Having a home yoga practice has a whole new meaning in this time of virtual yoga classes and social distancing.

Students have commented that while virtual classes aren’t quite the same, they have helped them create structure, practice more regularly, manage the stress of this extraordinary event; as well as, make, sustain, and renew connections with others.

There are also the privacy, convenience, and cozy factors.  You don’t have to drive across town for your favorite class, practice in your underwear if you want, and you have your pets nearby.

Taking all this into account, as well as some of the challenges, here are some suggestions about how to make the most of the virtual yoga experience.

  • Am I doing it right? Remember that Yoga is so much more than the poses and techniques; the process has its own magic. The way we endeavor to teach is extra awareness based so there is less chance of doing it wrong and more chance of learning from your direct experience.  *If you do have a particular question about technique, ask after class or email. 
  • What are we doing now? You can get lost at times….it may be that the teacher wasn’t perfectly clear or that you spaced out a bit….no big deal, just tune back in and find your way anew. If you have feedback for any of us in regards to clarity, tell us or email so we learn.
  • Is there anybody else out there? Sometimes it helps to notice the participant list of who is in class before we begin and recognize that you are doing this with other people at the same time. You are actually having a communal experience. There is a period before class and after class to say hello, and you can also just zoom in and out without socializing.
  • I really need to vacuum…It can be useful to create a dedicated space in your home. And to keep it clean and clear of stuff. This is a very classical recommendation for yoga, create the space that signals your brain that you are doing something special. If you can’t find that space in your home, or your device doesn’t allow that, it can just be your mat zone while you are on it.
  • Am I doing enough or am I getting lazy? Being physically challenged can be over-rated, you end up forcing it and creating pain rather than relieving it. And, it is hard for us as instructors to know what is safe and productive when we can’t see you. A good rule of thumb is to do 80% of what you think is doable. If you want to see how it is to challenge yourself with a particular pose, do it every day at 80% and see where you are in 1 week.

At the time I was born, my mother was 29. She was now the mother of 3 living in Hyde Park, Illinois. She often said she missed the 1960’s because she was already with child by age 18; but she was still a woman of her time. She was an artist and writer, she had been a playboy bunny in the clubs, she married a Jew when her family had never met one, she befriended and often housed unusual, interesting, radical, struggling people, she was anti-war, she was gay friendly, had campaigned for Kennedy.

She is gone now so I can’t ask her to refresh me, but I imagine she was devastated by the assassinations of President Kennedy and years later, in my third term in her womb, Martin Luther King. I was born the day Robert Kennedy won the California primary for their Democratic Presidential Nominee, he was killed the next day. And we lived minutes away from the riot scene of the Democratic National Convention. I was probably in her arms when she watched the TV those days and heard the city around her in chaos.

Flash to now: I watch, listen, and sense into the events of these past weeks. The tragic death of Ahmaud Arbery. The knee on the neck of George Floyd. The ridiculous responses of our president, who has fanned racial tensions flagrantly all along. What am I to do? How am I to meet the moment? Me, a babe of the civil rights era, the daughter of a performance poet, and an ordained minister?

Looking around my life, I am aware, more than ever, that it is lily white. No black friends or neighbors, very few places where I come into contact with any diversity. I had not noticed. It happened gradually as I left work in organizations and focused on creating something of my own. Like my mother, who was sucked into domestic and suburban life; only worse because I don’t even have children to draw me out into the community they might have, or make me think about the youth perspective.

I attended the “Black Lives Matter” event on the U of A campus this past weekend and thought of her, my mother. She was more socially active than I am. More dramatic. She would have carried a sign. She would have known some of these performers on stage, or their equivalents in her day. She was someone who could get up on stage and speak and sing of the aches of the wounded heart and the ravages of oppression. She was someone who would affirm anyone who tried to as well. She wasn’t political, but she was a champion of truth and justice and the power of the spoken word.
Two of the speakers at the rally spoke of the need to stand up, the need for all marginalized people to raise their voices, the need to risk offending the powers that be. I heard them. And then heard them again, when they said that those who are standing here will turn away again. White people in particular. Will retreat. Will collude. Will comply. Again. They were scolding us and I felt it, and deserved it. They also were voicing their despair; you might feel good about being here letting us be us, but you will forget about us tomorrow….

