Friday, December 17, 2010

A decent and kind man - his name is Mr.Narayanan Krishnan.mp4

Inspired? What can we give? How do we take our practice off the mat and out into the world?

Love, Amy

Invincible Summer

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer ~ Albert Camus

Turning the Yoga Corner

Yoga student, Michelle, shared her thoughts on what it's like to start stick with a yoga practice . . . . .

Turning the Yoga Corner…

There are a lot of positions in yoga, but I’ll bet you have never heard of the “yoga corner”. I began taking yoga classes from Serenity yoga from instructor Erin and I must say that even though I knew that yoga was difficult, it was even more so than I thought. I found that for myself I had high expectations of being able to step in and be able to do it with ease, but that was not the case! I didn’t really enjoy it…I could do it mostly, but not in a way that felt fulfilling. I continued to take classes 2-3 times per week, as I had signed up for the new member special for a two month period and I had promised a friend to accompany her to these classes. So, I wasn’t thrilled to keep going, but I had agreed…so, it happened on a Wednesday; my yoga buddy hadn’t been able to come to class but I came anyway and we had a visitor to the class. That day it was just he and I and Erin must have felt a need to challenge this male person, so it was an intense yoga practice of one-arm planks and downward dogs and what I found that day was that I could do it and I loved it!
It took about 5 weeks (I’m probably slower than some), but I finally got to a point where I felt challenged, but able to engage in the positions in a way that was fulfilling and in effect, I turned the yoga corner.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Phillip Askew & Lydia Walker - Variations On Surya Namaskara (Music by J...

I'm not very tech savvy but trying to share an amazingly beautiful video called Variations on Surya Namaskara. In awe!
Enjoy~ Amy

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


All we have to do is observe the world around us and we see interconnection…The food chain, the environment, even planetary orbit, all have observable, though sometimes subtle, connection between each moving part of the system…And just as each part relays on every other part to sustain balance, so does the whole community, the whole system, relay on the individual to play its part.

Not only are these vast connections observable in the outside world, but also in ourselves. Interconnection is the very reason our complex body organism functions as a person…The digestive track, the circulatory system and the nervous system working together to foster life.

Just as unfathomable numbers of atoms swirl around inside us, so do unfathomable amounts of star and plants swirl around the universe. When you take the time to connect with that vast inner universe, you connect with the vast system of life, inner and outer. And when you connect with another human being it is as if two universes collide, and merge, and become one. And when you dwell in that connection you realize that on a bigger scale there is not two, but there was only one vast universe all along…inner and outer…me and you…him and her…interconnection…one.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

What would it be like to just pause, soften and breathe right now?

(ok, I'm going to do it, too)



"Yoga is the way of moving into stillness to experience the truth of who you are." ~ Erich Schiffman

So what is the truth of who we really are? Is it LOVE?

Shanti ~ Amy

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Sound when stretched is music.

Movement when stretched is dance.

Mind when stretched is meditation.

Life when stretched is celebration.

~ Ravi Shankar

Love this quote- enjoy! Amy

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman
We are past the full moon a few days now, and summer has swelled to its peak and now will start to wind down toward the cooling of autumn. In taking a cue from nature's rhythms of expansion and contraction; we may have noticed a swell of energy at the time of the full moon or embraced the heat of summer in August (work with me on this Northwest folks!). Seeds planted long ago are in full bloom and summer fruits are ripe and juicy. The tides of the oceans respond to the pull of the full moon to become fuller and stronger. In my yoga practice, I can also explore these rhythms thought setting an intention in a posture, feeling the height of energy/fullest expression in a posture, and then letting it all go. In this way, I have become more and more tuned into the rhythms of energy in my own life: planting seeds of intention, cultivating those intentions, then harnessing the best of what blossoms from those intentions (for those Yogis playing along at home . . . don't miss the the analogy of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva). Right now, I'm letting go of a full summer of travel and exciting projects to get ready for the routines of my graduate school beginning again and my children heading back to school. The fruition of our intentions, just like full moon energy or the height of summer, is an opportunity to harvest what serves us; recycle the rest; and surrender to the next phase of energy. Non-attachment can facilitate a peaceful transition toward the cool days of autumn or dark skies of a waning moon. Moreover, releasing resistance to moving into the quiet stages of energy cycles helps us clear out space for a fuller, brighter blossoming of our intentions next cycle around. Trees don't hold onto to the leaves of summer once they've served their purpose and become brown, for example. They release them without drama and quietly wait for the new buds. ~ Lovingly Namaste, Amy

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Letting Go

Yoga is always about letting go, it is never about holding on. There is a relief in letting go of old ideas and habits that no longer serve us. But there is also fear and doubt because at one point these thoughts and patterns served a purpose…at some level they helped us operate…and we are not quite sure how to operate without them…or how to go about acting and thinking in a different way. But the HOW will come. The HOW is our PATH and like all things is learned through practice. The first step is the willingness to let go of the past…to step off the old familiar path and step onto a new path that leads to a place not yet explored. We will stumble on this path. But “by [our] stumbling, the world is perfected” (Sri Aurobindo).

