don’t forget your true name:
Presiding one. Home for the gleaming. Strong cauldron for the feast of light. 
Strong cauldron for the feast of light:
I am speaking to you.
I beg you not to forget.

–Tara Sophia Mohr

This morning I had the great pleasure of experiencing another one of Elena Brower’s extraordinary classes on yogaglo.  The class was called: Cultivate a Deep and Generous Connection to Your Self.  During the class, Elena stated: “We create a very strong & clear vessel, with boundaries, with sweetness, with crazy amounts of courtesy.  And then, inside, is softness and listening and receptivity…”

At the end of class, she shared the poem above.

The practice was perfection.  Her words, as always, timely.  You see, today the world is in a state of upheaval.  It feels a bit like standing on the middle of a giant seesaw.  There are a lot of people on both sides and I am stuck in the middle trying to find some balance.  I didn’t want to feel defensive or on edge.  I made sure to take the time this morning to cultivate that necessary equilibrium on the inside.  Firmly rooted and connected, with a deep remembrance of who I am, I can walk through the swirling voices, opinions, and signs.  From a place of spaciousness and softness, I now go out into the world to vote my truth.

I hope you do too : )

Debunking Your Theory That You Don’t Have Time For Yoga


I reached out to Laurie Gerber, President of Handel Group to ask her a few questions about her experience with yoga and how she creates the time in her very full schedule for this practice. The Handel Group uses a methodology that they created, called: Personal Integrity®. This methodology teaches you to live in accordance with your highest ideals, to align your heart, mind and body and to keep your promises to yourself as the source of true pride, power and self-confidence. I have experienced this method in action and it is truly amazing to me how effective it is. The authenticity and alignment pieces are very similar to the practice of yoga itself and this is why I chose her for this interview.

AS:  As the President of a thriving company, a wife, and a Momma, you mentioned to me that you create space in your schedule for a little yoga every day. How and why do you do this? Do you find that making yoga a priority for you enables you to be a more effective participant of your life?

LG:  Honestly, why I do it (besides that a break midday helps me clear my mind and feel more at ease) is that my back used to go out a few times a year, but since I began my 20 minutes of daily yoga, it doesn’t anymore. How I do it, is I schedule it. My promise is to do 20 minutes, but I actually block out my whole “lunch hour” knowing I’ll want to try to cram other things around it, avoid taking a break or feel like something else is more urgent. Twenty minutes before my hour is up, I drop to the floor and begin, either following what my body wants or visiting Elena Brower on yogaglo. The break in my focus always lets in more creativity. Not becoming immobilized with back pain is an incredible boon to my work life and life with my husband and kids. Generally, I have a working lunch, but I always stop for at least 20 minutes to stretch and manifest, no matter what, because it contributes so much to my productivity, vitality and well-being (not to mention my ability to sit at a computer 13 hours a day).

AS:  I often hear people tell me that they know yoga would be beneficial to them and would really like to incorporate a practice into their lives, yet they insist that they are too busy and do not have time. What would your advice as a Life Coach be for them?

LG:  Skip something else. If you are too busy at work for 20 minutes, delegate something or skip your lunch break. If you are with kids all day, do it during nap time or find the right video. I know I sound cavalier about possibly compromising other “values” or responsibilities, but we are fooling ourselves if we don’t think our spirituality and self-care are meant to be at the top of the priority list. It’s not idealistic; it’s just practical if you are thinking long-term. You have to last. Schedule it into your calendar with reminders and alarms and implement a consequence if you skip, like no chocolate or coffee or tea or Facebook the next day, if you skip. That way, you will stay focused on being true to your plan. Lastly, try it for four weeks (at least three short practices a week) and then vote if it is worth it. Our problem is that we vote before we even test the new idea. You have NO idea how you’ll feel when you have a regular practice. If you do, because you have tried it, then you know what you’re missing and you were just waiting for this article to kick your butt back to the mat.

AS:  I have heard you say that people believe their personality is stuck, that they “just are the way they are” and that is why they are incapable of x,y,z. I am frequently told: “I can’t do yoga, because I am not flexible.” I would love to hear your response to this.

