Saturday, October 29, 2016

Yin Yoga Practice for Transforming Fear and Nervousness into Gentleness, Calmness, Will power and Wisdom


The Kidney Meridian - Root of Life

Reservoir of Energy
Seat of Courage and Willpower

The kidney meridian is a yin meridian (flows upwards), controls the growth and development of bones and nourishes the marrow, which is the body's source of red and white blood cells.

A weak kidney is therefore a prime cause of anemia and immune deficiency.

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Kidney Meridian Flow -

In traditional Chinese medicine, the spinal cord and the brain are forms of marrow, and therefore poor memory, inability to think clearly, and backache are all regarded as indicators of impaired kidney function and deficient kidney energy. Read also: Kidney Cleanse

The Kidney meridian's vitality is reflected externally by the condition of head and body hair and is associated with the entrance hole of the ears.

Tinnitus (ringing ears) is thus a sign of kidney dysfunction.

The kidneys are the seat of courage and willpower, and therefore any impairment in kidney meridian results in feelings of fear and paranoia.

Intense fear can cause involuntary urination, a phenomenon also known to Western medicine. Read also: 7 Emotions

The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste metabolites from the blood and moving them on-wards to the bladder for excretion in urine.

Along with the large intestine, the kidneys control the balance of fluids in the body.

In addition, they regulate the body's acid-alkaline balance (pH) by selectively filtering out or retaining various minerals. Read also: Detox Diets

The Kidney Meridian is paired with: The Bladder Meridian

Element: Water

Physical Imbalances: Chest pain, asthma, abdominal pain, irregular menstruation, impotence, hernia

Emotional Imbalances: Hysteria, paranoia, depression, fear, loneliness and insecurity

When Balanced: Wisdom, rationality, clear perception, gentleness and self-understanding.

Peak Hours: 5-7 pm

Foods: Water

Light Blue

Bhay is Sanskrit for Fear

Abhaya Varada Mudra - "Gesture for Fearlessness and Granting Wishes"

"No effort on the yoga path is every lost, nor can any obstacle ever hold one back forever. Just a little progress on this path can protect one from the greatest fear."

- Chapter 2, Verse 40 - Bhagavad Gita

Affirmation  – 

With a greater sense of grounding and centering, I move forward in life fearlessly

Once out loud
Once whispering
Once to yourself mentally


This poem in the Anita Diamant’s the Red Tent touched me

“Fear not, the time is coming
Fear not, your bones are strong
Fear not, help is nearby
Fear not, Gula (God) is near
Fear not, the earth is beneath you
Fear not, we have water and salt
Fear not, little mother or father
Fear not, mother of us all!”

a) Eyes closed. Hands on kidneys, Sense fear, nervousness, constriction, or imbalance. Ask for its message. 
b) Open eyes. Kness together. Inhale through the nose, sweeping arms around to place fingers below knees, thumbs linked. Bend forward, round back and look up.
c) Contact abdomen as you exhale on CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (breath only)
d) Release any fear, nervousmess, constriction or imbalance into the earth
e) Return hands to kidneys and place legs comfortably apart. Close eyes and smile to kidneys. Breath in blue light
f) Do this 3 to 6 more times.

Fear is one of the 9 rasas
Fear is a game of the over-exaggerating mind
Fear of death, failure, loss, success
The more attachments we have the more reason for the fear rsa
More is dominated by the air element – fearful people tend to tremble and shake – causes stomach to contract
In fear all our body cells scream at us to run for our lives

Fear can be overcome by inner strength, love and truth
“The future will take care of itseld, so let us not sacrifice today’s happiness because of it.”

1/2 Saddle

6 Steps to Releasing Fear by Nicholas Perrin
1. Come back to the present moment.

The first step is to bring your awareness to the present moment by watching the breath.
In hale and Exhale sub vocally

1/2 Saddle Other Side

2. Put things in perspective.

"Now that you are present, acknowledge the experience and ask yourself this question: “What is the worst case scenario that can happen to me?”

Once we can accept this and realize we will be okay if that happens, we are free from the fear.

When I realized I’d blown things out of proportion with my fears, I was able to detach from the story and put things into perspective.

