Updated Playlists for May 10, 2012

11 May

Funky Yoga Playlist

Eyes on Fire – Blue Foundation

Jai Bhavani – Cheb i Sabbah

Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Sprawl II – Arcade Fire

Yesterday – Atmosphere

Coming Home – Diddy

Floetic – Floetry

Inside My Mind – Groove Armada

Hide and Seek – Imogen Heap

Orange Sky – Alexi Murdoch


Yoga Playlist 1

Om Nama Shivaya – Deborah Van Dyke

Latika’s Theme – A.R. Rahman $ Suzanne

Taking Flight – Desert Dwellers

Rakandao – Shaman’s Dream

Hai La Sa – Eastern Spirit

Inside My Mind – Groove Armada

Om Namo Bhagavate – Deva Premal

Jai Bhavani – Cheb i Sabbah

Gunghata – Dave Stringer and Donna de Lory

Relax – Buddhist Meditation


Yoga Playlist 2

Om – Yoga Groove feat. Brent Lewis

I Shall Be Released – Jack Johnson

Bubbly – Colbie Caillat

Chakra Dance – Yoga Rhythm feat. Brent Lewis

He Got Game – Public Enemy

Funky Guru – Prem Joshua

Govinda Jaya Jaya – Donna de Lory

The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove – Dead Can Dance

Have a Little Faith – Michael Franti and Spearhead

Wonderwall – Ryan Adams

Just Like Heaven – The Watson Twins

Landslide – Fleetwood Mac


Yoga Playlist 3

Prana – Craig Kohland and Shaman’s Dream

Fly High/Om Shree Rama – Miten and Deva Premal

Om Shakti Om – Trevor Hall

Rainbow – G. Love feat. Jack Johnson

Jai Hanuman – Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band

Mercy Mercy Me – Marvin Gaye

Lemonworld – The National

Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight and the Pips

Midstream – Wah!

Holocene – Bon Iver

The Limit to Your Love – Feist

Hey Ma Durga – Donna de Lory

Free Spirit – Miten with Deva Premal


Yoga Playlist 4

Into the Mystic – Greg Laswell

Glory Box – Dummy

All to All – Broken Social Scene

Under Pressure – Queen & David Bowie

Animal – Miike Snow

Love Dog – TV on the Radio

Ghostwriter – RJD2

Dull to Pause – Junior Boys

The Crane Wife 3 – The Decemberists

Giri’s Song – Trevor Hall

The First Days of Spring – Noah and the Whale

In the Sun – Michael Stipe and Chris Martin

Delicate – Damien Rice

Down to the River to Pray – Alison Kraus


More to come – stay tuned!


Upcoming: Yoga to Beat the Blues 4-class Series

24 Apr

4 Exercises for Developing Self Trust

31 Mar

After finishing my first yoga workshop today titled, “Trust Your Gut: An Introduction to Arm Balances and Inversions” I am elated and inspired by my students who showed up and took the leap into trying new, challenging things. Attempting something new and different is never an easy feat because an element of the unknown is always at play. What if I fall? What if I can’t do it? What if people laugh at me? I always tell my students that the mat is an excellent place to get to know yourself. If you do fall (and you will), what is YOUR reaction? How do you respond to even the tiniest mistake or “failure”? Do you dust yourself and get back in the saddle, or do you throw the saddle into a bonfire with a big “F YOU!”?

Attempting something new, challenging and different takes self trust. I believe that deep down inside, every single person knows what is best for them but we are constantly being told by outside sources what to do and how to do it. From a very young age we are told by our parents, our peers and by society how to act, think, feel and look. These messages throw our internal compass out of whack, so it’s no wonder we grow up seeking affirmation, approval and guidance from others when it comes to making decisions, big or small. All of this outward approval seeking alienates us from our internal guide, the one that always knows what is best and what we truly need. Ever had feeling about something but ignored it and did the opposite, only to kick yourself later for not listening to your gut? Call it intuition, call it wisdom, call it your True Self, or even call it God…but whatever you call it, it’s time to start listening and living your life by its guidance instead of others’. Because as Goethe says, “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live”.

Steps to building self trust:

1. Shut out the noise. Turn off the TV, get off the internet (yes, even this blog!), turn off the radio and put down that magazine. In a world where all we see is matchmakers on TV telling us how to attract a mate, voices on the radio telling us we need Botox, and people on the internet telling us how to earn more money (fast!) it’s hard to hear yourself think, let alone hear your internal guide. So turn it all off and take a noise break.