A client I had been with earlier in the day- grieving deeply the wounds of her family combined with the grief of our country and world, likewise had doubted that any protest would matter. Not just this but in general- all that has been trampled these last 3 years….
It’s too big and pervasive. All the brokenness. And the Powers That Be, that serve themselves and their kind alone.

And yet: Something finally does seem to be happening. Moving the needle. Shaking the status quo. What can I do? How can I contribute to the moment? How will I remember, tomorrow and in the weeks, months, years to come what is happening and what is needed to help others up and out of not only personal despair (which I am trained to do), but systemic oppression (which I am not)?

Please know this reflection is primarily personal. I am sharing it to expose my own process rather than to wave a sign of any kind. As a contemplative, someone who is more introverted than extroverted- more emotional than intellectual- more spiritual than practical- I am searching for my authentic response to how will I remember and act.

I will take heart and inspiration from those I see standing up, speaking out, calling out, crying out. One of the presenters yesterday, sang a song about the places she can’t go because of the risk of being killed by police. It was stunning and at one point she screeched and screeched and it was just, right. Just as we would hope in our grief workshops when people connect to the rage or fear or desperation that really was a natural way to react, but most likely was repressed to stay alive. We have to allow ourselves and others to grieve, which includes rage and anger properly directed.

I will continue to listen and care and beam a deep faith in the potential of individuals to connect with deeper powers than the powers that be. As a black minister said of Trump’s photo op at St. John’s Church, “The God I serve is higher than that.”
I will continue to commit to my own contemplative path of Yoga. Prayer. Meditation. Not as an escape or evasion, or personal pursuit of health or wisdom, but as a form of purification and the innate desire to provide places of refuge and processes of insight for others. Refuge, that Thomas Merton referred to as necessary to make active work “fruitful.”

And I l will commit to learning more about systemic oppression, about my own bias, about what is now referred to as white fragility. I truly don’t understand these things- have not felt it was relative to me yet. Now it is.

All this does not alieve the pain of those actively oppressed, the real suffering of so many, but it is something I can and will sincerely do. From a black president to a racist president to the unknown future. We each have plenty we can do that matters.

While the moment is ripe for change, while the situation is dire for so many, while hope is sincere, it will not be easy. In the words of Thomas Merton again, and in the spirit of the long view, and the contemplative I am, “concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. ” Thomas Merton

Vedic Astrology Highlights Fall 2015 & Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse September 27th


We have a Solar and Lunar Eclipse this month.  Here are the Highlights of what is UP.

The Solar Eclipse will occur later this night that I write.  It is partial and will not be visible to us in the USA.  Yet the energy of an eclipse effects the whole planet, perhaps more so where they are visible.

This occurs in the sign of Leo, in the later section of the constellation called Purva Phalguni- it is associated with wealth so there is some buzz in the astrology community about this having impact on the global economy.  Some say the wild ride the stock market just took is indicative of this energy fluctuation.  Particular effects may be felt for 6 months.

Eclipses are considered inauspicious periods to initiate new endeavors.  They are auspicious for spiritual attunement and refinement.  As we know, life often insists we do things in spite of the signs and omens.  Truly, the key is to have a daily practice that purifies your heart and mind in some way.  This is the key to weathering whatever will come.

It is also considered helpful when the solar eclipse happens before the lunar.  We always have eclipses in pairs and this time the lunar eclipse will follow and be fully visible for us in Tucson.  It is quite powerful as it is a total eclipse and the moon is close to the Earth in its orbit- this is called a super moon.  It is also interesting as it happens early in the evening- it will be fully eclipsed around 8pm Tucson time.  Easy to witness and meditate upon.

Again, there is lots of lore regarding everything and it is said that it is not good to be outside during an eclipse- that you are personally negatively affected by it.  But in this day and age, when we are disconnected from so many natural rhythms, I sense it is a remedy; a way to honor the subtle and the shadow element of life, to witness the celestial phenomenon and strengthen our commitment to light.

The lunar eclipse occurs Sunday night, September 27. It occurs in Pisces, in the section called Uttara Bhadra Pada.  It is associated with the flow of water, purification, renewal, and release from long held patterns.  It is the water that smooths the stones.  I hope you get to experience and enjoy this event in some way.

Lunar Eclipse Tucson

Mars in Leo: September 16-November 3

Mars is leaving its 2 month sojourn through the sign of Cancer, which is its sign of debility/ difficulty.