-Bryan Michel

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"Making sexy with yoga!"

Selamat pagi! (good morning in Indonesian)

a rainy day in Ubud so we didn't go to the elephant park today. And I am off from yoga as well. Alex and I are enjoying the beauty and serenity of this enchanting island. I love waking early to the busy activities of the surrounding rice fields ( right now buzzing with biannual rice planting ). My son and I walk into the village and I sneak in an refreshing practice of sun salutations on my terrace. Yesterday we visited the bird and reptile parks.

A funny little story from yesterday: a motor bike taxi dropped me part way to the yoga studio in Sayan village. I told the driver that I was going to walk to yoga. He smiled and said, "making sexy with yoga!!" w
pretty catchy, huh? Could be my new marketing slogan. : )

I'm looking forward to more yoga, pranayama and meditation in the morning o
verlooking the Ayung River valley with my beloved teachers.

Love to all from Bali! Amy

Sneaky Ego...

At some point, we get to a place in our practice or our lives that makes us terribly uncomfortable.
What does it mean to be uncomfortable? Especially within that moment specifically? It must mean that we have SOME sort of expectation about our present moment.

could that be one of the seven deadly yogi sins if there were such a thing? I imagine many enlightened beings would call "expectation" the perfect example of the PAST EXERTING ITSELF ON THE PRESENT.

So what would it mean to let go of an expectation? Woah man, that could be a big deal...
Because it's not as if we can't and shouldn't learn from the past, right? We figure out that if we lean a little too far we might fall over, lean a little to hard on someone else, and they might fall over.
So again...if we let go of expectation, how does that mean we live?
In every next moment as if it were an entirely new experience? I don't know. Maybe exploring how expectations are created within ourselves will help answer the question -

This is how I broke down my formula for expectation:

LAST TIME, "A" happened. And it was AWESOME...or CRAPPY.

but check out these words for a second...
"Awesome" and "Crappy" are judgements - but who's judging?
"I believe," and "it should" - whoa whoa whoa- who's talking here???

ahh...and so the ego shows herself...

She's sneaky.

If we lived without discomfort, would our egos ever be challenged?
If ego were never challenged, she would rule our minds and keep us unconscious forever.

SO. As we move into challenge and possible discomfort in our lives/practice, notice WHO is uncomfortable. Is it that sneaky, saucy ego?
Name it
Release it
Recycle it
It has no hold on you.
It can only teach you.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sweet Summer Quote

. . . you know the sprout is hidden inside the seed.

We are all struggling; none of us has gone far.

Let your arrogance go, and look around inside.

The blue sky opens out farther and farther,

the daily sense of failure goes away,

the damage I have done to myself fades,

a million suns come forward with light,

when I sit firmly in that world.

translated by Robert Bly

enjoy! Amy

Island Time

I got back last night from two days on Orcas Island: just one of the beautiful islands I've visited this year. In a week and a half, I'll be off to the fabulous island of Bali. Although these islands are very different, they both allow a visitor to slow down to island time. Whether it's the Caribbean, Hawaii, Asia or somewhere closer to home; island locals around the world seem to live at their own relaxed pace (ok, I have to wonder if it has something to with the geography. Maybe we can sense the finite borders of islands which facilitates that "nowhere to go" feeling?) The first few days on island time can be an adjustment as well as an invitation to leave our agendas at the door. I might find myself impatiently wondering when the food will arrive at a restaurant or wanting the car ahead to speed up (for Pete's sake!). What perfect opportunities to witness the hurried speed with which I usually move through my day and start to slow down! This morning in class, I invited students to practice on "island time": no hurry, no agenda. On our little yoga islands (mats) we opened to pausing, softening and breathing even through the most challenging postures. Even when moving; we can access the spaciousness of our beings, quiet our wild-horse minds and rest into the parasympathetic nervous system. Why not be on island time ALL THE TIME?

