lotus flower

lotus flower

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Law of Least Effort

In the midst of our Holiday Season, celebrations & stressors, consider the 4TH LAW OF YOGA:
The Law of least Effort (based on the Chopra Center's 21 Days of Inspiration) and the book by David Simon and Deepak Chopra:
At a deep level, everything is always unfolding perfectly. You don't have to struggle or force situations to go your way. Whe you become still & listen to the voice of your inner intellegence, fears, and insecurities will dissipate & you will flow with grace.
"Balance is the perfect state of still water. Let that be our model. It remains quiet within and is not disturbed on the surface." ~ Confucious
Balance is our ability to be flexible in the face of constant change, it isn't about struggling to impose a sense of order in our life or getting organizied "once and for all", for that implies the pursuit of a static state that can actually lead to distress or illness.
Working hard to achieve balance is counterproductive because we all possess a natural impulse to row that automatically keeps us in balance. We can, however, hinder or block this impulse by making choices that create a lot of resistance or stress in our lives. If we live out of harmony long enough, we're likely to develop various illness or disorders.
Ayurveda teaches that the path to perfect health is learning to maintain balance, in the mind and soul as well as in the body. In our fast-paced world, it's easy to become severely out of balance if we don't pay attention to what we're feeling, and what we need. Fortunately, there are many wonderful tools for developing balance, including meditation, yoga, a nurturing diet, and a restful sleep routine.
Take a few minutes today to consider where you're out of balance and how you can restore your natural equilibrium.
Om shanti, om peace, om love, this holy season...Lee Ann

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Law of Karma (or Cause & Effect)

  • The 3rd Spiritual Law of Yoga, based upon Deepak Chopra's and David Simon's book:
    The Law of Karma (or Cause & Effect)
    Our future is created from choices we make in every moment. The more we make choices from the level of conscious awareness, the more we will make spontaneous choices that are beneficial for ourselves and everyone around us.
    The legend of the magical phoenix is about a beautiful, mythical bird that rises from the ashes, purified and rejuvenated from the fire, ready to begin life with a fresh perspective.
    What does this mean to us? Perhaps that rejuvenation begins with a willingness to metaphorically step into the fire and shed the old - to purify routines that no longer serve our best interests and adopt the new.
    As creatures of habit, we may find change difficult. However, the rewards for jumping into the fire of purification are many. If we begin with small steps, we will find that we can build on each success as we add others.

    Begin by choosing just one practice, and then commit to incorporating it into daily living. If we don't meditate on a regular basis, we may want to choose meditation, for example. Or yoga....Slowly take other positive steps: pick a week to commit to a simplified cleansing diet, treat yourself to a monthly massage or a regular yoga practice.

  • As Ayurveda teaches, when we quiet our minds and listen to the wisdom of the body, it will tell us what we need to know. Tune into your innate knowing today and let it guide you.
    (Info gathered from the Chopra Center's 21 Days of Inspiration)
    om shanti, om peace, om healing journey,
    Lee Ann

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


THE 2ND SPIRITUAL LAW OF YOGA, based upon the book by Deepak Chopra and David Simon & the Chopra Center 21 Days of Inspiration:
THE LAW OF GIVING AND RECEIVING~ such perfect balance, giving & receiving, breathing in oxygen from our plant kingdom and breathing out carbon dioxide to/for our plant kingdom~ such a beautiful example of GIVING & RECEIVING in LIFE!
"When you can give fully of yourself, while being detached from an outcome or expectation of being given to in return, you open yourself to the full abundance and love of the universe."
"I find that the more willing I am to be grateful for the small things in life, the bigger stuff just seems to show up from unexpected sources, and I am constantly looking forward to each day with all the surprises that keep coming my way." ~ Louise Hay
"Since ancient times, philosophers and sages from every spiritual tradition have taught that the key to experiencing deeper levels of happiness, fulfillment, and well being is cultivating gratitude. One of the earliest advocates of a daily gratitude practice was Dutch philosopher Rabbi Baruch Spinoza. In the seventeenth century, he suggested that each day for a month, we ask ourselves the following three questions:
1. Who or what inspired me today?
2. What brought me happiness today?
3. What brought me comfort and deep peace today?
This practice, wrote Spinoza, would help us find more meaning and joy in our lives and would lead to profound inner transformation. When our attention is focused on appreciation, the ego moves out of the way.
Throughout the day, notice the many things for which you are grateful...nurturing relationships, material comforts, the body that allows you to experience the world, the mind that allows you to really understand yourself, and your essential spiritual nature. Breathe, pause, and be grateful for the air that is filling your lungs and making your life possible."
For whom, for what, are you grateful, today?
om shanti, om gratitude,
Lee Ann