This is a big shift for Mars energy.  In anyone’s chart Mars signifies raw energy, courage, power, brothers, and land.  In the fire sign of Leo the King it regains its sense of being a spiritual warrior.  This is very significant if you are Aries or Scorpio Rising or Moon by birth. You will feel empowered again.

Sun in Virgo: September 17-October 17

The Sun will soon change signs- from Leo to Virgo.  There is quite a bit of intensity in this yearly visit as Rahu is here and Mercury turns retrograde this same day. September 22-24 are very intense Solar days.  Be extra mindful and curious.

Mercury Retrograde: September 17-October 8

Mercury is retrograde in its own sign of Virgo, that is good in ways as it spends more time in one of its places of power and amplifies all kinds of Mercury and Virgo related things:  intellectual and organizational activities, service and healing matters especially.  It backtracks right into the Sun, full combustion, September 29-30. These are days that Virgo or Mercury people could feel inspired yet depleted.  It retrogrades into Rahu October 7-8 and then goes direct.  These could be interesting days for Mercury’s mental energy- creativity and innovation abound.  But be careful with important decisions.  Rahu is a trickster energy!


I am home now. Began traveling at 5am from Rome to London to Phoenix, arriving at home in Tucson around 11pm. As Rome is 8 hours later than Tucson, that makes for 22 hours of traveling, approximately one day.

All in all, I do ok traveling/transiting. Having a meditation practice and a spiritual practice helps. I can always pray and meditate. I can always read and write. I can usually find a clear, uninhabited place in the airport for yoga asana when needed.

I am always doing something subtle for my body, but only do obvious asanas if I can feel inconspicuous. As I did handstand in the Delhi airport a few weeks ago (I actually found a private space), a rat ran across my inverted visual screen. Not close enough to alarm me, but close enough to remind me- “This is India”.

Yesterday in Heathrow, I found an area away from video screens and people and used the chair to hang off for a long, inverted stick pose and shoulder stand. Inversions really help keep up my attitudinal stamina and my digestive processes. Rama would be proud to see me using the furniture to great effect. Students of Rama can visualize me clearly! Terminal 5 in London Heathrow feels like a hermetically sealed spaceship, I did not think for a second about vermin.

There is of course an abundance of distractions and entertainments in the airports and on the planes to help you forget the fact that you are a confined animal for this period of transition from here to there:

There is shopping, very boring.

There are video screens, very boring.

There are people from all over, and different languages to hear- Russian, French, German, Arabic…

There are old people traveling alone who seem totally mystified, its not the way it used to be….

There are children dancing through the security arch, making the dour security guards laugh and smile. (If you get agitated or annoyed, just focus on the children, see what they are up to, they are always amusing themselves somehow and are quite adorable)

There are beleaguered mothers with tons of luggage and babies to neutralize.

There are business people in suits, with briefcases, laptops, phones, not wasting a minute- Oh what it would feel like to be in business class or first class where you lie down for the long journey- not to mention the real food they serve you there!

There are the real food restaurants now in the airport- fresh organic juice, miso soup, range-free meat. I would be happy to have a “wagamama” in Tucson or an ITSU. Both Japanese inspired.

Speaking of the Japanese, they win the prize for fashion, whatever they are wearing, boys and girls, old and young, expensive or cheap- very, very chic

There are “travelers” that tribe of people who look a bit like every place they have ever visited, look natural and hip and at ease with the world and all its craziness, look like they should indeed be allowed to roam the Earth perpetually in their own way, for their own purposes.

En route to gate B48, I assist a couple from South India who I realize are going to Phoenix- they are perplexed about why they were sent from this gate to the main area, only to be sent back. Terminal 5 is very modern, but not necessarily clear cut. It can take 20 to 30 minutes to get to your gate. They have been confused also by pronunciations- they speak English but misheard a sound and went way off course. We are all headed in the right direction now and in plenty of time.

They speak Tamil and are from Hyderbad- a city near where I was but did not visit. Tamil was the first language I had to negotiate on the trip (since then Hindi, Newari, Nepali, and Italian) so it was good to return to it. He is a structural engineer, she a housewife. He was interested in Vedic Astrology, knew his chart, had tested several different readers so was interested in my experience. She was not interested in the least in her future- but was delighted to see my interest in their culture. He was coming to the states for the second time and her for the first, to attend their sons graduation from ASU in “device physics”. In typical Indian fashion they invited me sincerely to the graduation- “please come, please do come!” And gave me an open invitation to Hyderbad- “anytime, really!”. She is called Rohini, which is a section of the constellation Taurus where the moon is exalted. Rohini is mythically the favorite wife of the moon, Chandra. He would like to spend all of his time with her, but is driven by his father-in-law to make his rounds to the many other wives. This is the story that gives us a myth for the phases of the moon.

