lotus flower

lotus flower

Wednesday, November 28, 2012



SURRENDER TO GOD...during this Holiday Season...
Rolf Gates shares his experience via these words: "...to be spiritual is to act like an adult, to take responsibility for one's actions, to manifest love in one's interactions. I often come to the mat to be comforted. I turn to God as a child to have my pain taken away. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, seeking comfort is often a necessary first step in summoning the help of a higher power to intervene in a given situation. comforted, it is then our duty to comfort. Our problem solved, it is up to us to become a part of the solution. There is nothing wrong with coming to our mats to receive. But in order for what we receive there to flourish in our lives, we must take the next step: we must share our gifts with the world.
Try this today in your own practice: As you inhale, draw life energy in. Then, as you exhale, radiate that heart energy out into the world. Both actions must be honored in our spiritual lives. We must ask for help when we need it, and we must give to others ..." 
Especially in this SEASON OF GIVING....Let us share what we have, be a ray of light in the lives of those around us, and demonstrate that we trust our God....in surrendering to God, we give our trust ...
Om shanti, om peace in this Season of being grateful, of giving, of receiving, of sharing, of caring...of trusting, of surrendering to a POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES...
Lee Ann

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Wheeling Along on this Sacred Saga called: LIFE....we need not 'reinvent the wheel'....
The 5th and final niyama is: ISVARA-PRANIDHANA, or surrender to God. This Niyama is asking us to LET GO COMPLETELY. HOW DO WE DO THIS? Yoga invites us to bring our questions to our yoga mat, again and again....to surrender our confusion, our frustration, our joys & celebrations, our grieving, our whining, our winning & losing....all of it....poured forth onto the mat. And, we're told, that our mats receive everything we bring them....
We're also reminded, quite frequently, that we are SPIRITUAL BEINGS having a HUMAN EXPERIENCE... Rolf Gates reminds us that to "be spiritual is to act like an adult, to take responsibility for one's actions, to manifest love in one's interactions..."
We come to our yoga mats to be comforted, and often simultaneously we are confronted with our demons & our angels.
What does this quote mean for me, for you, for each of us, TODAY? There seem to be an awful lot of questions, and not as many answers....and yet, we're continually invited to TRUST, and to LET GO..... How about today, this moment, is there something, some little upset, miscommunication, that we can look at honestly, and release it/surrender it to God? And then, are we willing and able to trust that it'll be okay...?
Are you ready? willing to try to LET GO, and LET GOD?
Let me know how it's going....and, I will do the same....In fact, right now, I am 'naming' something on my mind, in my head, heart & gut, that I don't want to 'carry around with me' anymore, and I'm asking for help w/ the 'load', and turning it over to a POWER GREATER THAN MYSELF.....
om shanti, om peace, om blessings,
Lee Ann

Friday, September 28, 2012

My GROWTH and EVOLUTION through TRUTH in the Practice of SELF-STUDY...

As we continue our SOJOURN, WHEELING ALONG on this SACRED JOURNEY called LIFE, I wonder how you're doing on your saga of 'studying yourself'???? 
I continue my SELF-STUDY/SVADHYAYA exploring, seeking understanding, gaining more insight into myself, my soul....
Just 2 days ago, I had another mammogram, ordered by my oncologist (breast cancer diagnosis, surgery, and radiation a few years ago). After years of these tests, I find it interesting to witness my fear (my mind's self-talk) as I approach the hospital, AGAIN, for this examination....I am aware of the 'shortness' I had w/the hospital staff going into this test (which years ago were just 'routine', and now are accompanied by tears due to the past few years' experiences....)
As I mentally 'stepped outside myself', and 'viewed my fears & tears' with the eyes of a COMPASSIONATE WITNESS, I was able to BREATHE INTO MY HEART & MY GUT, where I was FEELING THE FEARS...I allowed myself to FEEL the tears as they streamed down my face, and CONSCIOUSLY let the tightly clenched belly and the wetness on my cheeks BE. Rather than fighting these very real feelings, I FELT them; rather than stuffing the feelings, I BEGAN TO EMBRACE THEM, and even ACCEPT THEM with understanding... IN ALLOWING MYSELF to be human~to NOT HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER, I began to relax...I was able to CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE to be more patient with the technician and the secretary in the Breast Center...I was MORE PRESENT to myself, my soul...and, thus, to them and their work, their feelings...
And I see this as GROWTH...in being, in breathing, in feeling, in letting go, in accepting what is true, what is real...
Does this make sense to you? Are you willing and able to study yourself, and to see changes, growth, healing, and to be HONEST/TRUTHFUL with yourself? FOR THIS IS WHAT SVADHYAYA is all about...When we open to TRUTH, our souls are able to EVOLVE..."To grow is to change, and to have changed often, is to have grown much".
Rolf Gates, in his special book: MEDITATIONS FROM THE MAT, encourages us to practice this aspect of self-study,"...examine the level of truthfulness in our workplaces family, and friendships.
How much time do we spend in the presence of people who are telling the truth? How much do we spend with people who are not? What is it like when we hear the truth? What is it like when we do not? What fears keep us from being honest? It it true that like attracts like? Does honesty beget honesty?"
As we explore this 4th Niyama, Svadhyaya, what are we encountering, experiencing, embracing,about ourselves? Do we like what we're learning?....Self-study...hmmmmmmmmmm...
I wish you, as I do myself, much TRUTH as we WHEEL THROUGH THIS DAY, THIS WEEK, THIS....
Hari Om, Tat Sat,
In truth, in Self-study,
Lee Ann