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Law of Pure Potentiality

Based upon the book: 7 SPIRITUAL LAWS OF YOGA, and the CHOPRA CENTER'S 21 Days of Inspiration:
Let us begin with our 1ST SPIRITUAL LAW OF YOGA: The Law of Pure Potentiality~ Our essential nature is pure consciousness, unlimited by space or time. We each possess all of the qualities inherent in this realm, including infinite creativity, unbounded love, pure silence, overflowing bliss, and deep peace. At our core, we are pure potentiality.
In California some of the world's most ancient trees live~ the giant sequoias. The oldest known sequoia, estimated to be about 3,500 yrs. old, was only a seedling when the Vedic wisdom texts were being composed, and became a mature tree long before the Buddha was born, the Bhagavad Gita was written, and Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
What is the secret of the sequoias' incredible longevity? The elemental power of agni, the Sanskrit word for fire. Periodic forest fires clear away everything that threatens the trees' survival while ensuring their growth and regeneration. Without the fire's heat, the sequoia cones couldn't open and release their seeds. Without the clearing force of fire, sequoia seedlings would be overcrowded by competing shade trees and not have enough sunlight to grow.
Today let's celebrate the transformational fire in our body and life. Agni burns away physical, mental, and emotional debris, making room for something new to be born in our life.
What small step can you take today to release what's no longer serving you, opening the space for more light, energy, and joy? ...For your pure potential?
om shanti, om agni,
Lee Ann

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


  • Samadhi, the eighth and final limb, as Rolf Gates states, is the experience of ecstatic oneness.  

    In and of itself it is, for most of us, simply a pleasant reality, like a good blueberry muffin. The lesson of SAMADHI, however, is that it can be reached only through self-forgetting, and that lesson can be applied in all things.  

    As I type these words, my life is taken up with helping my aging parents, my own family of 3 grown children, a husband I dearly love, and my black lab, teaching yoga classes, preparing for my Paddleboard yoga class, Meditation, Reiki, RYT200 workshops, striving to keep our home and yard and yoga studio clean & inviting....sometimes I feel overwhelmed with my 'LIST OF THINGS TO DO'...and I forget that "I am a spiritual being having a human experience", as I run about as a 'HUMAN DOing'...

    When I surrender to God, my angels/guides, when I remember to BREATHE INTO EACH MOMENT, EACH TASK, I remember to LET GO, to TRUST, to look at each person in my classes, in my home, in my work & my play and truly SEE the eyes of Christ...each moment I am (and YOU ARE) invited to love as Christ loved, as Buddha loved...it's a choice, isn't it?  

    Again, and again....we get to CHOOSE SAMADHI...or, not...
    om shanti, om peace, om love, om laughter, om SAMADHI,
    Lee Ann

Friday, June 14, 2013

EMBRACING the 7th LIMB OF YOGA: DHYANA~ meditation...

