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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





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.