~ ALOHA! Love, Amy

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Freedom Starts Within

Freedom quotes a plenty!

Only in the state of love will the beautiful, fragrant flower of freedom and supreme bliss unfold its petals and bloom. - Ammachi

Freedom is never out of fear; freedom is out of great awareness. - Osho

Give me freedom to sing without an echo. Give me freedom to fly without a shadow and to love without leaving traces. - Irina Tweedle

Freedom does not mean being able to say or do anything you want. You experience real freedom and happiness when you are no longer enslaved to those charms, attractions and temptations that conflict with your inner wisdom and bring you pain. - Leonard Pernulter

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Yoga Teachers- They're Just Like Us!

"You have to remind yourself that there's a part of you that's never been touched by trauma." -Neal Pollack ( Yoga Journal, August 2010, pp. 101)
I found this quote comforting, and it resonated with me as a reason I practice and teach yoga. I'm a yoga teacher, but I'm also traveling the yogic path with life challenges, struggles and traumas just like my students (and everyone else on the planet). Sometimes I'm overwhelmed, sad, mad, etc., and yoga is a tool to reconnect to that place of unwavering depths of peace within: that place of infinite, spacious awareness that is always available and untouched by trauma. When I am in pain, often that part of myself seems unreachable; but again and again yoga is the vehicle which allows me dissolve the layers that make me feel separate to return there. So, my truest intention in my teaching is to share the tools I utilize and lovingly pass them along.
Solstice Blessings ~ Amy

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Triadic Heart of Siva

My chosen quote for the day from Paul Muller Ortega, Triadic Heart of Siva: ¨The Ultimate is spanda: it vibrates, it expands and contracts; it manifests and reabsorbs; it is full of waves and waveless; it is full or bliss and yet suffering occurs; it plays a game of hide and seek with itself in which ignorance alternates with knowledge, and in which enjoyment and liberation can coincide.¨ Thanks, Annie Barret for this beautiful passage.

Friday, June 4, 2010


If we practice yoga like we "do" life, then how do we approach challenge? Is physical or emotional challenge any different? Really? As practitioners of yoga, potentially seeking the truest most open honest sense of ourSelves; is a giant emotional challenge much like a giant physical challenge? Eknath Eswaran talks about surfers to explain some of this. I thought this was funny at first, and then it made sense.
Earthquakes are disastrous, right? But a surfer who's heard the news of an earthquake will jump out of bed at 4am board in hand to go catch the biggest wave of their life! They've transformed a disaster into a force for challenge. What if we saw emotional earthquakes as a way to ride the wave toward greater self-awareness?
So. It's a big wave, a wild ride. And it's not easy in any sense.
But what if we took every challenge with a surf board in hand?


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Practice Outside!!

Summer's almost here (ok, we in the Pacific Northwest might need a little more proof of that!), and what an invitation we have to experience yoga in a different setting: outside. Our senses are alive outside with the smell of fresh air, the feeling of breeze and sun on our skin, the sounds of nature around us, and inspiring views to take in. All of our senses are in the present moment so we have an opportunity to really stay connected during the practice which isn't possible in a studio. The past three summers I've love practicing outdoors. I spent two summers in Bali in a steamy jungle setting with sweeping views of the Ayung river valley. All of the yoga students smelled of an intoxicating melange of bugspray and sunscreen and dripped in sweat. We watched birds and other creatures dance and fly in the green surroundings. Why would you want to be anywhere else but in the present moment there? Last summer I enjoyed teaching a summer series at Salmon Beach on a friend's deck right over Puget Sound with stunning views of the Olympic Mountains. Our Senses heightened; there was no need for music or anything else to infuse our practice with depth and rich texture provided by the blue water, sea creatures visible below, and infinite sky above.

I would love to have you join yogajoyproject for our summer SANGHA series practicing for 5 weeks Wed. and Fri. mornings OUTSIDE! Schedule of locations coming soon (we have so many fabulous offers from students to host on their decks with beautiful views, thank-you!) Also, Join us for our SOLSTICE WORKSHOP on June 20 (outside weather permitting.) Harness the energy of the brightest day of the year with us and shine bright!
Please visit for more information and email to register NOW : )

So Much Love~ Amy

visit the following links at for more inspiration to take your yoga outside this summer!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rainy day thoughts

Yoga helps us to quiet so that we can feel and then surrender. So, what's circulating within you? Is it life enhancing or depleting? From a place of spacious awareness, can you surrender and let go of that which is not life enhancing?
Om Shanti - Amy