WHEELING ALONG OUR PATHS, on this SACRED SAGA, we embrace the 7th LIMB OF YOGA: DHYANA~ meditation...
"In DHYANA, psychological and chronological time come to a standstill as the mind observes its own behavior. The intensity of attention in the field of consciousness neither alters nor wavers, remaining as stable, smooth, and constant as oil pouring from a jug. Maintaining the same intensity of awareness, the attentive awareness moves from one-pointed concentration to no pointed attentiveness...in DHYANA the empahsis is on the maintenance of a steady and profound contemplative observation." -B.K.S.Iyengar
As we continue to utilize Rolf Gates' book MEDITATIONS FROM THE MAT, as a guideline along this 8 LIMB PATH of YOGA, he states that: "It is important to understand that DHARANA and DHYANA are skills we can cultivate. In fact, the eight-limb path itself and the names given these states of mind were established long after the fact. The YOGA SUTRAS are simply describing experiences that human beings had already been having for centuries. The point of understanding the difference between DHARANA and DHYANA is that our understanding can inform the way we approach any endeavor.
Think of DHARANA and DHYANA as aspects of the anatomy of excellence in action. Equipped with a model of how we and others have achieved excellence, we can better prepare ourselves to live our dreams. DHYANA is that profound place that sports psychologists call "the zone." It is that place where the musician and her instrument disappear and there is only the music; the timeless place in which the public speaker no longer speaks from knowledge but from an unerring sense of the moment. Through fearlessness and dedication we leave behind the everyday impediments and enter the realm of pure energy...unerring right action. All of us have the capacity to live from this place if we practice.
We've so often heard the famous yogic quote: "YOGA IS 99% PRACTICE AND 1% THEORY."....So, let's take a deep breath, and go practice...practice BREATHING INTO THIS MOMENT, NOW...practice CONCENTRATING ON THIS BREATH, NOW...practice MEDITATING wherever we find ourselves right HERE, RIGHT NOW...practice~again & again...
om shanti, om love, om practice...
om peace,
Lee Ann

Friday, May 24, 2013

Wheelin' Along our Path with the 6th Limb: DHARANA/CONCENTRATION

As we ADD THIS 6TH SPOKE TO OUR WHEEL, a SUPPORT for this JOURNEY in our lives, we consider this 6th Limb of Yoga~ Concentration...
As Rolf Gates shares: "We learn to bring our attention to one point, and train our minds to stay there. The point of concentration can be external, as in asana, or it can be internal, as in meditation.
On the mat we experience DHARANA quite often, during those moments when we lose track of time, when our mids become so absorbed in the physical experience of a posture that we are no longer connected to everyday concerns. In dharana, the past and the future have dissolved and we are simply existing in the NOW...
When we are doing something we truly love, we connot help but give ourselves to it wholeheartedly. DHARANA, therefore, is a by-product of love. In the clarity of a focused mind, we find that timeless place where we connect with our soul...
In baseball, pitchers are told, 'Throw the ball, don't aim it.' This is a good example of the difference between knowledge and the knowing that is beyond knowledge. To aim the ball is to come from a place of knowledge, of trying to control events. To throw the ball is to let go into the flow of the moment, to trust events and your place in them. To aim the ball is to affirm your separateness; to throw the ball is to affirm your connectedness. In aiming there is much mental chatter; in throwing there is no sound; there does not need to be.
The regularity of asana and meditation practice provides us with the chance to see both forms of activity for what they are. We can think about a posture or we can embody it fully, without reservation. We can sit in meditation at war with ourselves, trying to stay with the breath, or we can surrender and soften into stillness...
DHARANA is throwing the ball. It is the quiet that occurs when we flow into a posture or let go into meditation. It is the mind pouring itself like water into a moment. It is the stillness that is beyond knowledge.
Lee Ann