2. Do something that scares you. In my last post, I talked about using fear as your ally. Are you afraid of making a major change in your life, be it a new job, move across the country, leaving a relationship or joining the circus, because you worry about what other people will think? If that’s the case, then it’s almost imperative that you do it anyway. Once you take a risk and realize everything turned out okay (and in many cases, way better than you could have ever imagined), then you learn that listening to your internal voice pays off.

3. Get off the self-improvement train. It’s everyone’s birthright to become fully actualized and reach their maximum potential, but sometimes we just need to take a step back from all of our self improvement efforts and chill. Are you feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to be thinner, greener, happier, calmer, more centered, a better parent/spouse/friend, etc.? The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and often all of our efforts to be the best we can be hinder us from being who we truly are. 

4. Know thyself. Socrates was on to something when he said this. You don’t have to spend your life in a cave mediating to accomplish a certain level of self knowledge. Just take some quiet time to get reacquainted with yourself every now and then (a yoga class is a great place to start!). Knowing what you are good at, what your values are, what inspires and delights  you and what unique spiritual gifts you have is an incredibly empowering practice. Once you do this you realize that your are truly one-of-a-kind and nobody but you can know what is ultimately best for you. Everything you have ever needed to know exists within you.

I once heard someone say that your decisions shape your world. Do you want to live in a world shaped by others or do you want to live in a world that supports and upholds your true self? Only you know what is best for you, so learning to listen to and trust your gut is the best way to fulfill yourself and make your presence known in the world.

Trust Your Gut: An Introduction to Inversions and Arm Balances Workshop taught by ME!

16 Mar

How to Use Fear as an Ally (Not an Enemy)

2 Feb

For many of us, when we feel afraid we immediately associate fearful sensations as messengers to “get the hell out!”, or “run the hell away!”. I am here, dear reader, to encourage you to change your relationship with fear from one of well, fear, to one of deep appreciation and respect. Because you see, fear does not necessarily signal that something bad is happening or is about to happen. In fact, fear can be the catalyst you need to make the decisions and take the chances that will lead you to your most authentic, fulfilling and deeply lived life.

On the last day of my yoga teacher training we all sat in a huge circle and were asked to say one word that summed up what we wished to cultivate as we moved forward in our life’s journey. When it came my turn, I blurted out “fearlessness!”. I was at a point in my life when I was almost paralyzed by fear and anxiety, and I spent almost every waking moment trying to escape from those fearful thoughts and sensations. Overeating, excessive internet-ing, five hours of asana practice a day. It was exhausting! Looking back though, I was terrified because my life and my psyche were undergoing a huge overhaul while I was in the thick of a major life transition. I was looking over the edge of a cliff  into the abyss of the unknown while desperately clinging to my old life and sense of self. What lay ahead was a blank canvas that scared the living shit out of me, but what scared me more was staying in my old life with my old habits, relationships, and ways of being in the world. So as painful and disconcerting as the fear was, I am eternally grateful that it came along and kicked my butt into gear and off the sidelines of a partial existence.

Fear is not a bad thing or something to be abolished. I no longer wish to be fearless; in fact, I wish for quite the opposite. Fear means that I am alive, that I am a human being and just like every other human being I experience a full and deep range of emotions and sensations, none of which are better or worse than the other. When I identify fear bubbling up within me, rather than distract myself or spiral down that all too familiar obsessive thought-sensation staircase, I pause and check in with my fear. I make friends with it, invite it in for tea and see what it is trying to tell me. I greet my fear like it is a confused tourist, lost in my psyche without a roadmap and needing directions to it’s next destination. And if I ignore or fight it off then, like the old adage goes, “What you resist, persists.”

Fear is NOT telling you to run away from that which scares you. Fear is just a conditioned response to a challenge or to change, but it not an indicator that you are going the wrong direction. Every time I have found myself terrified of something and done it anyway, the payoff has been exhilarating. I always ask myself, “why the hell didn’t I do that sooner?!” We have myriad fear-based excuses that we use for never taking the leap into the unknown or the abyss: fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of shame or humiliation, and even fear of success. We fear loss, we fear pain, and we fear the shadowy, not-so-pretty aspects of ourselves. Can we instead see the fear we feel towards these things as indicators to move towards them rather than away? What would life look like? What would you accomplish if you know you could not fail?