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


As we continue on our journey, we have the opportunity to embrace the fourth NIYAMA: SVADHYAYA
The fourth Niyama, SVADHYAYA, is translated to mean: 'self-study', or 'education of the self'...
How exciting this is for each of us, on our individual journeys...TO LEARN, TO GROW, TO CHALLENGE OURSELVES, TO EMBRACE SOMETHING NEW, again & again....
We do this in a myriad of ways...as we take a new class, we RE-DISCOVER ourselves as a student again; when we pick up a new book, we explore more, and when we RE-READ an old book, we discover more...self-study is 'stepping into the river again & again, and finding new-ness, change, evolution'.
Rolf Gates, in his book MEDITATIONS FROM THE MAT, states that our yoga practice has many levels that must be understood before we can grasp its full beauty...Yoga is the practice of self-awareness. 
The traditional translations of the sutras describe two aspects of swadhyaya: the study of scriptures and the repeating of mantras as a means to commune with, and to draw closer to, your desired deity. 
Iyengar describes self-study as occurring during asana and pranayama practice as well, facilitating the dialogue between the body and the soul...even earlier in the sutras we are told that everything is a means for self-study, that we are here on earth to learn....
May your saga of self-growth continue, in all its beauty, challenges, growth, healing...

Until we meet again,
Om shanti, om self-study,
Lee Ann

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Carl Jung invites us to "Explore daily, the will of God."

...Tapas is the deep depth of the soul's inquiry within and, as Rolf Gates says, tapas is also embracing the heart of an explorer. Tapas is the willingness to work hard in practice, the desire to know oneself, and the will to be honest (satya). 

And yet, each of these virtues are predicated on the genuine desire for spiritual health. This burning zeal & desire will give us consistency. We'll have our shares of 'ups' and 'down's on this ROLLER COASTER WE CALL LIFE; days when our minds are ready and able to 'give it our all', and our bodies just DON'T, and vice versa.

As we practice being a COMPASSIONATE witness to ourselves, to our own soul's journey, to our humanness, we learn that hard, fast rules need not be held so tightly... And, we can focus on our hearts' desires to KNOW MORE, BE MORE....

We're traveling with tapas in the 'pocket of our hearts'...exploring the desire of God...as we live upon our answers to our questions, as we discover our Dharma (our reason for being, life's purpose).

Tapas helps us keep trying, consistently opening ourselves to potential, to possibilities, to miracles, to more.... and also allows us to rest on our mats in a difficult pose, surrender to savasana when our minds are too full, take a 'day off' when we're too overwhelmed... 

So often we expect more of ourselves than we do other people...

Tapas allows us to love and respect ourselves, to not be the harsh judge, but rather, the loving arms to welcome our own selves home at the end of the day...trusting in the new dawn, new beginning...tapas! Always there, awaiting our journey onward, inward....such an amazing saga, blessed with zeal, devotion, dedication, desire, intention, will, destiny...
Inhale each moment, each new experience, each breath, and exhale each judgment...

Enjoy the travels with tapas in your heart and soul!

Om shanti, Om peace, Om tapas!
Lee Ann

Monday, June 25, 2012


Wheeling along this sojourn with the sutras: our 3rd NIYAMA is: TAPAS, defined as: 'burning zeal in practice'.

If TAPAS is embraced with LOVE, then, this burning zeal to do our best, to BE our best, encompasses wonder, and gratitude, and respect~ for ourselves, as well as for others on our 'sacred journey' in this lifetime. 

So, WHERE DO WE BEGIN in manifesting this 3rd Niyama?....each "beginning" requires us to establish our BHAVANA, our INTENTION....WHAT DO I WANT? WHY? 