Friday, May 14, 2010


Hi! I'm just back from a great trip with my daughter to Europe. Our travels were full of new experiences and fun as well as volcanic disruptions, 3 hour delays on the runway, jetlag, etc. Traveling can certainly provide ample opportunity to practice qualities that we develop on our mat such as patience when the passenger ahead decides to recline his seat back into your lap before take-off; compassion for parents with screaming infants on a long flight, or gratitude for our regular yoga practice and teachers when we are away. Sometimes it takes an absence from our routine to notice the difference when we are not in our practice: our bodies and minds tend to notice! I miss being able to spread out on my Manduka mat when I'm trying to fit in some sun salutations in a tiny hotel room or hearing the words of a trusted instructor, but the greater picture of traveling and yoga for me is expanding my practice and non-attachment from what I think my yoga practice HAS to be. I embrace that we can't do yoga- just be yoga. I give myself permission to let go of a full asana practice to focus on pranayama and meditation. Kapalabhati, bhaskrika, and nadi shodhana breathing can all help clear out stale airplane air and refresh our bodies and minds after traveling. A long plane, car or train ride can provide a space to close our eyes and meditate for awhile. Or that 10 hours on the plane could finally be that spare time you have always been looking for to learn the Gayatri Mantra by heart or crack open the Baghavad Gita : ) Anyway, going away always astounds me as I'm reminded that we're all connected by the same light, love and spirit; that separateness is an illusion.

FAVORITE AIRPLANE STRETCHES: seated twist (keep hips on square and one hand on opp. thigh for leverage: twist from the belly up as you take qaze past shoulder), seated pigeon (cross one ankle over the opposite thigh and fold forward), ankle circles, seated apanasana (hug one knee into chest at a time), seated cat/cow (hands on knees for support - then roll spine), neck rolls and sideway figure 8s with chin, side stretch (reach one arm up and bend to the side while keeping shoulders down away from the ears), flex/ point feet while seated, lion's breath (when nobody's looking!), handstand in the aisle-only for the advanced yogi (just kidding!!)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Adho mukha vrksasana . . . oh yeah, handstand! Like our Ms. Mayo says, "Handstands make people happy!" But, like backbends, inversions can bring up issues such as trust, courage and facing the unknown. Turning our world upside down can feel scary and even with the core and shoulder opening needed to rock a handstand, we may be held back mentally. I've been in what feels like a yogaHANDSTANDproject lately and practicing handstand everyday for a while now. There is something about coming into the same pose again and again: each time it can feel like a whole new posture! As we visit and revisit postures regularly, they can serve as a vehicle to notice where we are physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally from moment to moment. So why not shift perspective and view the world upside down and soak up the benefits of this challenging inversion? As we find our own fullest expression in handstand (supported against the wall or scorpion in the middle of the room- it's all good!), be a witness to the qualities that arise. Options open up when we see ourselves do something we never imagined.

Thanks Erin for a fun handstand exploration this morning in class!

OM ~ Amy

Monday, April 26, 2010

Texture, Quality. How do we practice our lives??

Creating a quality and texture for each moment of my practice helped me jump out of that dullness last Saturday! Thank you Amy for that intention/inspiration at the onset of class. It is OUR responsibility as students to create the quality of practice that we need to keep our work interesting. We are our greatest teachers!

And in that notion...I am going to set an intention to notice my own practice this week as a study on my life. Do I practice yoga the way I "do" life?
Love ~ Erin

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What do I need to do to bust out of this funk?

So, Shiva Rea made some interesting observations last week in teacher training about how to nourish our practice so that we are are equally exploring outward and inward. In an ego-centered yoga practice we might be looking for the next "bone" our teacher throws us to keep up our interest or we might be striving for what pose we will conquer next. Maybe uttita trikonasana doesn't have that same "zing" it used to, for example. Instead of leaning on an external factor (teacher, studio decor, music, whoop-de-doo pose, etc.) to bring depth and satisfaction to our experience of yoga, we could open to witnessing each moment in the practice though cultivating our truest intentions, breath awareness, noticing feelings, spontaneous creativity, and spacious awareness. Perhaps as we begin to develop a richer texture of our inner experience in our yoga, we will savor a more satisfying, potent quality in our "off the mat" lives as well.

Welcome yoga friends!

Erin Mayo and I are staring this Blog to share yoga ideas and thoughts with you. We'll also keep you updated with yogaJOYproject offerings and news. OM, shanti shanti shanti!

Yoga Manifesto article from the NYT