I often find myself pondering the meaning of life. I know, I am soooo deep, right? But honestly, I am frequently revisiting the same questions I have had since I was five years old, when I first took pause and self-consciously wondered, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I still have no clue, but the fear and uncertainty that originally fueled those questions has now transfered to awe and wonder. I don’t run in fear from those questions, I use them to explore myself and my life more deeply now, and one of the themes that has surfaced over and over for me is this: We are here to befriend and embrace our fears. We are here to stop making excuses about living our one, precious life based on bullshit fears that if we allow, can ruin our chances of living our lives with truth, dignity and authenticity. Like Rainer Maria Rilke says in one of my favorite quotes of all time:

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” 

So get out there. Get scared. Freak out. Cry a little, I don’t care…do whatever it is you do when you get terrified. But no matter what  you do, for God’s sake, get out there and live


2 Dec

I’ve been getting lots of requests for my class playlists, so starting with tonight’s class, here are a handful of my favorites.


Playlist for Thursday, December 1st:

Urban Trance – Hennie Bekker

Forever in a Smile – David Gordon

Natural Blues (Stella Polaris mix) – Moby

Steppin’ Out – Kaskade

It’s You, It’s Me – Kaskade

Daydream – Tycho

Lie Down in Darkness – Moby

Eclipse (All Yours) – Kevin Teasley

Love Death Birth – Carter Burwell

Turning Page – Sleeping at Last

Orange Sky – Alexi Murdoch

Timshel – Mumford and Sons


Earth Day Inspired Playlist

Mother Earth – Neil Young and Crazy Horse

Don’t Go Near the Water – Johnny Cash

Earth Song – Michael Jackson

Monkey Gone to Heaven – Pixies

Send Me on My Way – Rusted Root

(Nothing But) Flowers – Talking Heads

Where Do All the Children Play – Cat Stevens

All the Wild Horses – Ray LaMontagne

Diamonds in the Sun – Girish


Playlist #1:

Just Like Heaven – The Watson Twins

Crystalised – The xx

Back Down to Earth – Peter Gabriel

Sunday Morning – No Doubt

To Kingdom Come – Passion Pit

Heartbeats – The Knife

Life is Long – Brian Eno and David Byrne

Gray Stables – Iron and Wine

Hallelujah – Jeff Buckely

No One’s Gonna Love You – Cee Lo Green

Wonderwall – Ryan Adams

Landslide – Fleetwood Mac


Playlist #2

Sun in Shining – Bob Marley

Shiva Shankara – Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band

Coming from the Top – Thievery Corporation

Mountain Hare Krishna – Krishna Das

Gayatri Mantra – Deva Premal

Breathe Me – Sia

Loveland – Ben Leinbach and Jai Uttal

Train Song – Ben Gibbard and Feist

Satellite Heart – Anya Marina

Gopala Lullaby – Ben Leinbach and Jai Uttal

Denton, TX – Damien Jurado

Just Breathe – Pearl Jam


Playlist #3

We’re All in This Together – Ben Lee

My Moon My Man – Feist

Sleep Through the Static – Jack Johnson

Down on My Knees – Jai Uttal

1901 – Phoenix

And I Was a Boy From School – Hot Chip

Fidelity – Regina Spektor

Never Ending Math Equation – Sun Kil Moon

This Must Be the Place – Talking Heads

Our Way to Fall – Yo La Tengo


Playlist #4

Green Arrow – Yo La Tengo

Just Breathe – Pearl Jam

Wake Up – Arcade Fire

Rolling in the Deep – Adele

Dog Days are Over – Florence and the Machine

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Aretha Franklin

I and Love and You – The Avett Brothers

Awake My Soul – Mumford and Sons

Staralfur – Sigur Ros

Have a Little Faith – Michael Franti and Spearhead

Possibility – Lykki Li

Blood Bank – Bon Iver


Happy Hour Power Playlist 

Someone Like You – Adele

Middle Distance Runner – Seawolf

Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani

Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads

Love is My Religion – Ziggy Marley

Full Moon – The Black Ghosts

Everything is Borrowed – The Streets

Down in the Valley – The Head and the Heart

Hang On – Dr. Dog

Hide and Seek – Imogen Heap

So Much Magnificence – Steve Gold





Are You Carrying a Grudge…Against Yourself?