Monday, April 22, 2013


With ALL THE RAIN we've received this April in Michigan, our WHEELING ALONG our paths has often revealed BUMPS & LUMPS in/on the roads, huge puddles, mud & muck...and, OH, THE BEAUTY OF SPRING buds, the sounds of new life & birds, the richness of the sun's rays through tree branches, the quiet after the thunderstorms...and we truly need the next SPOKE OF OUR WHEEL:
PRATYAHARA=TURNING INWARD...sometimes described as: "Withdrawal of the senses"~ Simply closing our eyes, is a beautiful beginning in the practice of PRATYAHARA...eliminating the external, visual stimuli of that person walking into yoga class, the red convertible driving by the window, the gray storm clouds gathering in the sky, the dog's sad face after her surgery...as we close our eyes, the myriad distractions=which lead to more thoughts= diminish...
And what happens if we turn off, or choose to walk away from our phones...allowing the sense of hearing to take in no TV, no repetitive news stories of the travesty of Boston's Marathon, no IPOD music, no conversation...just for 5 minutes~allowing the SOUNDS OF SILENCE, of NATURE to be ALL we embrace...WITHDRAWAL OF THE SENSES...
Pratyahara INVITES us to JUST BE...to sit & breathe, to close our eyes, and open our minds & hearts to THIS MOMENT, HERE, NOW...to let go of our external seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling...and go within...THIS JOURNEY INWARD can last moments...and reveal so much ... dare we explore this 5th LIMB OF YOGA?
om shanti, om peace, om love,
Lee Ann

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


As we continue this SACRED SAGA on our Life's Journey, we discover in the Yoga Sutras the 4th Limb: PRANAYAMA, defined:
You and I KNOW that without breath, we have NO LIFE, and yoga utilizes the breath to infuse more meaning, more depth & breadth into our beings in each PRESENT MOMENT. As Rolf Gates states, "Standing at the crossroads between asana and the purely contemplative aspects of the eight-limb path, PRANAYAMA encompasses both the physical and the contemplative.
The science of yogic breathing trains the mind in one-pointed concentration while radically improving our ability to accrue, store, regulate, and use the energy we receive from the air we breathe. Utilizing physical technique, we begin our journey into the metaphysical.
The wording of the Yoga Sutras on pranayama is quite easy to follow. To begin, simply do what you have already been doing. Pay attention to your breath while practicing asana. your breath should be calm and deliberate, but flowing without force or effort. Breathing in and out through the nose, let there be a pause after the inhalation, and a pause after the exhalation. If this becomes difficult, just stop and breathe freely. Begin again when it is possible to do so without difficulty. Observe the effect this measured breathing has on your physical and emotional experience. Follow the ebb and flow of your attention.
Pranayama and asana, energy and matter.
Om shanti, om peace, om breathe deeply....and LET GO!
Love, Lee Ann

Wednesday, January 30, 2013



The 3rd Limb/3rd SPOKE OF THE WHEEL is: ASANA (yoga poses,postures)
So many of us FIRST COME TO YOGA for more flexibility....and YOGA'S very subtle ways & means 'catches us' coming back FOR MORE THAN WORKING THE FLEXIBILITIES in our spinal vertebrae and discs....the ASANA are the GATEWAYS to the mind, the heart and the soul.....
We do a FORWARD FOLD/bend (i.e Paschimothanasana) and not only stretch the spine, low back, hamstrings, knee ligaments, calves, Achilles....WE ALSO MASSAGE THE ABDOMINAL VISCERA, as well as our 'emotional chakra'/Manipura....
So many times, students come up to me after class and say: "Why am I crying?" "What's going on with me? ~these tears running down my face are inexplicable!"...Yoga provides a very healthy release of MORE THAN MUSCLES, TENDONS, LIGAMENTS, FASCIA...emotions that have been 'stored' in our head, our heart, our gut are massaged, and released...just as tight muscles release tension and tiredness, as they relax into resistance, and melt away stress....
We often find that the ASANA get us on the mat, to stretch, to breathe, to open & awaken locked shoulders & hips...and subliminally we unlock the protective bindings of our hearts...we open to MORE LAUGHTER, forgiveness, loving kindness/compassion, as we stretch into our thoracic cavities; we stretch into more open-mindedness, and relinquish more judgment; we release muscle tension and awaken to healing our wounded hearts & souls...
I invite you to join me, RIGHT NOW, and do a SEATED FORWARD FOLD/BEND, sustaining the asana for 5-8 breaths....and follow it with a gentle backbend / heart opener (i.e. inverted table, cobra, bow or wheel), and SEAL THE DEAL with a spinal twist....
and now, let your HEART SING, your spine DANCE, your face SMILE 
Om Shanti, om peace, om love, om laughter