I like to imagine that in every moment I have two wolves I can feed (per the Native American myth): the fear wolf or the love wolf. The one that gets stronger and wins is the one I feed."

Full Saddle or knees bent on the back with a sand bag

"3. Become an observer of your thoughts.

What has served me well in moments like this is to say, “I’m not these thoughts. I’m not these emotions. I’m not this body. I’m an infinite being having a human experience.”

In saying this, we immediately detach from the story and allow ourselves the choice of suffering or to become the observer.

Imagine that your life is represented in a book, and the story you are living out comes from the words on the page. We can change the words of the story at any point in time."


"The fourth step is to place your awareness and your right hand on the heart center, which is located near the sternum. Close your eyes, take three deep breaths, and make the following command:
“I am now connected to the infinite part of who I am, which already knows how to be whole and complete. I take full responsibility and accountability for this creation, I recognize how it has served me, and I am now ready to let it go. I command that the fear energy be transmuted into unconditional love now. Thank you. It is now done.”
This process is incredibly empowering. We allow ourselves the opportunity to experience being our own inner master and a co-creator of our reality."

1/2 Butterfly Pose Sides

"5. Prevent your mind from sabotaging you.

Visualize a stone being thrown into a pond. Observe the ripples it creates when it enters the water. This is to simply distract your mind and allow the process to unfold without doubt or self-sabotage. It is only our mind that can interfere with our own healing."

1/2 Butterfly Other Side -

"6. Be grateful.

Express gratitude and appreciation for the integration and healing you have received.

The key to happiness is awareness. When we become aware that our mind is wandering, we can gently bring it back to the present moment. It’s only in the present moment that we are empowered and can consciously choose the thoughts we engage with.

The thoughts we focus on will determine where our energy flows, and thus what is created in our life. Each thought has a vibration, which is reflected by the feeling we experience in our body.

To be able to move from a fear-based experience to an open, peaceful experience we must first take full responsibility and accountability that on some level we created the experience, and nobody else is to blame.

The choice is truly ours. Do we choose to experience a fearful, limited life or do we choose a happy joyful life?"

Fear is often caused by ignorance – we can be fearful of something that is unknown
One of the most powerful fears is the fear of death

Fear is a natural protection that keeps as away from harm


Metaphorical forms of Fear:  tiredness, heaviness. Cold, nausea, exhaustion

Metaphysical characteristics of the energy of fear: internal coldness, shivering, heaviness, sudden tiredness, sleepiness, irregular breathing, cold sweating, anxiety, loss of skin color, loss of energy, loss of appetite, inability to speak, inability to look another in the eye, dehydration and nausea, legs can feel cold or numb, especially the backs of the legs, dehydration or dry lips, inability to talk to anyone, not enough energy for conversation, diarrhea, greater than normal need to pee, extreme sensitiy to touch

Some of the fear energy in the body can relate to events deep in the past and these events can have been forgotten or buried.  The conscious mind may have forgotten but the energy of those experiences can still be in the body

Feelings of blackness and stickness within yourself

Melting Heart
Dreams – pictures of thick, black motor oil or black witches or black fearful creatures
Sometimes we are blocked and we want to do something but can’t seem to – we should not call this laziness we should call it fear

There is fear of failure as well as fear of success, fear of not being good enough, fear of not finishing, fear of beginning at all,  The cure for fear is love

Call fear by its right name – not laziness not procrastination
(give yourself permission to begin small)
Setting impossible goals
Fear of abandonment – rooted in childhood

2md chakra yoga poses can bring forward fear

Fear is dominated by the air element – fearful people tremble and shake and their stomaches contract
In fear, all our body cells scream to us to run for our lives
Metallic taste comes in the mouth when we experience fear
Yogic remedy for fear is wearing pearls, and stones like turquoise, red coral
FEAR and ANGER are companions, they stimulate each other
WONDER and FEAR are related – because wonderous things bring a minimal amount of fer because we can’t understand them and that makes us cautious


Reclining Twist
Fear is overcome by inner strength, love and truth
When we have nothing to lose there is nothing to fear
Real knowledge and truth brings fearlessness
Love and Friendship can overcome fear
Need to make distinction between planning and worrying

Yama is the deity of fear

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hatha Yoga for Transforming Sadness into Courage, Right Action and Letting Go

Theme: Transforming Sadness/Depression into Courage, Right Action and Letting Go based on work by Mantak Chia and other sources.