3 Nov

“Your capacity for salvation lies in your ability to forgive” Marianne Williamson

How many times have you laid awake at night beating yourself up for something you did “wrong” during the day? Did you somehow let yourself down by messing up at work, forgetting to do something, not being productive enough, etc.? The critic in my head likes to remind me at the end of each day how I didn’t eat healthy enough or exercise as much as I should have. It likes to remind me that I didn’t do enough work, didn’t spend my time as wisely or efficiently as I needed to. It basically likes to remind me that no matter what I do, I will never be enough.

But through a lot of work, self-study and sheer Grace, I have been able to acknowledge that my pattern of thinking is habitual and conditioned, but it is not who I am. It is a voice inside my head that for many, many years has had a lot of beef with me. I have held a grudge against myself for a long damn time and I am slowly starting undo what has been done by learning to forgive myself.

Being the proud owner of a grudge against another person is like carrying a bowling ball around in the pit of your stomach. It weighs you down, drains your energy and makes your world often seem very small. Now imagine holding that grudge against yourself. The weight can become unbearable, impossible to carry so we try to lighten it by “correcting” our behavior.

When I was a teenager I acted out in ways that I am not entirely proud of. I did drugs, skipped school, even spent a month in rehab. I had an eating disorder, sometimes cut myself and was simply angry and miserable all the time. I was angry at the world for not understanding me but even more so, I was angry at myself for not fitting in, not being normal. At about 17 years-old I straightened out, went to college, made good, healthy friends and even had a clean-cut boyfriend. I graduated on time with good grades and without much drama. I figured I atoned for my bad behavior as a teen, and went along on my merry way into adulthood.

Fast forward a little over ten years and that clean cut boyfriend and I were getting divorced and suddenly memories from my teen years kept creeping into my consciousness. Not only did I feel horrible about myself because I was getting divorced, I also felt like I was a horrible person for all the pain I caused myself and my family as a teenager. I felt like a failure, like I couldn’t keep it together if I tried. The fact is, I had never forgiven myself. And I was still carrying around that bowling ball, and it was only getting heavier.

But something miraculous happened as I fought with the demons of my past while I struggled to stay sane in the present. I decided to forgive myself. I decided to have a talk with the frightened, angry teenage girl who at the time was also a frightened, angry woman and tell her everything she did during that time was okay. Yeah, I fucked up, but so what? Everyone does. And as a matter of fact, better that I went through that confused, rebellious stage as an adolescent rather than an adult where I would have to pick up all of the pieces on my own. I looked my mistakes straight in the face with as much truth and honesty as I could summon, and chose to forgive.

Are you holding on to something you did in the past that is weighing you down and keeping you from living fully? Are you so ashamed of something you have done that you are struggling to live wholly, freely loving yourself and others in a way that is your birthright? We all make mistakes, we have all done something we are not proud of. It is a universal truth. Your shame and inability to forgive yourself can be healed if you face what it is you are ashamed of, be honest about what you have done and tell yourself:

Hey. I am worth it. I deserve freedom. No being deserves to suffer at their own hands. I LOVE MYSELF and I FORGIVE MYSELF. It is a disservice to me and to my loved ones to carry this grudge around. It is time to shed my layers of resentment and let go. I am more than worth it.

As one of my favorite (anonymous) quotes goes,

“You can’t undo anything you’ve already done, but you can face up to it.  You can tell the truth. You can seek forgiveness. And let God do the rest.”

As I look back now, what I felt was my shameful, awful past doesn’t look so bad anymore. In fact, I don’t regret one painful moment or one “bad” choice I made because without them, I would not be where I am today. While healing from my divorce I took a yoga workshop with Seane Corn and the most profound lesson I took away from that week was that no matter what has happened to you in your life, what choices you have made, what pain you have experienced: you are exactly where you are meant to be. So just hang on and cut yourself some slack.

So as you lay awake at night with that big bowling ball in your gut, just repeat this mantra to yourself and see if you wake up feeling a little lighter:


Word of the Day: Frustrated!

4 Oct

A fun and new feature to my blog called, “Word of the Week” is in presently in the works, but as I sat down to finish up the post I started, I lost it.  I threw up my hands, slammed my computer shut and stomped out of the room.

