lotus flower

lotus flower

Thursday, December 15, 2011

BALANCE in the midst of giving and LIVING...

Wheeling along this journey in our lives, we turn onto the path of the FOURTH YAMA: BRAHMACARYA, which is translated to mean: BALANCE...

WHAT A PERFECT TIME OF YEAR TO EMBRACE THE DISCIPLINE OF BALANCE IN OUR LIVES~ the planet Mercury has just gone 'direct', and we are in the midst of the Holiday Season....where we encounter frantic schedules of shopping, food prep, partying, shopping, wrapping, rushing, hurrying, shopping, driving....BALANCE in the midst of this season of 'giving'....BALANCE in the midst of LIVING...

Where do we begin? For me, the very beginning of each day starts with my meditation....sitting down, breathing mindfully, grounding myself with my mantra...and, no matter what the day holds, beginning each day with this quiet time allows me to be more present to the rest of my day. As Deepak Chopra says: "The hour one spends meditating is for the other 23 hours in the day." It sets the tone of being a little more centered in the midst of life's ROLLER COASTER RIDE....

Oftentimes, Brahmacarya is associated with sexuality, and the expectation that one should be celibate, and thus, more enlightened...Brahmacarya is not a vocation of abstinence, but rather an invitation for temperance...to temper our thoughts, our words, our actions...to strive for a healthy balance in our lives.

During this season of hustling and bustling, are we also SCHEDULING TIME for quiet, solitude, a walk with nature, a quiet talk over tea with a loved one, time to just BE? While we share festive meals and snacks and drinks with business associates, neighbors, family & friends, are we consciously choosing to prepare healthy meals for other times of day? or, even to fast from specific unhealthy foods? As we're 'booking' our visits & party plans, are we also scheduling in quiet times to enjoy the decorations we put up, the gifts we so beautifully wrapped, the lights on neighborhood houses, as we take a stroll around the block?...

The choice is ours to make: time for ourselves AND others? or, just taking care of our list of things to do? We could CHOOSE to write on our "TO DO LIST": 'time for a soak in the tub'; or 'time for my yoga practice'; or both even; YOU get to CHOOSE.
May this Holiday season be extra-special because you are GIFTING YOURSELF with balance, with peace, with something simple that 'feeds your own soul'....

Om shanti, om peace~ as you wheel through your Christmas and the Holidays and New Year's... with balance & bliss!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


In this month of November, of GIVING THANKS, it is ironic to even think about TAKING AWAY....each day of this month is an invitation to GIVE....we ask for whom, or for what am I grateful today? or, am I choosing to TAKE AWAY from myself or another, the potential JOY IN THIS MOMENT? the GIFT of this day, this challenge, this conversation, this friendship, this love?

Novelist Tom Robbins offers us the choice of a daily mantra: Do I choose " YUM" or "YUCK"~ as my mantra this moment? Do I give myself an opportunity to see and embrace miracles, or grievances?

A popular Zen proverb states: "THE OBSTACLE IS THE PATH." Am I choosing, on my yogic journey, to embrace the obstacles? the little, and the BIG obstacles...as part of my life lessons or am I stealing these simple (as well as GRAND) lessons, wishing/willing them AWAY....

Rolf Gates explains that we "no longer have to believe that if YOU win, I lose. We no longer have to defend our opinions, or anything else for that matter. We can begin to live in harmony with the flow of life. We find that we have been like salmon, who, mistaking ourselves for beaver, have vigorously set about damming the river & making lodges. Despite the fact that we find this extremely difficult without beaver teeth and beaver paws, we spend a lifetime working to create the perfect beaver pond. Then an enlightened salmon comes along and explains that the river will take us effortlessly out to the ocean~where we belong and where we will grow into our full salmonhood. We are told that the river we have spent so much energy blocking and hoarding is actually endless and will deliver us to a place of unimaginable abundance. All that is required is for us to stop blocking the flow with our misguided efforts, our misguided beliefs."

To steal, or not to steal...to be honest & truthful or not...

A choice is presented to us again and again...on our paths, what will we choose today? Right here, right now?

Blessings on your choices...on your day...on your journey...