And then, CLEARLY SEE what is motivating me to 'get up and move into this new day? this new endeavor? this new beginning?'

Rolf Gates says: "Whenever I think of TAPAS burning away my impurities, I imagine it as the yogic equivalent of being in the fat-burning zone of exercise. I envision TAPAS burning off some of the toxins I consumed with my Chinese takeout last night. This is in fact the case. There is an aspect of our yoga practice that is simply about staying healthy. But a far more profound aspect of TAPAS is described in these lines from SIDDHARTHA, by Hermann Hesse.

"Now," he thought, "that all these transitory things have slipped away from me again, I stand once more beneath the sun, as I once stood as a small child. Nothing is mine, I know nothing, I possess nothing, I have learned nothing..." he had to smile again. Yes, his destiny was strange! he was going backwards, and now he stood empty and naked and ignorant in the world. But he did not grieve about it; no, he even felt a great desire to laugh, to laugh at himself, to laugh at this strange, foolish world."

It's interesting for me to imagine Buddha (Prince Siddhartha) saying these words...

Our yoga sadhana/practice opens us, to an energy within each of us, that reveals THOSE PEOPLE/THINGS WHICH NO LONGER SERVE US WELL...layers of gunk and junk start to fall away, and we SEE...."REAL EYES. REALIZE. REAL LIES."

This TAPAS we're speaking of, this BURNING ZEAL to BE/DO our best, assists us in relinquishing old selves, our old friends, our old patterns of behavior....and though there may be times of emptiness, inquiry, uncertainty, there are also moments of surety, of LAUGHTER EVEN, that 'things are right', 'things are as they're meant to be'...on this journey we call LIFE!

Blessings on your sojourn into this new day on your path....I'm looking forward to TRAVELLING WITH YOU AND TAPAS some more in the weeks ahead.

Om Shanti, Om Peace, Om TAPAS!
Lee Ann
Yoga Center for Healthy Living, LLC.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


As we wheel along, on our journey called 'LIFE', we discover another road to embark upon and to explore...this road is labelled: SANTOSHA, the 2nd NIYAMA....

Santosha means CONTENTMENT.....am I willing and able to embrace CONTENTMENT at this moment in my life? Am I willing to see the 'glass half full'? Am I industrious enough to make 'lemonade out of the lemons' in my day? 

ANOTHER YOGIC INVITATION: Am I choosing to SEE MIRACLES, as opposed to obstacles? Am I choosing to 'chant: 'YUM', rather than "YUCK' ? Am I able to be HAPPY, here, now? 

Again, and again, on this life's saga, we have the opportunity, the privilege, the chance AND THE CHOICE to SEE, to CHOOSE santosha, contentment.....

What are you choosing today? 

om shanti, om peace, om santosha!

Looking forward to sharing MORE, on this journey, together.....
Lee Ann

Wednesday, March 28, 2012



The 1st, of 5 Niyamas is entitled: SAUCA, or cleanliness, purity~ in our thoughts, words, and actions....So, how do we apply this Niyama to our day-to-day living, as we attempt to LIVE OUR YOGA? SAUCA.....hummmmm!

As Springtime enters our awareness in the Northern Hemisphere, many of us begin the annual process of "SPRING HOUSECLEANING"...we clean our cars, our flowerbeds & yards, our windows, our linens and rugs...washing, cleaning, shining, AND ENJOYING the results of fresh bedding, and windows....seeing more clearly through windows that were clouded over w/winter rains, sleet & snow...savoring the fruits of our labors!

Likewise, on a daily basis, we practice SAUCA with our own personal hygiene: bathing, brushing & flossing our teeth, cleaning our yoga attire & yoga mats,etc.

YES! all of the above are clear examples of LIVING THE 1ST NIYAMA of CLEANLINESS...

And yet, we know that YOGA CONTINUES TO ASK MORE of us...

How do we practice Sauca on a deeper level? By attempting to embrace the 6 MAIN KRIYAS of yoga (the main cleansing exercises for the physical body: Kapalabhati/breath of fire for the respiratory system; Trataka/candle-gazing for healthy vision; Basti/herbal enema for healthy elimination; neti/cleansing of nasal passageways; etc.). And by practicing our yoga for healthy bodies~integrating flexibility, strength and cardio; meditating to calm the vrittis (fluctuations of the mind field)....

As Nick Nolte's character in the movie: PEACEFUL WARRIOR states: "Empty the trash in your mind; the trash is anything that is keeping you from what really matters." 