Screw the Word of the Week (which was intended to inspire and provoke warm-fuzzy feelings), I have a word of the day: FRUSTRATED. Over the last week, my back injury has taken a turn from the worse. My pain, which had become very manageable – to the point where I was beginning to run and practice yoga again – came back with a vengeance. Sleeping, sitting, riding in the car, bending over…forget about it, these things have become my worst nightmares. I have spent every night this past week sobbing in bed, chewing pain killers like candy and praying to God to make the pain go away.

I have an extruded disc (the soft, gel-like pads that cushion the vertebrae) at my L4/L5 vertebrae that is pressing down on multiple nerve roots along my spinal column. Sounds gross because it is. I told my boyfriend the other night I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst enemy, it’s that bad. I have been in so much pain and so irate about it that Asking the Universe to feel better sounded like a cruel joke. Who the hell was that naive, clueless person who wrote that post last week? Not me, that’s for sure!

As a yogi, I have often believed that being pissed off, irate and generally unhappy about something is spiritually immature, like a two-year old having a tantrum. I figured that if I maintained a positive attitude, took perspective and was grateful for all of my blessings, then riding the wave of this injury would be a piece of cake. I mean, would the Buddha piss and moan about a herniated disc when there are millions of others suffering and in need of compassion? Would Jesus sit around and feel sorry for himself, sob and cry all night and lament that His life was over? I mean, I’m a yoga teacher for godssakes, I’ve been through WAY WORSE, why is this so devastating?

The more I’ve sat with this, I’ve realized that the one who needs compassion is me. I fought hard to never feel or act like a victim this summer when I had a debilitating back injury…then got in a car accident that miraculously didn’t kill me or my boyfriend…then watched my father get very sick and spend weeks recovering in the hospital. It was a SHITTY SUMMER. There, I said it. I refused to say it because I didn’t want to acknowledge that I was going through another hard time in my life because (tantrum time) it’s not fair, damn it! But the big breakdowns, the hours of tears over the last several nights have more to do with just the physical pain that I am in. They happened because I am tired of being tough, tired of pretending that everything is okay, and tired of completely minimizing my own suffering.

Once I acknowledged this, once I gave myself the freedom to actually feel like shit, cry in front of my friends and family and even hash this out on my blog, I’ve noticed that my physical pain has lessened. Maybe it’s the Percocet, or maybe it’s the forgiveness I am offering myself. It’s actually okay to feel sorry for yourself. It’s okay to stay in bed, need your mom and take pain medication when you hurt. It’s okay to not have a vigorous yoga practice or be training for a marathon. Once your health is being jeopardized, it’s hard to think of anything else, and what I have realized is that the way I treat my body is related to the way I see myself in this world. Being kind and gentle with one’s body, holding it safely and honoring it for the sacred package that it is, is one of the biggest responaibilities we have on this earth. This injury plus, my terrifying car accident and my father’s illness put a big, fat blinking MORTALITY sign in my face, and I did not like what I saw. But by being with the pain, both emotionally and physically, I am starting to see that the healing process has a light at the end of the tunnel.

I am most likely getting surgery, all of this acceptance of my pain has not changed that fact (shoot!), but I am approaching it differently now. Rather than feeling like a failure for not getting better with alternative treatments, visualization, positive affirmations, massage/acupuncture and the rest of the gamut, I realized that suffering daily with back pain for months on end is what’s spiritually immature. Loving myself, accepting that I am human and that I am hurting and need help are what I need in my life, and listening to what I truly need might be one of the most spiritually evolved practices I can do.

How To Ask the Universe for What You Want

24 Sep

Last night I was talking with my boyfriend about ideas for today’s blog, and when I told him my idea he asked me what the hell I think I am–a yoga teacher or a guru? Now, I’m not a claiming to be a self-help guru, but I am most certainly a yoga teacher and throughout my years of practice I have discovered that yoga goes much deeper than physical poses. Yoga touches us physically, emotionally and spiritually. At the core of yoga it’s about uniting with the Divine, which results in living our most fulfilled, authentic and purposeful lives. So no, I ain’t no guru but I think it’s best to teach what we know, and I know that asking the Universe for what we really, truly want works. It’s not hocus pocus, it’s not magic, it is real and it works, and I’m going to tell you how. Read on, skeptics, read on.