Intention: Exploration of where sadness is blocked or trapped in the body and begin to release and transform it.

Sadness and Depression are found in the 3rd and 4th Chakras. In Traditional Chinese Medicine they are said to live in the lungs and Large Intestines. The Energy of Sadness is: Soft and Cold to the Touch. Sadness is found in  neurotransmitters in our brain.  The physiology of sadness is an absence of dopamine, serotonin and phenylethylamine.

We usually translate the word Karuna as compassion but it originally means sadness.  It is the sadness we feel when we need to let go of attachments. There is a practice called Karuna Sadhana.  Mastering Karuna means changing sadness to compassion.  Most people are so self-absorbed the do not understand that others problems are the same as their own.

Sadness is related to the water element.  It is seen in our tears.  The deity of sadness is Varuna the lord of the water. He is the keeper of the laws of dharma and his palace is a Submerged Mountain.

The moon influences the water element. The descending moon cycle is related to sadness.  The ascending moon cycle is related to Joy and Excitement

Concentrating on Love, Joy and Humor are powerful ways to release and remove sadness.


For the Body Awareness Exercise I will use Mantak’s Healing Sound Practice for Transformation of Sadness into Courage
Healing sound: Ssssssssssssssssssss


Close your eyes and put your hands on your rib cage.  Inhale slowly through your nose. Notice in you feel any sadness, depression, constriction or other physical imbalances in your lungs.  If you do ask them if they have a message for you.

1. Become aware of your lungs. Take a deep breath and, letting your eyes follow, raise the arms up in front of you. When the hands are at eye level, begin to rotate the palms and bring them up above the head. Keep the elbows rounded. You should feel a stretch that extends from the heels of the palms, along the forearms, over the elbows, along the upper arms and into the shoulders. The lungs and chest will feel open and breathing will be easier. Draw the corners of the mouth back, exhale, making the sound "Ssssssss", sub-vocally, slowly and evenly in one breath.

2. As you exhale, empty all feelings of sadness, sorrow and grief from your lungs.

3. When you have exhaled completely (without straining), rotate the palms down, close the eyes, and breathe in to the lungs to strengthen them. If you are color oriented, imagine a pure white light and quality of righteousness entering into your lungs. Float the arms down by gently lowering the shoulders. Slowly lower them to your lap so that they rest there, palms up.

4. Close the eyes, breathe normally, smile down to the lungs, be aware of the lungs, and imagine that you are still making the sound. Pay attention to any sensations you may feel. Try to feel the exchange of cool, fresh energy replacing hot, dark waste energy.

Break into pairs and talk about your experience using active listen. 90 seconds per person.

Pranidhana Mudra
"As I learn to let go, I naturally live with right action and courage"

tapping on lung 1 - Middle Palace
Joint Freeing Series Standing Variation
Flapping Wings
Pranayama: Breath of Joy
Qi Gong Flow for Metal




Repeat Healing Sound Practice in Savasana

Lying in Savasana Close your eyes and put your hands on your rib cage
Once again get in touch with your lungs and large intestines the place where sadness and depression reside.

Notice if you feel any sadness, depression, constriction or other physical imbalance in your lungs.  If you do ask for a message of this feeling.  The answer may not come immediately or at some other time.  When you know the message, let it’s wisdom guide you.
Inhale deeply through your nose as you slowly move your hands a few inches away from your chest, turn your palms up and raise your arms over your head

Bring your arms over your head and rotate them to face the wall. Hold them 6 inches apart. Gently press away from you with the heels of the palms

Feel a stretch from your palms to your elbows to your shoulders to the area of your lungs

Inhale and exhale slowly making SUBVOCALLY the sound SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Exhale completely and Visualize any sadness, depression, constriction or imbalance leaving your mouth like a cloudy gray substance going into the earth to be transformed.