When we meet again, let's explore the 4th YAMA ~ Brahmacarya

Om Shanti, Om Peace,
Lee Ann

Monday, October 10, 2011


CONTINUING THE JOURNEY, as we WHEEL through THIS DAY, embracing the 3rd YAMA: ASTEYA, or: nonstealing...which invites the question: HOW DO I STEAL? and immediately the response, reaction can be: I DON'T STEAL! (I don't shoplift....etc., etc.) 

And yet, YOGA, as always, gently encourages us to explore this YAMA a little more deeply, for ASTEYA is a WAKE-UP CALL...ASTEYA nudges us to recollect ALL the ways, minute & major ways, that we DO STEAL: not claiming all our income on our taxes; RE-using our 'old stickers' to transport our bikes from the mainland, to the island; NOT RETURNING borrowed items to those to whom they belong; the 'shortcuts' we take at work: arriving JUST A LITTLE LATE, LEAVING JUST A LITTLE EARLY, NOT CLEANING UP AFTER OURSELVES....and once we get THINKING ON THIS, the LIST GROWS & GROWS....

And, then, the realization that, 'HEY, MAYBE I DO 'STEAL'!!!' confronts us center stage....

Recently, while studying at the Chopra Center, another definition was introduced to me for ASTEYA: HONESTY (also: NON-STEALING)...and, I found myself reflecting on Patanjali's YOGA SUTRAS, and how the 2nd YAMA IS: SATYA, which translates in our vernacular to mean: HONESTY....and the train of thought wheels along this path: 'ALRIGHT, THEN, HONESTY IS A BIG DEAL to be emphasized in TWO of the FIVE YAMAS!'...inviting us ALL to contemplate, a little longer on HOW, WHY, WHEN, WHERE, WITH WHOM I am sharing honesty? and, again, WITH WHOM, WHAT, WHERE, WHY, and WHEN am I 'stealing'?

Rolf Gates, in his beautiful book, MEDITATIONS FROM THE MAT, slips into this discussion that ASTEYA is "our first encounter with nonattachment. When we look honestly at the ways in which we have been stealing, we come to understand that in each instance, there is an attachment to a specific result that overrides our deeper values." Because "I WANT what I want, when I want it, I can so easily JUSTIFY lying about a friend or co-worker, and STEAL and try to sully their reputation...." "It's alright for me to steal from this employer, because of an attachment to the outcome." Or, in the words of a famous cliche', THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS....and, thus, it's not so much what I do, but HOW I GO ABOUT DOING IT that is dishonest, that is stealing, that no longer allows me to LIVE YOGA...

And, again, at the end of each day, we're invited to ask ONE QUESTION: 'DID I LOVE WELL TODAY?' According to the 3rd Yama, with stealing, with honesty, the answer is very simply~very clear: I DID, or I DID NOT! ....and again, as a compassionate witness to ourselves and others, as we WHEEL through THIS DAY, I have a choice to make amends when/wherever necessary; and I can continue to rationalize my thoughts, words and actions into righteousness...

Yoga is clear. The Yamas are clear. Choose honesty/nonstealing, or not...always, ALL ways, the choices are ours, as we travel on this road in life: do I take the honest fork in the road, or not...it's my life, my choice....it's your choice, your life....we cannot control one another's choices...we are each responsible for our OWN souls...and, again, we can ask: AM I LOVING WELL, thus far, this day?

Wishing you peaceful contemplation on this journey...
Om shanti, om peace,
Lee Ann

Thursday, September 15, 2011


  • According to ayurveda, the five master elements of space, air, fire, water, and earth make up everthing in the universe, including our bodies. Biological systems weave the elements into three primary patterns known as doshas. Doshas are mind-body principles that create our mental and physical characteristics.

    Vata dosha, woven from the elements of space and air, regulates movement and change in our minds and bodies. Pitta dosha, comprised of fire and water, governs digestion and metabolism. Kapha dosha, made from earth and water, maintains and protects the integrity of our mind and body. While we each have all three doshas, most people have one predominant dosha. 
    Understanding our dosha type gives us invaluable insight into the specific steps we can take to nurture our physical health and emotional well-being.