Like many of us, there was a time in my life when I was just chugging along, struggling to even get through the day, oftentimes asking myself,”Will I ever be happy? Is this all there is?” I was bored, directionless and sad. But under that malcontent was a budding seed of awareness that was guiding me to my new life. I was practicing yoga daily, meditating and delving deeply into my spiritual practice. At the beginning of most yoga classes I took, the teacher had us sit down, get quiet and set our intention for our practice. Because I was so unhappy, the only thing that ever came to mind was “I want to be happy so bad“. When you set that seed of intention over and over again, even if it’s somewhat vague, the Universe listens. “Okay, so you want to be happy?”, the Universe asks. “Are you ready to make some serious changes? Ask and you will receive.” Fast forward a year and a half, and I can honestly say that I am happier than I have ever been. No, it didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t smooth sailing to get here, but I never gave up hope that I would and could be happy again, and slowly but surely I realized that that something bigger, something more powerful than myself was supporting me in my intention for happiness.

Maybe there is something very specific you have in mind that you want to ask for. It could be something as major as healing from a major illness, or something less serious, like better abs. The Universe listens when your intentions are clear, earnest and humble. I’m not sure the Universe will conspire to get you a Ferrari, but if somehow that Ferrari will serve the greater good then ya never know.

So how do you ask the Universe for what you want? First of all, you need to believe that you deserve what you want. Sounds simple, but when you take a deep, hard look at yourself you may find that you don’t believe you are worthy or deserving of what you desire. Many of us think it is selfish to want, that it is somehow narcissistic to crave happiness and fulfillment or even having our basic needs met. But I say that is B.S. What’s selfish is being miserable. Your misery and feelings of worthlessness leak into your work, relationships and the rest of your life, making other people around feel like crap.

Here are some steps in asking the Universe for what you want:

1. Get quiet. Find a place in your home or in nature where you will be undisturbed for at least 20 minutes, sit comfortably and close your eyes. Envision yourself happy, joyful and filled with purpose. What are you doing? Who is around you? Spenda good five minutes envisioning this scenario.

2. Write down in a journal what you saw, what you were doing and who you were with. Maybe you saw yourself writing that novel you’ve been dreaming about but telling yourself you’ll never have the time/resources/talent to do. Maybe you saw yourself blissfully in love with an “imaginary” partner. Write it down, describe that person. Describe their looks, their personality, their voice, etc. Be very specific, the Universe likes specificity. Remember though, even if what you want is vague the Universe can definitely work with that, it just might take a little more time.

3. Sit or kneel with your hands in the universal gesture of asking, with palms upturned. Your hands can be on your lap or even up in the air. I like this gesture, it symbolizes humility and reverence. When asking the Universe remember this is not a demand, it is a request. The more humble, the better. So go ahead, ask. Say it out loud. Don’t be shy, the more you speak it, the more real it becomes.

4. Once you are done asking it is time to listen. So again, get quiet and still and just listen. You may feel completely ridiculous and you may not hear a thing, but listen all the same. Chances are the booming voice of God isn’t going to come through your stereo speakers (I think that would scare the shit out of me anyway). It will probably be much more subtle, like a flash of insight, a feeling of deep knowing, or profound inspiration. Or you might not feel a damn thing but hey, you tried. And keep trying, perservere and you might be very surprised.

5. Repeat as necessary.

This is a starting place, and just like any new skill it gets easier with practice. Before you know it you’ll be asking the Universe for things left and right, and that’s when beautiful things begin to happen. By this I mean you begin to let go of control and trust that the Universe has your best interest in mind. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “When you make a decision, the Universe conspires to make it happen.” You are a co-creator with the Universe, and it is up to you to make the decision of what is is you want, and the Universe is gonna do whatever it can to help you out. Believe you deserve it (you do), be clear in your intentions, and then trust and let go. And when you do, what you thought was impossible becomes possible and real miracles occur.

Marine Corps Healing with Yoga

15 Sep

Take a look at this awesome article in Marine Corps blog The Globe on yoga for our troops. Such a beautiful way for our troops to heal from the trauma they face in combat.


Cheryl LeClair watches Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Haslett conduct yoga exercises at the Second Wind Eco Tours building in Swansboro, N.C., recently. LeClair provides free yoga and Integrative Restoration, or iRest, therapy to active-duty service members and combat veterans every Thursday evening.

