Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hatha Yoga Center Tribute Video

"A sweet short tribute documentary my fellow yoga student and teacher Nicole Perriella made last year when our beloved Hatha Yoga Center was forced to move after 32 years of operating in the oldest church in the University District. The video features my teachers Bob Smith and Ki Mcgraw, as well as myself and other students and teachers discussing the history of the HYC and what it has meant to us. I am so fortunate to have walked in that one evening for class many years changed my life."
-Chris List, author of

For more information about classes at the Hatha Yoga Center click here.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Ayurvedic Apothecary

As I dive deeper into the world of Ayurveda, I'm constantly discovering other amazing Ayurvedic practitioners and yoga teachers.  This alternative approach to health attracts many creative, interesting and talented people.  Cue Sarah Louisignau.

Sarah is the founder and developer of Ayurvedic Apothecary.  I discovered her by reading her blog post about How 12 Design Principles of Permaculture Apply to the Business of Yoga and Ayurveda.  Sarah is a master of finding links between her various interests.  By combining her passions for Ayurveda and Aromatherapy, she creates a beautiful line of oils designed to balance the 3 doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha).  I knew I had to try them!  When the package arrived in the mail, the little bottles reminded me more of precious perfumes than the big bottles of Ayurvedic oil I usually buy.  These bottles are about the size of a lipstick tube and easily fit in a purse.

My favorite is the Vata blend because of its musky and sweet/spicy smell.  It's intense at first, but the scent evolves and becomes more subtle within a few minutes.  The best part about these oils is that they are working to balance your body.  She uses base oils that are tridoshic and nutritional for the skin, without the use of any alcohol.  Sarah explains further:

"For example: Clove Bud Oil is known for it's carminative and it's analgesic properties - so by putting this oil in my Vata blend, I help the person using it medicinally with the prevention of flatulence and with mild pain relief in achy dry joints.  Ayurvedicly, it is warming and sweet, which will take the chill out of the Vata body and add an aphrodisiac quality to ease anxiety!"

Since Autumn is Vata season, now is the perfect time to start using this oil.  I even took Vata blend on the plane with me during my trip to India.  The roller tip makes application easy and mess-free.  It's fun to experiment and play, applying them to the third eye, neck, wrists, inner elbows, back of the knees and even feet soles.  Soon Sarah will be launching a new line of body massage oils, designed for daily Abhyanga massage, and for massage therapists working with Ayurveda. 

In addition to teaching yoga retreats and running her business, Sarah recently became part Yoga Prosperity Program as a Program Host and Yoga Business Coach.  Her unique passions include pelvic empowerment through yoga, Ayurveda, the fusion of yoga and paddleboarding, acro yoga and asana as a therapeutic tool for athletes.  To learn more about Sarah and Ayuvedic Apothecary, visit

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Greatest Teacher

Sometimes an injury is your soul speaking through your body.  This has been the case for me.  Over the last 9 months, I have been experiencing swelling in my right knee.  There was no big pop, no accident, no obvious moment of injury.  This is common for inflammation problems.  They creep up on you quietly and kick you in the ass.  Or the knee.

I am dedicated to natural health and nurturing self-care.  This knee has sent me to the orthopedic surgeon, rheumatoid arthritis doctor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, naturopath, counselor, physical therapist, yoga teacher and back again.  Now I see that my true healing began in India when I finally learned what it means to rest.

Who doesn't want to rest?  Well, me apparently.  It wasn't that I didn't want to rest my knee.  It was more like I didn't know how to give myself permission to rest.  An active mind and an active body always keep me moving, working, doing chores, errands and exercising.  Like many American woman, I had been brainwashed into thinking that if I wasn't running or doing the elliptical or squatting or box jumping or sweating then I would get fat.  No matter how balanced or centered I think I am, the desire to maintain a slim figure outweighed what my body was really craving.  I'm so grateful that I am finally heeding the call.

When I was at Ayurvedagram in India, my doctors told me not to walk too much.  This meant that I only walked to meals, treatments and to the yoga room.  Yoga class was not cracked-out, hot ashtanga flow.  This was therapeutic yoga.  Sometimes we didn't even stand up during the entire class.  My ego got out of my way by day 2 or 3, and I just embraced the slow pace, movement repetitions and focused on my breath.  Mohanty, our wonderful teacher, would sing, "Inhaaaaaaaaaale. Exhaaaaaaaaaale."  His style was calm, focused and careful.  At one point he said, "If you can't do the pose, that's fine.  But if you can't relax during the pose, that's a big problem."  We weren't in class to sweat and get a hard workout.  We were there to loosen up, stretch our muscles and ultimately, relax.

These days instead of trying to squeeze in a workout after work, I put my legs up the wall and breathe.  This gentle inversion has great effects on my body and mind.  My job is very active, and I let that "count" as exercise sometimes.  My yoga practice has never been more rewarding now that I'm letting me body tell me what it needs each day.  The concept of rest is finally sinking in.  It's not only good sleep, but choosing conscious rest while awake.  I'm grateful for my knee and the way it's teaching me how to truly rest.