    TAKE THE QUIZ ONLINE AT http://doshaquiz.chopra.com/

    VATA: We tend to be thin, light and quick in our thoughts and actions. Change is a constant part of our lives.
    When balanced, we are creative, enthusiastic and lively.
    When imbalanced, we may develop anxiety, insomnia or irregular digestion.

    PITTA: We tend to be muscular, smart and determined.
    When balanced, we are warm, intelligent and good leaders.
    When imbalanced, we can become critical, irritable and aggressive.

    KAPHA: We tend to have a heavier frame, think and move more leisurely and are stable.
    When balanced, we are calm, sweet and loyal.
    When imbalanced, we can gain weight, become congested and are resistant to healthy change.

    What's your dosha? And, as you continue to delve more deeply into learning more about yourself, how might you bring more health, more healing, more balance into your life at this time?
    If you'd like to discuss this topic further, just let me know...I love sharing this information...as 'WE ROLL ALONG OUR RESPECTIVE PATHS IN THIS LIFE'!
    Until we cross paths again, om shanti, om peace! ♥

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Splendor of SATYA

"Be naked in the splendor of the truth of who you are." ~Gangaji

As we continue on this SACRED JOURNEY with SATYA (and, it truly IS a continuous journey, throughout our entire lives, learning, living, re-discovering our TRUTH, SATYA, INTEGRITY, IMPECCABILITY of our word), I invite us to 're-connect' with Rolf Gates, (the author of MEDITATIONS FROM THE MAT, and the inspiration behind our Yoga Center's Blog) as he states:

"SATYA is about living our truth; it is that simple. There are as many ways to do this as there are people who practice satya, and no one can tell you how you should listen for and find the truth within yourself. It makes sense to talk things over with someone you trust, but the point of the discussion is to come closer to your truth, not to have someone relieve you of the responsibility of discerning your truth. For some of us it is a long road back to our own truth, for we live in a culture in which truth is a rare commodity. Our work environments, home lives, and friendships are often permeated with falsehood. We distrust the slogans of the media, the promises of our leaders, the testimonials of politicians, the declarations of business-people.

Many of us come from families in which appearances are more important than reality. Still others have grown up in upside-down households, in which children took care of parents or were expected to play prescribed roles in order to meet their parents' needs. Elaborate no-talk rules must be deconstructed. Old fears must be released. Habits of silence must be examined. Are we failing to speak the truth out of a desire to protect or care for others? How do we respond to information we know to be untrue? How do we get in touch with what is true and good within ourselves? The list of ways in which we have obscured the truth from ourselves and others is as endless as the suffering such obfuscation produces.

Before we begin this work, it can feel overwhelming. But we are each possessed of an inner compass. When we stand still in the wilderness and take our bearings, we are able to apprehend the truth - about ourselves and the world around us. And once we commence the of practice of SATYA,we will never want to look back. We have only our own suffering to lose. As Plato said, 'Truth is the beginning of every good thing, both in heaven and on earth; and he who would be blessed and happy should be from the first a partaker of truth, for then he can be trusted.'

Over time you will have the pleasure of watching this beautiful practice blossom in your life in a way that is honest and authentic. As you learn to speak the truth, you will learn to be true to yourself, to all that is best in you."

I look forward to savoring more of this journey with satya and you.

Until we meet again,
in Satya,
Lee Ann

Monday, June 27, 2011


In our culture today, staying in SATYA invites & invokes multiple challenges, so we need to ask ourselves: "Am I truly willing to embark upon a saga, a journey with truthfulness, honesty, integrity, impeccability of my word with myself, as well as with each person who crosses my path?" Nowhere in the Yoga Sutras is it stated that 'SATYA IS EASY'...the Sutras encourage us to LIVE OUR TRUTH, IN OUR THOUGHTS, WORDS AND ACTIONS because we'll discover more SUKHA, more 'ease', and be more peaceful, and thus share more peace with our 'world'. We stay in truth, and thus, not have to work hard to remember which 'half-truths', 'sins of omission', lies we've shared with others, as well as the lies I'm telling myself, the ways I've chosen to rationalize my actions into righteousness...