Breath normally now, and rotate your palms down and release your shoulders and let your hands slowly float back to cover your lungs

 Smile inwardly and outwardly, to your lungs and large intestine, feeling gratedul for the work the do in respiration and elimination. Then, still smiling, with every breath imagine you are breathing into these organs a brilliant white light.  Do this for several breaths.

Sense your lungs and large intestines are larger, softer and moister and spongier. Sadness, depression, constriction or imbalance have been released. Courage, right action and letting go have been increased


Hansi Mudra

“An inner smile radiates through out my being, awakening all my essential positive qualities.”

Each participant gives one word to encapsulate their experience

Yin Practice for Transforming Sadness in Courage, Right Action and Letting Go


Sit in Easy pose

The theme of this class is Transforming Sadness into Courage, Right Action and Letting Go
- Sadness is a soft emotional energy that is created in the lungs dwells close to the heart
- It’s spongey soft and slightly cold to the touch
- Sadness Can also be found it the latissimus muscle near the shoulder blade
- 3rd and 4th chakra
- sadness has been described as yellow
- With sadness you feel heart

sinking and you won’t be able to raise it

Benefits of Easy Pose:
Calms the brain
Strengthens the back
Stretches the knees and ankles


- Shivalingham mudra

- Pranidhana

Open the fingers and interlace them at the middle digits with the left
Place Vajrapradama mudra in front of the heart and begin to watch the rise and fall of the breath


Vajrapradama means “unshakable trust and confidence.  The mudra is helpful for treating depression, releasing constriction in the chest, ribs and upper back, enhancing self-trust and confidence, increasing energy and enthusiasm, and enhancing sensitivity in the qualities of the heart.




Sadness and Depression are stored in the lungs. The lung sound transforms sadness and depression into courage, letting go and right action.
Eyes closed
Place hands on rib cage.
Sense any sadness depression, construction or imbalance in the lungs.
Ask for a message from the lungs.
Eyes open
Inhale deeply through the nose as your raise your palms, a few inches out from the body and over the head. Rotate palms up and leave about 6 inches between them.
Head back and elbows bent, Feel stretch from palms to lung area
Lung sound: Place your tongue behind your closed teeth and, with a long slow exhalation, make the lung sound "SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS" (like the sound of steam from a radiator).
Releasing sadness and depression
Change cross of legs after 3 times
Repeat six times

Return your hands to the lungs and smile to your lungs. Imagine a white light shining upon your lungs, surrounding them.
At the end sense that the lungs are softer, moister, spongier
Courage, right action and letting go have be increased
Let go of any lingering sadness or depression by with the eyes closed-looking left and looking right . . .


Begin By Tapping on Lung 1 (Middle Palace)
- Cleanses grief and emotions, opens chest and lungs, releases upper body tension, benefits all lungs and lung meridian disorders
- Breath deeply, focusing on the release of the breath to let go of stress, emotions, and all the energy that is not serving you highest essence of sense

Flap the legs to bring lightness to the body

The Sanskrit name for this pose is Baddha Konasana – Baddha refers to the quality of steadiness and Kona is the sacred space for Yoga practice.  “This asana cultivates the safety in which the yogi can relax into the sacred space of transformation, discovering a source of inner nourishment.” – Joseph La Page

- tones the pelvic floor and abdomen
- releases tension from the hips
- optimizes the digestive, eliminatory, urinary and reproductive systems
-cultivates inner nourishment

Benefits of Forward Bends:
There are many benefits to forward bends, both standing and sitting. They create length and space in the spine, counteracting compression, and their inward nature can promote introspection.
In forward bends each of the vertebrae are separated. Helps make the back muscles supple and strong
Make this forward bend a passive process where gravity can do the work
Forward bending is associated with bowing and humility
Difficulty bending forward can have to do with fear or indicate a stiff proud or stubborn personality
Bend from the hips and not the waist


Simple Breathing Exercise for Letting Go
Expand your abdomen as you inhale deeply to the count of 4.

Hold your breath for 8 counts.

Exhale slowly through your nostrils to the count of 8. Expend the breath slowly, so that you have enough breath to release till you count down to 8. This action trains the muscles that support the heart and lungs and builds endurance.