LG:  That actually truly makes me laugh. That’s like telling a baby they can’t have xyz profession because they are a baby. How funny are we? “I just am X way” is the perfect way to get off the hook from doing the right thing. We have found by implementing a three step process, called Personal Integrity®, we can teach people how to “change who they are.” Thank goodness. Most people don’t start flexible; they use yoga to become flexible. Learning and developing yourself are some of the most exhilarating opportunities we have. I know it’s scary; that’s why a promise and consequence are very helpful when starting a new habit. They are the tools that clear your mind so you can stay focused on what you really want to have and who you really want to be.

AS:  What are some tools that individuals can use to help a regular yoga practice become a reality for them?

LG:  Simple. A promise and a consequence. I will spend X minutes, X days per week or I lose Y. You fill in the blank based on where you are right now and how quickly you want change. Then you tell the people in your life. Next, you make sure you have the right teachers and resources. As I’ve said, I fancy yogaglo for on-the-go yoga anywhere there’s wifi.

AS:  What are some of the qualities that you look for when choosing a yoga instructor?

LG:  Honestly, I don’t feel the need to follow an instructor, even when I have a video on that I “could” follow. So really I go by vibe. If I think they are honest and funny, I want to listen to their voice. Or if they have been so kind as to have recorded 20 minute practices for my back, well, they rock!

AS:  What are your thoughts about the complementary benefits of life coaching and yoga when applied to achieving more of a balanced existence?

LG:  Now on this topic I could go on and on. The principles of yoga-alignment and oneness are brought off the mat and into life with Handel’s coaching principle/practice of Personal Integrity®. When you bring the concept of yoga to your life, you align your relationships, money, body, health and career with your highest ideal, and you learn to communicate honestly, gracefully and effectively. Both yoga and coaching impact body, mind and soul, and are therefore perfectly complementary. In addition, yoga can be used to aid people with coaching breakthroughs. Our founder Lauren Zander and Elena Brower have teamed up to lay out HGYoga: a practice that will combine yoga and coaching completely.

To learn more about Laurie Gerber and the Handel Group, please visit:

Yoga and Feng Shui – The Conscious Alignment of Energy


As a Yoga Instructor I receive a lot of questions from friends, students, and people that I meet on a day-to-day basis.  Despite Yoga’s increasing popularity and the tremendous amount of media attention it has been receiving, there is still a great deal of mystery surrounding this ancient practice.  I decided that I wanted to reach out to people I admire in their respective fields to dig a little deeper, find some new answers, and new information about yoga.  I conducted this third interview with Peg Donahue of Feng Shui Connections.  Feng Shui Connections is a conscious, continually evolving and environmentally focused business. Drawing on the universal principles of feng shui, quantum physics, energy, Bau-BiologieTM, intuition, and intention.  Peg helps you align the energy of your home and/or workplace with your goals.  I have been studying with Peg for a while now and I am consistently amazed at how powerful and effective the principles and application are.  She is an extremely knowledgeable and inspiring teacher and I am looking forward to continuing my work with her on and off my mat.

AS:  Please tell me a little bit about your first introduction to yoga and how that practice has evolved for you?

PD:  I began my practice with Richard Hittleman’s Yoga 28 Day Exercise Plan when I was in high school many years ago. This easy to follow book taught me some of the basics of yoga and the importance of breathing, mindfulness, and an overall healthy lifestyle. My practice has evolved over the years to participating in classes and studying with teachers to expand what I learned on my own. It is a lifetime commitment.

AS:  Since beginning my work with you, I am fascinated by the similarities in our work. I would like to talk a little bit about how feng shui and yoga complement one another. How has the practice of both of these modalities been advantageous to you?