So where do we begin??? Right here, right now~ We can learn from our past experiences, mistakes, celebrations, contracts, friendships, and still not be able to CHANGE our past. We can plan for, worry about our future, yet, we are here, now....are we ready to savor this saga with Satya?

We can choose to RSVP to this YOGIC INVITATION with regrets: "With regrets, I'm just not ready for Satya."..."Nope, it's not happening for me in my world today!"..."Okay, I'll try this 'Satya stuff', but it does not apply to my relationship with my boss~no one can talk to him without....blah, blah..." "Yes, I embrace Satya, but I am not claiming this extra money I made on the side~we all know the government isn't fair anyway!" "Oh yeah, I live a yogic lifestyle, but I'm not telling this rental company the REAL date of my party, 'cuz they didn't deliver the party tent on time last year~ I'm not getting caught up in their trap again, so I'll just extend our party times with them so we don't need to worry."

Satya is satya is satya....And when we begin living in truth, sharing our truth, first within ourselves, our own minds & thoughts, and then, with others WE EMPOWER OTHERS TO DO THE SAME! Easy? Not necessarily. Yet, it becomes easier and easier to RE-EXAMINE our own thoughts, get CLEAR with our own integrity, so it flows more freely from our minds, to our mouths, to members of our family, our work relationships, and our friendships, as well as to strangers.

We open to this Saga, in our humanness, one thought, one word, one step at a time...and when we make a mistake, we own it, claim it, embrace it, learn from it, let it go~ in satya, in peace...today, RIGHT here, RIGHT NOW, how are you able to apply Satya to your thoughts, your words, your work, your love, your rationalization? It's a personal journey, yet a SAGA to be SHARED, as we wheel on into this day...breath by breath, moment by moment, truth by truth...

What stories can you share? What challenges, what changes are you experiencing?

Wishing you SATYA in SHANTI,
Truthfulness in your Peacefulness....


Wednesday, June 15, 2011



SATYA is defined as: TRUTHFULNESS, HONESTY, INTEGRITY in our thoughts and words and actions....

There is no coincidence or accident that SATYA is a strong support in this first SPOKE ON THE WHEEL, as we travel this journey of ours in life! Thousands of years ago, TRUTH, HONESTY, INTEGRITY were deemed so important in LIVING OUR YOGA, that SATYA 'made it' in the TOP TWO YAMAS....

And as we ponder the question: AM I LIVING MY YOGA? Yoga asks us: ARE YOU LIVING IN SATYA? IN TRUTHFULNESS? IN HONESTY? IN INTEGRITY with yourself and others?

Are the words I/we choose to think, speak, share HONEST? TRUE? or are they distorted to rationalize actions into righteousness?

Satya begins with me, withIN me.....am i being honest with myself? If not, how am I able to be honest with you? with others?

A helpful guide before speaking is to ask:
ARE THEY NECESSARY?...if so, then we can be more grounded in beginning a dialogue with ourselves and with others...

There is much for us to consider on this partnership with SATYA, IF WE CHOOSE TO LIVE OUR SATYA...let this day begin with a little more conscious awareness of the thoughts we CHOOSE to think, the words we choose to give life/voice to, then HOLD AN OPEN HEART to continue this journey as we LISTEN....

We're only JUST BEGINNING this exploration and understanding of SATYA~

Om Shanti, Peace on this JOURNEY INTO TRUTH....

Monday, May 23, 2011


Rolf Gates makes it very clear that without the first two LIMBS OF YOGA (YAMAS and NIYAMAS), the other six Limbs are meaningless.....and I find it so interesting that the YAMAS (moral restraints) and the NIYAMAS (moral observations) are the REAL SUPPORT and STRENGTH of this 8 Limb Path~ more vitally important than yoga ASANAS (postures), PRANAYAMA (breathing exercises), PRATYAHARA (withdrawal of the senses), DHARANA (concentration), DHYANA (meditation), SAMADHI (bliss/Union with the Divine)....Rolf implies that 'Anyone can DO yoga postures'...the real question is: DO I CHOOSE TO LIVE MY YOGA, when I walk away from my mat?