Benefits of this Pose
- Lengthens the hamstings
- OPens the hips in abduction
- tractions and lengthens the spine
- supports the functioning of the reproductive, eliminatory and lymphatic systems
- calms the nervous sustem
- cultivates reverence and surrender


Anger and sadness are related
“In a well-moderated psyches. Anger is the primary emotion-the boundary-setter and sentry of the soul-while sadness acts in more interior wat to restore, flow, grounding, and integrity.” Many people it’s reversed

People whom lead with sadness are often children of addicted parents, people who lead with sadness often struggle with emotional instability, cycling depression and anxieties and unworkable relationships, and excruciating loneliness.:

Pranayama: Skull Shining Breath to Summer the Dragon


- Tractions the entire spine
- massages the kidneys and adrenals
- nourishes the reproductive system
- cultivates peacefulness
Mantak Chia
“Painful emotions are messages from our soul telling us we are out of balance.”
Sadness is an appropriate response to loss
Important to Accept and forgive to alleviate sadness
Holding onto hatred and resentment only poisons you. It keeps you forever trapped in the past, focusing
Accepting that life will eventually knock you down hard is a stepping stone to growth. Trying to avoid hardship and pain will only prove detrimental to your health.
Each experience, each moment that you have is precious and dear. Try to make the best out of even the worst circumstances.

6. SPHINX – Variation Bent Leg look over opposite shoulder to SEAL

(back issues should put rolled towel under their hips)
- strengthens the arms and shoulders
- Aligns the thoracic spine
- Massages the kidneys, adrenals and reproductive organs
- Opens the doorwat to the heart, allowing us to receive its wisdom
Affirmations from Louise Hay:
1. All things are unfolding as they are supposed to.
2. In my sadness, I love myself.
3. I honor the love more than the loss.
4. I can find happiness in any situation.
5. I am healed.
Breath: Oceanic


Basis Rasa: Sadness
Sub Rasa: Pity and Compassion
Element: Water
Friendly Rasa: Calmness
Enemy Rasa: joy, Love
Key to Mastering: Kindly embrace both truth and ignorance

A nice backbend for the upper and middle back
Will also open shoulders
Softens the heart.



- Increases the lung capacity
- Balance


“Sadness is your psyche’s water-bearer; it restores life-giving fluidity and movement when you’ve become arid and inflexible. Sadness helps you slow down, feel your losses, and release that which needs to be released- to soften into the flow of life instead of holding yourself rigidly and pushing ever onward. Sadness ask you to trust in the flow of time. . .Sadness also helps you release yourself from behaviors that take you away from your authentic self; if you can truly let go, the gentle nature of sadness will lead you to peace of mind that comes not from chaining yourself to a formal set of beliefs or ideologies, but from listening to your own innate wisdom>” p. 296 Karla McLaren
Stair Step Breathing:
a) Inhale little sips of air as if you were climbing a mountain for 6
b) hold for 4
c) exhale for 6
d) smooth 6 count in
e) hold for 4
f) exhale through nostrils in little puffs as if stepping down the mountain (8)
5 to 7 times
Next inhale in little sips hold for 4 and exhale little puffs
End by inhaling in little sips, hold 4, exhale for 6 or longer


Reminds us to let go of outdated attachments you will be rejuvenated and revitalized
If you reject sadness you cannot be rejuvenated
Beware of “Unsaid words, unshed tears and grinding soul fatigue” Karla McLaren


“When you welcome your sadness and allow it to flow through you, you may become a little weepy at first, which can see troubling if you don’t understand the healing power of tears. Don’t fight the flow.”
Tears – cleanse you eyes nd sinuses and release toxins from your body
Crying is a potent detoxification process
Welcome tears because thy release what needs to be release – they help us feel lighter and freer

The deity of sadness is Varuna. The lord of water.Varuna causes rains to fall and rivers to flow and continuously evaluates the actions of human ebings. He is the keeper of the laws of Dharma. He is the guardian of sea, heavens and terrestrial seas.  His palace is in the submerged mountain top of Pushpargiri. Souls the the drowned go to him accompanied by snakes.  He is a kind, righteous, beneveolent god ready to forgfive transgressions.