 Posted: Thursday, September 15, 2011 12:00 am

When Cheryl LeClair’s husband returned home from a deployment to Afghanistan a few years back, he came back with traumatic brain injury, commonly referred to as TBI.

He didn’t get it, however, from combat. He and other Marines were conducting Marine Corps Martial Arts Program moves when his head was slammed onto the deck.

Regardless, LeClair saw the pain her husband was going through. She wanted to do something that would help her husband reduce his pharmaceutical drug intake and also help those returning from war with post-traumatic stress disorder, as well.

Already a certified yoga instructor, she heard about a yoga-related program designed to help those with PTSD, TBI and even insomnia.

The program, Integrative Restoration or iRest for short, is renamed after Yoga Nidra, which is an ancient meditative practice dating back to thousands of years ago. iRest heals the various unresolved issues, traumas, and wounds that are present in the body and mind, and is restorative in that it aids the body and mind in returning to a natural state of functioning, according to the Integrative Restoration Institute, which was created by Dr. Richard Miller.

Practiced at more than 10 military installations and Veterans Affairs hospitals in the United States, LeClair brought these services to combat veterans and all active-duty service members aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and the surrounding communities.

She began helping veterans through the Back on Track program, which is an accelerated two-week treatment program for Marines and sailors diagnosed with PTSD administered by Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune’s Mental Health Department.

For the past 15 months, she has volunteered an hour a day, five days a week. Noticing the treatment’s positive response, Marine Corps Community Service’s Semper Fit department hired her.

Only through referrals can a person receive this treatment at the hospital through the Back on Track program. Realizing this, she also wanted to help those who do not necessarily have PTSD-related issues, so she spends an hour every Thursday evening at Second Wind Eco Tours in Swansboro, N.C., to administer the therapeutic treatment to active-duty service members and other combat veterans for free.

“A few years ago, when I was instructing yoga students, a lady by the name of April Clark graduated my course,” said LeClair. “At the time, she worked for a corporation full time. I told her if she ever decided to open up a yoga studio, to let me know. A few months later, she decided to take a different career path and opened up a yoga studio and here I am. Her father is a retired Marine sergeant major, so she fully supports what I do.”

During an iRest session, LeClair will have the participants lie down on the floor and get comfortable with the use of pillows, mats and towels. From there, she guides her participants to reconnect their minds to their bodies through breathing techniques. Shortly after beginning, they are deep asleep.

“Studies have shown that one hour of this treatment is worth three to four hours of regular sleep,” said LeClair. “Here, they are able to clear their minds.”

Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Haslett, a corpsman with Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, has attended LeClair’s Thursday evening’s class for the past six months and though he does not suffer from PTSD, he said that one hour a week has made a huge impact on his life.

“This class helps me manage stress levels with my job,” said Haslett, who deployed with Combat Logistics Battalion 8 last year. “Being a corpsman, you have to deal with hundreds of Marines and this class has been a tremendous help. I am able to work with a lower stress level and I even sleep better at night.”

Cpls. Kevin Marburger and Cody Sellers are patients in the Back on Track program. Wounded from combat operations in Afghanistan last year, they have developed PTSD and insomnia and credit LeClair helping them with their sleep-related issues.

“Every time she did the iRest treatment, I would wake up so rejuvenated,” said Marburger. “I still sleep four to five hours a night, but the treatment made me a lot calmer.”

Sellers agreed.

“We all have different disabilities and she is able to adapt to that,” said Sellers. “If one guy has an arm issue and the other a knee, she keeps that in mind when she is here helping us.”

Willa Feldhaus, the Back on Track coordinator, said LeClair has been a blessing to the program and the patients love her.

“I have heard many Marines and sailors propose to her,” joked Feldhaus. “They want her around all the time so they can continue to receive the treatment continuously. All joking aside, she’s a saint and will work whenever she is needed, any time of the day.”

LeClair found a way to help others and is sticking to it as she said, “If you have a gift that is of benefit to others, use it.”

“I do this because I have so much to be thankful for,” LeClair said. “Once I saw the difficulties my husband was going through, I wanted to help out. I knew yoga was good for the mind and body and once I researched iRest, I got involved and brought it to this area. I love those who protect us and will continue to help out in any way I can.”