PD:  Everything in life is connected in one way or another. Feng shui is the practice of arranging your environment to enhance your life. It is all about chi flow. The objective is to attract positive energy to your space and allow it to meander throughout, cultivating life enhancing vitality and overall good fortune. Yoga is also about chi flow … the breath of life through your body. By drawing the breath in and bringing it deep within yourself you tap into your inner power and wisdom. Each of the postures stretches and assists me in strengthening my muscles while also developing flexibility and mindful awareness.

One of the principles of feng shui is that your space mirrors yourself and holds patterns of what happens in your life. Yoga is all about your inner and outer self as well. By connecting to your breath you become more conscious of what is transpiring within. Yoga empowers you to move with grace and ease, leaving stress and strain behind. Feng shui practices help you to arrange your outer environment to create more ease and flow in your life.

Both practices help me to navigate daily life with a positive, life-affirming approach.

Yoga continually teaches me to change what I can and to accept wherever I am on any given day. Working with “what is” empowers me to do what I can. Some days the stretches and movements come easily and other days my body feels less flexible. A very nice aspect of yoga is that of a personal practice. There is no competition. You do what feels right on any given day.

AS:  Yoga practice makes room for and moves energy in the body, allowing the practitioner to move towards the removal of emotional and physical blockages. Feng shui does the same for your home, property, and business.

Do you feel that your yoga practice assists you with your work? How has it helped you with other aspects of your well-being?

PD:  Yes, my yoga practice does assist me with my work. First, it helps me to feel great. Second, as energy moves through my body, it is also reflected in my space. When I slow down or get stuck, I see the patterns in my space as well … such as clutter that needs release.

As it relates to work, both practices bring much synchronicity to my life. Things just happen. They move right along. I might be thinking about someone and then the phone rings or an email pops into my box. Often when I am ready for a new client, one emerges.

Yoga brings balance to my body and to my life. Long ago it taught me to be at peace with myself and to accept things as they come. Acceptance creates space for opportunity and change…because you are not expending energy pushing things away.

On a physical level yoga helps me keep my body flexible. Both of my parents had arthritis and it limited them beginning about the age I am now. My mother had trouble raising her arms above her head. The posture clasp is a stretch I do regularly to stretch my arms and shoulders, something my mom could not do. My dad had both hips replaced multiple times also beginning at my age. I have no signs or symptoms of what my parents experienced. So on one level yoga is helping me to move beyond inherited family patterns.

AS:  Often times we work with clientele that have very specific needs that they are working on or a particular outcome that they desire. In these cases, do you feel that it is beneficial for us to work with them privately as opposed to in a group setting?

PD:  Yes. Both group and private settings are beneficial. Group settings are effective for teaching and sharing basic information that everyone can benefit from. Private sessions enable you and I to target specific areas of interest in a compassionate and confidential manner. To paraphrase Eckhart Tolle, we walk around carrying our “pain body.”  All of us have life challenges. We grow as we accept our challenges and move through them with grace and ease. Both yoga and feng shui are very effective means for helping people to shift their lives from the inside out and outside in.


Did this interview answer some questions for you?  Is there additional information that would like to know?  Please let me know.

Namaste ૐ

Yoga – Creating an Optimal Blueprint for Holistic Health


As a Yoga Instructor I receive a lot of questions from friends, students, and people that I meet on a day-to-day basis.  Despite Yoga’s increasing popularity and the tremendous amount of media attention it has been receiving, there is still a great deal of mystery surrounding this ancient practice.  I decided that I wanted to reach out to people I admire in their respective fields to dig a little deeper, find some new answers, and new information about yoga.  I conducted this second interview with Andrea Paquette of Holistic Health Services.  Andrea has been a board certified nurse practitioner for over 20 years, working in the southern New Hampshire area in various health care settings.  She received her bachelor’s degree in Nursing  from Salem State College in 1984 and her master’s degree in Maternal/Child Health Nursing from Boston College in 1988.  She earned her certification as an Advanced Holistic Nurse in March of 2009.  Clients say Andrea’s kind and compassionate care addresses the needs of the whole person – body, mind and spirit.  Her areas of expertise include holistic health care, pediatrics and eating disorders.  She specializes in nutritional counseling and education, behavior modification counseling, dietary supplementation, mindfulness training and relaxation techniques.  Andrea is a strong and dedicated Yoga Practitioner whom I admire as a friend, a teacher, and a student.