Get more active physically. Meanwhile, if you are dealing with depression, sadness, or anger, stay away from alcohol and substances, which will only magnify your pain. You are not “drowning” your sorrows. Instead, you are providing them with fuel.

What can be a practice for sadness –drop into yourself, set boundaries
1) What must be released
2) What must be rejuvenated
Make bridges to people. Sourround yourself with people who you love nd love you and you can count on.

Karuna is the word for Sadness in Sanskrit and is ruled by the water element. Mastering sadness means to convert our more self-centered sadness into compassion for other,  To understand sadness we must understand that it comes and goes. Bliss not sadness is our true nature.


How about when others are sad.  You can listen supportively. Let people feel sad as long as they need to.  Honor the sadness.  Set your boundary and soften yourself. No need to become a sage or coundelor.
“Remember to welcome your sadnesss in all its forms; as your free-flowing ability to ground and relax into yourself as you let go, as your mood-sate ability to access the fluidity of tears and rejuvenate yourself, and as the rapids-level depths of despair that can help you restore and rejuvenate your psyche after terrible loss. Welcome and thank your sadness.”

It’s transformative to Fully experience your emotions. Don’t masking their emotions. This is counterproductive and will lead to health problems in the future.
When each emotion comes, feel it. Let Your body will tell you when it’s enough. It’s fine to Cry, scream. “Let it out and submit to the beginning of a process that will take time to complete. To feel is to be human; embrace it!”

13. PLOUGH/SNAIL (time permitting)
Increases circulation to the face or brain
Optimizes the functioning of the endocrine and nervous systems
Improves circulation to the head and facilitates the venous return from the legs
Creates a sanctuary of inner silence


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Interview with Beverly O'Donohue

Nya: What got you into yoga?

Beverly: A boyfriend brought me to my first Yoga Class; it was about 2008.  It was at the Dharma studio where I still teach and practice now. The studio was located close to where I was working at the time, Modern Props. I started going to the Dharma Yoga LA studio about three or four times a week. I loved the way it made my body feel. I loved the way it made my breath feel. I loved the hell out of it.  I loved how it induced a quiet mind; my monkey brain was quieted immediately with yoga.

I fell in love with the way my teacher Sonya (E. Kendall) taught. At the time, I knew very little about yoga, very little beyond the asanas.  The love that came through as she taught and the glimpse of yoga beyond the asanas she portrayed in her classes made me curious.

I tried to find studios around my own neighborhood to do yoga but I never felt as welcomed as at the Dharma Studio.  I think the things that make the Dharma Mittra studio special to me was the warmth and the size of classes and the studio.  If you think of high school, some larger yoga studios in Los Angeles are like public schools, whereas the Dharma Mittra studio is like a small independent school.  I believe a more intimate teaching process is a lot more effective.

Nya: What got you interested in teaching yoga?

Beverly: I didn’t know if I wanted to be a teacher when I went to teacher training. I forked over a ridiculous amount of money, and I haven’t regretted a moment. Sonya gave me a scholarship which I later worked off by teaching classes. Sonya really encouraged me to teach. She knew me so well in the classes as a student.  She knew my desires and limitations. She encouraged me to meet Sri Dharma Mittra and train with him. It took me a while to jump on it. I was never fond of public speaking but came to find out that it becomes easier to speak in front of a group when you are passionate about the subject.  At some point, you are no longer the teacher but have become the vessel for the teachings to flow through.  I want to do more training with Sri Dharma Mittra and see him on a regular basis but I haven’t been able to do that financially.

Nya: What was the Teacher Training like with Dharma?

Beverly: I have completed two 200 hour teacher trainings, the first one was in 2011 with Sri Dharma Mittra in New York City and the second in 2016 with Sonya Enchill and Sri Andrei Ram in Los Angeles.

I can be a bit introverted and have a hard time casually socializing. Socializing sometimes feels fake.  In the LOAYNYC Dharma training, we were encouraged to practice silence or Mauna. I took that advice and practiced silence and kept to myself. I went to New York a week early to do touristy things so I wouldn’t be distracted during the training.  I stayed with two different Dharma Yoga teachers while visiting, one in New Jersey and one in Manhattan.  The woman I stayed with in Manhattan was an Amma devotee.  That was incredible for me because I learned so much about Amma.