And it's even more interesting that the FIRST YAMA IS: AHIMSA~ NON-VIOLENCE in our thoughts, words, actions....on the yoga mat, am I willing to explore the asanas, and do no violence to myself: not twist TOO HARD, and yet, 'go to my edge': where I feel sensations in my body, but not pain, not violence? Is my desire to do/be MY BEST, or 'keep up' with that awesome form next to my mat? "Wow, he does a masterful 'peacock pose'! I want to do that!"...Am I conscious of 'backing off' when my hip (or shoulder or back) hurt, or is my ego mucking up AHIMSA....if I choose to push, pull, harder, deeper, so I can KEEP UP with those around me....once again, muting the 'voice within me' IS VIOLENCE TO MYSELF! So, we could be doing a nice 'asana practice, with pranayama, and concentration' but experiencing the antithesis of AHIMSA....

As we've been discussing, AHIMSA takes many forms, whether it be people practicing a vegetarian diet because they choose "not to be violent to anything with 'eyes'" (eating no meat or fish, or any variation thereof), or 'not taking up "arms" to fight', or mindfully watching the thoughts they think and the words they choose to speak....

It's easy to say: "Oh, I'm not violent~ got that yama covered~ check!"...It seems to me that this FIRST ASPECT of the FIRST SPOKE entails far more contemplation, thought, meditation, focus and effort than we realize...than we may even want to consider...too much time, too much work, too much....

It's a TRUE JOURNEY, as we wheel our way through our lives, with each twist and turn in the road, to practice ahimsa, and yet, on our journeys, as we 'wheel along', we have ample opportunities to grow, to learn, to let go, to re-learn, to PRACTICE again and again~ AHIMSA...non-violence...

We're human, beautiful in our own unique ways; we're still here on the highways, the dirt roads of our lives, because OUR WORK IS NOT YET DONE. We're learning where the potholes are in our roadways; we're learning our lessons; we're learning ahimsa, again and again...and again....

Do we choose this direction or that? This road or that? Ahimsa or not? Our choice, our journey....Wishing you a 'smooth road' as you 'wheel on through this day'~ om shanti, om peace!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Journey Continues on the FIRST SPOKE OF THE WHEEL~ AHIMSA

Namaste', and welcome to today's journey on our path in this lifetime....we continue to saga with AHIMSA, NON-VIOLENCE in our thoughts words, and deeds.....once again, easy to say....THE INVITATION is to apply this YAMA  to the conversation we had this morning with a family member, friend, loved one or foe.....are my thoughts about him/her honest, and kind, true, or "what I want to make true for myself so as to "rationalize my words and actions into righteousness"?  Is there violence in my verbiage, as well as my self-talk to my own body, mind & soul?  Is my thinking judgmental? demeaning? and is this the energy I want to put out there in my world, on my path.....again, this is applicable to myself and those in my lives....
What about my comments (or even thoughts) about a TV personality~ I may never meet them, yet, I could have a strong opinion about them....Are these opinions critical? Are they even necessary?  Asking ourselves 3 questions before we open our mouths and utter words, could help us be more aware and conscientious about violent words:
1. Is what I am thinking/saying/doing KIND?
2. Is it TRUE?

You are invited to contemplate, consider these 3 questions in the moments, the days, the encounters ahead ....invite AHIMSA to journey with you....
Until we meet again...NAMASTE'!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The FIRST SPOKE on the Wheel

As we sojourn through this JOURNEY OF OUR LIVES, via the YOGA SUTRAS, the first spoke of this wheel is labelled: THE YAMAS~ some interpret the Yamas as: MORAL RESTRAINTS.....others could put a different spin/interpretation on this spoke....which is neither here nor there...we're all talking about the same thing....this first  spoke, along with its partner, the second spoke, create the real foundation of the SUTRAS and this 8-Limb Path of Yoga.

Rolling through this moment, this day of our lives, what restraints do we put on ourselves, our morals?  What guidelines do we follow?  What boundaries do we establish for acceptable behavior, towards ourselves and others?  Just as the lines on the roadways give us directions and directives for when to pass another vehicle, or NOT pass, or speed limits around curves, etc. ...what morals and ethics do we honor?