Home- it feels good for sure. It feels like I have only been away a few days. It feels like it was enough time, nothing rushed. As I had hoped, it opens my mind, heart, imagination to other journeys.

Peter has moved my office, he now has the front office to himself and I have the yoga room. He has created a built in that is lovely and already inspires me in a new way. He has built a wooden security door in front of our glass front door and installed an alarm, there have been some home invasions around us this year. He has polished and cleaned my car so it looks new. The house is clean and cozy. I take a long, hot shower upon arrival. Peter, Emma, and Beanie (our dog and cat) sit on the floor in the bathroom and watch me. Sleeping in our bed is disorienting for some reason, where am I? It doesn’t feel the same as when I left. It feels a bit like I am drunk. I haven’t felt this disoriented in the 20 plus places I have slept while away, perhaps it is like a boomerang, it is all hitting me now that I am back where I started, caught by the hand that launched me 6 weeks ago. The dog sleeps on the floor, but by morning everyone is on the bed near me. Emma stays near me all day. Peter tells me after breakfast that she had a hard time, that she had a stroke, that he has been nursing her, that she is walking again. Yes, I could feel something going on with her and Peter while I was gone. I am sorry to have taxed her, but also know that is life, to be taxed and that she is aging, there is no way to stop that process. Meanwhile, there is love and that is what makes it all worthwhile.

Peter makes me his espresso in the morning (with beans that he roasts himself), the best in the world, better than Tazza D Oro in Rome for sure. We have apple pancakes for breakfast, he roasts chestnuts for a snack this afternoon, He makes pea soup for dinner. Could I have a better husband?

I have final thoughts about my travels of course that I want to share, but as I have already said a lot, I will keep it simple:

It is a blessing to be able to “go away”- on so many levels- a blessing:

People speaking English to you, as you don’t speak their language, what a privilege.

To visit someplace truly foreign and not feel like a tourist, what a difference.

To make contact with so many people, and to feel like everyone was special and significant in and of themselves.

To make lifelong friends and to also know some people will never be seen again.

To stay healthy through yoga, meditation, prayer, and positive thinking- not to mention good quality food and accommodations.

To stay safe while there are others, in many places besides Mumbai, in danger and peril.

To experience true hospitality

To be alone and not lonely

To have company in perfect ways

To have opportunity and to trust that it can affect those that appear not to.

I took “Autobiography of a Yogi” on my trip, by Yogananda- one of the first books that I read about yoga over 20 years ago. It is an amazing read and inspired me (and many Westerners) to walk a yogic path. When I started re-reading it again I asked myself if I was “jaded” now? If I was not so eager or willing to believe or pursue, let alone realize yogic goals- the primary one being self-realization. As I sit now, with enumerable experiences resonating in me from this pilgrimage, so much more than I could ever try to convey, I feel like that question is resolved. No, I am not jaded. Yes, I am ready to do something new to bring yoga to use and application in our world.

Many of you know I have been wrestling with the “what to do” question. I still don’t have it clarified but do feel like I have something gestating in a more material way than before. I will be reaching out to many of you in the near future to help me. To get your response to questions I have regarding what is needed (not another yoga studio/not another teacher training program), to get your opinion about various issues regarding business and organizational structure, to request your perspective and insight. My vision is to create a yoga healing community in some form. Yoga is a broad word for me, not just what comes through a teacher or a lineage but from the Sanatana Dharma- the eternal teachings that flow not just from the East but from all cultures and traditions. This will need to be financially viable, and yet not commercially motivated. A non-profit, but is there some new way to envision that? Many of the non-profits I admired have faltered with the weight of conventional organizational pressures.

For all who have read my journal, and all who have supported my journey, and all who have graced me with their wisdom or confidence- I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

May our shared journeys continue in new forms. May our bodies, minds, emotions, and spirit find new states of integration as we live the life we have been given.

May all beings be happy and free

Lokah Samasthah Sukhino Bhavantu