AS:  Please tell me a little bit about your first introduction to yoga and how that practice has evolved for you?

AP:  I started doing yoga about 15 years ago.  I was tired of the gym and wanted to enjoy exercise.  Yoga gave me so much more than I expected.  Not only exercise, but body awareness, alignment, flexibility, strength, balance, stress reduction, joy and clearer thinking about myself, life and relationships.  Yoga is an integral part of my life and always will be.

AS:  I am fascinated with the ways that Yoga has assisted me and my students with channeling energy into a positive experience for body, mind, and spirit?  How effective do you find Yoga as part of a holistic approach to treating anxiety and depression?

AP:  Regular yoga practice is very effective as part of a self-care regimen to keep you healthy in body, mind and spirit.  It helps with many symptoms of anxiety and depression, such as low mood, nervousness and body aches.  Your yoga practice can be very meditative and private when you need to calm down and refocus.  Or it can be very social and physical when you need to build confidence and challenge yourself.

AS:  In what ways do you see Yoga as a tool to help individuals that have issues with food?  Do you find that the practice assists them with figuring out what types of foods fuel their body to be strong and healthy?  Do you find that it helps them pause and become more mindful about what they are putting in their mouths?

AP:  Yoga is an excellent practice for mindfulness training.  You can use the same principles of body awareness and thought awareness taught in yoga to become more mindful about your eating patterns.  Yoga also helps with self-esteem building which leads to self-trust.  When you trust your decisions about food, you can eat more intuitively which is usually healthy and balanced.  Also, you just want to eat well because you have this awareness of which foods fuel you and which deplete you.

AS:  What are your thoughts about how important the education and experience of the instructor is?  How necessary do you believe it is for the instructor to have a yoga practice of their own?

AP:  I think it is very important that a yoga instructor be well educated.  I like instructors who learn several different styles of yoga and integrate them into their teaching.  Amy, your integrative, eclectic approach to teaching really makes yoga accessible and enjoyable for anyone.  I like to keep learning new poses and techniques so I expect my yoga teacher to do the same and keep her/his classes fresh and fun.

AS:  As a medical professional, what do you consider to be some of the biggest health benefits of Yoga?

AP:  Wow, I could go on and on about the health benefits of yoga!  To start with, just learning to breath properly is so beneficial for oxygenation of the organs, muscles, brain, etc.  The twisting poses help with digestion and detoxification.  The focus on correct body alignment contributes to good posture and prevention of injury.  The practice of quieting the mind lessens chronic worry and anxiety. Yoga has so many well-documented health benefits that all types of health professionals prescribe yoga for several types of physical and mental health conditions.

AS:  Have you seen Yoga make a dramatic difference in your well-being and/or the well-being of your patients?

AP:  Personally, yoga has been a stabilizing factor in my life.  Along with good nutrition, yoga can be the cornerstone of a vibrant healthy life.  In my work, I have seen many patients experience physical symptoms that will not resolve because their mind and/or spirit are distressed.  If the mind and/or spirit are not healthy, then patients can experience chronic symptoms in the body, such as stomach upset from nervousness, headaches from stress, etc.   Yoga is an exercise/practice that keeps the whole person in a balanced state of well-being.

AS:  As a Holistic Nurse Practitioner, how often do your “prescribe” Yoga to your clients?

AP:  I prescribe yoga for many different health conditions.  Usually clients bring it up before I do, asking if yoga will help them and where they can find classes.  I would like to see more of my clients practice yoga, but they often say they don’t have the time.  Believe me, yoga is worth finding the time, money or whatever it takes to get you on the mat working your body and brain.  For me, even if my yoga practice is challenging it is always restorative.  I come out feeling more energetic, uplifted in spirit and proud that I did something for myself.

Did this interview answer some questions for you?  Is there additional information that would like to know?  Please let me know.

Namaste ૐ