Yoga provides us with 5  aspects of this 'spoke', and all 5 comprise the YAMAS...and the first yama is
labelled: AHIMSA, which translates from sanskrit to our vernacular as: NONVIOLENCE.....
We could immediately think: "No problem! I don't support violence!....this Sutra 'stuff' is easy!"
Yoga invites us to GO DEEPER....how am I violent in my thoughts, words and actions with myself & with others?................this OPENS UP  a whole new avenue on this saga of our lives.....
One we'll discuss in more detail in our next connection....THINK ON THIS: HOW AM I BEING VIOLENT with myself right now?  What thoughts am I repeating to myself, about myself?  What words am I choosing to use right here, right now?  THIS IS HOW this 'Journey through the 8-Limb class' begins...and continues...as we roll through our lives....NAMASTE'!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


The Yoga Sutras provide us with a recipe for living, right here, right now!  Patanjali provides us with the the 8 LIMB PATH OF YOGA, and each limb can be 'likened' to a spoke on a wheel....when all 8 spokes/limbs are functioning well, we 'ROLL MORE SMOOTHLY THROUGH OUR DAY/OUR LIVES', and when there is stress, weakness, the wheel of our lives hits the potholes on the road, the bumps, twists, turns, roadblocks in our relationships, discontentment with our decisions, upset when things don't go our way.....and the GREAT PART OF THIS JOURNEY THROUGH OUR LIVES is: learning our lessons, growing from an unfortunate experience, embracing our fears, letting go of our past, trusting in our precious  present moments as well as our futures....it can sound and seem overwhelming, yet, if we take the wheel of our own life, and explore each spoke of the wheel, one at a time, we establish strength, support, stability.....and, we learn flexibility, open-mindedness & open-heartedness....bit by bit, one roll of our wheel at a time.

 In our next blog, let's look at the first spoke of our individual wheels...and grow more familiar and comfortable with this spoke....NAMASTE'!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

All the wonders you seek ~ are within yourself

A wise man, a sage, Patanjali, wrote the YOGA SUTRAS, which are 'THREADS' that tie together/unite
ways to live our lives more peacefully.... these Sutras were written between 500-200 B.C.  His words of wisdom are the basis, the foundation of a healthy, balanced yogic lifestyle and the foundation on which YOGA IS BUILT.... He provides us with 196 succinct lessons on our human nature, how to actualize our potential, very simple, clear-cut guidelines on how to live our lives more fully.

I LOVE that he reminds us of something we so often forget: everything that we need, in this lifetime, we already possess....yet we spend so much, too much time, looking outside of ourselves to find peace, happiness, joy.... We're reminded by the music group America, that "Oz never did give nothin' to the Tin Man, that he didn't already have.....", and by Rolf Gates: "Dorothy, having travelled across time time and space to the land of Oz, and having struggled separately to find her way back to Kansas, discovers that she could have gone home at any time...."

Yoga helps us remember, each time we come to our mat, that each in breath can bring us peace, and each out breath can release stress, fear, heartache....if we choose....the CHOICE IS ALWAYS, ALL WAYS OURS...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Eight-Limb Path of Yoga

Welcome!.....and, thus the journey begins....continues.....as I reread, again & again, Rolf Gates' book Meditations from the Mat, I choose to sojourn with his words of wisdom in our Blog...Rolf states: "...Yoga seems to be the West's new remedy...yet this remedy is in fact over five thousand years old~far older than Islam, even older than Christianity....so we ask: Why yoga? Why now?"

I agree with him, our desire to embrace yoga is a testimony to our growth and readiness for change.....another famous author says: " To grow is to change, and to have changed often is to have grown much."....We, as a people, are ready to change, to renew, rebuild ourselves, our lives...and yoga provides a simple template for this journey~ to JUST BE......to BREATHE.....to listen to the heart....to come to the yoga mat and feel, not only the muscles in the body, but also the muscles in the mind~expand, open, let go, release, cry & laugh....to allow the heart to feel....and to hear....to answer, or LIVE UPON THE ANSWERS to 3 SOUL QUESTIONS:
1. WHO AM I?
3. WHAT'S MY DHARMA (What are the unique gifts and talents I've been given to help myself & others?)