So as we look at SAUCA from yet another perspective, and can continue to practice CLEANLINESS by continually releasing STINKIN' THINKIN' from our minds....striving for a more SATTVIC (pure) mental focus....letting go of toxic thoughts, that no longer serve us~ just as we launder the dirt from our clothing, our cars, our windows.....YOGA IS INVITING YOU AND ME TO 'LAUNDER THE DIRT, THE FILTH, THE NEGATIVE ENERGY' from our minds....this is a LIFETIME JOURNEY...

I don't rightly know if we ever 'ARRIVE'....it is a true SAGA for our SOULS to embrace.....are you ready? willing? able to join me on this lifetime quest?

Om shanti, om peace, om sauca on your path...one step at a time!
Blessings, Lee Ann

Thursday, February 23, 2012


We open our hearts & thoughts, souls & life's purpose to the 5th YAMA~ APARIGRAHA....non-hoarding....huummmmmmmmm!!? How does this Yama translate into MEANING, in my life at this day in time?


What is my body, mind, heart HOLDING ON TO, that NO LONGER SERVES me on this Sacred Saga?

What am I willing/able to LET GO OF right here? right now in my physical realm (annamaya kosha/physical being)? 

Is there extra clutter in my kitchen cupboards, dresser drawers, closet, garage, attic? Too much stuff? 

Better questions might be: WHY AM I HOLDING ON TO THESE THINGS? When did I last use it/them? How many of these items do I have? ...do I need? WHAT AM I WILLING TO RELEASE to Salvation Army, to others?

And PHYSICALLY, within my own body, are there physical maladies that I've been complaining about, which NO LONGER SERVE me?

What am I willing to NO LONGER HOARD? And, as I begin to let go of the pain (physical, mental, emotional), more space is created for MORE HEALTH, more MOKSHA (freedom, liberation)! Huummm!

And in my ENERGETIC BODY (pranamaya kosha/energy sheath) am I holding on to 'STINKIN' THINKIN', thoughts, ideas that NO LONGER FIT? What happens if I CHOOSE to relinquish, release these same ol' thought patterns, and EMBRACE APARIGRAHA: NON-HOARDING of that which is negative, and open myself to possibilities?

I'll never know the answers to these questions unless I LET GO...practicing NON-HOARDING CAN BE a fun adventure, allowing MIRACLES & GIFTS to GRACE this day, in lieu of attachment to things, ideas, people, the past....UNCERTAINTY is a COMPADRE of APARIGRAHA....as we LET GO, we OPEN up to: whom? what? where? why? how? when?...

LIFE is a ROLLER COASTER RIDE...again, you and I have the choice to choose grasping, hoarding, holding on to all that is familiar, or making space for something else? something better? something new?

We'll never know unless we try.... unless we LET GO...."God loves our open, empty hands."~Amy Weintraub

om shanti, om peace, om aparigraha, 
Looking forward to seeing you soon, on this SACRED SAGA called LIFE!

Blessings on your day as you invite APARIGRAHA to join you!
Lee Ann

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Listening to the WIND of our SOULS... with BRAHMACARYA

We could surely spend an entire lifetime embracing the idiosyncrasies of this 4th YAMA, on our 8 LIMB SAGA....BRAHMACARYA....

As Rolf Gates so succinctly states: Brahmacarya, or temperance, gets a very bad rap in our culture. Most of us associate moderation with repression. The hero of the story loves the fair maiden, loves her passionately, and then the repressive forces come in to wreck the day. NO ONE EVER SEEMS TO DEDICATE POEMS, SCREENPLAYS, OR ODES TO THE JOYS OF MODERATION OR THE REWARDS OF PASSIONATE BALANCE. As a species we seem unable to see the forest for the trees. Despite the staggering amount of evidence that excess destroys our dreams, there appears to be a human blind spot when it comes to the possibility that our most passionate existence might actually be accessed through balance and moderation. Once we actually start to bring BRAHMACARYA into our lives, we find that this YAMA is about truly following one's heart. We see that the chaos of immoderation brings us pain and anguish ~ and that the calm, clear energy released by moderation actually affords us the opportunity to realize all our dreams.

The moment I fall off the moderation wagon, my mind becomes consumed by the fact that I am no longer living up to my potential. My mind fills with obsessive concern; I know all too well the ways I am self-sabotaging. My heart yearns for peace. Then I wake up one morning and find that I have a made a decision. I am ready to let go of whatever it is that's consuming me. I am ready to reestablish brahmacarya in my life. I am ready to follow my heart. " I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul...."~ Cat Stevens

When we are ready, and willing, we, too, will listen to the wind of our souls.....

Are you ready to join me? Listen carefully.....

om shanti, om peace, om listen, om...................