The training was extremely tough.  New York City is an extremely tough place.  It’s a bigger and dirtier city than LA. I believe Sri Dharma chose New York City because he wants to help balance a place that already has so much energy – a very fast paced and stressful city - by offering the Yogic teachings.

We practiced Vinyasa three times a day. In the middle of day was a master class.  We were challenged physically. We started each day with lectures from Sri Dharma and toward the end of the training it all became challenging as there was a lot of information offered in a short period of time.

The experience was life changing for me.  Many of the instructors in the training are devotees of Sri Dharma Mittra who have renounced many of the benefits of the world. They were inspirational people.  It was extremely enlightening and humbling to be in Sri Dharma Mittra’s presence because he is a real person - not to say other gurus aren’t.  He lives the same lifestyle as you and I but sees the world differently.

I tried to approach my first teacher training by completely forgetting everything I thought I knew about yoga.  I wanted to start back at the beginning with no intentions - to come from a clean slate. We started each day around 7:30 in morning and ended at 8:30 at night. There wasn’t much chance for breakfast or dinner. I dropped 10 pounds and I don’t really have 10 pounds to drop. I ate an avocado in the morning and a peanut butter & jelly sandwich at night with a fairly decent lunch in the middle.

At a certain point, my body started to shut down. Many people’s bodies were shutting down. It was my first experience seeing someone cry after vinyasa class.  I started to see trainees sitting out for the vinyasa classes. People were taking a chair and just watching, this is what Sri Dharma refers to as watchasana. Everyone was exhausted.  I didn’t know what my body was doing and I got nervous and scared but talked to Sri Dharma and he explained to me about the practice.  He explained the different changes made to the body from practicing consistently. I came out of training with plenty of tools to work with.  The training helped me find a way to teach and helped me find my own voice, my own Dharma in life.  I saw the world in a completely different perspective.  

Nya: How did you start teaching? What has been your experience teaching?

Beverly: As I mentioned earlier, I worked off the scholarship I received from Sonya by teaching karma classes at her studio. I grew to love teaching.  I love knowing people who love yoga as much as I do.  Ultimately, I want to devote my time to people who really need yoga. Aesthetically and devotionally I want to be able to offer the practice for free.

I think it is most important to say that I am just an instructor, a vessel for the teachings to flow through. Being an instructor doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with the same things that my students struggle with.  These are lifelong struggles. The ability to diminish them and to acknowledge them becomes easier but the struggles are still there.  The sadness is still there when you feel sad. The anger is still there when you feel angry, but to learn to acknowledge the emotions before you react has become a very good tool I’ve been cultivating from quieting the mind in my moving meditation.

Sometimes I get down on myself when I have no students in class.  I don’t know if it’s purely financial or ego.  Of course when you have no students, you make no money. But it’s more than that. I know everyone has their schedule – but my inner critic asks: Why do they like me or don’t like me as a teacher? Sometimes I wonder if it’s psychically related. Maybe, I am not in the right psychic attitude to teach a class that day and that energy has gone into the universe telling people not to come.

Nya: What does yoga mean to you?

Beverly: Whenever I talk about yoga it’s unlike anything else I talk about in my life.  I don’t have the same attitude towards anything else. My love for yoga has changed my attitude towards many things.  I have taken the asanas and changed them into a lifestyle.  For me the challenge in my yoga life is to take the feeling, the strength, the breath, the positivity and the community off the mat into real life.

My mother and I just recently had a discussion about how yoga has helped me in my personal life.  The breath alone has helped so much.  The breath helps to control and recognize the emotions. If I had known any of this early on in my life I believe I would have had more control over my emotions and reactions.

I think that it’s extremely unfortunate that we are expected to learn how to breathe and walk on our own.  No one is there to teach us how to properly do the things we take for granted in order to use them as tools for life. Wellness and mindfulness is out there now but I wish I had this knowledge back in high school.

Nya: What are your visions and dreams for your life in yoga?

Beverly: I am now a full time teacher.  The reality of being a full time yoga teacher is extremely hard.  Financially I want to continue learning, teaching, taking classes.  But all classes involve money.  Of course, I can continue teaching what I know and learn from books.  But if what I want is to study under a specific person it will take me going back to other kinds of work to finance these studies. I have been thinking that Kundalini Yoga is up my alley because of the breath work in the lineage.  Of course, I am grateful to have been able to train with Sri Dharma Mittra and yes he still has much more to offer, but I also want to dive into other lineages.

Nya: What’s your personal sadhana like?

Beverly: My personal practice switches on and off. I usually practice in the morning before any distractions arise, usually 15 to 20 minutes. My practice usually consists of meditation and pranayama. Sometimes it’s a Sun Salutation. I start with pranayama usually alternate nostril breathing. I let myself lose the count, or let the count change.  If my mind is overactive, I do breath of fire.  I also do the So Hum mantra in the head to find stillness in the mind.

Since I tend to teach and practice at the same time I don’t need an extremely long morning practice. Of course, in class I won’t get a full practice in so I make sure to fit in an hour and a half of practice at one of the many studios I love. Reading yogic texts is hard work for me.  I have never been a book reader for knowledge. The Bhagavad Gita lets me paint a story so I find that more relatable.  If I have a question about the texts I ask a colleague. I like books that let you give your own translation.

Nya: What keeps you interested in yoga?

Beverly: When I talk to people who have never done yoga I feel like I sound like a preacher because my devotion pours out so much. I start to question myself sometimes – why do I like yoga so much and why then don’t others want to have the same experience as me?

When I converse with someone with a like a mind I get to explore why I like yoga. What makes me come back to yoga every day is to learn something different every time about myself. Because I practice in the morning, I get an insight where I am at and what the day might be like. Not that I am looking for that. But I explore: am I strong, is my breath even, maybe the mind is racing, or maybe there is something that carries over into my meditation that I was reading about the night before?  I get insight into where I’m at mentally and physically. It is a type of self-prediction.

Every time I come back to my mat there is always something new to learn whether I move the body organically or attempt a posture I didn’t know I could or couldn’t do.  I allow the breath to guide my moving meditation or I open a book and incorporate something from the book into my practice.  It is exciting that there is room for growth in the yoga world in many different ways. There is always something new to learn.

Nya: How has your experience been teaching at The Yogi Tree

Beverly: I have taught at the Yogi Tree for about two years.  It’s my second home after Dharma Yoga LA. At The Yogi Tree, the students are very special. In some studios it is hard to be your authentic self; they want you to be a certain way.  But at The Yogi Tree I can be an authentic version of myself.  The students are open and receptive. My experience continues to shape me into the person I am today.

Nya: Anything else you would like to share?

Beverly: I love when students talk to me after class. Please introduce yourself and tell me what is on your mind.  I want to know where you are coming from and your story. Namaste!

Beverly’s teaching Schedule at The Yogi Tree
Wednesday @ 7:30pm – Hatha
Wednesday @  9pm  - Restorative
Thursday @ 9am - Hatha

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


"The mind creates the abyss and the heart crosses it. Love is the bridge." - Stephen Levine

"When the mind is clear we can see all the way to the heart." Stephen Levine

"When love fills the mind, it opens into the heart." Stephen Levine

"Love is the natural condition of our being revealed when all else is relinquished, the shimmering awareness which receives all things with an equal openness and regard." - Stephen Levine

"Love brings the unhealed back into the flow in which it may dissolve, received in the depths of the healing heart." - Stephen Levine

"Love is our true nature, our birthright."


"Mercy is the opposite of judgment. It is a kindness of the mind that mirrors the spaciousness of the heart.... Mercy, like loving kindness, is a quality of the mind which emulates the nonclinging nature of the heart." p, 15, Healing Into Life and Death, Stephen Levine

"Mercy accrues as compassion. Healing accumulates from moment to moment when discomfort is met mindfully, openheartedly, in he present, where all that week seek is to be found."


"Pity is the experience of meeting pain with fear. It makes one want to change the givens of the moment: "I want you out of your pain because I want me out of my pain." Pity can be a very self-oriented emotional state, very densem very uncomfortable. Pity has a quality of considerable need about it."  . . Pity creates a sense of separation." p. 11, Healing into Life and Death, Stephen Levine